Strange braking - bike pulls to one side

I noticed recently, but most notably while out tonight, that when I brake my bike pulls to the left.

It tends to happen much more powerfully when I brake with my hands on the hoods, rather than in the drops.

I've checked:

Brake pad alignment - perfect
Tyre pressures - perfect
Shifters are at the same height - yep
Stem is straight - yes

I'm starting to wonder if maybe i have some oil or something on one side of my rims, or about my spokes perhaps not being tensioned properly. I can't take it into a bike shop, because I can't risk needing to spend any money on it.

I am going to give it a thorough strip down and clean tomorrow, see if that helps, but has anyone else experienced this?

Smokin Joe

Legendary Member
It can't be anything to do with the brakes or the wheel, that would only apply if you had two wheels doing the steering. Have you come off and damaged your forks perhaps?


New Member
The brake pads are both Shimano DA, in DA cartriges. Bought at the same time.

I have neglected the cleaning od Gen recently, and she does get tempramental if not kept impeccably clean. I'll give her a good wash down tomorrow and have a fettle, see if that helps.


Well-Known Member
[worst case scenario] = bent bike

Lean bike upright against a pole, with forks and front wheel perfectly straight.

Saunter nonchalantly (whistling is permitted) to a point about 10 or 15 yards behind the bike, then get down on your haunches to 'wheel level' and carefully axamine your cycle. Particularly, you are looking at the plane of the frame and wheels... as you look down the length of the bike are the two wheels in the same plane, relative to each other, and to the vertical tubes of the frame. Is the front wheel in the same 'track' as the rear, or does it appear angled to one side or the other.

Wander to front of bicycle and repeat the examination. Hint: these things are better seen from a slight distance.

Note: if any of these defects are apparent, indicating that the frame or forks might be damaged or out of true, it is permissible for the whistling to be replaced by a quick intake of breath or a softly muttered 'bastard'.

Seek a remedy.


Your servo's gone.
oh your bike, sorry.

in all seriousness does it happen on all stretches of road? or just the one?

try putting your front wheel on the other way round see if that helps.


Über Member
Possibly your tyres are warped.


domtyler said:
Possibly your tyres are warped.

can road bike tyres get warped? thinking about it there's no reason why not. Although he would be more likely to wobble than pull evenly to one side.
Theres no such thing as a warped tyre.

Taint the brakes. Bent frame as prev. suggested, bent forks, front wheel out of dish or rear wheel misaligned. If any of the above the bike wont ride straight with hands off the bars anyway. Very strange. Might it have something to do with the brake cable itself if its too short.


How does the bike 'ride hands off'. Richard Ballentyne's book says a properly set up bike can be ridden hands off for miles. I've used the test a couple of times myself and passed up on buying a Peugeot many years ago because it wouldn't ride straight with hands off.
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