Bikes and rattles often seem to go together. A common yet often overlooked culprit are the hub cones. On conventional hubs (that is, ones with loose balls inside them), the cones are the outer bearing surface and can be adjusted to take up slope. They can work loose, introducing play into the bearings and leading to a rattly wheel. You can check for loose cones by simply grabbing the top of the wheel and trying to move it sideways. If the rim moves and the hub axle doesn't, the cones are probably loose. Confirm it by taking the wheel out and wobbling the axle - you'll be able to feel any play.

Many aftermarket hubs use replaceable cartridge bearings instead of loose balls and adjustable cones. If these develop play it usually means replacing the bearings, although a few hubs can have the end-load adjusted.

If the cones are loose there's a fair chance that the hub could really do with a strip, clean and re-grease, but for now we'll just look at tightening the things back up to get you back out there...

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