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Thread: Vaya Shimmy

  1. #1
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    Vaya Shimmy

    My beloved 60 cm Vaya has developed a front-wheel shimmy that begins at around 15 mph. It happens when unloaded (I do not ride this bike with a touring load) and is most pronounced riding no-hands (as would obviously be the case).

    It's bumming me out. The bike is stock other than for 38 cm slicks, Berthoud fenders, pedals, a B-17 saddle and a non-switch SP dynamo hub around which the wheel was professionally laced. A forum search found no other reports of Vaya shimmy, though there is one (and only one) account of a Fargo shimmy (similar geometry).

    Has anyone else experienced this problem and if so have you identified solutions?

    Thanks in advance for any insights.

  2. #2
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    This may sound silly but is anything loose on the front of the bike? Bag or fender or anything? I had problems once with a motorcycle and a very slightly loose fork mounted windshield. I hate to hear this as I'm currently piecing one together.

  3. #3
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    I have a 60 cm Vaya as well. Sometimes my dynamo hub vibrates around that speed, but no detectable shimmy whatsoever. My old '79 Motobecane had some serious shimmy issues, but the Vaya hasn't acted up.

  4. #4
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    Nope...never read about a Vaya shimmy.

    Tire a bit out of round, or not fully mounted? I'd think that if it were a hub or skewer issue, it would manifest itself in the brakes, as well.

  5. #5
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    Check your spokes to see if any are loose. Had a few loosen up on my stock rear wheel before and man did the bike shimmy.

  6. #6
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    Check the alignment of the wheel(s) in the frame and fork - make sure the rear wheel is in straight and also the front between the fork blades. If the axles are up in the dropouts all the way by feel, but the wheel is not looking perfectly straight in the frame, it is possible that there may be paint build-up that is in the way. Seen this on a lot of frames over the years - and one Salsa that I had to do a little bit of filing/sanding on one rear dropout. Also - the one or both of the wheels could be slightly out of dish - if they are out of line just a touch, it can make the bike shimmy at certain speeds. Front fenders can be a culprit - catching a bit of wind and if they start to oscillate can make the front wheel react as well. Lots of variables that potentially can make this happen. We even had a customer once who had a saddle that the rails were bent, and the slight offset that it gave his body weight made his $5K Carbon bike shimmy at high speed. A new saddle cured that problem. Spoke tension, as mentioned above can also create interesting dynamics in the bike as it rolls along... good luck on the hunt!
    R.I.P. Corky 10/97-4/09
    Disclaimer: I sell and repair bikes for a living


  7. #7
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    Circling back on this thread... First, thanks everyone for your feedback.

    Soon after this post I was in an accident that required a full re-build of the rear wheel. Prior to that I had checked the alignment of both wheels. Now the shimmy is gone, all other variables remain unchanged except that I am now also without fenders as both were damaged in the wreck. So it seems the shimmy was attributable to either the earlier rear wheel, the fender(s), or some combination thereof.

  8. #8
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    Glad you figured it out!

    I had a slight shimmy the first few weeks that I got the Vaya, I thought it was the single loaded pannier, and the weight all in the back. I added fenders, and when it came back from the shop the shimmy was gone. I think the front wheel wasn't seated completely.

  9. #9
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    Just a thought......I run tubeless on my Vaya and when a latex ball develops in the sealant over some time, a shimmy starts in the front end. My tell tale sign that it's time to check the sealant is an ever so slight "bump" I feel when on pavement at every rev on the front wheel.

    Something to consider if you folks are running tubeless.

    Cc

  10. #10
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    I experienced a hands-off shimmy on mine this weekend. About 18 mph on a relatively smooth hardpacked dirt road, I took my hands off the bar and sat up to stretch, and the shimmy started. This did not happen on pavement, so it might be the subtle variations of the road surface started it. It might also be the rear rack, a simple aluminium rack with about 3 pounds of stuff tied to it, that I tried for the first time. I will have to do some more trials.

  11. #11
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    Update- I rode about 20 miles on paved and dirt trails yesterday with my same Vaya set-up, minus the pack on the rear rack, just the bare rack (maybe 300 g). No shimmy could be detected, so I think it might be sensitive to having any additional load placed out back. I don't have a front rack, so I can't try loaded at both ends, but I wonder if that would balance things out?

  12. #12
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    I have a Tubus Logo & Duo rack set on my bike. I've place well over 80lbs on my bike loaded on both ends, and also considerable weight (> 10 lbs) on both the front and rear alone. No shimmy or wiggle. I think its your rack.

  13. #13
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    Played around with it more today. Even a few pounds on the rear rack creates a shimmy. Bare rack, nothing. Only 1/3 of the platform is forward of the rear axle, 2/3 is behind, so that's what I believe is the culprit.

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