How to remove handlebar play on a bicycle

How to fix wheel play on a bike

During operation, the wheel fastening is loosened and a backlash appears. Untimely elimination of the indicated malfunction can lead to the failure of the bike at the most inopportune moment.

Factors leading to wheel runout

The main reasons for the appearance of backlash can be considered:

  • significant wear of the installed sleeve;
  • Damage to radius nuts on the ball raceways.
  • Wear of special notches with a sufficiently high relief, which are applied to the locknuts at the factory and contribute to a tighter contact of this product with the radius nut. The increased adhesion of the surface of the nuts reduces the chance of loosening. Similar notches should be found on the main nuts that secure the wheel to the bike. In this situation, it is recommended to replace the nuts with new products.
  • The compression between the radius and the lock nut is relaxed. It is necessary to promptly tighten.
  • When installing a wheel on a bicycle between the locknut and the rear stays (colloquially called “pants”), there is an empty space left for beating. It is recommended to install a washer here, which will select the void.

Eliminate the front wheel runout

Remove the front wheel. We disassemble it. Wipe and remove old grease from the raceways of balls and bushings.

We put a new grease and fix 9 balls in it (if they are in bulk) or 7 cage bearings.

Next, we screw the radius nut onto the axle, after which we install the axle into the bushing, screw the radius nut from the opposite side. Then we align the ends of the threaded axle, remaining on both sides (they should be the same).

We screw on the locknuts, expanding them with a notch to the radius nuts. Then, using the keys, we press them tightly. It is important not to forget to set the correct tension of the bearings (balls) correctly. In no case should they be squeezed, on the one hand, and such an extreme as the remaining wobble of the wheel, on the other, should not be allowed.

When assembling the front wheel, the radius and locknuts are first pressed from the side of the disc brake. Since it is inconvenient to do it from this side. The nuts are tightened with two keys. It is most convenient to use a Swedish key and a special thin open-end wrench designed to perform just such operations for these purposes. It’s easy to buy them. But get the maximum possible pull-up.

We pass to the other side of the wheel. We also set the tension of the balls and tighten the nuts. With a properly tightened locknut, the radius nut begins to rotate with it.

But sometimes situations arise when the nuts are overtightened. In this case, they need to be slightly loosened. To do this, turn the radius nut counterclockwise (use a thin open-end wrench). After setting the required tension, a control check is performed and the radius and lock nut are pressed.

We check the free wheeling of the axle. The void gap formed between the “pants” and the locknut is filled by installing a washer of the required thickness, or one of the locknuts is changed (there are two of them on each side, of different thickness). We swap the places of the thick and thin nuts. We put the assembled wheel in place and fix it with union nuts. Checking the roll forward.

We remove the backlash of the rear wheel

On the rear wheel, there is most often a bushing for a ratchet, much less often for a cassette. Therefore, we will consider the first option. The wheel is removed, disassembled, wiped, lubricated. Balls or bearings are installed. The axle is put in place with pre-screwed radius and locknuts.

The ratchet is removed. On the side where it is installed, the radius and locknut are tightened first. On the disc brake side. second. Do not forget to preset the tension of the bearings or balls.

During assembly, a situation often arises when the balls relax when tightening the second pair of nuts. An assistant (“third hand”) is required. If not, you can use a bicycle frame as such.

We put the ratchet in place. Checking how easily it rotates. We fix it in place with a clamping nut. We carry out the assembly in the same way as the front wheel.

The need to remove the ratchet is due to the fact that without this it is impossible to service the bushing. Otherwise, it is impossible to tighten the nuts located just under it with the required force and remove the radius nuts.

The voids when installing the wheel in place (in the “pants”) are also selected by installing a thick washer.

The installed wheel is pressed against the bicycle feather by a clamping nut (from the side of the ratchet) and is strongly pressed. Only after this operation does it become possible, without assistance, to set the correct tension of the balls and to properly clamp the radius and locknut both from the side of the brake disc and from the side of the ratchet.

After that, the wheel is fixed to the frame feather with two nuts, then it is checked for ease of rotation and the absence of backlash.


Steering play is especially noticeable when driving straight ahead at high speeds. A knock at a rather sharp turn may indicate a malfunction, and a gradually increasing knock when driving on uneven terrain is a sign of a faulty condition of the steering tips and rods. Failure of the steering rack is confirmed by the recoil steering wheel. When the steering wheel “beats” in motion, we can talk about the breakage of the steering or ball ends, malfunctions of the crosspiece, bearing or bushing. Unusual noises when turning the steering wheel should be a reason to check for sufficient fluid level. When the steering wheel is straight and the driving direction is changed, camber should be checked. wheel alignment, the balance of which is disturbed. Abrupt turning of the steering wheel can be the result of a jammed steering bar, and large efforts when turning it require checking the operation of the amplifier. To identify problems with the steering, a number of simple steps should be taken:

  • Start the engine and ensure that it runs at idle speed;
  • Check the performance of the power steering;
  • Install the front wheels of the car parallel to the longitudinal axis of the car;
  • When turning the steering wheel in different directions, determine the moment when the wheels begin to move. Backlash in this situation is the interval of the rudder travel before the wheels begin to move.
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To detect the presence of backlash, there is also a device called a backlash meter. It makes it much easier to measure free travel.

Worn rod ends

A more dangerous cause of steering play is wear on the rod ends. Due to the fact that these elements work in difficult conditions, being constantly exposed to dirt and water, they deteriorate faster. As a result, the axial and radial clearances in the ball joint of the tip increase, it falls apart and driving becomes impossible. To avoid the consequences of such a malfunction, you should immediately contact the service to replace parts.

Also, there are several reasons for the formation of free wheeling, which are hidden in the design of the steering system.

  • collapsed wheel bearing;
  • loosening or improper tightening of the steering wheel mounting nut, adjusting rods;
  • ball bearing wear;
  • amortization or breakage of hinges, splines, driveshaft joints;
  • overestimated clearance between the toothed bar and the gear, or their wear;
  • unusable hydraulic oil.

How to diagnose a malfunction?

Steering play is especially pronounced when driving on a straight road at high speed. A sign of a breakdown is a knock when the steering wheel is turned sharply. An increasing knock when driving over uneven terrain indicates a breakdown of the steering tips and tie rods. Giving into the steering wheel. about a malfunction of the steering bar.

If the steering wheel “hits” when driving, this indicates a failure of the ball or steering tips. The reason may also be wear of the bushing, bearing, cross.

Noise of unknown origin when turning the steering wheel indicates the need to check the fluid level.

Changing the specified direction of movement of the car with a straight steering wheel position, the feeling that the car “takes away” to the side, indicates an unbalanced camber. wheel convergence.

remove, play, bicycle

The steering wheel turns abruptly in the event of a jammed steering bar. If it turns with force, you need to check the operation of the amplifier.

To find out if there is a problem with the steering, a little test should be done:

  • Start the engine and leave it idling.
  • Simultaneously check the operation of the hydraulic booster.
  • Set the front wheels parallel to the longitudinal axis of the car.
  • Turning the steering wheel in one direction or the other, fix the moment when the front wheels begin to move. Backlash (free wheeling) is the gap that the steering wheel passes before the wheels move.

For a more accurate determination of the gap, a special backlash meter is used.

Causes of backlash

After a long time of operation, the working surfaces of the roller, bearing, bushing, washer, bipod shaft and its T-shaped groove, the head of the adjusting screw become unusable. Thus, the gaps in the steering device increase, while the vehicle is moving, extraneous knocks and vibrations appear, the wheels become unstable and wobble. Initially, the gap appears at the point of engagement of the roller and the worm, subsequently, simultaneously with the steering shaft, the axial displacement of the worm occurs.

When traveling at high speed, the car becomes uncontrollable, which can lead to serious consequences, up to an accident.

The main reason for the appearance of backlash is the disgusting state of the roads. The car’s suspension takes up the bulk of the load, which is directed to the wheels, but still some of it falls on the steering parts. The situation is aggravated by the use of low-quality rubber, which significantly reduces the service life of the steering rod and suspension.

Repair cost to eliminate backlash in steering

The price of the backlash meter is quite high and ranges from 400 to 800. Separate steering parts are represented by the following prices: bearing. from 12, nut retainer. from 16, steering rack rod. from 50, steering rod hinge. from 16. Car service repair will cost within 20 or more, depending on the required service.


Adjusting the steering system requires a simple set of tools to adjust the mounting hardware. Work can be carried out in an ordinary garage with an overpass or inspection pit. If the scan results are unsatisfactory, you must use the assistant to perform a number of actions:

  • Identify the source of extraneous knocking and check the performance of the suspension;
  • Try to tighten the steering bar;
  • When turning the steering wheel in different directions within the available free play, fix the operation of the propeller shaft near the rack and ball ends of the thrust. In addition, you need to see the degree of tightness of the coupling of the rods;
  • If there is no damage to the steering rack, it is necessary to eliminate the play in the rack by turning the adjusting screw.

The most common cause of propeller shaft play is insufficient lubrication and can only be eliminated by replacing the part. Backlash in the section of connecting rods is eliminated by means of spot welding. If necessary, the ball tips should be repaired or replaced completely. After completing all this work, it remains only to check if there is any steering play.

It is important to understand that the safety of the driver himself and the passengers in his car directly depends on the operability of the vehicle control system. When detecting breakdowns in this system, it is recommended to entrust the work to eliminate them to professional specialists with the necessary experience and knowledge.

Rear wheel hub repair

The most common problem that a bike’s rear hub can upset you is a loose or tight taper. If weakening is observed in the cone, then the wheel will begin to play strongly. In the second case, when the cone is tightened, the bicycle will move much more “tight” than in normal mode, and the bearings may crackle. One way or another, you need to repair the rear wheel hub of the bike as soon as possible.

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To eliminate the backlash or, on the contrary, tighten the cone, wrenches are needed, most often they use a 15 mm open-end cone wrench, and a 17 mm open-end wrench. First, you need to start loosening the locknut, after which you need to proceed to loosening or tightening the flare nut to the required position.

Ideally, there should be no backlash. Finally, the lock nut must be screwed into place. If the cone is adjusted properly, the wheel will turn easily due to the force of gravity acting on the reflector or nipple.

It also happens that the rear axle of the hub can be broken or bent. The main cause of such a malfunction is usually poor quality parts. If this happens, you need to completely replace the hub axle with a new, better quality.

When replacing the axle, or when going through routine maintenance, or during the repair of the rear wheel hub of the bike, so that it is more convenient to dismantle the ratchet. If the essence of the repair is just a tightening or loosening of the cone, then this action is not necessary.

To avoid possible breakdowns, you need to periodically undergo maintenance. Its essence most often comes down to adjusting the cone and washing, cleaning the components and lubricating the bearings.

Less often. they change bearings, oil seals or washers. The cost of repairs can result in high costs, in the event that maintenance was rarely carried out and in general the bushing was not particularly monitored.

For example, it happens that the bearings “eat out” the grooves in the bushing housing, this can happen because the axle was bent or not lubricated enough. In this case, in order to repair the rear wheel of the bike, you will need to completely replace the hub body, or maybe the wheel itself.

Therefore, in order to avoid such a situation, before going on a long bike trip, you need to carry out maintenance of your bike, and if problems are found, then fix them in a timely manner.

Causes of occurrence

The main causes of backlash are the following:

  • abrasion of the wheel hub;
  • wear of the radius nut (in another way the cone) and damage to the bearing raceways;
  • abrasion of special notches on the locknut, which serve for a closer contact with the radius nut. The high degree of adhesion between the nuts prevents loosening;

Most often, these reasons arise during active use with extreme loads on the wheels and the bike as a whole. The period of use and the quality of parts play an equally important role.

The following causes can be eliminated without replacing parts:

  • weakening the compression between the radius and the locknut. Requires an elementary pull-up with a key:
  • the gap that appears after the wheel is in place between the bike frame and the locknut. It is necessary to fill the empty space with a washer or engraver;

How to remove play in a bicycle suspension fork

Hello, Andrey and my Orbea bike with SR Santour XCM V3 fork, which we will be repairing today.

Sadly, but over time, the parts of our beloved bicycles wear out, play appears regardless of the degree of maintenance and respect for the details, on which only the service life depends.

But signs of wear don’t always mean that parts should be replaced! Today we will try to eliminate the backlash in the fork, the brand of which is given above, using only foil and glue.

And so, let’s get started. First, let’s put the bike upside down.

Next, we need to remove everything that will interfere with the implementation of the assigned goal. The first step is to remove the wheel.

Now the next step is the brake. I recommend that you first loosen both bolts, and then unscrew them one by one.

Now nothing prevents us from going directly to the disassembly of the plug.

In order for the fork cylinders to freely “peel off” from the rods, we need to unscrew the nuts that you can see on the ends of the cylinders. These nuts hold the stem, which prevents the cylinders from flying out with the wheel during, for example, a jump. It limits the reverse travel of the fork and, in fact, is a long bolt that is fastened with the same nuts from the ends of the cylinders.

I do this so that at the moment when I knock out the bolt inward, the thread of the bolt is not damaged.

There is no need to be very strong, since the bolt sits there with a slight interference. After you feel that the bolts have gone down, you can completely unscrew the nuts and proceed to removing the fork cylinders.

It happens that the cylinders go quite tight, so you have to resort to an additional tool.

The cylinders were removed. Before you will open here such a picture smeared with oil.

During any disassembly, it is advisable to clean all parts, rinse with a solvent, kerosene or gasoline.

Such an oil seal has an additional reverse “skirt”, which should not allow the oil to come out, but the old oil seals “grow thin” over time, coarse, and wear out. One and there is a solution.

The ring itself after fitting and giving it a slightly triangular, in section, shape.

After all the fitting procedures, you will get the following picture.

To get it out, we’ll have to grease our fingers a little. The bashing is removed by a slight rotation around its axis, which will release it from engaging in the groove made in the cylinder, and after that it should freely come out.

Let’s move on to cleaning and degreasing the bushing surfaces. I took a solvent like in the photo.

He poured a little into the cut of the bottle and began to rinse the bashing in this makeshift container.

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Next, we need foil and glue, which I trust.

I cut out the desired piece of foil, smeared its surface and the bushing surface with a thin layer of glue, waited for about a minute and glued the surfaces, after which I cut off unnecessary pieces of foil. I ended up with the following:

This procedure will eliminate the backlash of the fork, depending on its strength, you can glue the foil in several layers until it is completely eliminated and you can also glue it on the upper part of the bushing.

The assembly procedure is completely reverse to disassembly. The only difference is that I added Azmol SHRUS-3 oils. this is a graphite grease, which I chose because of its composition, the main ingredient is worn graphite, which has high sliding properties even if there is no lubricating fluid.

What could be the problem with these lubricants when used in aluminum parts? The answer is that under certain conditions, especially when exposed to moisture, lithium actively oxidizes aluminum. The graphite grease I used is lithium-free and fully usable.

You can use any automotive, liquid lubricant, but with it there are more problems with sealing. it flows from all the cracks, if not immediately, then gradually.

Hope this article was helpful. Ride with pleasure, sincerely Andrey!

How to remove backlash?

To eliminate backlash, first of all, it is necessary to determine the cause of its appearance. To do this, remove the wheel, take it by one end of the axle and move it up and down. If wobbling is observed, take two keys (thin, open-end) and tighten the radius and lock nut from both sides.

Attention! Strong clamping will not allow the wheel to spin, weak clamping leads to backlash (shawl).

After adjusting the clamping, we check for backlash, also grasping the axle. If the problem is not corrected, you should completely disassemble the bushing and look for the cause inside.

The front and rear wheel of a bicycle are partially different in design, so we will consider them separately.

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Bicycle rear hub. repair

As practice shows, the most common and typical malfunction of the rear hub is excessive tightening or loosening of the cone. In the latter case, you will have to endure a noticeable back wheel play. Conversely, overtightening the taper mechanism will result in a tighter, more difficult ride for the two-wheeled vehicle. In addition, a crunching sound may occur in bearings.

What to do when a loose rear hub is the cause of backlash? Repair in this case will consist in tightening the cones using special wrenches. Open-end wrenches of 15 and 20 mm are suitable for this, with the help of which the locknuts are first unscrewed, and then the cones are clamped or loosened to the desired limit.

Ideally, there should be no backlash when the bike is moving. If the adjustment of the tapered mechanisms of the rear hub was made correctly, the wheel will rotate easily without additional impulse, only under the influence of gravity on the reflectors.

Bending of the bushing often becomes the cause of breakage. This most often happens when using low-quality, inexpensive parts. If this happens, only a complete replacement of the axle with a new, more reliable one will solve the problem.

To make repairs or scheduled maintenance of the rear wheel hub easier, it is recommended that the ratchets be removed in advance. However, when the whole essence of the repair lies in the usual tightening or loosening of the cones, it is not at all necessary to resort to such an action.

Ultimately, in order to avoid unnecessary problems in the form of long downtime of the bike and waste on expensive repairs, it is enough to regularly undergo maintenance. Most often, the essence of maintenance is reduced to the bulkhead of mechanisms, their cleaning, lubrication and installation in the reverse order.

What is backlash?

Classically, backlash is a small gap between mechanical parts that rotate relative to each other and are interconnected. Simply put, the free movement of one element, which does not lead to the movement of another element of the system.

How to Replace a Bicycle Stem. Quill Stems

Bicycle wheel play is some displacement of its plane relative to the axis of rotation or hub, leading to a figure-eight movement.

Due to the backlash during the ride, the so-called wheel beating is felt. This phenomenon occurs when the wheel is displaced to the right or left in relation to the vertical axis of motion.

What to do if the chain makes noise when pedaling

Quiet rustling chatter. most likely, the chain lubricant has dried up and / or a lot of sand-clay-mud has accumulated in the joints.

Solution: thoroughly wipe the chain with a cloth soaked in white spirit (if the contamination is old, remove the chain and soak it in white spirit) and gently grease with bicycle chain oil, one drop for each joint.

Loud noise, metallic clanging. the chain is hitting the front derailleur bezel.

remove, play, bicycle

Solution: the chain only engages the frame in extreme gears, so do not use “oblique” speed combinations.

A metallic clicky chirp. the rear derailleur setting is knocked down: the chain does not fit perfectly on the teeth of the rear sprocket, which is why this sound occurs.

Solution: There is a twist at the place where the cable enters the rear derailleur. By rotating this twist, you need to adjust the position of the switch roller to the plane of the star on which the chain lies.

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The twist at the switch is duplicated by another twist, located at the cable entrance to the lever on the steering wheel, so this procedure can be done on the go. twist gently until the chirping sound disappears.