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is your bike aligned(8 posts)

is your bike alignedishmael
Mar 20, 2002 6:49 AM
ive now had two bikes that were visably not aligned. Im not sure if a visual inspection is a true test of alignment, I guess only measurments could really tell but i would assume that if the wheel is leaning to one side of the chainstay or not centered in the fork its not aligned. In both cases i sanded down the dropouts and centered them perfectly, am i a fool, it makes sense. after i centered them im not sure if i even noticed anyway. ive seen different ways to check alignment using string and im sure that centering the wheel is only part of the process but i think it would increase my chances of having an aligned bike if the wheels were centered. the only scenario in which i can imagine im making things worse is if the frame were misaligned and the builder countered the problem by adjusting the wheel placement. any thoughts, im suprised the carbon trek i had left the factory it was so obviously out of line in both wheels.
are your wheels centered???C-40
Mar 20, 2002 9:37 AM
Be sure that your wheels are properly dished before you pass judgement on frame alignment. Also, don't assume that the alignment is bad just because the tire isn't perfectly centered between the stays near the bottom bracket. If in doubt, take the frame to a shop that has frame alignment equipment before modifying the dropouts. You may well have misaligned the frame with your modifications.
Easy does it!Spoke Wrench
Mar 20, 2002 11:32 AM
The first thing I would check would be if the axle is completely seated in the drop out. That's far and away the most common problem and it's the cheapest to fix. Set the bike on it's wheels and loosen the quick release. Be sure that the bike's weight is on the wheels when you retighten the quick release.

The second most common problem is improperly dished wheels but they're rarely off by more than a few milimeters. You pretty much need some kind of gauge to check wheel dish.

I have encountered frame and fork misalignment in new, uncrashed bikes, but it's very rare. The odds of you, as an individual, having two would be astronomical.
Easy does it!grzy
Mar 20, 2002 12:37 PM
Wheel dish is easily checked by removing the wheel and reinstalling it backwards without moving the brake pads - no tools required - it is very obvious if it's not centered, even a little bit, since you are doubling the error. Another trick is to remove the tires from the wheels then take a straight edge to see if you can contact both rims in two places each. If the rims are not in the same plane fore and aft you'll only get three points. Having the dropout measuring and alignement tools is also a handy thing.

Having said all this my OCLV never rode straight - even when the wheels were worked on by Wheelsmith. You always had to lean slightly to one side - it was pretty noticable when riding no handed. I always felt that the frame wasn't aligned properly when it was bonded since I'd had different wheels and forks on the bike and carbon doesn't take a "set."

The best way to check frame alignment is to remove the components and take it to an experienced frame builder. They will have the granite surface plate, skills and tools to do it accurately. I can't imagine it would cost too much if you bring the frame in clean and stripped. It's takes some skill and experience to tell exactly what is not in alignement on the bike.
i dont think its worth itishmael
Mar 20, 2002 12:55 PM
to take it apart and get it checked. It hasnt been a problem riding with hands on or off. Im going to flip the wheel and so what happends, im not sure if flipping the back will be possible, i assume so. I should have though of that. The obvious is only seen to be obvious after you know it.
it was the frameishmael
Mar 20, 2002 2:11 PM
ive flipped the wheel and its not dished, its now centered no matter which way it goes in the dropouts. my trek oclv had this problem in the front and the back and my new abici frame was a bit off in the back.
How much did you sand off?Kerry
Mar 20, 2002 6:01 PM
It seems unlikely that you sanded off as much as a mm, unless you are incredibly patient or used a belt sander. Most would consider a mm to be "in line." And it's pretty hard to see a mm. If you sanded off much more than that, I'd start thinking about the mechanical reliability of the dropouts, depending on how thick they were in the first place.
a tiny bitishmael
Mar 21, 2002 7:30 AM
it only takes a little bit to center the wheel, it took about 20 seconds with some metal sandpaper