It's now already the second time that the rear wheel has issues with side to side wobble and I would like to understand why this is happening.

The first time I had a bike mechanic to tune the true the wheel spokes but then it happened again.

I am not 100% sure but I have the feeling that both times it happened on occasions where I was carrying around 10-12 kilos in a single pannier (on the left side).

Mine is a mountain bike with a rear fitted pannier rack which can support up to 25 Kg of weight.

I know that carrying over 10 kilos on just one side is not ideal, but when I do so is only for a very short distance.

Anyway, I was wondering if that could in any way cause problems to the wheel spokes?

  • 1
    Are the spokes loosening or is the axle loosening? It's a bit ambiguous in your description. Ps. Welcome to bicycles stack exchange. You might want to take our tour.
    – RoboKaren
    Jul 17, 2017 at 16:51
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    Check the bearings/cups/cones in the hub, the spoke tensions and the axle. Basically, check everything about the wheel.
    – Batman
    Jul 17, 2017 at 17:15
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    Possible duplicate of What causes a wheel to suddenly go out of true? Jul 17, 2017 at 17:28
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    Unless you have very lightly built wheels (ie, a track bike, not a mountain bike), 26 pounds in a pannier on one side is not nearly enough to affect wheel integrity. If the bike has a lot of mileage on it (30-50km on the road, half that off-road) it's possible that the spokes are at end of life and the wheel needs to be rebuilt or replaced, but I'm guessing your bike is nowhere near that. Jul 18, 2017 at 3:10
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    @Criggie the wheel was out of true and I have fixed it now by truing it.
    – Martin
    Jul 18, 2017 at 20:52

1 Answer 1


If the rim is aluminum made, truing it after a serious bend can result in fatigue of the material leading to repeated subsequent failures.

I'd try a sturdier replacement wheel instead of repeatedly truing it, especially if it's a job you pay for and not doing it yourself.

If you are happy with the hub you can keep it and get just a rim. The cost of building a wheel can be pretty high though, depending on where you live.

The weight of the pannier should not count too much, unless you are a heavy rider and the total weight on the bike is near the specced limit of the wheel. This is usually the case for low-weight, racing, higher-end wheels (some have a 80-120kg limit) or for cheapo wheels with no specs and poor materials used.

The unbalanced weight should also not account for the issues you are having, given the fact the bike should be able to resist great side forces when turning, especially at high speeds.

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