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I've noticed that as I ride my bike, my front wheel/tire appears to wobble back and forth. I assumed that the wheel was simply a bit loose, but as far as I can tell, it isn't loose (or at least not very loose).

It does appear, however, that my front tire is ever so slightly warped in a sort of Pringle shape.

Is there a way to determine for certain whether or not the wheel is warped?

Follow-up questions regarding how to solve the problem will likely appear soon, but that is not the point of this particular post.

  • You will need to figure out if the rim is flat/true, or if the tyre is misaligned, or if spokes are broken, or if the axle bearings are loose, or something else is wrong in the axle/dropouts/bearings area. Start with a good clean of the wheel and see what you see. – Criggie Aug 26 '19 at 19:46
  • @Criggie thanks. The only weird thing is that I bought the bike a week ago. :/ – Brandon_J Aug 26 '19 at 21:56
  • if you bought it new, then any good bikeshop will offer a free tuneup at 4~6 weeks after purchase. This is to help tweak up things like brake/gear cables that settle in. Also a new bike is warrantied against faults, so do feel within your rights to take it back and ask the bike shop to fix it. If you bought it used then that's a different matter. – Criggie Aug 27 '19 at 3:18
  • @Brandon_J Even a new bike can have a wheel out of true. It happens if the new wheel hasn't been settled after building. Meaning that after the wheel was built, the builder lays it flat on the floor and pushes the rim towards the ground, doing this from both sides. It settles the spokes in the hub and the rim. After this the wheel is trued a second time for good. If the settling hasn't been done it will happen during the first rides and you will have what you experienced. – Carel Aug 27 '19 at 8:00
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Lift the bike up and spin the wheel while you watch it closely, at the top of the fork.

The tire should remain centered between the two sides of the fork as it spins, and the surface of the tire should not move closer to nor further away from the top of the fork.

If you have rim brakes, the rim should remain in exactly the same place relative to the pads as it spins.

In cycling vernacular, you need to check if your wheel is true.

This video covers the entire wheel truing process:

  • So should I add the wheel-truing tag? – Brandon_J Aug 26 '19 at 18:47
  • @Brandon_J It wouldn't hurt. – Andrew Henle Aug 26 '19 at 18:48
  • Done. If this works, I'll hand out the checkmark. – Brandon_J Aug 26 '19 at 18:48

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