My front inner tube popped yesterday so I changed it, but when I put the wheel back on the bike I couldn't seem to tighten it properly without it being too tight, or not tight enough.

If it was too tight, the disc brake would be rubbing and I couldn't pedal without extreme resistance. If it was too loose, I run the risk of it falling off.

I know theres a way to put the bike back together obviously cause I've been riding it for a while now. Any advice?

2 Answers 2


Your problem is more likely to be wheel alignment than anything being too tight. The tops of the dropout (with the bike upright) should be sitting on the axle, but it's easy to get a little gap there if you're not careful. When that happens the wheel doesn't sit quite stright in the fork and it will rub on the disk rotor if you have disks. Plus if you're finding that you have to wind the quick release in and out it may be riding up on the wheel retention tabs (lawyer lips). Front dropouts are shown in the lawyer lips link.

The system I use is this:

  1. put the front wheel in loosely, or leave it in if it's in
  2. stand over the bike and reach down to the quick release, holding the bike upright with your body (belly on the handlebars)
  3. release the quick release
  4. wiggle the fork or wheel a little to make sure the wheel is properly seated
  5. do up the quick release

The idea is that because the bike is pushing down on the wheel it will seat properly in the dropouts. Trying to do that while the bike is upside down or you're trying to hold it upright often means one side of the axle is not properly in the dropout, so the wheel sits at an angle when you do up the quick release.

  • 1
    With rim brakes it's easy to see if the wheel is centered, but with disk brakes that guide is not there.
    – andy256
    Jun 24, 2014 at 3:33
  • One possibility is the brakes were aligned with the wheel not quite correctly aligned. If that was the case, the brakes will now bind. Set the wheel correctly as described and then align the calliper.
    – mattnz
    Dec 19, 2016 at 19:25

This is not a problem of a too tight skewer. The skewer should be tight to hold the wheel in place as riding on a loose skewer is dangerous.

If the brake does not rub with the skewer loosened then it also won't with the skewer tightened when the wheel was properly seated. You must have tightened the skewer with the wheel not properly seated.

To fix it, just loosen the skewer, put even weight on the bike and hold the weight while tightening the skewer.

  • @Benedikt Bauer I wish I could write like you. Nice edit.
    – paparazzo
    Jun 24, 2014 at 16:56
  • This is not strictly true: with some cup-and-cone hubs (most shimano ones except Dura-Ace 9000 and Ultegra 6800) the axle is compressed as the quick-release is engaged, causing multiple problems (most noticeably it makes it a real PITA to get the bearing pre-load right). Jun 26, 2014 at 21:09
  • @PhilWilloughby So you are saying the compression caused by skewer could cause a brake to rub even if wheel is properly seated?
    – paparazzo
    Jun 26, 2014 at 21:14
  • It can but it is not very likely. I personally suspect OP has either: done as you suggest or has too much play in his hub bearings so that the rotational centre of the hub shell is not the axle. Jun 28, 2014 at 18:28
  • Or there was paint in the dropouts of his fork and it's flaked off from one side and not the other; in which case cleaning the paint from the painted side will fix the problem. Jun 28, 2014 at 18:29

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