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Hi I recently bought a Brodie hybrid bike from a local bike store for ~$600 and as I know nothing about bikes I just trusted their recommendation to buy it. However on the way home today I made a mistake and fell. I was right next to my garage when I fell so I wasn't going very fast, but now the front wheel is misaligned with the bike frame to the extent that it almost will not turn anymore.

I've only had this bike for one day and I know nothing about bikes so is it just expected that a light fall can render a bike useless or are the parts bad or is this an easily fixable problem or anything else? I know I could probably just return the bike for a free repair since I think it was covered in the warranty so if this is a problem with the bike itself should I be wary and try to exchange it for a new bike?

Thanks

EDIT: Sorry I realized I should've attached a photo. By misaligned I meant more like off center compared to the frame. When I looked at the handlebar alignment it seemed straight to me so sorry for the confusion. enter image description here

  • What exactly do you mean by "the front wheel is misaligned with the bike frame"? – justathought May 3 '18 at 1:31
  • "wheel is misaligned with the bike frame to the extent that it almost will not turn anymore" sounds like the wheel is misaligned in the fork dropouts. – Argenti Apparatus May 3 '18 at 1:59
  • You could be describing several things. You could have twisted the handlebar as RoboKaren suggests, you could have knocked the axle loose from the slots in which it nests, you could have warped the rim of the wheel. I'd suggest you take it back to the bike shop and have them look at it. The shop should do minor adjustments on a new bike for free, and give you a favorable rate on anything semi-major (such as the warped rim). – Daniel R Hicks May 3 '18 at 2:15
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    When you spin the wheel does it wobble from side to side, or just remain at that cocked angle. If it stays in the same position then most likely the axle has simply slipped loose on one side -- loosen the axle nuts and see if it doesn't slip back into place. – Daniel R Hicks May 4 '18 at 2:45
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Thank you for posting the photo. It’s a bit clearer that the front wheel is touching the side of the forks. This can be caused by one of two things:

1) the wheel “tacoed” or bent slightly when you had the accident. If the bend is slight, your shop can straighten it back out and tighten the spokes

2) or the front axle slipped a bit in the front dropouts so that the wheel is no longer parallel to the forks and centered. Fixing this just takes loosening the axle bolts or quick release, setting the wheel back in the dropouts, and then tightening everything back up.

There’s a lot of forces involved when you crash, even at a low speed. Suddenly, hundreds of Newtons of force can be concentrated on just one small part of the bike. It’s impossible to build a bike that would survive all types of accidents especially as people want lightweight bikes. And many parts of a bike are designed to either pop out of alignment or sacrificially break so that more expensive parts of the bike are saved.

In any case, take the bike back to the shop to get it fixed. Most shops I know of would fix it as a courtesy fix — not because they or the bike are at fault, but as part of good customer service for a minor repair.

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included for historical reasons:

My first guess before you posted the photo was that the handle bars twisted so that they are no longer perpendicular to the wheel.

handle bars crooked

This can happen with any bike but hybrids have wider handlebars than many so they’re particularly easy to make crooked. Also, I hate to say this but hybrid bikes tend to attract people who are relatively newer to biking and so there’s more chance they’ll do things the bike isn’t designed to do, like run it into the ground.

You can easily fix twisted handlebars by holding your front wheel between your knees and straightening or forcing the handlebars to be perpendicular to the bike and wheels.

And you can ask your bike shop to tighten the fork bolts so that they’re tighter but a big enough spill will twist them — it’s better that it twists out of alignment given it’s so easy to fix — rather than the wheel bending out of shape.

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    Generally warranties aren't there to cover crashes, but this should be an easy adjustment. I don't really agree that the length of the handlebars is a significant issue; sure, it gives you a longer moment arm and stuff, but if you were going to crash anyway, I'd guess most handle bars would turn in most of the cases. – Batman May 3 '18 at 1:30
  • It’s hard to know what the op is comparing against. It’s comparatively harder to twist the handlebar of a road bike, for example. – RoboKaren May 3 '18 at 1:33
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    I've had a few low speed crashes on my hybrid and twisted the bars a couple of times so it's certainly plausible, but you'd expect it to be even more common on MTBs (even wider bars, more crashes). I don't know whether or not that's the case. On a modern headset I'd loosen the bolts a little before straightening the bars, remembering to torque them up afterwards. – Chris H May 3 '18 at 7:35
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The added picture (thanks) shows that the wheel is misaligned in the fork dropouts. This is an easy fix. (It's highly unlikely that the wheel was bent in a low speed crash.)

If you have a quick-release on the front wheel, just hold the bike upright, undo the release, the wheel axle should drop into the dropouts, then re-secure the release.

If the wheel moved in the fork, it's likely that the quick-release was not done up tightly enough. There are many YouTube videos that show how to adjust them properly. Here is a good one.

If the wheel is secured with axle nuts, your bike shop can help. A good shop will likely do such a small task for free.

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  • I find it a little startling that the bike shop didnt tighten the front wheel enough. (Or maybe the crash was worse than i think it was). To OP, I would suggest learning how the wheels are installed, which is very basic bike maintenance, as well as other basic bike maintenance. – user74671 May 5 '18 at 15:43
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Any problem such as this isn't really going to be related to the type of bike as much as the quality of the bike and the type of the accident. You'd probably have had the same problem after that accident on any bike of comparable quality.

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  • I've fallen over or low-speed-crashed maybe a dozen times on my (slightly more expensive) hybrid, without that hurting the bike. – ChrisW May 4 '18 at 10:45
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From the picture it looks like it could be one of two problems.

  1. The fall caused the wheel to be incorrectly seated in the fork, in which case it is an easy fix. If this is the case, it's as simple as removing the wheel and put it back in, making sure it is seated properly in the fork. Look up Youtube videos for help removing your wheel (or fixing a flat) if you are not sure how to remove the wheel.

  2. The second scenario is that somehow the wheel was bent. You'll be able to tell if the wheel wobbles left and right when it spins. This is something that the bike mechanic would have to fix is your case, as it requires some specialized tools and expertise. I don't think this is the case because that seems like quite a bit of wobb

It also appears that your brakes are also not centered properly and that they are pushed to the left in the picture. This is probably due to the wheel pushing them to the left and will probably be resolved once the wheel is seated properly and/or is not bent.

To answer the broader question of whether or not hybrid bikes are prone to breakage/misalignment. I would have to say that in general they are not, as they are made for day-to-day use. A bike in your price range is generally built pretty solid. However, from time to time some maintenance will need to be done. Also, crashes can cause things to move out of place. If you don't know a lot about bikes, it's probably best to have someone experienced look it over if anything seems to not be working correctly after a fall.

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