Truing Wheels

Wheel Truing

What is it?

Truing wheels is what you have to do when your wheel is wobbling or not rolling straight. This happens if you land hard or just hit something really hard with your wheel. It could just happen over time if you’ve been riding your bike on bumpy trails for a long time.

Why do we need to true a wheel?

I know by experience, when your wheel is out of true, it puts tension on all the other spokes which could lead to them breaking. It also makes you ride slower because the wheel is wobbling to one side.

How do we true wheels?

If you have a truing stand, take your wheel off your bike and take the tire and tube off. It all depends on how big your tires are if you need to take your tire off or not. You should deflate your tube to relieve some pressure on the rim if you keep your tire on. Spin the wheel to see where it’s out of true. When you find where the wheel is out of true, determine which spokes to loosen or tighten by looking at what side of the hub the spokes are on. You want to loosen the spokes on the side that the rim is bent towards and tighten the spokes on the opposite side. Only turn the spokes a 1/4 turn to make sure they don’t break. It is quite simple, but can be tricky because you have to make sure that you don’t loosen or tighten the spokes too much and you get the right tightness all the way around the wheel.

What do we need?

All you really need for truing wheels is a spoke wrench. There are three main sizes and you have to make sure you have the correct one, or else you’ll strip the screw that holds the spoke in place. A truing stand could come in handy if you plan on doing this a lot or want to get it perfect each time.

Here is a spoke wrench.

Where can we get stands?

Your local bike shop should be able to order truing stands if they don’t have them in stock. Each bike shop is different in what they can get and even if the can get them. You can also order them online. They can cost between $50-$400 depending on the quality of the stand and the adjustments that can be made. You could also build your own truing stand if you’re that cheap or just want a fun project.

Here are two different kinds of truing stands.

Here is the expensive one:

Here is the less expensive one:

The first truing stand is more expensive than the second one. The price really depends whether you find them online, or in bike shops. In Canada they are expensive in bike shops and cheaper online. The first one can cost as low as $180 online to $350 in a bike shop. Plus you have to buy a stand which is around $50. The other one is cheaper at around $180 and you don’t need a stand. It doesn’t have as many adjustments as the first one, but it is much cheaper and we don’t need to buy a stand for it. I don’t think we’ll need to do much truing when the wheel is off the bike, so that’s why I’m leaning more towards the cheaper one.

Are there other ways of truing a wheel?

Without a truing stand you could keep the wheel on the bike and use the fork or rear frame as a reference to see if the wheel is straight or not.

What’s the first thing you do?

The first thing you do depends on if you have a truing stand or not. In most cases if you have one, you have to take the tire and tube off the wheel and put it on the stand to see if it’s true or not. If you are just using the “cheap man’s way”, then just turn your bike upside down.
This website shows you how to true a wheel without a stand.

Here is a video to show you how to true a wheel with a truing stand.

Is getting a truing stand worth it?

Getting your wheel trued at a bike shop could cost you from $15-$40 depending on where you go and how bad your wheel is out of true. If you plan on riding a lot on bumpy surfaces and being rough on your wheels, it might be a good idea to do it yourself, and it might even be worth it to get your own truing stand.

Why are we breaking spokes?

Anything can break a spoke; from a rock or stick getting in there or if you wipe out and hit your wheel on something hard. Once you break a spoke, that makes the other spokes more prone to breaking because the tension is not even. If you want to prevent breaking spokes, when you replace a broken one or are just truing your wheel, go through all the spokes with a spoke wrench and make sure they all have the same tension. You should go through and check all your spokes every time you do maintenance on your bike.

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