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.
So today I got a flat tire (unrelated, it was a nail, extracted, repaired. All good) and when I pulled over to try to find what caused it, I noticed that my rim was rubbing the brakes the way it does when it's out of true because of a broken spoke.
The spoke is fine. It's the RIM that's been damaged, and that has damaged my calm some. I took it to my usual bike shop, guys are pros, figured they'd have an answer, no such luck. They gave me vague language about how it "looked like it h... Read more >>
We have a hand me down bike which has been in the family for 30+ years. It's original ower is now in her fourties!!! I'm attached to this bike because the memories I have with my dad riding it.
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I have a very annoying creaky/rubby noise that I cant shift although I have narrowed it down to the rear wheel and not the bike.
I have a Giant Propel Advanced SL 0 Aero Race Road Bike 2016 3 months old and 1,000 miles with the SLR 0 Aero wheels 55mm.
The noise noise only happens (always takes 10 mins to warm up) when I'm seated and putting some power down uphill or on the flats. Now I know its not the BB as I have put my friends Mavic rear wheel on my bike and my SLR r/wheel on his Scott and he gets the same noise on his bike. He's 60kg and... Read more >>
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So I have this lovely ti tourer with shimano xtr hbm960 hubs, and I am hoping to service these hubs. I see a metal cap on both ends of the hubs both front and back and the metal cap has a space that looks like I can put a flat head screw driver into to pry it off, it has no flats like the other cones I've dealt with. Can't find how to on the internet. Has anyone dealt with these hubs?
http://imgur.com/0uLqgOw... Read more >>
I have a 1987 Cannondale racing road bike that I have been using to ride on crushed stone and paved trails. The wheels have worn out and need replacing. I was wondering if I could get a slightly wider wheel that could support a wider tire. The crushed stone makes control a bit hard at times. I am looking for more stability from the bike.
I like the feel of the bike and am very comfortable with the road set up. I would rather not have to buy a new bike.
golfguy826... Read more >>
I was wondering if someone could recommend to me which removal tool is needed to remove this freewheel? I recently broke a couple spokes and the freewheel needs to be removed to access the hole to put a new spoke in. I put the ruler there to measure the diameter of the space, it's about 35mm-ish. I was looking at park tools freewheel recommendation site, but don't see one that would necessarily match. Would the FR-6 or FR-8 work? Thanks!
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I got this from Consumer Reports. It effects disc equipped bicycles from 1998 -2015. Including major brands like Cannondale, Dimondback and Specialized.
The quick release wheel lever can come open and get jammed against the disc brake.
To see if your bike is effected go to: quickrelease-recall.com... Read more >>
Hi, I'm having some trouble reattaching my daughter's rear wheel to the frame after fixing her flat. It's a 20" wheel, single speed, with linear pull brakes. I have it reinstalled and with what seems to be a good tension on the chain, but it's rubbing the brakes and it's a real chore to pedal.
I had to go through this just last week when my son did the same with his. It was a learning curve (lots of youtube help) but I got it right on the third try. But he has horizontal forks where the axle goes on, so it seemed to be just a matter of getting it the right distance and holding it ... Read more >>
Just bought a new pair of 700c hybrid wheelset with an inside rim width of 19mm. I have tried to fit schwalbe 700 x 40c tyres on them but the tyres just pop out from the rim when inflated. It seems to be a loose fit. Somebody please advise.
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I bought a wheel set of Mavic Crossroc. The rear hub came with a 12 X 135 set up, but I need to a 12 X 142 mm so I got some adaptors and I have disassembled the hub but I can't figure out how to remove the actual end cap on the axle. Do I have to remove them, if yes how ? If no do the 142 mm just slides over these caps ??
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I removed my rear wheels on my single drive ancient Miami Sun trike, right rear bolts to bearing, left wheel has a nut on end of shaft ... I had the wheels trued, and tubes and tires replaced ... tires are .25 wider than original. Now when I try to ride it is quite a bit harder to pedal. Is there a proper tightness for the rear wheel axle nut ? or is the wider tire the culprit ? I just assume I did something slightly wrong ... Thanks... Read more >>
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