View Full Version : Rear wheel wobble - serious or silly?

01-20-2011, 07:07 AM
Looking at a potential used bike purchase. Noticed that the rear wheel is not true (has a sideways wobble each revolution) and that an odd noise occurs each revolution when the bike is ridden. The noise does not happen when I lift the bike and spin the rear wheel with no load on it.

The bike's owner noted that a given spoke in the rear wheel keeps comi loose, and that it was loose at the time, thus possibly being the cause of the noise. Is that normal? Is a wobbly wheel anything to worry about? The own thinks that the bike has about 250 miles on it. Serious concern or silly and simple to fix?

01-20-2011, 08:46 AM
Serious concern AND simple to fix. If the owner is not a wrencher, simply take the wheel to your local bike store and ask them to true it. A loose spoke will cause uneven tension on a wheel, causing it to bend out of true. Worst case scenario, more spokes come loose and the wheel ultimately fails.

Since it's most likely not a $$$$$ race wheel, it should not be that expensive to fix. Any competent bike shop can take care of it.

01-20-2011, 09:53 AM
If it's been really wobbly for a long time and not fixed, the rim could be twisted or cracked, and that would make it harder or impossible to fix. There's a small chance you'll need a new wheel. Probably not a huge expense though.

03-03-2011, 02:18 PM
i recently purchased a bike with a wobbly wheel for cheap. part of the issue was the rear cones were loose, but the wheel was pretty damaged from being ridden on while wobbling. i ended up replacing the wheel, which was about $50. the bike now rides just fine, for the most part.