Both wheels not centered

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7/26/2016 8:11 AM
Edited Date/Time: 8/4/2016 1:08 PM

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7/26/2016 8:22 AM

Loosen the bolts for each wheel, position the wheel so it's centered and hold it there while you tighten the bolts. Remember you also have to set the chain tension when you position the rear wheel. It might take a few tries especially on the rear. Most front forks have the wheel lined up when you drop the axle all the way into the dropouts. But not always. Grab a wrench and play around with it.

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7/26/2016 3:26 PM

Make sure the front wheel is as far into the dropouts as it goes. If it's still not centered the wheel is out of dish. It's an easy fix that any bike shop will do relatively cheap, but it's also not that much of a big deal.
With the back wheel, loosen the non drive side off a little, push the wheel straight, and tighten it back up. Did you buy it in a box and build it yourself? There'll be a few other things worth checking for tightness too if you built it, as they're only roughly put together in the factory. If a shop built it you can assume that everything is tightened properly, but they should offer a free service after a bedding in period. Any other shop can carry out this service, and again it won't be too expensive. Ride it for a couple of weeks to make sure everything is bedded in properly, then get it done. It's cheaper than needing to replace parts that have worn from not being assembled properly, and they won't be covered under warranty if you don't get them sorted straight away.
Also, if you get an independent shop to carry out these checks, they'll be liable if anything goes wrong that they should've checked. All labour should have a 6 month warranty, so if a bolt comes loose after a week, they obviously didn't check it properly. Just keep receipts and stuff.

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7/27/2016 8:48 AM

to add, I flip the bike upside down and lean over on top of the front wheel pushing down with my chest as I tighten the wheel. The axle can sometimes slip around as you tighten the bolts.

For the rear, the bike is still upside down and bolts loose, I rest my left palm on the bb cup (that the cranks go into) and grip the tire with that same hand with my index finger and thumb. With those 2 fingers I push on the tire to keep the chain tight, which also helps control the centering of the wheel. Rotate the cranks and feel for the tight spot in the chain (sometimes hard to find with a new chain). When you've found the tight spot, leave the cranks there and adjust chain tension to the tight spot. As you tighten the rear axle bolts make sure to go back and forth very often, after each turn until both are tight. Don't crank down too hard at first. You will feel if the wheel is shifting since you are bracing it with your two fingers. This is often a very frustrating part of bike maintenance as the the rear axle often slips around as you tighten. The end result is when the wheel is tight and you rotate the cranks you want the chain to have the right amount of tension so that it is not too tight or in danger of falling off.

This is just my method. There are many more.

repeat after a couple sessions because regardless of what they say, all chains stretch. This is important for you to learn how to do because you will be doing it often and don't want to have to pay a shop to do this. It's also very important to do it right because having either wheel come loose/chain drops while you are riding and it can really ruin your week.

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7/27/2016 2:06 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/4/2016 1:08 PM

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