How far should you be able to turn your front wheel?

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How far should you be able to turn your front wheel?

Postby Alex Sniga » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:49 am

Hi all,
I got my new roadie recently, and I noticed that when I turn my front wheel to the right it stops approx at 45 degrees (while I can turn to -90 degrees to the left easily). The reason it stops is because the brake cable is too short and when I turn my wheel, the cable stops it from going further. If I push a little harder the cable activates brakes at the back.

I went back to LBS, they said it's nothing to worry about, as I never gonna be turning my front whell that far while I'm riding, and that it will change once the cable stretches, and they also loosened the brakes at the back. But the thing is that if I'm walking next to my bike I may want to take a sharp turn (i.e. when there is not much space to move), which I do indoors, and that's how I noticed this.

So my question is - is it common to have something like that? As it does not seem to be right. The brake cable shouldn't be whatever stops the front wheel turning left/right (and what's more - pulling on the brakes while you do it). But being myself pretty much a n00b in all this, I didn't feel like arguing in the LBS.
Last edited by Alex Sniga on Mon Jul 21, 2008 10:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:57 am

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Postby MountGower » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:57 am

I don't want to be the catalyst for bad feeling or disagreement. I would say though, that the cable is too short and if this was done recently, who ever did it needs to take responsibility and rectify it at their own expense, not yours. Under those circumstances, I would not accept the length of the cable.
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Postby mikesbytes » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:09 pm

I'm inclined to agree that it's too short, it will be a nuisance while moving around stationary traffic or the like.
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Postby DavidH » Mon Jul 21, 2008 12:42 pm

And if you want to transport the bike in the boot of a car with the front wheel off (as I occasionally do) you'll want the bars to be able to turn 90 degrees.

If the bars can only turn 45 degrees I think that this is a definite indicator that the brake cable has been installed too short. And the remedy (new cable) willl require removing the bar tape. This should definitely be done by the LBS IMO.
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Postby jasimon » Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:13 pm

Ditto everyone else - it's too short.

Another scenario: you are balancing while stopped at some traffic lights - I can see you wanting to turn the wheel more than 45 degrees on occasion to maintain balance.
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Postby RainForeverRain » Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:38 pm

A 45 degree limit is unacceptable to either side. I exceed a 45 degree turn of the handlebars every time I ride across the pedestrian bridge on the Cook's river bike path (there's a tight 180 degree turn at one end).

Looks like a clear product defect to me.
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Postby Alex Sniga » Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:41 pm

Thanks guys, all these scenarios will definitely help me to convince the guys at the shop to redo the cable.
During lunchbreak I went to Clarence St to have a look at what the cable looks like on other bikes, and pretty much all of them had a decent curve, which means you can turn the handlebar without stretching the cable. Mine is almost straight line from handlebar to the frame. Also the bar tape looks stretched where the cable coming out from being pulled all the time.
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Postby thomas_cho » Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:58 pm

I am surprised that the bike shop thinks that increasing the pad distance to the rim solves your problem. Do not let them treat you like a noob. Be nice about it, but be firm in your request.

The cable has been cut too short, in the case of an emergency you may need to rotate your wheel more than 45 degrees.
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Postby Alex Sniga » Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:13 pm

thomas_cho wrote:I am surprised that the bike shop thinks that increasing the pad distance to the rim solves your problem. Do not let them treat you like a noob.


I guess, the reason they thought it's a good solution is because the way I explained my problem to them. Basically, I said something along (while demonstrating the problem) "do you think this cable is too short? When I turn the wheel the brakes at the back are activated". (arghh, sometimes I really have difficulty making myself clear). I didn't really worry that much about the brakes, just tried to use it as a proof that the cable is too short(as it shouldn't be like that on a properly set up bike).

Also the shopassistant probably wasn't very experienced and may be had "she'll be right" attitude.
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Postby Sveky » Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:21 pm

i had the opposite problem where the left too much cable..some of the routing was terrible particularly front brake and shifting cables. They were soo long that they would clash and creek when i turned. Its easy to trim them with the proper tools.

The mechanic who set it up is clearly an idiot.
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Postby toolonglegs » Mon Jul 21, 2008 3:24 pm

It is probably because your outer cable is too short,not the steel inner..hence pain for the shop to change because of having to take the bar tape off.
But do agree that it probably wont make any difference while riding if it only happens when you tur the bars 45% or more.
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Postby rustguard » Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:15 pm

is too short and will damage your frame if it is aluminum and the cable rubs, is as you say already damaging your tape. Bike shop is lying to you, next time take your mum or wife and let them do the talking. :twisted:
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Postby Mulger bill » Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:13 pm

Don't let 'em get away with it Alex, they's tryin' it on. Full range of steering is a basic roadworthy item as everyone else has said.

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Postby twowheels » Tue Jul 22, 2008 7:53 pm

yep, cable too short, print out this thread and tell the dude we've all decided.
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Postby CoffeeNut » Sun Jul 27, 2008 9:44 pm

too short - you will, through normal use (when moving it at the cafe, or putting it in the back of the car etc etc etc) - move it to and beyond the 45 deg point. And at this point you will start to stress, stretch, weaken the cables and/or mountings. Not acceptable.
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Postby Alex Sniga » Mon Jul 28, 2008 1:37 pm

Haven't had a chance to get to the LBS yet, but in the meantime, while tinkering with the bike the other night - I turned the stem upside down which lowered the handlebar thus allowing it to turn to almost 90 deg (may be 85).

The stem was pointing up before, now it's pointing down (or pretty much horizontal). Is there any issue with that, or can they be turned any way?

While riding to work today haven't noticed much difference (except that I haven't tightened it well enough and when I hit a bump the handlebar got pushed closer to the ground, it's sorta rotated with a horribly sounding squeak - I thought I broke a wheel or something at first, the speed was around 50kph too).
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Postby peter » Mon Jul 28, 2008 3:38 pm

Alex Sniga wrote:The stem was pointing up before, now it's pointing down (or pretty much horizontal). Is there any issue with that, or can they be turned any way?


No issue at all as long as you feel comfortable. It is actually designed to be able to flip, it gives you 2 riding positions.

While riding to work today haven't noticed much difference (except that I haven't tightened it well enough and when I hit a bump the handlebar got pushed closer to the ground, it's sorta rotated with a horribly sounding squeak - I thought I broke a wheel or something at first, the speed was around 50kph too).


Make sure to tighten them, but not over tighten. Some stems have torque rating printed on them (Nm or lbin), best to get a torque wrench. It's important to alternate between the bolts, i.e. take turns to tighten each bolt a little bit at a time.
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Postby Verbs & Nouns » Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:10 pm

Get a fixed gear, ride brakeless.

Problem solved.

(Or get a singlespeed with a rear coaster brake).
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Postby theoddbot » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:04 pm

If I have my cranks horizontal and turn the front wheel it hits the front of my shoe. It's not really a problem except for starting, but I can't figure out any way to fix it.

Any ideas or should I just ignore it?
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Postby m@ » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:24 am

theoddbot wrote:If I have my cranks horizontal and turn the front wheel it hits the front of my shoe. It's not really a problem except for starting, but I can't figure out any way to fix it.

Any ideas or should I just ignore it?


Is this on the 1.9? If so, I'd be going back to the shop and asking their advice - you've laid down a fair amount of cash so they should be accommodating! ;)

Alternatively, I guess you could move your cleats forward on your shoes, or put on a smaller crankset or longer headstem - but any/all of these are likely to adversely affect the fit of your bike...
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Postby jasimon » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:29 am

theoddbot wrote:If I have my cranks horizontal and turn the front wheel it hits the front of my shoe. It's not really a problem except for starting, but I can't figure out any way to fix it.

Any ideas or should I just ignore it?


Some bikes are like that. My CRX2 creates that problem as well. Sheldon Brown doesn't think it's a problem (Look at the entry on Toe Clip Overlap).
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Postby theoddbot » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:51 am

m@ wrote:Is this on the 1.9? If so, I'd be going back to the shop and asking their advice - you've laid down a fair amount of cash so they should be accommodating! ;)

No it's a Masi Vincere.
m@ wrote:Alternatively, I guess you could move your cleats forward on your shoes, or put on a smaller crankset or longer headstem - but any/all of these are likely to adversely affect the fit of your bike...

The cleats are already in the front holes. A smaller set of cranks would probably do the trick but I'm not too worried.

As per the post below, I'm happy enough to ignore it, especially if Sheldon says so :)
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Postby Verbs & Nouns » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:58 am

theoddbot wrote:If I have my cranks horizontal and turn the front wheel it hits the front of my shoe. It's not really a problem except for starting, but I can't figure out any way to fix it.

Any ideas or should I just ignore it?

And I thought this was sarcasm.
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