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On my single speed bike--a POS J Fixie Cafe CF from BikesDirect--has an issue with its back wheel. The wheel wobbles 1cm back and forth when pulled/pushed from side to side. The freewheel has been making noises since the day I got it. The noises are KLINK! KLONK! every time I pedal. I believe that this is due to a bit of a warp on the frame that makes the tire asymmetrical to the frame. Basically the left seat stay is slightly larger than the right one. (The lesson here is not to buy from BikesDirect, but go to a LBS.)

Anyway, what can I do to fix this? Do I need to get a whole new back hub? Freewheel?

  • If the frame is warped you should get a new frame. Try a new wheel first to eliminate that possibility. – ebrohman Jul 15 '15 at 15:35
  • That seems obvious. However, a frame costs money as does a new wheel. What are some sub $100 options @ebrohman? – Zlatty Jul 15 '15 at 15:38
  • Take it to your favorite shop and ask them to look at the wheel to see if it needs to be trued and/or dished. That's sub $100. If there's something else wrong they will be able to tell you what it is. It could be cheap and easy. Or, you might end up having to get a new wheel altogether. If you can't get a new wheel you can ask friends if they have any old ones or spare sets. You can keep riding the sub par one for less than $100 although it may not be safe. – ebrohman Jul 15 '15 at 16:47
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    If, when you grab the tire with your hand and push left and right, it moves perceptibly, then the bearings are bad (or at the very least need adjusting by a skilled mechanic), You have no choice but to take it to a bike shop. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 15 '15 at 17:55
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What I think you are saying is that when you stand beside the bike and push it side-to-side you can see the wheel wobble.

That sounds to me like the bearings in the rear hub need to be adjusted. They don't need to be far out for it to cause significant movement at the rim.

  • Using a 17mm and 15mm thin wrench and sorted it out myself. Thanks! – Zlatty Jul 22 '15 at 21:09
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    Good job! Glad you got it sorted out. – dlu Jul 22 '15 at 21:27
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A warped frame will not cause wobble when the wheel is moved by hand. A warped frame can cause wobble when riding at speeds since the wheel is not straight. However, if the wheel has play (moves side to side without rotating) in the frame, then the hub is not properly adjusted or is damaged.

The noise issues could be from any number places and should probably be looked at as well.

You are correct in the lesson, but perhaps not in the reasoning. Buying from a LBS should ensure you are purchasing a properly assembled and adjusted bicycle. Hub adjustments (like the issue you are describing) are one of the many build steps a good shop will perform when assembling a new bicycle. It's part of why you are paying a higher price at your LBS instead of an internet warehouse with no overhead.

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