How to Straighten a Bent Bike Rim – Full Guide


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Bend wheel? We all have it. Fully true wheels hardly stay fully true.

But don’t worry. It is not a big issue. It can be repaired and you can do it by yourself. This is a full guide of how you can straighten a bent wheel. Just go through and by the end of the article, you will know how to do it.

How much is a bicycle wheel supposed to be true?

If your wheel is secured to the nearest 0.5 mm, it is considered good. Wheel roundness to 0.5mm tolerance is the same. If it is your front wheel, you can turn it back to see if you rolled it as well as is the norm for most front wheels.

Why do bike wheels go out of true?

There are many reasons wheels go out of true. One of the most common is the loose spokes. You can check the tension of the spokes by squeezing two spokes at a time with your thumb and fingers or pluck every spoke like a guitar. A really loose spoke can cause your wheel to go out of true.

If you have an accident then the wheel is the first thing that usually goes out of shape.

If the wheels feel wobbly while riding, it’s out of true. Though sometimes it could cause due by the internal bearings of the hub.

Can a warped wheel be fixed?

When you find out that your rim is bend, the first thing you will ask yourself, “Can a bent rim be fixed?” Yes, of course, an expert mechanic will always be able to restore the shape of your rim unless it exceeds the shape that can’t be repaired. Thus most of the rims bend are minor issues and can be repaired. Even you can do it at your home with the help of some tools.

How to fix a bent wheel?

Fixing a bent wheel is very easy and you can do it by yourself. The first thing you need to check if you have is a spoke wrench. If you don’t have any, you will need to get one. This spoke wrench comes in different sizes depending on the different sizes of the spoke. Professional mechanics have a special tuning stand where they put the removed bent wheel to true. It is not much needed unless you want to get your racing bike in tip-top shape.

Even for a regular bike, you don’t need to remove the wheels from your bike. You can true wheels quite nicely while they are attached.

Rim and Spoke Checking

First thing first, flip over your bike so that you can have your bike’s wheel spun easily. Check if there are any broken spokes. If there is any then you might need to replace it with a new one. Now to check if whether your axle is fully sealed or not in your dropouts. For a quick-release wheel, it might not be. If the axle is not sitting straight then you don’t need to re-true your wheel.

  • The Alignment Checking

Now you need to look at the gaps between rim and brakes or something closer to wheels while rotating it slowly. The gap should be even all around for a perfectly true wheel. But if you notice that in someplace it is closer and in place it is further than it is not in good shape needed to be trued. You can also use a cable tie to measure the gaps.

  • Searching for the Problematic Spots

While slowly rotating the wheel you will find the rim is hitting the brake pad or getting too close in some places. Those places are the best places on the wheel. If it is bent to the left you need to tighten the spoke from the opposite side to fix it. You have to pull the nibble from the right-side spoke to reduce the bend.

  • Spoke Tightening

To tightening a spoke first you need to place the notch of the wrench in the nipple of the spoke. For this, you need the right sized wrench. Then turning it counterclockwise will tighten it. You can pluck the spoke as a guitar sting to check its tightness. Tighten a full turn and pluck again. If the pitch is higher, it’s being tighten and lower it’s being loosen.

  • Getting the Wheel True

You have to repeat tighten the spoke of the uneven places of your rim in the opposite direction. Check again and again and try not to overdo it. Over tighten it might make the bend worse. You can put some oil on the nipple of the spoke to make its turn easy. However, it is highly recommended to check the gaps again and again after a full turn of the wrench.

  • Final Step

When the wheel is spin freely and the gaps between look even enough all around, you can now squeeze each pair of spoke it reduce its stresses. Recheck after tuning is also needed.


  • You also can loosen the spoke from the opposite side that you are tightening. It is a bit easier and needs fewer turns.
  • Start with the largest ding among all dings.
  • Try to tighten several spoke of the more uneven places.
  • Gauging their relative tightness, you need to pluck spokes.
  • There is a limit to how much a wheel can be bent. Try not to focus on too much truing.


1. How often do you need to true your wheels?

It is a simple answer, as often as necessary. If the wheel wobbles while you are riding then you should true it up. And if it goes right out of true again very soon, you might need to take your bike to the mechanic.

2. How much time is required to true a wheel?

10 minutes to 30 minutes depends on the dings on your rims and the mechanic’s skill.

3. How can I true my bike rim at home?

You can do it simply by following all the steps described above.

4. Is it OK to ride a bike with a bent rim?

Riding a bike with a slight bend rim is not that dangerous. But you should check for cracks around the bend of the wheel just to be sure. If it has a slight crack, you should not ride your bike as this may cause an accident on the road. And you might face imbalance while riding a bend wheel bike.

5. What can I use instead of a spoke wrench?

You can use pliers or an unbutchered screwdriver. These will only work when the spokes aren’t rounded out and the spokes do not go all the way through the nipple. But it is recommended to spend a few bucks on a spoke wrench that fits.

6. How do you true a bike wheel with zip ties?

You can attach zip or cable ties close to the rim in a way that can indicate the unevenness of the rim. You can cut these zip ties with scissors to fit in the gaps from the attached places.

7. Can you fix a bent aluminum wheel?

Yes, but it is complicated. Some professional mechanic uses heat to true alloy rims. Somewhere between 250 – 350 degrees, heat needs to be applied in the uneven area of the rim.

8. How do you adjust spokes to straighten a wheel?

Described in detail above.

9. Should all spokes be the same tension?

Spoke tension is ensure if your wheels are strong, reliable, and long-lasting. Spokes that are too tight might damage the rim and reduce its longevity. All the spokes of the wheel should have approximately same average tension all over.

10. How tight should spokes be?

All the spokes should be similarly tight all around. A single spoke that is tighter than any may cause the ones next to it to loosen. It is more likely to snap. The reason is it’s taking more strain than it should. Loose spokes don’t usually pull their weight and this normally causes the wheel to buckle quickly.

11. Can you over tighten spokes?

Yes, you can but it is rare for the spokes to be too tight, but it is very common for spokes to be too loose. However, tightening the loose spokes may cause the wheel to bend even more if you tighten in the same direction. Instead, you should tighten the opposite.

12. What happens if your spokes are loose?

Loosen spokes are not providing any strength to the wheel structure. It is similar to broken or missing spokes. However, the loose spokes indicate that your bike wheels need truing.

13. What is the best spoke wrench?

The wrenches with three and four sides provide a stronghold to the nipple of the wrench. The DT Swiss Proline spoke wrench, Park Tools master spoke wrenches, and P&K Lie spoke wrenches are very popular amongst wheel mechanics and being used worldwide. However, keep in mind these are only designed to fit the standard external nipples of the spokes.

14. How much does it cost to fix a bend bike wheel?

If the wheel is fixable such as it generally looks good but has a wobble, you can expect your local bike shop to charge $20 – $30 to true it using professional equipment for the perfect line and roundness such as a truing stand.

15. How do you true a wheel without a truing stand?

Truing stand is an advanced tool by which you can easily true a when. Professional wheel mechanics use it. You have to remove your wheel from your bike and put it on a truing stand and do can do the rest. But it described above how you can true wheel without truing stand. You can take help from zipping or cable ties for it.

16. Why the back wheel of my bike wobble?

If it’s wobbling side to side, there are two problems that might be occurred. Your cup-and-cone bearings could be loose or your wheel could be out of true. Take your wheel off and hold the axle. Wobble it up and down a few times. Worst case scenario here might be missing spokes or a bent axle.

17. Can a bend rim cause shake?

Shakiness and vibration from the wheel are the most obvious sign that a wheel is bent. A bent and damaged wheel will cause your tire to make uneven contact with the surface of the tacks. Thus, shaking and vibration occurs.

Final Tip of Advice

Truing a bent wheel is not as easy as it seems. If you don’t have any experience fixing a bent wheel, you should not try to fix it as a starter. Take it to a mechanic will be a good idea than making it worse. It won’t cost you much. But even if you want to try it at your home, watch some videos over it again and again, or take help from a friend who had fixed a bent wheel before even trying.