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Rear wheel will not roll backwards - at all! (brand new bike)
#1
I have a brand-new mountain bike I received for Christmas. I have been riding nearly my whole life, but I am far from an expert, and only understand the basic functions. The bicycle was shipped unassembled. I really wanted to put it together myself (or at least try) to both make sure it was done according to the instructions, and hopefully learn something in the process and get a feel for my own bike. At least if I had put it together myself, I would probably know what was wrong with it.

Despite my wishes, one of my family members insisted that her friend was good with bikes and could put it together. He claimed to have assembled 10 - 20 bikes in the past (so he says), but he really seemed to struggle with the assembly. It took him forever and he didn't seem to know what he was doing. He also refused to read the instructions despite being urged to. I don't really trust anyone who refuses to read instructions, unless he or she is an expert. People like to feel like they can accomplish tasks with no assistance, but I have noticed that when they insist on assembling anything without the instructions, the end result is always something doesn't work properly, it looks assembled but there are "leftover" pieces (never a good sign), or it finally gets put together correctly but takes three times as long as it should have because the person insisted on trial and error. The guy who put together my bike at one point claimed that the fork for the front tire was bent and said that this had probably occurred during shipping. I had to help him bend it out to get it on the wheel. I don't know if this was true or not (that the fork was bent). It seems unlikely to me that a mountain bike piece made out of steel (very heavy) would not bend in a carefully packed box...but then again I could be wrong. I just thought that he made the excuse that the fork was bent, simply because he couldn't get it on because he wasn't doing it right and wasn't reading the instructions, and therefore decided to blame the part, itself.

Anyway, I don't mean to ramble. I just wanted to explain how I ended up with this messed up bicycle. The bike has several problems, for example the front tire is not aligned properly (the front points slightly left when the handlebars are straight - this may have something to do with the bent fork).
MY MAIN CONCERN is that the rear wheel will not roll backwards. Both wheels roll forward. The front wheel rolls backwards fine (if I lift the front end of the bike up, I can move the front wheel backwards. The rear wheel, however, is causing major problems. I cannot get it to move backwards under any circumstances - only forward.

Because of this, I have not even tried to ride the bike yet. I cannot park it without lifting it and carrying it because I can't roll it backwards! And I certainly wouldn't feel safe riding it in the street and not being able to reverse should I pull out too far or need to move out of the way for some reason.
I have tried to examine the bike to the best of my ability but I am no expert. The problem does not appear to have anything to do with the brakes. Both brakes work okay and are not rubbing against the wheel when they're not supposed to. There are no obstructions or anything sticking out that would block the wheel from rotating. It just won't budge. I have a hunch it has something to do with the chain. I can only force the wheel back about a centimeter or so before it offers too much resistance. The chain looks like it is trying to move but won't when I try to pull the wheel backwards (hopefully you know what I mean, I can't explain things in very technical terms). I don't know exactly what is wrong to even try to fix it. I've tried looking at repair manuals, but it's hard to find what you need when you don't know what's wrong in the first place.
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If anyone out there has even the tiniest of suggestion I would greatly appreciate it. I am disappointed that I cannot even ride my brand-new bike Sad so any suggestions are welcome. I do not have a full grasp of really technical terms, so if possible, try to explain things in an easy-to-understand way. Thank you so much!!!
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#2
My guess would be something's wrong with the freewheel in the back. I'm not an expert on this, but I would guess try backing out on the inside nuts a little.

Also on the subject of the bent fork. It happens sometimes during shipping. Me and my dad got bikes like 10 years ago and had them shipped and we put them together ourselves, and I believe the front fork on his was bent in enough that the brakes would always rub. On mine the rear triangle had been bent inwards a little bit. So it might have actually been the part.
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#3
Depending on where you got it from and if it is feasible take it back to where you got it and get a new one? I am not sure if it local but definitely since it is new I would take it back to the store and advise them you want a different one. After that, here is a video with the site owner which may help you along. NOTE: Don't let the same person who "CLAIMS" to be a mechanic 1 ft near lol. The video and there is a lot more videos here you can watch. http://bicycletutor.com/new-bike-assembly/

Bill
P.S. If you wish to possibly try and fix this get a couple of pictures of the problem areas and left overs. We maybe able to help ya out on getting it road worthy and safe.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#4
Not sure what the back wheel issue is. But based on your description of the fork problems/misalignment, I'd get the bike checked over by a shop or real mechanic before you ride it anyway. Everything may be fine, but I'd be worried that there is a safety issue in the front end. Have someone who knows what they're doing check it out.
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#5
Sounds like dodgy freewheel. I'd take it back to the store!
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#6
now you know why home assembly is dangerous!
take it to your nearest LBS and pay for it to be assembled correctly and safely, they will also tell you if the problem is with the bike or the assembly.
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#7
i have a bike were the front wheel wasn't centered, remove it and flip it around the other way to see if it centers better (tyre's usually have a rotatory direction make sure the arrow on the side wall of the tyre is pointing forward)

ooo make sure your forks are on the right way round, to many people put them on the wrong way.

try removing your rear wheel and see if the freewheel (gear thing) go's backward and forward.
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#8
Thank you to everyone for your advice.

I have been playing around with the bicycle and trying to read through the manual. Unfortunately the manual is not very helpful because it was written to cover many different models and often provides instructions for assembling parts that my bike doesn't even have (like a fender) or gives instructions for the wrong type of part (like instructions for different types of brakes).

I think I have partially solved the rear wheel problem. I was messing around with the chain, and figured out that the chain seemed to be stuck on the crank shaft, and wasn't engaged on the chainring/sprocket (I don't know if I'm using the right terms). The back wheel now rolls backwards, so I can at least move the bike effectively. I had someone else (who knows a tiny bit more about bikes than I do) look at it, and he said even though the wheel now move in both directions, the bike seems to have trouble shifting to the lower gears. He said the chain is getting caught on the thing that moves it.

I am still left with the issue of the misaligned front tire. We figured out that if you sit on the front tire to hold it down and move the handle bars, I can get the tire to line up with center a little better. This concerns me though, because if it is loose enough to move out of alignment with a moderate amount of pressure, this makes me think it could easily wobble around or twist out of place as I'm riding it, especially if I hit a bump or something. I can foresee this being a considerable safety issue, so I have to figure out how to tighten the part where the handlebars meet the fork. I guess the guy who assembled it left the two pieces very loosely connected - hopefully I can just tighten a screw or something - I will have to take the handlebars out of the frame to figure out how they connect.

I am supposed to have a limited warranty, although they didn't send the paperwork, so if I wanted to try to return/exchange the bike, I might have to call the company to make sure everything is on the up and up. The bike was purchased through an online company, so I can't return it to a physical store. I would have to take it apart to get it into a box and deal with the hassle of shipping. I should be able to return it on the basis of missing or defective parts, but I don't necessarily believe that any parts are missing or defective; I think it was just assembled incorrectly. I really don't want to have to return it and get a new one, if at all possible. I can't afford to take it to a bicycle repair shop. I would really prefer to try to fix it myself/ with some help, but I'm debating whether I should try to fix the obvious problems one by one, or just take everything apart and start from scratch all over again and try to assemble it according to the instructions. Needless to say, I don't want the guy who put it together to touch it.

It's difficult to describe everything accurately, especially when I'm not sure if I'm using the right terminology, so I will try to take some pictures and post them here soon.

Do you guys think it would be reasonable for me to try to fix the gear-shifting problem and the front tire alignment problem one by one, then see if there seems to be anything else wrong? Or do you think I should just disassemble the whole thing and start over again to make sure everything's done according to the directions? It's tempting just to fix the obvious problems because it seems easier, but I might have more peace of mind if I start from scratch. It just seems like a lot of work. Not sure what to do.
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#9
i would strip it down to nothing, then build it again. hard to tell how many other problems there could be, and this way you'll learn more also. you already said you have a camera, that could be a very usefull tool. take pics of your disassembly, amazing how much it helps later! (especially if your as forgetful as me!Smile.

bill usually has great advise, but keeping the original assembler 1 ft away doesn't seem far enough to me, i suspect he missed a couple zerosSmile. good luck and happy learning.
Get on your bad pedalscooter and ride!
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#10
(01-08-2011, 08:22 AM)loveletter Wrote:  Thank you to everyone for your advice.

I am still left with the issue of the misaligned front tire. We figured out that if you sit on the front tire to hold it down and move the handle bars, I can get the tire to line up with center a little better. This concerns me though, because if it is loose enough to move out of alignment with a moderate amount of pressure, this makes me think it could easily wobble around or twist out of place as I'm riding it,


Sounds like the wheel nut isn’t tightened enough or the nut and cone on the axle is loss, this video shows may help if the axle is loss in the wheel.

http://bicycletutor.com/overhaul-wheel-bearings/


If you want to completely disassemble the bike you will need a hell of a lot of tools plus special tools bike tools!
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#11
stop messing about and either return it as not fit for purpose or swallow your pride and take it to your LBS and pay for assembly, at least you will have a safer and usable bike.
Self assembly by those who don't know what they are doing should be banned!!
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#12
(01-19-2011, 10:50 AM)trevgbb Wrote:  stop messing about and either return it as not fit for purpose or swallow your pride and take it to your LBS and pay for assembly, at least you will have a safer and usable bike.
Self assembly by those who don't know what they are doing should be banned!!

I have to agree here. You originally posted on Jan 6 and you still don't have the bike working properly. Taking it to your LBS when the problem was first noted would mean that you would be riding and enjoying the bike by now. If it's a matter of not having the money for the LBS to fix the bike, by the time you purchase the tools needed to do it yourself, you may as well have taken it to the bike shop.

I just had a crankset replaced on a 3 month old road bike that cost me parts plus $30.00 in labor to change. The tools to replace it would have cost me more than the $30.00 labor, I would have to wait for the tools and parts to come in plus wait for the time to do the job. Bike shop had it changed in two days. Sometimes doing your own work is worth it, both monetarily and knowing that you did it yourself, and sometimes it isn't.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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#13
(01-19-2011, 10:50 AM)trevgbb Wrote:  stop messing about and either return it as not fit for purpose or swallow your pride and take it to your LBS and pay for assembly, at least you will have a safer and usable bike.
Self assembly by those who don't know what they are doing should be banned!!

It's no matter of pride; it's a matter of poverty. Trust me, if I could afford to take it to a shop, I would do it in a heartbeat, if anything for the peace of mind and simplicity of that route. I don't even have money to buy tools. I think it seems counterintuitive to buy a bike for someone who can't afford to take care of it - I honestly could have used money for food more - but I guess intentions were good. My last bike was stolen and that's my only mode of transportation besides walking. I don't want to go into too much detail about my financial situation for fear of looking like a whiny martyr. I guess when I came to this site, I was hoping to find a relatively easy solution and some friendly advice, but I now realize everything is more complicated than I originally hoped. That's life.

I've been horribly sick with some kind of flu virus the past week, so I haven't gotten around to the bike recently. Thanks to everyone for your continued input, even though I haven't posted in a while. This includes trevgbb, although you came across a bit abrasively : ) I always try to appreciate people who aren't afraid to say what they think.

I also agree with you (now that I've gone through this ordeal) that self-assembly is not such a great idea. I would much rather buy a bike already assembled. I don't know why people buy them online - they must be discounted or perhaps there is a wider selection?

I will try to give an update soon.
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#14
fixing it your self is the only way to learn, dont give up, but the proper tools make it easier
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#15
I sympathize with your problem and apologize( slightly) for sounding abrupt, but I have seen far too many self assembled bikes in very dangerous conditions, some examples.
forks in backwards.
brakes not working for various reasons, cables not connected properly, blocks not aligned with rims, disc wheel with disc on the wrong side.
pedals screwed in the wrong side and crank arms and pedals ruined, very common, this.
I suggest you contact the retailer and tell them the bike is not suitable, they may offer a refund or exchange, if you can get a refund, visit your LBS and tell them you need a budget bike and see what they offer.
Hope you recover from the flu soon!!.
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#16
My reason for suggesting that you take it to a bike shop is that 1) its a new bike, and regardless of the price and that it was given to you, if you really mess it up it could end up costing you more than the value of the bike. 2) A new bike (even a free one) isn't the place I would want to start off learning bike building and repair.

I think that we have all been in your financial situation at one time or another, so here is a suggestion. Before I gave my brother my old bike, he would go to the dump and get discarded bicycles and bring them home. Between all the bikes he had, he was able to build himself a bike he could ride. It may not have been very pretty, but he was able to ride it. I don't mean to imply that you should replace your bike with a junker, but the junk bike serves two purposes: 1) it gives you a means of transportation that you don't currently have and 2) it gives you experience working on bikes. Once you get the experience to build one from junk parts, fix the bike that you were given and throw away the junker.

Next year, when I retire, I plan on getting junk bikes just to work on them so that I can learn bike repair without destroying my bikes. I would rather learn on a free junker, how to change a cassette or crankset, than on a very expensive road bike.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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#17
i sugested fixing it yourself so you could learn, but these guys have some pretty good arguements for taking it to the shop. i assumed you had access to the same tools as the original assembler, which i also assumed were basic tools, nothing bike specific, as i also assumed only "simple" things were needed to complete it. however, the lbs will get you off the couch and on the bike faster. best of luck either waySmile
Get on your bad pedalscooter and ride!
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#18
Quote:I think that we have all been in your financial situation at one time or another, so here is a suggestion. Before I gave my brother my old bike, he would go to the dump and get discarded bicycles and bring them home. Between all the bikes he had, he was able to build himself a bike he could ride. It may not have been very pretty, but he was able to ride it. I don't mean to imply that you should replace your bike with a junker, but the junk bike serves two purposes: 1) it gives you a means of transportation that you don't currently have and 2) it gives you experience working on bikes. Once you get the experience to build one from junk parts, fix the bike that you were given and throw away the junker

You sir are a genius!

If these bikes are free anyway you might as well give it a go. You've got this site and the attached forum to help you where we can, and once you know your way round the bike building them is actually fairly easy. Just by watching all the videos and faffing with my old bike, I've managed to build up two Downhill bikes (one of which is my current race-bike) and the only problems I've had have been user-inflicted (surprisingly even Downhill bikes don't like crashing into trees).

Oh and a few posts ago you mentioned about needing a moderate amount of force to re-true the bars and wheel alignment, don't worry too much about that. My downhill bike has a similar problem, but it has NEVER misaligned itself randomly without harsh assistance from the ground. If you're really concerned, tighten up the stem bolts a bit (see both headset tutorials on this site and do whichever is applicable to your bike).
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#19
i also went back and reread my first post, when i said you should tear it back down to nothing i shoulda said tear it back to the way it was when you first got it, then start over. hope i didnt mess you up.
Get on your bad pedalscooter and ride!
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