Wheel during climbing

I've notice for a while on my Ribble that when I get out of the seat to honk up a hill I start to hear rubbing noises from the tyres. The bike has mudguards that are fitted with minimal clearance, so I assume that the wheel is deforming and rubbing.

Is this normal when climbing?

The wheels are Fulcrum racing 7's.


Über Member
Normal. It is quite easy to deflect a wheel rim from side to side (try pushing the rim against the brake blocks) but most of the time there is little sideways force on a bicycle wheel. A laterally stiff wheel would need a very wide axle. When honking, the bike sways from side to side, large sideways forces come into play and so the rim deflects. There is also a bit of frame deflection.


It's why some of us bang on about the importance of expensive,stiff wheels and similar frames!

Going uphill just exaggerates the flex but this is happening to a lesser degree every time you pedal.
The flex will be worse because of all the Xmas mince pies you still haven't lost ;)

It could be wheel or frame flex, check your wheel is true, look closely at all the points where there is a close clearance to the wheel. It could be something as simple as a mudguard stay slightly bent just catching a tyre. Check the obvious stuff, no play in wheel bearings, wheel is true, no broken spokes. Try to see which position the valve is in when it rubs so you can examine everything with the wheel in that position. I've never yet had a wheel rub purely because of frame or wheel flex, normally something is out of line or loose.


It sounds like it is normal and it is probably the mudguards are a bit close. Now that I think about it, it does tend to be worse when it is wet (probably muck on the underside of the mudguard)

Crackle, the wheels seem to be nice and true (looking at wobble relative to brake pads) and pinging the spokes suggests they are all tight enough. It's just had a service, so the bearings should be fine as well.

I can but dream of getting new wheels......;)


God Almighty
could be the brakes..... there is a reason climbers seem to have there brakes fairly loose

Young Un

New Member
It's just wheel flex, nothing to worry about. I get it all the time, but then I'll admit to throwing my bikes around up hill, and being 13 stone, and having big legs, I put out quite a bit of power. The only wheels I haven't get to flew are my Mavic Ksyrium's . Can get a bit out of my grammos, but have my brakes set quiet loose on the TT bike so it doesn't rub.


New Member
If you've got those quick release jobbies on the brakes, loosen the rear 1/2 way before a climb.

The rear brake will still work but the lever travel will remind you to reposition it to the correct setting.
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