Quick Tips – True a bicycle wheel

true a wheelHave you noticed your bike going a bit slower lately? Maybe it just seems like you have to push that extra bit harder to get it going. I have fallen victim to this lately and its probably all the bumping up and down curves on my Hybrid bike – something that I ideally shouldn’t be doing.

Spoke misalignment causes the wheel to wobble side to side often touching the brake pads. Luckily truing a bicycle wheel is an easy process as long as you have a bit of know-how.

All you will need to do this is a spoke wrench. Make sure however that you pick-up the right size that fits your spoke nipples or get one that fits many different sizes, there is plenty listed on Amazon.

True a bicycle wheel – step 1

Turn the bike upside down. Ideally a bicycle clamp can be helpful but it is not necessary. I have previously discussed how to make your own bicycle repair stand.

True a bicycle wheel – step 2

Spin the wheel round and note where it is wobbling side to side. Stop the wheel where it is closest to one of the brake pads. Rotate it up and down a couple of times to get the exact spot where it is most out of true (i.e. alignment).

True a bicycle wheel – step 3

The spoke at the centre of this misalignment needs to be adjusted and so do the spokes either side of it.

If the misalignment is towards the right brake pad then you need to loosen (clockwise) by 1/2 turn the centre spoke nipple that comes from the right hub side. Make sure you are only making very minor adjustments. This 1/2 turn will release some tension allowing the wheel to move back towards the centre.

You should also complement this with a 1/4 turn (counter-clockwise) of the two spoke nipples either side of this middle one you have just adjusted.

Obviously the reverse is true if it is misaligned towards the left brake pad. Then you need to loosen the spoke nipple at the centre of the misalignment that comes from the left hub side.

True a wheel – step 4

If this is not enough then adjust the centre spoke nipple another quarter turn.

True a wheel – step 5

Give the wheel another spin and then adjust according where you find problems. Don’t worry too much about getting it completely true as this is quite hard to do. As long as there is only minor wobble it is okay.

Wheel truing videos

This video is good for showing you how to true a bicycle wheel:


See also:

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If the rim is nearest the right brake pad then you need to loosen (clockwise) by ½ a turn the spoke nipple that comes from the right hub side. By releasing this tension you are allowing it to move back to the centre. You also need to tighten by a ¼ turn (counter-clockwise) the two spoke nipples either side of this middle one.

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

2 Responses to Quick Tips – True a bicycle wheel

  1. Tommy 28/03/2009 at 9:35 pm #

    Informative video on truing a wheel. But, kill the background music. I’m trying to listen to what the man is saying and it’s competing with some guy playing a horn in the background. What is that for? It adds nothing and only brings down the professionalism level a notch.

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