Wheels Sometimes Off-Center
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  1. #1
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    Wheels Sometimes Off-Center

    If I remove either F or R wheel, when I put it back on, it can go on slightly tilted in the dropouts. If I "wiggle" the wheel a bit prior to tightening the QR's, I can hold it well-centered between the forks and seat stays before I tighten the QR's.

    Bike: 2012 Giant Defy Advanced 1 (all CF frame & fork)

    Original wheels: Giant P-SL0 stock wheels & hubs (currently on grandson's bike)

    Current wheels: Bicycle Wheel Warehouse Blackset Race 24

    Current hubs: Pure R-70, Pure R-241

    I've noticed that whenever I remove a wheel (for tube replacement) the Ultegra brake shoes have needed "re-centering" to ride equidistant from the brake tracks. Easy job, but this shouldn't be necessary. The wheels ought to go back into the exact same position relative to the fork & seat stays & brakes every time. Once the wheels are centered, the brakes should automatically be the same distance from the rims.
    Is it possible that the extension of the hubs that fit into the dropouts are slightly undersize (diameter), permitting some "wiggle room"? Anyone ever seen a slight mismatch between hubs & frame dropouts before? Anything worth dealing with?

  2. #2
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    How are you putting the wheels back on the bike? Is the bike upside down? Have you undone the q/r skewer far enough that the end and the spring came off? Unless the brake calipers aren't tight enough they shouldn't move that easily. It would be hard to believe that the axles aren't the right size.
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  3. #3
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    The OP is right in their analysis of how easily and accurately things should go back together. Something odd is going on.

    If you rotate the axle(s) with your fingers, does it appear the axle is bent (the exposed end will wobble slightly)?

    The front wheel should fall into proper position when the weight of the fork is applied to it. If not, it could be the fork is poorly constructed (aligned). Same with the rear.

    I've never heard of a dropout opening being too large. I just measured the steel front dropouts on 2 forks and they're just under 9mm.

    I doubt Giant is going to warranty your frame if you file a claim, but you could bring the frame to a framebuilder and have them check alignment, while you tell them of your problem. That will help them know what to look for.

  4. #4
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    cxwrench & Peter P.:
    Thanks for your replies. I'm going to measure my dropouts & the dia of the BWW axles. I'll also spin the axles & look for runout. I don't recall seeing this problem with the original Giant wheels.
    I don't like the concept of relying on a super-tight QR to hold either wheel in the proper position. I agree that just pushing the wheel up into the dropout ought to center the wheel.
    Bob

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazilim View Post
    cxwrench & Peter P.:
    Thanks for your replies. I'm going to measure my dropouts & the dia of the BWW axles. I'll also spin the axles & look for runout. I don't recall seeing this problem with the original Giant wheels.
    I don't like the concept of relying on a super-tight QR to hold either wheel in the proper position. I agree that just pushing the wheel up into the dropout ought to center the wheel.
    Bob
    Are you tightening the wheels while the bike is hanging in a workstand or is the bike on the ground (rubber side down)?

  6. #6
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    Bike is upright, on the ground. I keep the QR slightly loose, press down on the stem / saddle, & tighten the QR.
    In another forum, I just read some advice (posted years ago):
    Poster advised someone to place the wheel into the dropout, squeeze & hold the brake lever, then close the QR tight. This really ought to work, but the brakes had better have been adjusted (centered) carefully first. I'd rather see the axle position the wheel properly first. If the brakes were adjusted properly prior to removing the wheel, they should still be in the right position after remounting the wheel.
    Please measure some more axle diameters & dropout widths. I'll do the same.
    Bob

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazilim View Post
    Poster advised someone to place the wheel into the dropout, squeeze & hold the brake lever, then close the QR tight.
    Nope. If things were off, it would encourage the wheel to not be "fully settled" in the frame. If the wheel is off center when the bike is on the ground with the QR open, then either the rim is not centered over the hub (dished front wheel or improperly dished rear wheel) or the frame or fork is off. This is easy to check. Just flip the wheels in the frame and see that they come to the same place. If they don't, then the wheels are off. If they do, then the frame/fork is off.

    As far as the brakes moving, it sounds like you need to tighten the mounting bolts a bit. Not too tight, just tight enough so that the brakes are not easily knocked out of alignment. You should be able to move the brakes with firm hand pressure, but not have them move when you hit them with a wheel.

  8. #8
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    Thanks, Kerry: I agree - I'm not in favor of relying on the position of the brake pads to determine where the wheel should sit in the fork.
    What happens in my case is that if I place the wheel axles into the fork dropouts, leave the QR's loose, & push down on the stem, I can easily wiggle the top of the wheel to the left & right, before I tighten the QR's.
    Shouldn't the fork / dropouts firmly determine the position of the rim? Why is it so easy for me to alter the position of the rim relative to the inside surfaces of the fork? BTW, once I close the QR, the wheel doesn't wiggle at all. Any ideas?
    Bob

  9. #9
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    What you describe is not acceptable nor normal. Take it to a good bike shop and have them give it a look. Obviously something is going on that is beyond your realm of expertise.
    BANNED

  10. #10
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    "If I "wiggle" the wheel a bit prior to tightening the QR's, I can hold it well-centered between the forks and seat stays before I tighten the QR's."

    It sounds like your brakes are off center and you are adjusting the position in the drop out to match that.
    If it didn't happen with your prior wheels they could have been dished slightly different and you have not adjusted the brakes to match the different dishing.

    It's really hard to imagine having they same defect in either drop outs or hubs both rear and front. But somewhere easy to imagine brakes being off center for each.
    Last edited by Jay Strongbow; 10-20-2019 at 06:36 AM.

  11. #11
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hazilim View Post
    Thanks, Kerry: I agree - I'm not in favor of relying on the position of the brake pads to determine where the wheel should sit in the fork.
    What happens in my case is that if I place the wheel axles into the fork dropouts, leave the QR's loose, & push down on the stem, I can easily wiggle the top of the wheel to the left & right, before I tighten the QR's.
    Shouldn't the fork / dropouts firmly determine the position of the rim? Why is it so easy for me to alter the position of the rim relative to the inside surfaces of the fork? BTW, once I close the QR, the wheel doesn't wiggle at all. Any ideas?
    Bob
    Don't 'wiggle' it. Put the wheel in the fork. Push down on the bars. Is the wheel centered?

    There is nothing that will force the wheel to stay centered if you try to move it. That's normal. If you're pushing the wheel side-to-side it's going to move. If you tried to move the wheel from the 3 o'clock position and it moved left to right you'd have a problem. If you're moving the wheel from the 6 o'clock position of course it's going to move. I'm getting the feeling that you're worked up about nothing.
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  12. #12
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    cxwrench: OK; I flipped the bike over, opened the F brake, opened the QR, & pulled the wheel out. I then replaced the wheel, pushed the wheel straight down towards the floor, & simply tightened the QR. Wheel is well-centered. Thanks; I was worried for nothing.
    BTW, I measured the following while I had the wheel off:
    F Axle dia = 0.347" or 8.81mm
    F Dropout width = 0.351" or 8.91mm
    No runout when spinning the axle
    Again, thanks for your excellent advice.
    Bob

  13. #13
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    I'm getting the feeling that you're worked up about nothing.
    Bingo

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