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I recently bought a foldable bicycle.

Everything seems fine and smooth, but when I cycle I can feel quite a lot of resistance - not air resistance, but resistance on my tires - to the point than when going downhill the bike brakes (itself) and stops.

My first suspicion was that the brakes might be broken, I thought maybe they were too tight. However that's not the case since I tuned them, and at one point I even released them completely to be sure it wasn't the brakes.

When I spin the wheel it seems to run free. It does not spin as much as I would expect but nothing really serious seems to be slowing it.

What could possibly be happening? Maybe when I'm cycling my extra weight affects the wheels somehow; is there some other tuning or test that I can do to find out and fix this problem?

  • Air the tires to max on side wall – paparazzo Mar 13 '16 at 14:19
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Make sure that:

  • The hubs aren't over-tightened
  • The tires aren't rubbing on the frame or brakes
  • The tires are at the highest allowed pressure
  • The freewheel isn't stuck

My guess would be that (at least when loaded), one of the tires rubs on the frame.

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  • Also check the hubs are properly greased. Tire might rotate freely when you check but they might not rotate freely when loaded. – Baratier ErebusDuHalm Mar 17 '16 at 3:05
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Possible things to look for:

  1. One wheel (probably the rear) isn't attached securely, and it shifts while under load, causing the tire to rub.

  2. Since it's a folding bike, there may be some joint in the frame that's allowing excessive movement, again causing tire rub.

  3. Tires are under-inflated.

Try sitting on the bike while supporting yourself against a wall, then look down to see if anything is shifting under your weight. Or better yet, have someone else look. Check the axle nuts (or quick-release levers, depending on what you have) and make sure they're all tight.

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