Author Topic: Bike pulls to the left dramatically  (Read 12992 times)

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Offline twhill21

Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« on: September 30, 2010, 02:46:12 pm »
I ride a 1970's (supposedly) Peugeot Touring bike that I bought almost two years ago. It is a great bike. Recently I had a fairly rough close encounter in which I skidded the back wheel sideways about a foot. To my surprise this appeared to loosen lots of the spokes (this is on a rim that is only 1 year old too). I then had both of the wheels trued. Now my bike feels pretty good, very smooth, but If I try to ride no hands I can feel the bike immediately pull strongly to left. It is so dramatic that I can not ride no hands unless I lean way right. Its not that riding no hansd is so important to me, I am more concerned with what has changed on the bike that I cant figure out. Does anyone know anything that would cause a bicycle to pull to the side like this? 

Offline whittierider

Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2010, 05:10:54 pm »
If things aren't straight, it will pull to one side.

It could be that the front wheel is not symmetrical, and if that's the case turning it around would make the bike pull in the other direction.  I'd say it's unlikely, but I mention it since you mention wheel-truing problems but did not say anything about a crash that could have bent the frame or fork.

Otherwise I would suspect one of those, especially the fork.  The wheel could be centered between the fork blades near the crown but the steering tube is still pointing down one side of the wheel.

The head tube of the frame may also be twisted sideways a bit, relative to the seat tube.

If you stretched the rear triangle out to the modern dropout spacing for a new rear wheel, just pulling the dropouts apart is likely to bend the right one more than the left, because of the indentation in the right chainstay to avoid hitting the chainrings.  The widening can be done with steel frames but the right tools should be used to be sure the two sides get bent out the same amount so the frame does not end up cock-eyed.

If you can find a frame builder (something that is becoming more difficult), he could align the frame and fork for you, especially since it's steel and can be bent back into shape without damage.  This will require taking all the components off though.  If you do that part of the labor (then put it all back together afterward), he might charge you something in the neighborhood of $50.

You'd have to really like that frame a lot for it to be worth it though, IMO.  You didn't say what model you had; but even if it were their top-of-the-line model from that decade, it probably still has a French-threaded bottom-bracket shell which will be nearly impossible to buy replacement bottom brackets for, a French-threaded crankset that would be nearly impossible to buy good modern pedals for (acutally pedal holes can be re-tapped to English but it's not easy! --BD,DT), a French-threaded fork which will be nearly impossible to buy replacement headsets for, etc.; and then you still don't know if it's about to crack next month.  (I and several friends have all broken steel frames, just through fatigue.)  The 21st century definitely does not have a corner on great-handling frames, and there were some truly outstanding ones in the 1970's if you spent the money for the high-end ones.  The modern component advancements are sure nice though, like siffer handlebar stems, better (quicker and more fool-proof) shifting (even if you stay with down-tube shifters), not having to use half-stepping to get a wide-range set of gears that's closely spaced, brakes that stay centered better, outboard-bearing bottom brackets that last much longer than any previous ones, etc..

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2010, 06:34:35 pm »
If things aren't straight, it will pull to one side.
What he said.  Something is out of alignment.

You'd have to really like that frame a lot for it to be worth it though, IMO.  You didn't say what model you had; but even if it were their top-of-the-line model from that decade, it probably still has a French-threaded bottom-bracket shell which will be nearly impossible to buy replacement bottom brackets for, a French-threaded crankset that would be nearly impossible to buy good modern pedals for (acutally pedal holes can be re-tapped to English but it's not easy! --BD,DT), a French-threaded fork which will be nearly impossible to buy replacement headsets for, etc.; and then you still don't know if it's about to crack next month.  (I and several friends have all broken steel frames, just through fatigue.)  The 21st century definitely does not have a corner on great-handling frames, and there were some truly outstanding ones in the 1970's if you spent the money for the high-end ones.  The modern component advancements are sure nice though, like siffer handlebar stems, better (quicker and more fool-proof) shifting (even if you stay with down-tube shifters), not having to use half-stepping to get a wide-range set of gears that's closely spaced, brakes that stay centered better, outboard-bearing bottom brackets that last much longer than any previous ones, etc..
French Thread Bottom Bracket
Universal Bottom Bracket - I use this on my '77 Peugeot PRN10E; it's great.
French Thread Headset

There are plenty of non-kludge ways to keep that bike alive if you enjoy it.
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Offline whittierider

Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2010, 10:30:31 pm »
Good find on those parts!  I forgot about the threadless BB.  I knew of it before I broke my nice steel frame with the French threading and I almost got it and then read that you'll never be able to put a threaded one in again later.  Is that what you've found?  I searched all over and the only threaded ones I found where prohibitively expensive IIRC, then I put a search on eBay and it was a long time before I got something, and then it was just the cups, no spindle.  The internal-bearing sealed ones don't last very long compared to the modern external-bearing ones.  (I have almost 25,000 miles of fairly hard riding on mine and it's still silky smooth and has no play in it.)

A lot of the old-style parts are still easily available, like 5-speed freewheels that are still in production today but are English-threaded.  Even Dura-Ace down-tube shifters are in production today, in 10-speed indexed, but of course you can use them in friction mode too.

Unfortunately if you have 27" wheels, almost none of the best-performing tires are made in 27" anymore.  It will be 700c which is slightly smaller-- close, but no cigar as far as fit goes.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2010, 08:07:19 am »
Unfortunately if you have 27" wheels, almost none of the best-performing tires are made in 27" anymore.
Continental Ultra Gatorskins come in 27X1-1/4 and are a very nice touring tire in my opinion.  Interestingly enough the new Continental Gator Hardshell also comes in a 27X1-1/4 and may be the ticket if you want a heavier duty tire.  Also I have heard good things about the Panaracer Tourguard Pasela which comes in a 27X1-1/4 and a 27X1-1/8.  So I don't think lack of suitable tires available should be a reason to worry much.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2010, 12:16:35 pm »
Good find on those parts!  I forgot about the threadless BB.  I knew of it before I broke my nice steel frame with the French threading and I almost got it and then read that you'll never be able to put a threaded one in again later.  Is that what you've found?  close, but no cigar as far as fit goes.

Nope.  I had the threadless BB installed on my do-everything bike for a while to try it out.  And then I put my old BB back in the bike without a problem.  Velo-Orange really got this one right.

I searched all over and the only threaded ones I found where prohibitively expensive IIRC, then I put a search on eBay and it was a long time before I got something, and then it was just the cups, no spindle.  The internal-bearing sealed ones don't last very long compared to the modern external-bearing ones.  (I have almost 25,000 miles of fairly hard riding on mine and it's still silky smooth and has no play in it.)

I used to kill cup-and-loose-ball BBs pretty regularly.  All my BBs are cartridge bearing now and they just run and run and run.  The only cartridge BB I have ever needed to replace was a stock POS that came with my Kona Paddy Wagon and that was after less than 6 months.  I guess it didn't like getting run through snow and dunked in flood water.

All things being equal, I would prefer external bearing BBs, but I like my current cranksets and I am not going to replace stuff that ain't broke.

A lot of the old-style parts are still easily available, like 5-speed freewheels that are still in production today but are English-threaded.  Even Dura-Ace down-tube shifters are in production today, in 10-speed indexed, but of course you can use them in friction mode too.

IRD has pretty decent 5-, 6-, and 7-speed freewheels with profiled teeth.  The prices are decent, too.  I have a 5-speed and it performs nicely.  However, new-ish Shimano freewheels can be found pretty easily for ~$5, so it really comes down to effort that one wants to apply.

Unfortunately if you have 27" wheels, almost none of the best-performing tires are made in 27" anymore.  It will be 700c which is slightly smaller-- close, but no cigar as far as fit goes.

staehpj1's comment addresses that.  But most bikes sporting 27" wheels have centerpull brakes which very easily accommodate the switch to 700C.  Even if centerpulls are absent, there is an excellent array of new manufacture, high-end centerpull brakes out there: Velo-Orange, Paul Components, Dia-Compe.  The added bonus of making the jump to 700C is that a little more tire clearance can be had.

In all, with the large selection of bikes from the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, it is pretty easy to own something that is as awesome as a Rivendell or custom steel kit, without the price tag.  And if you crack that old school frame, there are still plenty more out there.
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Offline whittierider

Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2010, 02:39:09 pm »
Quote
I used to kill cup-and-loose-ball BBs pretty regularly.  All my BBs are cartridge bearing now and they just run and run and run.  The only cartridge BB I have ever needed to replace was a stock POS that came with my Kona Paddy Wagon and that was after less than 6 months.  I guess it didn't like getting run through snow and dunked in flood water.
Our son who rode a road bike with an Isis-type BB got about 3,000 miles on each, even though at the time he only weighed about 120 pounds and took good care of things and he never rode in the rain.  It makes sense, since they put a big spindle in there which leaves less room for bearings, and they put the bearings way inboard where they would get a lot of up-and-down leverage applied to them when you're standing on the pedals.  A smaller-diameter square-taper spindle like you showed would leave more room for adequate-sized bearings.

Quote
IRD has pretty decent 5-, 6-, and 7-speed freewheels with profiled teeth.  The prices are decent, too.  I have a 5-speed and it performs nicely.
When I read the owner reviews on IRD (what few there were) a few years ago, they were all saying they had teeth break.  Did IRD get that problem fixed?  loosescrews.com sells Shimano Uniglide custom 5-speed freewheels.

Quote
Continental Ultra Gatorskins come in 27X1-1/4 and are a very nice touring tire in my opinion.
That's one I was thinking of when I said "almost none of the best-performing tires are made in 27" anymore."  It is indeed a good tire-- tough, and yet the rolling resistance numbers are also pretty good considering-- way better than the Panaracer Pasellas (28 and 32mm) we've used on the tandem.

Quote
But most bikes sporting 27" wheels have centerpull brakes which very easily accommodate the switch to 700C.  Even if centerpulls are absent, there is an excellent array of new manufacture, high-end centerpull brakes out there: Velo-Orange, Paul Components, Dia-Compe.
I haven't looked at center-pull brakes for vertical adjustability, but from what I remember from working at the bike shop in the 1970's (and we had tons of center-pull brakes), they didn't have any more adjustability than the side-pulls.  I have seen adapter bolts though that make a step down to put the brake closer to the hub, but I haven't tried shopping for them.  What I have done is tried to put modern brakes on old steel frames, and found the bolts and hidden nuts could not be put in the holes in the steel frame and fork, and there wasn't enough material at the edge of the fork crown to just drill it out.

Quote
In all, with the large selection of bikes from the 60s, 70s, and early 80s, it is pretty easy to own something that is as awesome as a Rivendell or custom steel kit, without the price tag.  And if you crack that old school frame, there are still plenty more out there.
I happened to notice yesterday as I was riding that there were indeed a lot of the old steel road bikes out there, but they were all low-end-- not even mid-range, let alone high-end.  The low-end bikes and even some mid-range were real dogs.  (I've gotten rid of several myself.)  There were a lot of high-end bikes made back then (which I did not see yesterday as I was thinking about it) that I sure wouldn't mind owning today just for the fun of it.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2010, 04:32:25 pm »
Our son who rode a road bike with an Isis-type BB got about 3,000 miles on each,

That's just mind-boggling.

Quote
When I read the owner reviews on IRD (what few there were) a few years ago, they were all saying they had teeth break.  Did IRD get that problem fixed?  loosescrews.com sells Shimano Uniglide custom 5-speed freewheels.

I am only about 1000 miles into this IRD freewheel, but it seems fine.  I am not kind to my drivetrains (full power downshifts, usually soft pedal on the upshifts).  Nothing has broken yet.  It doesn't seem as smooth as a Shimano cassette, but it is definitely smoother than my Shimano unprofiled freewheel.

Quote
I haven't looked at center-pull brakes for vertical adjustability, but from what I remember from working at the bike shop in the 1970's (and we had tons of center-pull brakes), they didn't have any more adjustability than the side-pulls.  I have seen adapter bolts though that make a step down to put the brake closer to the hub, but I haven't tried shopping for them.  What I have done is tried to put modern brakes on old steel frames, and found the bolts and hidden nuts could not be put in the holes in the steel frame and fork, and there wasn't enough material at the edge of the fork crown to just drill it out.

Maybe it's only the Mafac and Weinmann Vainqueur that have the reach among the old centerpulls.  I will concede that these are the only centerpulls I used for 27" to 700C conversion.  I have seen Dia-Compe on some old bikes and they looked like they had the reach.

There are various adapters out there to help with mounting recessed brakes on a frame set up for nutted brakes.  (Wait for it...)Velo-Orange sells Problem Solver's permutation.

Quote
I happened to notice yesterday as I was riding that there were indeed a lot of the old steel road bikes out there, but they were all low-end-- not even mid-range, let alone high-end.  The low-end bikes and even some mid-range were real dogs.  (I've gotten rid of several myself.)  There were a lot of high-end bikes made back then (which I did not see yesterday as I was thinking about it)

Now that's just a shame all around.  I picked up my Peugeot in almost all-original condition for $120.  Yes, that is generally overpriced, but in the Portland market, a UO-8 in bad shape can fetch $150.  I have seen a PX-10 in fair condition get snatched up at $750.  I'd share pics, but I am at work and my photo albums are blocked.

In this fair city, old steel has a cult-like following.  It only requires a little patience to find something lugged, double-butted, with forged fork ends.
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Offline whittierider

Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2010, 05:36:12 pm »

We're getting more and more off-topic, but...

Quote
There are various adapters out there to help with mounting recessed brakes on a frame set up for nutted brakes.  (Wait for it...)Velo-Orange sells Problem Solver's permutation.

Doggone you have some good sources for rare parts!  Would you know of any safe way to mount an additional water-bottle cage under the down tube (just ahead of the BB) on modern thin-walled fat tubed frames?  Ideally I suppose it would have a soft padded bracket that lightly clamps the tube and has something that is held in place on the top of the tube by the same screws that secure the normal down-tube water-bottle cage so the clamping force on the tube can be very light.  When I rode small-tubed steel frames, I was able to just use hose clamps (with handlebar tape under them) to mount the additional bottle cage underneath.  Now I have two additional bottle cages behind the seat for a total of four, but sometimes I would still like a fifth one.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2010, 06:36:39 pm »
OT:  :D  

Ask and ye shall receive!   :) Universal Bottle Cage Mounts.  I also have these on my Peugeot.  Not perfect, but better than nothing and safe on the paint.  I suspect that, over time, there will be fretting that will wear off the paint.  Some urethane frame patches are probably in order.  The straps include a piece of silicone rubber that provides friction and a little protection.  I'm thinking of getting another set these to mount my frame pump (bottle braze-on mount) inside my rear triangle on my all-arounder.
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Offline whittierider

Re: Bike pulls to the left dramatically
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2010, 08:37:22 pm »
Thanks.  That does look better than the TwoFish Quick Cage, which wouldn't go up to our size of tubing anyway.  I think I'll give yours a try.