I have 2 bikes. A touring bike and a mountain bike. The touring bike pulls my 40 lb daughter, snacks, and water just fine (with a Burley classic hitch). The mountain bike on the other hand pulls for about a mile then the front of the tire starts to cant to the right, eventually rubbing on the frame. This used to happen on my old univega mountain bike when pulling my son. Anyone have any ideas on how to fix this or why it is happening? Is it because my touring bike is designed to pull a heavier load? Thanks in advance!

  • What style of dropouts do the bikes have? Photos of the rear wheel mount/dropout area on both bikes would help a lot.
    – Móż
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 21:35
  • How is the trailer attached? If via one of side hitches, it may not be properly set up. Commented May 25, 2016 at 21:56
  • 1
    How tight are you doing up the rear wheel QR? Remember it should leave an indent in your skin as you push the lever closed. Rotate the lever so its "open" then turn the nuts to close, and finally get the last tension by flipping the lever from Open to Closed.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 1:24

2 Answers 2


It is possible that you put not enough torque on axle nuts. The axle moves in the fork. If there is enough space, add some extra, broad spacers and then screw it back to the frame.

Use this kind of spacer (it's from Sram I-3, might require some drilling)

enter image description here


Have you ever changed the back wheel for one with a wider axle?

I get a similar effect on my old 15 speed MTB, which was a 5 speed rear. When I fitted a wider wheel with a 7 speed freehub, the dropouts needed spreading by a couple millimetres. I did not parallel the dropouts, so they're very slightly shaped like / \

The upshot is that the Quick Release doesn't bite into enough metal, and sustained hard pedalling allows the wheel to move in the dropouts, eventually giving frame rub on the left chainstay - torque through the chain and cassette on the right-side pulls that side forward.

In your case, I imagine the trailer hitch is on the left side and the overrun pushes the axle forward.

So, the temporary fix is to do the QR up really damn tight, or to use axle nuts done up tight, or even to use softer metal washers which will deform and fill up more space between dropout and axle nut.

The proper fix is to bend the dropouts back into line by cold-setting the steel frame. This takes power and leverage, and patient measuring.

  • 1
    This, and krzyski's answer, match my experience (on a bike that has had dropouts stretched). Putting some extra force on the pedals (riding uphill, setting off) can have the same effect with my two kids in a trailer. This is more common after the wheel has been off the bike. Tightening the skewer an extra quarter turn and re-setting the wheel gets me going just fine. If you can't tighten the skewer and still close the quick release, you could try a different skewer. Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 7:44

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