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  1. #1
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    rear wheel tightness in kids bikes

    I've recently picked up a like-new Trek MT-201 Mountain Train bike and an older Specialized Hotrock 20 for my daughter. Both of them have a tight rear wheel, in that there is some resistance and they don't spin long after pedaling stops.

    I gather this is a thing with kids bikes. In the case of the older hotrock, it could be that the bearings are old and underlubricated (bike is otherwise in very good condition) but why would a virtually new Trek have the same issue? I've also heard that new bike bearings are sometimes overtightened especially on kids bikes. Would this explain the older hotrock's issue, though?

    My daughter loves both bikes so I'm looking to resolve the issue on both of them so she's not wasting her pedal energy. Is there a single likely cause for both?

    EDIT: the Hotrock has a coaster brake and the trailer bike has a freewheel.

    TIA.
    Last edited by beanboy; 3 Weeks Ago at 06:22 AM.

  2. #2
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Sounds like they're adjusted to tightly and/or have a ton of grease in the bearings/coaster brake. The one on the Trek trail-a-bike is probably just tight. Properly adjusting cup and cone bearings generally isn't part of the process where those are made.
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  3. #3
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    proper assembly would include cone adjustment. sounds like improper assembly

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by reptilezs View Post
    proper assembly would include cone adjustment. sounds like improper assembly
    Spend a little time adjusting bottom bracket, wheel hubs, tension the chain without making it too tight, and the kid will love you. BBs are always too tight on 16 and 20 inch bikes. The poor little kid can't pedal the bike, and dad brings it back to the shop when he figures it out. You can adjust rear wheel bearings without affecting the coaster brake.

    I'd completely loosen the rear wheel, take the chain off the crank, loosen the BB locknut, adjust out play, preload an 8th of a turn, lock it in place. It should turn easily without play. Then pull the wheel back and tension the chain just right. Entry level bikes, possibly like the Trek, also need BB adjustments out of the box. Shop employees are spoiled with cartridge BBs. They don't even think about them during assembly.
    Last edited by Fredrico; 3 Weeks Ago at 09:40 AM.

  5. #5
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    Ok thanks. This kind of confirms what I thought.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Sounds like they're adjusted to tightly and/or have a ton of grease in the bearings/coaster brake. The one on the Trek trail-a-bike is probably just tight. Properly adjusting cup and cone bearings generally isn't part of the process where those are made.
    Poor rear wheel coasting could also be excess friction in the freewheel/freehub (not sure which this bike has). That might be due to just poor quality on a low-end bike but also could be because they put heavy grease in there instead of light grease/oil.

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