Wheel Alignment

edited July 2013 in Rambler
When steering straight ahead or even just parked, should the tops of the forward two wheels tilt inward toward each other a few degrees?


  • Tilting of the wheels as you describe is known as "camber". Cars have a small amount of negative camber, which means that the wheels tilt slightly inward at the top. However, it's my understanding that most recumbent trikes are not cambered. I don't have a Rambler, but I just measured my Tour II and found that with no weight on the frame it has about 3mm of positive camber, meaning that the top of the wheels are leaning out. This makes sense because the Tour II is made of flexible chromoly tubing. With a rider in place the frame would flex and bring the tops of the wheels inward, possibly to the 0 degree camber position. A small amount of negative camber should not hurt, and depending on other steering geometry factors, might even help, but a large amount of negative camber will increase rolling resistance. Negative camber is sometimes used in Velomobiles to widen the footprint for stability, while keeping the body a bit more narrow.

    The fact that you can see your wheels leaning inward is a little concerning since a small amount of negative camber would not be obvious to most people. Have you measured the distance between your wheels at the bottom and top to confirm that they really are leaning in, and that it's not just an optical illusion?

    Given the robust nature of the Rambler kingpin design, I don't see how they could cause unwanted camber unless heavily worn. Try picking the front end up and giving the wheels a wiggle to make sure everything is tight. If the wheel bearings and kingpins don't feel loose, then I would not worry about it. Just ride and maybe someone with more knowledge of the Rambler will chime in with the real scoop.

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