13. How to True a Wheel
Aspects of wheel truing covered include radial, lateral, centering (or dishing) and spoke tension.
Wheel truing is a delicate procedure that requires time and patience. In this tutorial I’ll try and demonstrate the many aspects as clearly as possible. Ideally you’ll want to have a wheel truing stand, good lighting and a comfortable workspace.
If you don’t have a truing stand, lateral, or side to side adjustments can be done using your brake pads as a guide. If truing the wheel on your bike, be sure to deflate the tire before you begin. For radial, or up and down adjustments, you can use an L-square as a guide by attaching it to your fork or frame.
It is very important to use the correct size spoke wrench to avoid stripping the spoke nipples.
Before you begin, carefully inspect your wheel for any bent or broken spokes. Make sure your hub bearings don’t have any play and then carefully squeeze a drop of light oil into all of your spoke holes.
Spoke nipples have a regular right-hand thread, but that while you’re truing a wheel, you will be looking at the nipple upside-down, so you have to turn the spoke wrench clockwise to loosen and counter-clockwise to tighten.
Make sure the spoke doesn’t turn with the nipple, which will cause it to twist and break. If it does turn, apply some light oil to the nipple threads and try again.
If a spoke does break while you’re truing, it’ll shoot out the spoke hole with great force, so be careful not to place your face in line with the rim. Safety glasses are highly recommended.
To check radial alignment, place the guide near the highest point on the outer edge of your rim. Find the high spots in your rim by spinning the wheel and correct them by tightening both left and right side spokes evenly. Correct any low spots by equally loosening the spokes in the effected area.
Tighten or loosen spokes in 1/4 turn increments. For example, if the effected area spans the length of four spokes, tighten all four spokes 1/4 turn, and then tighten the middle two spokes another 1/4 turn. Then re-check the radial alignment and repeat the process as needed.
To check lateral adjustment, place the guide close to the rim sidewall and look for high spots on either side. To correct a left or right high spot, tighten the spoke that leads to the opposing hub flange and equally loosen the spoke that leads to the hub flange on the same side as the high spot.
Just like radial adjustments, tighten or loosen the spokes in 1/4 increments. Again if the effected area spans four spokes, loosen and tighten all four spokes 1/4 turn, and then loosen and tighten the middle two spokes another 1/4 turn.
Re-check the lateral alignment and re-adjust as needed. Remember that on the rear wheel, the right side spokes have a lesser angle and effect lateral movement less than the left. The left side spokes have greater angle and effect radial alignment less than right. To compensate for this difference, the right side spokes should be adjusted two turns for every turn on left.
Rims should be exactly centered between the axle nuts. To check this you can use either a dishing tool, or your frame to check the measurement on each side.
If the rim is off-center, pull it in either direction by equally tightening all of the spokes on one side 1/4 turn, and loosening all of the spokes on the other. Then check the alignment again and repeat the process until the rim is centered.
To check spoke tension, pluck each spoke in the middle and listen to the sound. On the front wheel, all of the spokes should sound the same on both sides. On the rear wheel, each side should sound slightly different, but the spokes on each side should sound the same as each other.
Most people don’t have a spoke tensiometer, so it’s a good idea to compare the sound of your spokes to the sound of a wheel that you already know has proper tension. Remember that spoke changes effect the whole wheel, so you might have to repeat these steps several times before it is true.
After the wheel is true you should always pre-stress the spokes and re-adjust before riding. Failure to do this could cause broken spokes later. There are two ways to do this. The first way is to squeeze together the parellel spokes on both sides of the wheel. The second method involves resting the wheel sideways on the floor and gently pushing down on both sides of the rim, all the way around the wheel in 1/8 increments.
After pre-stressing the spokes you will usually have to re-check and make some minor adjustments. If after stressing the wheel you notice that your rim is severly warped, it means that your spoke tension is too high. Loosen all of the spokes 1/2 turn and re-true the wheel.
I just mated a 7 speed wheel with my old 10 speed and have noticed that the freewheel is wobbling in driven mode only...not so much when coasting. Ideas?
Video here: http://youtu.be/eD-GCu0GHd4... Read more >>
I broke two spokes and resolved to fix them myself.
I removed the cassette on the wheel, removed the broken spokes, thread the new spokes through the hub and the other spokes, but I cannot get the new spokes to screw into the old nipples. Or, rather, I can get them started, but there is a point past which my spoke wrench will not turn.
I am starting to think that I need to replace the old nipple with the new nipple that came with the new spoke.
Now that I type it out it seems obvious, but is this right? New spokes will not always go into old nipple?
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Hello, I just would like to know if it's possible to put 26' hybrid wheels onto a mountain bike frame? and also if you take a look at the picture of this bike frame, whether or not the back end would be compatible with quick release as it's an old frame. The front should be as I've brought new forks for it, thanks. Daniel... Read more >>
this is a complete noob question i know, but please bear with me!
My front wheel had a bit of play so i did a bit of reading, took it off and tightened the cone nuts. Once i did this the hub turned freely and there was pretty much the same amount of axle showing at each side. the thing is, there is only enough axle to go about half way through the drop out. the way i see it, the axle cannot go all the way to the outside of the drop out, otherwise there will be no room for the springs to compress on the quick release skewer, but only about half the thickness of the drop out... Read more >>
I don't know if I am doing this procedure whole wrong, but when I try to tighten my back tire, the nuts just keep spinning and not tightening. I made sure to hold the opposite still screw it in, but the nuts just spin rather than tighten. Is it something wrong with my bike or are the nuts faulty?... Read more >>
During cleaning on my bike, I've discovered that this guard has been damaged.
Do you really need this? Or would it be fine without it?... Read more >>
Hey Please to meet you I'm a new user.
I've recently built a set of road wheels
Stan's alpha 340 rims with 253g set of hubs, sapim spokes and nipples (20/24) weighing about 1200g all in with tyres.
I've ridden them twice and both times i've took out a different spoke from the rear drive side of the wheel, its pulled the spoke out of the nipple, thread gone (I believe brass nipples not sure til tomz if they are alloy til I ask my wheel builder guy).
Cant understand why?
I'm now starting to think my weight is the reason I'm 85kg.<... Read more >>
Hi, I bought a cheap foldable 6 speed bike with no front derailleur about a month ago and I have trouble having a nice clean shift of gears everytime I ride. The gears are always skipping when I just got it and some gears are not useable because the rear derailleur doesn't reach them.
I brought my bike the first time for a checkup and the mechanic got the screws on my rear derailleur at the right place, now all gears are useable, only the 5th and 6th occasionally skips but the 2nd gear is annoyingly loud! I lubed the chain using a dry lube and it still remained the same.
Brought my... Read more >>
Hi, I have a Raleigh Tandem that I want to load and take on trips. I am looking at replacing the rear hub (Shimano FH-RM30 8S) with a matching sized hub, but that also has disc brake bolt holes. Can anyone recommend a replacement hub that will accept a disc and is also sized so that I can use the same rim and spokes. I don't need a super light or high tech hub, but would like something that can be rebuilt and will accept my existing rear sprockets/cassette. Thanks, Michael... Read more >>
Hopefully im at the right place i recently traded a bike for a 3 wheel adult Trike brand im not really sure of to be all honest i wouldn't doubt its possibly stolen since its all spray painted.
I'm unsure of what brand Trike bike it is in the morning when i have some sun light its going on 10 PM now so its too late to go out their are get a picture of what i need help with but i'll try to explain...
I wanna replace the rims on the rear of the 3 wheel bike they are i believe 24 inch rims they don't have a nut or bolt on the sides like most bikes do.... Read more >>
I have a Fuji Absolute 3.0 I got from Performance Bike. It fell off the back of my car and I had to buy a replacement front wheel. I've taken the old wheel to two different LBS and both say the rim is beyond repair.
Since I have a replacement on the bike, I have decided to learn to replace a rim. I will try this to learn and not because I need a front wheel. I have replaced spokes and adjusted out of true wheels before without problem.
Finally, getting to my question: where can one buy a replacement rim. Some of the web sites leave one to feel, just about any 700 ri... Read more >>
Can anyone explain the difference between the 2 spokes? I've got hold of some spokes, and both ends are round (like standard round spokes) but the middle part is flat.
Thank you... Read more >>
Hi! New here! I have a fairly inexpensive mountain bike that I am trying to use with an indoor trainer. I have a Trek Cycleops trainer. This particular brand has a specific skewer and I have the correct one. I'm having two problems.
First, when I install the skewer, my wheel isnt stable on the skewer. It is loose and wobbles from side to side.
Second, ignoring the wobble, if I secure it into the trainer (correctly, btw) if I pedal full revolution, the tire (and skewer) pop off the frame. The skewer is still in the trainer. The frame of the bike is lifted off the ske... Read more >>
So I left my bike locked up at a train station and the back wheel got stolen off of it (as well has the seat and seat post). I'm looking for suggestions on replacement parts. I'd like to get decent parts without breaking the bank (decent to mean means it works well and won't break/fall apart super fast). I mostly ride the bike on the road/dirt trails.
How much do you suspect it'll cost to replace the tire and seat?
I have a hard rock sport 2009 (without disc brakes). It has a 19" frame. I know it's not anything too fancy but it's been a gre... Read more >>
Trying to figure what is going on here... Have a Fixie rear wheel that I have adjusted the cones on twice since I got it in November of last year. Noticed here recently that it had some more side-to-side play and just got a chance to check it out. Figured I would do a complete lube, so I broke it down and noticed that the drive side race(shell) was spinning in the hub along with some side play. The other side is fine.
Is there a way of tightening or getting the race(shell) to stop spinning??
Thanks... Read more >>