Strange rear wheel tracking problem



Cheesy

New Member
Aug 21, 2003
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I have a strange tracking problem with my rear wheel on my hardtail MTB.

The sensation is similar to that of when you have a tyre with really low pressure, and it almost feels like the rear wheel "floats" out of track when you turn.

Something (I'm really not sure what) feels really spongy and just very wrong.

I've tried with both high & low tyre pressure, the frame is quite stiff & not damaged, wheel attached firmly, straight & in true, but I'm having all sorts of control problems on decents.

I've been riding this bike for close to a year now, and this problem has only shown up in the last week or 2.

Anybody have any ideas? :confused:
 

lumpy

New Member
Oct 22, 2003
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Hum. After reading your post several times I'm left still with the idea that the frame is cracked. The other idea is that your headset is loose or perhaps the fork is having a problem. I know with auto racing, you address a rear end handling problem with the front end.

Are you seated when you feel it or on the pedals? How does it feel on a steep grinding climb?

Maybe bring it to your LBS and see what they say.

good luck!
 

Cheesy

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Aug 21, 2003
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I'm pretty sure that the frame is ok because ususally a frame problem is also noticable when you're pedalling hard - but there are no problems with power transfer that I can tell. It's all in the downhill & cornering handling.

You're right that it could be the headset or fork - I hadn't considered that - I'll check it out - especially as I had some headset problems a couple of months ago. Thanks for the advice!
 

big Pete

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Jun 17, 2004
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Cheesy said:
I'm pretty sure that the frame is ok because ususally a frame problem is also noticable when you're pedalling hard - but there are no problems with power transfer that I can tell. It's all in the downhill & cornering handling.

You're right that it could be the headset or fork - I hadn't considered that - I'll check it out - especially as I had some headset problems a couple of months ago. Thanks for the advice!

This might be a worst case, but could your frame be out of alignment?

Pete
 

daveornee

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Sep 18, 2003
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Cheesy said:
I have a strange tracking problem with my rear wheel on my hardtail MTB.

The sensation is similar to that of when you have a tyre with really low pressure, and it almost feels like the rear wheel "floats" out of track when you turn.

Something (I'm really not sure what) feels really spongy and just very wrong.

I've tried with both high & low tyre pressure, the frame is quite stiff & not damaged, wheel attached firmly, straight & in true, but I'm having all sorts of control problems on decents.

I've been riding this bike for close to a year now, and this problem has only shown up in the last week or 2.

Anybody have any ideas? :confused:

What happened just before you started noticing the problem?
Could you have taken a drop? or something else that could have broken the rear axle?
Can you pull your rear wheel and check to see if your axle is broken?
When it is in the frame and held in tension by the QR skewer it may be difficult to tell.
 

John M

New Member
Jun 21, 2005
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Cheesy said:
I have a strange tracking problem with my rear wheel on my hardtail MTB.

The sensation is similar to that of when you have a tyre with really low pressure, and it almost feels like the rear wheel "floats" out of track when you turn.

Something (I'm really not sure what) feels really spongy and just very wrong.

I've tried with both high & low tyre pressure, the frame is quite stiff & not damaged, wheel attached firmly, straight & in true, but I'm having all sorts of control problems on decents.

I've been riding this bike for close to a year now, and this problem has only shown up in the last week or 2.

Anybody have any ideas? :confused:

Check your rear wheel spoke tension. Low spoke tension or loose spokes could be causing significant wheel flex on turns that might not be apparent when eyeballing the trueness of the wheel. Another possibility: Broken rear axle. The whole thing could feel fairly secure with the quick release holding it together when you grab it with your hand with the bike parked.

One thing to try is to use a different rear wheel in the same frame. If it fixes the problem, you know it is the wheel. If not, it is somewhere else.

Good luck.
 

Cheesy

New Member
Aug 21, 2003
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Thanks all for your suggestions. I don't have a huge amount of time to play around with it until the weekend, but:

- Double checked frame for damage
- Is there an easy way of checking if the frame is out of alignment? It's not something I've come across before.
- Another check revealed a tiny bit of play in the fork - readjusted the headset, I'll see how it goes riding tomorrow
- Checked the rear axle, no problems
- Spoke tension is probably a touch lower than it should be, but I wouldn't have thought low enough to cause tracking problems. No particularly loose spokes.
- Tyre pressure - that's what I initially thought, but I played around with that first to no avail.
- I've taken a few drops, but nothing too severe, and I can't pin down when it first started happenning - except sometime around a couple of weeks ago.

Anyway, I'll try tomorrow with the readjusted headset, if that's no go then I'll throw on a new wheel & report back.