I've noticed that my bike's rear tire has slowly been downgrading, and beginning to wobble more and more. I took no notice of it because it did not affect the bike riding at first, but slowly started to impact riding (such as making it harder to pedal/move the bike). My mistake was ignoring this far too long, and now the wheel barely spins and the bike can't be ridden at all. I looked at the tire and it does not appear to rub against anything, nor is the wheel improperly on -- so I thought the axle could be the issue. I'm thinking so because, if you grab the wheel and shake it, it moves far too much -- sort of like a 1.5 to 2 inch movement (and this is with the wheel tight and on the bike correctly). Also, the bike would slowly make screeching, ripping sounds before it reached this point. What should I look to?

I don't know if I should just take the axle out and play around with it, or look to other options.

Basically, the wheel doesn't appear to move when you pedal; and it seems to sort of get stuck as it rotates, and requires massive force to break past this before it just eventually, quickly does it again. Also, the tires wobbles far too much beyond the norm, even though the tire is on correctly.

I'm thinking there's something wrong with the axle or something that keeps the tire straight; and thinking something in that area is also making it "get stuck" or have trouble moving smoothly.

I can show a video of it, but I don't know if that's to be expected here or not.

  • I think when you say "tire" you mean the whole wheel (the metal as well as the rubber). It's possible the wheel is out of true and the tire is sticking on the frame, but there are plenty of other things it could be, some of which are dangerous.
    – Chris H
    Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 19:51
  • 2
    Yep, the bearings are hosed. If you're lucky a hub rebuild will fix it, but if the cups in the hub are scored you'll need a new hub/wheel. Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 22:38
  • I second @DanielRHicks, it sounds like the bearings are gone and need replacement.... Commented Jun 16, 2017 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


With 1.5+ inches of play in the wheel.. as others have mentioned it sounds like the hub bearings have collapsed. It also sounds as though the damage will be way beyond just replacing bearings, because with so much play its likely that a new hub will be required too.

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