I have a brand new bike with Hayes CX Expert disc brakes. When I picked it up at the shop, they had dialed the front brake in nicely so it grabbed pretty quick (i.e. without having to pull it right to the handlebar).

I took the front wheel off to put the bike in my car to bring it home. I was very careful not to hit the disc rotor off anything or lay anything on it as I know they can get bent out of true.

When I got home I put the front wheel back on and re-tightened the quick release, but it now rubs slightly at one point when I spin the wheel.

I found I could fiddle with the barrel adjuster and inside pad adjuster to back them off a bit and stop the rubbing but now I have to pull the lever much further to engage the brakes firmly.

Also, when it does rub, it's only at one point in the rotation which makes me think the rotor is slightly out of true.

Finally, when I engage the brake and look straight down at the caliper, I can see the rotor flex ever so slightly sideways, almost like the pads are coming together at a slight angle relative to the plane of the rotor.

None of this seems to be an issue with the rear, and I have had the rear wheel off a couple of times as well.

What gives?

2 Answers 2


Before you do anything else, confirm that the axle is properly seated in the dropouts. Unless the dropouts are resting solidly on the axle on both sides the wheel will be slightly cocked and it is likely that the disc will drag.

Working on a bike stand it is particularly challenging to get the wheel properly into place – you need about three hands to hold the wheel in place and adjust the skewer or tighten the nuts on the axle. So it could be that you've got it right, but the bike shop had the wheel slightly off when they adjusted the brakes.

The easiest way to check is to briefly take the bike off the stand and with the bike resting on the ground loosen and the reclamp the skewer.

If everything is right (as far as you can tell) I'd be inclined to take the bike back to the shop and have them check it over. When you do be sure to remove and replace the wheel to confirm that it stays right this time.

  • Sorry for the delay in responding, I was riding the bike in question across Canada for the past few months. I believe it is what you suggested, that when I put the wheel back on at home, it sat slightly differently in the dropout than it must have been when they installed and adjusted the brakes. After having it back to the shop for a bit of a tweak, it was better. I still find I sometimes get brake rub when putting the wheel back on, and when I do I just open the QR, lean hard straight down on the bike and close it again. That usually gets thing aligned correctly. Thanks.
    – SSilk
    Sep 24, 2015 at 16:06

Ring the bike shop before doing anything. They may prefer you take it back to them rather than try to fix it yourself.

All it probably needs a calliper alignment. Briefly - Loosen the two bolts holding the calliper so its free to move but is not sloppy. Slowly bring the brakes on while spinning the wheel. Once the brakes are on tight, without releasing the brakes, tighten the bolts a little. Pump the brakes a few times while spinning the wheel then fully tighten the bolts. Look up how to do it on the internet if in doubt.

Use a torque wrench if you have one. If not, do not over tighten the bolts (Pay attention to how tight they were when you loosened them).

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