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Bike Rear Wheel Not Spinning Freely Causes and Solutions quick read

There are many causes and pretty small natural problems which even we would not think of and we do not have any experience with them but it happens, now there are many problems I have discussed in this post that resists the spinning of the wheel freely and the wheel restricts its rotations and spinning time.

You will notice the rear wheel of the bike spins but it does not complete enough rotations like it was before when the wheel was new after wheel building, changing the hub and axle, or changing any other component and part, the wheel limits its rounds and does not rotate more than 4 to  5 spinnings.

If the QR Skewer is screwed tightly then it will press the hub and the axle and also it resists the rotations and working capacity of the bearings inward, due to which the wheel does not rotate on a normal basis. using the wrong hub size on the right axle and the right hub size on the wrong size axle would not move the wheel to spin freely.

Common problems and solutions:

Cracked Axle :

A cracked or broken axle lowers the number of spins of the rear wheel and the wheel does not rotate like usual, change the axle to get rid of this problem, welding or other methods dont work in this case because the whole wheel is inherently dependent on the axle and even if you get it welded it won’t hold much longer and snap once again.

Cheap Hubs :

All the expensive and branded hub companies have also cheap products for wheels at low prices, these low-quality hubs have loose hub bearings which contain a cup, and cons. these are loosely bonded which limits their working ability. cheap hubs work totally differently from the real ones. more often these will work better to grease them after every ride.

Hubs contain spacers that align above the axle, sometimes these spacers will move and relocate from their position, and as a result, the wheel does not spin freely.

Rotor Problem :

Too much usage of the rear brakes can cause the rotor to bend and deform, it’s easy you can notice it by rotating the wheel when the bike is on the stand. if the rotor is rubbing a single brake pad( right or left), then you may need to realign the rotor to the rotor. but if the rotor is rubbing both disc brake pads then it means that

  1. pistons have stopped working (you may need to refill the brakes or change your brake washers)
  2. in a mechanical brake, you may need to loosen and adjust the tension.

Hub Problem:

Hubs play a big role to resist the spins of the wheel, if these have got any problems, there are two kinds of hubs.

  • Sealed hubs
  • Non sealed hubs

Sealed hubs usually cause spacer issue, the wrong build of the hubs create resistance in the working performance of the spacers, when the wheel rotates and you are riding on the trails, all of your weight and bike is pushing force in the downward direction within in the center of the wheel hubs, the bearings would start to wobble and as a result, they start rubbing with the axle.

Nonsealed bearings contain cup and cone bearings which if stop working the wheel does not spin freely. sometimes the old used bearings become so tight and unmovable that the wheel does not rotate and spin freely, in such conditions replace the bearings for better spinning of the wheel, especially for long rides and aggressive terrains.

Cassette Problem :

There is a big deep effect if you have installed the wrong size cassette with the present hub of your bike wheel, size difference would matter a lot and this setup fails to work, as a result, sometimes the cassette becomes too tight into the hub because the cassette ring does not sit correctly on the hub, if you had made changes in your cassette you should better buy a hub that is compatible with it or maybe try your LBS for a quick check.

Expensive Hubs :

Better quality hubs perform totally differently from cheap hubs and their axles are also different. their bearings are not openly mounted like cheap ones, their bearings have seals and their price range is higher than the cheap ones, these expensive hubs do not limit the spinning of the wheel, and as a result, the wheel will move freely.

Expensive hubs have a lock system in their bearings which lock in their position and cups and cones do not move and distract their location which sometimes can play a role in slowing the wheel down.

Wheel Spinning Test :

Mostly the noise comes from the other wheel components and their parts like the cassette, chain, cogs, and hub, for such cases you remove the rear wheel and also remove the cassette and all the other parts and make the wheel free. place it in the middle of the wheel builder machine and rotate the wheel, you will easily recognize the fault and the noise coming from the wheel and also the time the wheel spins.

Check thoroughly on the wheel builder machine and again install the cassette, chain, derailer, and derailleur hanger with the rear wheel and install the wheel into the bike frame.

Remove the axle from the wheel and hold it in your both hands and check it by giving it a spin, your hands will block and move the pulse of the axle, if it’s a big issue remove the axle and buy a new one, but lube the axle, sometimes the dry and dust penetrates deeply within the axle and stops the spinning power of the wheel.

When bearings become old, they become hard and stiffer which is a sign of a lot of usage of the bearings and they need to be replaced with new bearings, old bearings will affect much more in the spinning power of the rear wheel much.

Sometimes it is hard to note the spinning noise from where it is arising, it would be a confusing noise to recognize, then opposite your bike in an upside down position, now both wheels are facing towards the sky, you can give a free rotation to the rear wheel then leave it for a while in the same spinning position, after that, you can hear the voices arising from the rear wheel.

sometimes spin noises arise from the brake pads and brake calipers of the rear wheel because these are nearer to the rim and their points are slightly touching with the wheel rim sometimes the cassette of the rear wheel produces a resistance force against the wheel which does not allow the free hub to move freely.

The disc brakes can also cause irritating voices which confuse regarding the spinning of the bike wheel Unscrew the nuts of the caliper brakes, those nuts through which the brake is mounted on the bike frame, pick a small piece of rubber, insert it between the disc brakes, after inserting again tight the nuts of the brakes. it will help a lot in finishing the confusion of the spinning bike wheel.

You can also set the brakes without uninstalling the wheel, lose the QR skewer and move the wheel with both hands in different directions notice at some place bike wheel will fit accurately with the disc brakes. tight the skewer and the wheel will spin better.

While tightening the disc brakes always pull the levers of the brakes to bring the brake pads nearer to the rim wheel and the distance between the pads and rim would be 1mm.

Bleed the disc brakes, rotors, and calipers to free the wheel from sticking dirt and mud, the recommended method of bleeding is that pull the levers on the handlebar so that the distance between your brake levers and the grips of your bar would be 75mm to 80mm because it also advantages for the brakes, this distance allows the disc brakes to bleed fully and completely.

Wheel spinning time of rear vs front wheel?

The rear wheels contain many other bike parts with the wheel rotating in the same direction, making the wheel heavier than the front tire. the rear wheel has a cassette, derailleur, derailer hanger, hub and axle, and bearings. weight of these parts would slow down the spinning time of the rear wheel as compared to the front wheel. usually on the time calculator that if your rear wheel is spinning freely without any issue or defect then it will spin for 10 to 15 seconds and the front tire will spin from 40 to 50 seconds, due to the lower weight and fewer parts of the front tire.

Spinning time of loose and tight bearings?

If the hub has a loose bearing then sometimes it will also spin and take equal time as sealed bearings which confuses the rider about the judgment and the spinning problem, the accurate method of checking the spinning of the wheel is that you can uninstall the rear wheel and remove the hub and axle and check the inner spindles of the hub if these are loose then tight them and if these are tight then lose them, after that install the hub and axle and the wheel spinning time will improve from the previous spinning.

Number of bearings in the rear wheel as compared to the front wheel :

The rear wheel contains 2 to 3 more bearings from the front hub which further increases the weight and becomes heavier due to which the spinning power of the rear wheel decreases as compared to the front tire.

Loosening of Wheel :

Uninstall the rear wheel by QR screwer, remove the bearings and the axle, again insert the bearings and axle and mount them loosely, lube the cup and cone bearings for smooth working, and again install the wheel by tightening the QR skewer.