Bike shimmy

Discussion in 'General Bike Discussion' started by Xela, Jul 14, 2009.

  1. Xela

    Xela New Member Tavern Member

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    I thought I would throw this out there in case anyone has experienced this or might in the future.

    Several years ago, I was descending a hill for the first time on a fairly new bike and at about 30 mph, the front end started shimmying from side-to-side. Application of the brakes only made it worse. Very scarey. After that, it seemed to be doing it on just about every hill, and I was getting very nervous whenever I would approach a descent.

    I thought it might be the wheels, so I swapped with a similar set from my LBS and tried the same hill. Still the same problem. I thought maybe it was some flexure between the handlebars and the frame, so I swapped stems. Same problem. The best thing I found to reduce the shimmy, but by no means eliminate it, was lowering my tire pressure. Therefore, I began to think it was due to a frame misalignment or lateral flexure in the frame.

    Soon after that, my bottom bracket separated from the carbon frame, and I upgraded frames with the warrenty credit. New frame did the same. Rode it for a year or so, just taking it easy on the descents, but it was still unpredictable when I would have this problem, and when I wouldn't.

    Got a new frame from a totally different company, and it still would sometimes do it. Getting very frustrated by this point.

    However, I figured out what I was doing wrong. Yes, it was me, not the frame or components. I realized when I made sure my front QR skewer was very tight, there is absolutely no problem at all. I guess I just wasn't getting it snug enough and that was allowing lateral motion of the wheel. Since discovering this, my confidence is back, and I'm usually leading on the descents instead of dragging in the back. Hope this never happens to any of you, but if so, tighten your skewer up and try the hill again.
     
  2. Tarukai

    Tarukai SMILEY CAR

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    This is very good advice. If you don't mind me adding something:

    The best way to try and prevent these shimmies is to test the wheel side-to-side before you head out on the trail, and if it's loose enough to wobble a bit, tighten the skewer.

    Good idea to always check components before heading out.
     

  3. Brent

    Brent Shore Rat

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    Alot ofshimmy is rider induced according to the studies I've read something to do with clenching the bars and bike to tight.
     
  4. Xela

    Xela New Member Tavern Member

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    Yeah, Brent. I saw that a lot when I was researching the problem. I did a lot to vary my weight distribution, and would vary my grip as well. Didn't help.

    I should stress that my skewer was not super loose. Just not real tight either. I noticed that my LBS really seems to crank those things on, and that is what I have been doing lately.
     
  5. tajcrews

    tajcrews New Member

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    Dont be too cautious about making sure those QR's are tight. That is the only thing that holds your wheel on so make sure its good and tight. You just need to be able to take it off by hand still. If you cannot close it or open it with your bare hands you got it too tight. Glad to hear you didn't crash bad during that time.