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I have a mountain bike with road tires, which I've use for commuting almost every day for over a year now but had barely used for the many years before. It has recently (~1.5 months ago) been serviced, which involved the brakes being adjusted and something being replaced due to damage which I believe was the headset, but I can't be sure because I just agreed to replace what was necessary and the conversation was not in my native language.

Before the service my bike was always a bit wobbly, but I always thought it was normal. Afterwards I realised why other people have to make so much less effort to balance when making hand signals.

At some point after the service my front tire seemed to be going down very quickly, but after checking for punctures and finding nothing I put the tube back in and the tire has held pressure well since. The problem is, since then I feel like I am constantly cycling with a flat despite the pressure being right, and my bike seems wobblier than ever before. I don't know whether I did something wrong when I checked the tire (never done it before) or whether it is something completely different.

Can anyone help?

  • Hello, and welcome to bicycles.SE! So you have a problem with your bike feeling wobbly, and possibly a problem with the tire. It might help if you edit your post to include a picture of your bike. If you hold the front wheel with your legs and try to twist the handlebars, can you feel the handlebars moving compared to the wheel? If you have a tire pressure gauge, what is the pressure, and what is the maximum pressure printed on the tire? – rclocher3 Aug 25 '16 at 23:03
  • Assuming your tire pressure is the same as before, and the shop did a reasonable job with the bike, my guess would be that there's some change in the stiffness of the front shock (possibly it was locked out before but not now). But it's hard to say with any certainty, given the vagueness of your description. – Daniel R Hicks Aug 25 '16 at 23:13
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    When you say you "feel movement", what's moving? Is it the handlebar relative to the fork, or are the shocks waggling back and forth? (And another thing you want to try is to lock the front brakes and push the bike forward and backward, to check for play in the headset bearings.) – Daniel R Hicks Aug 26 '16 at 1:54
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    When you say it's wobbly, what wobbles? Does some part of the bike move, or is the whole bike wobbling about? – andy256 Aug 26 '16 at 3:16
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    Maybe the forks weren't working and they've fixed them. The symptoms you describe sound exactly like the experience of riding with front suspension when you're not used to it. – stib Aug 26 '16 at 12:01
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If your headset was replaced due to crash damaged, well that's a pretty intense crash. I'm going to assume they adjusted it. They also adjusted your brakes. My guess is your problem is two fold:

1) The headset is adjusted too tight, making the bike feel like you have too put too much input into it to turn, and when it does it happens all at once. That would give a wobbly feeling.

2) Check to make sure your brakes are not touching the rim, nor are too close to the rim (less than 3 mm from rim to braking surface). The drag will make you feel like you are constantly pedaling harder.

Good Luck!

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There are loads of things to check for looseness in the front end. At the wheel end, it could be wheel bearings or even the wheel not in the drop outs correctly. Check that the front wheel is spinning well, also when the wheel is tight in the drop outs that it is not moving from side to side. Those could be bearing issues. At the headset, and you didn't say if it was threaded or threadless, but it could be overly tight or not tight enough. Replacing the headset would be a fairly big repair, more than likely they replaced the bearings (either loose ball or in the capture ring) and then loaded it with grease and put it all back together. Definitely get it checked by a mechanic before riding it again...

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