Not Wheel Happy

I might have mentioned that I’ve been hearing (and feeling) various creaking, clunking, and grinding noises with my new set-up. The noise from the front wheel seemed to fix itself once I tightened the quick release a bit, but the god-awful noise from the rear is not going anywhere, even after having the shop ‘service’ the hub.

It's nice when it's quiet

It’s nice when it’s quiet

There are a few variations on the base ‘creak’, so I’m not even sure if it’s just one thing that is wrong, but I just discovered something today that makes me think it could be a loose hub. Earlier today I noticed that my rear rim was up against my right brake pad. I hadn’t taken the wheel off since my last ride, so I played around and quickly found out that the wheel could be moved back to its original position. I found this helpful article just now, which describes what I experienced perfectly:

Hold your bike steady, grab the wheel at its highest point and move it from side to side. If it moves at all, sometimes with a clunking noise, your hub is loose.

I guess the only thing I’d change would be ‘creaking or squeaking’ from ‘clunking’. Being able to freely move a wheel laterally like that is probably not a good thing.

I see that Edco has a return program for sending wheels back to be checked. I’m tempted to do this instead of potentially wasting my time at the shop where I bought it. Anyone have any insight into this sort of thing?

15 thoughts on “Not Wheel Happy

  1. Your cone bearings are loose and, if that’s all that’s wrong, it’s a 5 minute fix. Having said that, I’m rather appalled the shop didn’t catch that. They didn’t do a good job of double checking their work.

  2. I was actually wondering today how your wheel issue was… It sounds like the shop just wiped the dust off the wheels… Did you test the front too, without over tightening the skewer? I just went to the Edco site, but their support section, as you probably noticed already, is virtually nonexistent. Did they supply a user’s manual? It should not be too complicated, so long as you don’t make daft mistakes as explained in my recent post…

    It is normal for some makes / models of hubs to ‘settle’ after 50-100km, after which you may need to slightly tighten the cone / clamp. I made a slight adjustment on both my CK hubs after about 100km. CK actually tell you to check after 50km. (It had not occurred to me that this was relevant for your situation…) If you are unsure about the torque to apply when you retighten the adjusting clamp (which I assume there is one on the Edco hubs), just count the number of turns you make to loosen it so you know how many turns you need to make to tighten it again.

    I hope you’re able to fix it!!

    • I’m not sure what they did, but it didn’t fix the problem. I can’t find any bolt on the hub to adjust anything and, as you said, Edco’s site is useless in terms of service. I’ll take it in next week and either ask them to fix it for good or tell them to send it back to Edco.

      I was wondering if the noise (actually, I was confident I’d figured it out) was coming from this little spacer that comes with the wheels at first. The Edco wheels have something called a ‘MultiSys’ system that allows all types of wheels (Campy, etc) to be put on the hub. It looked ingenious at first, but I wondered if the spacer (they have them for each type of cluster – with corresponding thicknesses) was making my creak.

      It’s still a mystery because I just put the wheel on the Bianchi and can’t reproduce that sound at the moment.

  3. Well, now before we throw the shop under the bus, technically a little loose is better than tight in terms of speed. Modern wheel tech means they can be tighter today than in days past but bikes are just like NASCAR in this respect: Loose is fast.

    The shop may have been looking out for your speed needs when they didn’t tighten the cone bearings down all the way. I have had this very problem and it is a very quick fix.

    • Won’t throw them anywhere, Jim. They are the only shop in town!

      I still think there could be other reasons for the noise, although the movement of the wheel seems to point towards the hub. Like I said to Chikashi above, though, I can’t (yet) reproduce the noise and movement when I have the wheel on the Bianchi. Maybe it’s something else.

      • Ah, then there’s the “maybe it’s something else” rule of auto mechanics: if it’s not bad enough that your sound goes away, fear not! Keep driving it – eventually it’ll get bad enough the sound won’t.

  4. I was about to mention the same sort of cone bearing scenario. Over tightening the QR can exacerbate or hide the problem since it can squeeze the bearings tighter once closed. Other things that have caught me out are spacers on free hubs behind the cassette. Not correct and the sprockets can creak and knock. Spokes are also common culprits. A loose dropout/gear hanger, etc.

  5. Hello Gerry,the locking nuts are probably going to become loose from time to time and are easy to adjust with a couple of cone spanners, they need to be tight enough so that there is almost no lateral movement but loose enough for the wheel to spin easily,clamping down tight on the q / r lever or going softer on it is just pushing up against the locking nuts that should be locked how you’ve adjusted them and will not apply or release any pressure past the outside locking nuts. p.s i have on idea if your hubs are cartridge bearings or cup and cone, but i believe my above comment is the same for both

    • Thanks Andrew. The noise has been happening, to differing degrees, since I got the wheels. Doesn’t mean the cone isn’t loose/too tight, though, of course. Taking it in tomorrow and will hold my breath once again.

  6. Maybe you’ve done this (and I don’t know anything about the mechanics) but if the wheel doesn’t make any noise on the bianchi then have you tried putting a different wheel on he colnago to see if it still making the noise?

    • Sorry, my bad explanation. I don’t know if the wheel makes any noise on the ‘2nd bike’ because I did as you suggested above, i.e. I’ve got my old Campy wheel on the Colnago. No noise.

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