Bumpy Ride? Troubleshoot Your Reformer: Part Two

Continuing on last month’s topic of troubleshooting a bumpy carriage ride, let’s talk about other places your annoyances might be coming from besides the wheels.

I perform the baseline testing by doing leg circles with my feet in straps, because I get the biggest range of motion using the ropes and straps (Remember, in Part 1 all the testing was done without the ropes.)  More specific testing I’ll do with my hands as demonstrated in photos and videos in this post.  You MUST ensure that the wheels and rails are clean and smooth before beginning this process.


With feet in straps, doing leg circles, we are listening for a few noises.  There are four common possible sources.  Check out the photo below for an explanation of what parts I mean.

  1. Carriage wheels (but you already eliminated that possibility with testing from Part 1, right!?)
  2. Pulley wheels (called a sheave)
  3. Pulley D-ring on Eyebolt
  4. Pulley spring on Riser
Pulley diagram

If you hear squeaking but don’t feel any bumps or catches as you circle your legs, likely some dry lubricant will help.  Check out this video to see how to apply Teflon (PTFE) Spray to the Pulley wheel.

If you don’t hear any squeaking, great!  Move on.


Constant thump

If you feel a constant thump-thump-thump-thump, there are two places to check.

First, check that the ropes are not thick, stiff, fuzzy and wavy.  Worn ropes can cause a bumpy feeling as they glide over a smooth, round pulley.

If the ropes are fine, it might be the pulley wheel itself.  The best way to check this is to grab the two ends of the rope coming out of the pulley (about 6 inches from the pulley wheel), apply tension on the ropes and slide them back and forth.  You may hear some click-click-clicking and/or feel the thump-thump-thumping.  Click here for a video.

These one or two feelings mean that the pulley wheel has been deformed and needs to be replaced.  It’s not a safety hazard, necessarily, but does greatly affect the feel of any exercise where ropes are under tension.

One thump only

If both the ropes and pulley wheel is okay, and you feel just ONE click during leg circles, you should check for wear on the inner radius of the eyebolt attached to the pulley.  Over time this will wear down and then as the D-ring slides over the edges of the wear on the eyebolt, you can feel and hear a click/thump.  The photo below shows the kind of wear on the eyebolt you should check for.  Too much wear can be a safety hazard!  In that situation I’d recommend replacing just the eyebolt and saving your existing pulley.

A final note on noise

Some noise is going to exist.  The pulley spring can rub the riser and the pulley and be a little loud during use.  There isn’t much you can do about this, and it’s not a safety hazard.  So, don’t worry!

If you’re still stuck after all these steps and can’t figure out where your bumps or noises are coming from, you can set up a video call with me or send an email to Balanced Body Tech Support for troubleshooting help.

Happy (Smooth) Reforming!

Psst! This post also appeared on Balanced Body’s blog, here.