My rear bike wheel is wobbling back and forth when I ride. Nothing that I have done has worked and I was told that it was gonna cost $100 or more to fix. what do I do to fix it properly?

  • 1
    Welcome to Bicycles! It would be great if you could add some details. For sure describe what you've done already and what you mean by "wobbling back and forth." If you spin the wheel do you see the tire moving back and forth between the seat stays or brake shoes? Or, do you mean that you can push the tire from side to side without spinning it? Or, is it something else altogether?
    – dlu
    Jul 26, 2015 at 4:38

3 Answers 3


If it's wobbling side to side, there are two problems that are possible; Your cup-and-cone bearings could be loose or your wheel could be out of true (slightly buckled.) Take your wheel off and hold the axle. Wobble it up and down a few times. There should be absolutely no movement besides the spinning it's meant to be doing. If this is wobbling, just tighten the hub cones slightly until there is no play. The rule is No play, No binding. This means having it borderline between perfect no play and perfect no sticking, otherwise it'll make your ride unpleasantly harder.

If it's wobbling at 0' and 180' points of the wheels to make it slightly oval, that is also to do with wheel being untrue and buckled, or trued incorrectly. This job is a totally different ballgame. This usually happens when the spokes have been tightened more on one side than the other, and is a pain to fix, even for me, after repairing bikes for over three years now.

Worst case scenario, you could be looking at missing spokes or a bent axle. Maybe even some trashed bearings, but are usually rather cheap. A good thing to do if you're wanting to learn to do hubs is look at RJTheBikeGuy on YouTube or Global Cycling Network on YouTube. Both are extremely helpful with their guides.

I really, really apologise if this doesn't help, and I hope you get back to riding again!

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    Trueing wheels takes some practice but it’s no rocket science. It’s usually more because a spoke has become lose, not because one has been too tight from the start. Otherwise I agree.
    – Michael
    Jul 26, 2015 at 11:49
  • There is also the odd chance that the tire is simply mounted lop-sided on the rim. Jul 26, 2015 at 12:10
  • Believe it or not, I've had someone make their wheel spokes so tight that the wheel was small enough to make their speedo read one KMPH slower! It was funny, but I would agree that it can be from loosening too, and I should have added that. Lop-sided tyres on rims is very uncommon as you said, but it should be highly noticeable if this is the case. Something I used to get a lot when I was new to repairs was pinching the inner tube between the rim and tyre wall, and this was no fun! :3 I didn't think lopsided tyres were that common, so deemed it inferior to the other problems I listed.
    – yollooool
    Jul 26, 2015 at 12:34
  • Post some photos of that wheel, I'll get popcorn.
    – ojs
    Jul 26, 2015 at 20:43
  • lol, that was ages ago, but would be funny to try riding that wheel again ehehehheh. What wouldn't be fun is having the tyre wear out insanely quick! x3 I would seriously hate to ride on a bike with a buckled or ovalized wheel, and I would probably repair the darn thing before I even ride the bike ahahah. Call me fussy, but I like everything perfect and efficient. Tell yah what, I'll probably buy a spare wheelset in a few months and just turn it into an egg-shaped wheel hahahah. 10/10, would ride with rim brakes on oval wheels.
    – yollooool
    Jul 26, 2015 at 23:00

I had this same problem with the rear wheel wiggling from side to side, there's play in the axle like it's loose. I first noticed this as I was riding the bike and fixed it when I came back home. About An 1/8 inch of play it had. All I had to do was tighten the hub cone nut and now it doesn't wiggle anymore. This only too me like 5 mins to do so it was real quick. I like fast repairs. I read this post and it matched what I had, so it gave me the idea to fix it.


Discovered that my wobbly rear mtb wheel was caused by the screws holding my drop outs into the frame were loose on both sides. Once tightened up, no more wobble and precise gear changes again! Have also had a wobbly rear tyre on a true rim from not properly engaging the tyre bead to the rim. Easy fix is to pump the tyre up to 40 psi and wait for the "ping" sounds as the tyre snaps into place on the rim bead.

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    Might be some terminology gone awry here. The dropouts are generally welded or brazed into the frame, not screwed. Are you referring to the axle's nuts? Or possibly a replaceable hanger on the drive side sometimes forms part of a dropout.
    – Criggie
    Feb 11, 2020 at 10:02
  • I was thinking the same thing that dropouts are never screwed onto a frame. That's crazy nuts dangerous!
    – Alison
    May 29, 2023 at 9:12

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