Help, my wheel is crooked!

Hey Lee,

I have a slight problem with my rear end (on the bike). I have a 05 Jamis Dakar XLT with Mavic crossmax XL wheels and the problem I am having is my rear tire sits slightly to the left.

I have already replaced the entire rear triangle and swing arm and even when I put another wheel in its place it still sits crooked. It is really annoying because whenever I pit down the power the tire rubs the chainstay when I mash the right crank. I am baffled about what to do next. Can you give me a few ideas on what the trouble might be?

Thanks a lot, Chris

Hey Chris,

First, you have to determine whether your wheel is crooked in the frame or merely out of dish. Here are some quick and easy methods:

Step 1:
Remove your rear tire and set your bike upside down. Sight along the rear rim, and see whether it’s parallel with the down tube.

If it isn’t, that means your dropouts are out of alignment. You can do nothing about this; it’s a manufacturing flaw shared by many bikes. See Step 3.

If the rim is parallel with your top tube, but it’s off to one side, move to Step 2.

Step 2:
Check the dish of your wheel. I don’t believe the Dakar uses an asymmetrical rear end (a la some Specializeds), so you’ll want a normal, centered dish.

If you’re pro, use a dishing tool, spoke wrench and truing stand to pull the wheel back to center.

If you’re like me, eyeball the rim in the frame, and use a spoke wrench to pull the wheel over while it’s in the bike. Go slowly. Loosen the “close” side and tighten the “far” side one-quarter turn at a time.

Step 3:
If your wheel is straight and correctly dished, and your tire is still rubbing the stay, you might not have enough clearance for your tire of choice. Try a smaller meat.

Or stop pedaling so hard!

— Lee

4 replies
  1. nathan says:

    nono, don’t stop pedaling so hard.

    try putting the wheel in backwards, is it still off center to the same side? if it is, your rear triangle is weird, if it’s off center to the other side then the wheel is just not dished right.

  2. jimmy says:

    I had an old K2 with misaligned dropouts. I got a Coke can and made shims to fit one side. Worked fine except I had remember not to lose the shims when I took the wheel off. And even if I lost the shims the Coke shims were easy to make anyway.

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