So I took my bike in to the repair shop, to have the rear wheel replaced, but after the repair I noticed immediately the steering feeling a bit strange. I've since worked out why.
The problem is that the front forks are somehow pulling the front wheel back to a straight position, each time the front wheel is turned slightly.
I can see this most easily when picking the front wheel up off of the ground, and turning the front handlebars. The handlebars basically 'snap' themselves back to the straight position, quite strongly.
So it's not related to the wheel, or tyre, since this happens with the wheel completely lifted off the ground.
And it's not related to the brake or gear cables either, since it does exactly the same thing with these cables pulled out of the way manually.
So, as far as I can work out, it must be due to something inside the actual tube of the front forks.
I'm pretty sure it didn't do this before going in to the repair shop (or at least it didn't do this to any noticeable extent).
Note that, based on looking along the wheel, it really seems to centre front wheel quite accurately, and the centring forces seem quite evenly balanced and smooth on either side. So it kind of seems like something that would need to be set up by design (rather than something being randomly broken).
But, this is definitely not something that is desirable for steering, as it makes it difficult for me to steer appropriately when going around bends (since the forks try to pull back to the straight position, which is not what I want when turning).
So the question is: are front forks supposed to do this kind of 'automatic recentring' to some extent?
(I'm thinking perhaps that maybe it used to be much more subtle before going in to the repair shop, so maybe I didn't notice it, and it was ok for steering before, but it somehow got exaggerated.)
If so, is there some way I'm supposed to be able to 'turn down' the effect.
If not, i.e. if front forks are just not supposed to do this, why could this be happening now, and what should I do about it?