how to straighten a bike rim

5 Easy Steps on How to Straighten a Bike Rim Yourself

How to straighten a bike rim – Are you getting tired of hearing your bike wheel hit the brake pad with every rotation? A bent wheel rim is not only annoying, but it can also significantly limit your speed while riding. 

For anyone who relies on their bike for transport, this can be a real issue, but thankfully it is one that is easy to fix. 

Bent rims usually occur when your bike encounters a large pothole, or gets stuck while you are trying to take it on and off the rack. 

You may assume that the only solution to this problem is to buy a new wheel, but with the right tools, it is very possible to perform your own repairs. 

In this article, we will be taking you through how to fix a bent wheel rim by yourself, so you can get your bike back on the road as soon as possible. 

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Necessary Tools  

Before knowing how to straighten a bike rim, you will need a few tools for tightening and loosening the spokes.

A truing stand is an incredibly useful piece of kit to have for this job. This contraption will allow you to remove the wheel and mount it in a position where it is easy to access all the spokes and see where the damage is.

While a truing stand is very useful, you don’t need one, and can just as easily fix your bent rim without removing the wheel from the bike at all. 

The only tool that is absolutely essential for this job is a spoke wrench. This is a handy tool that can be found in most bike shops and will allow you to adjust the tension of the spokes on your wheel.

how to straighten a bike rim spoke wrench

Step 1: Assess The Damage 

The first step in repairing a bent wheel rim is to find out what has caused it to bend. To do this, you will need to flip the bike onto its side or upside down. 

Remember to check the axle and brake pads first to see if your wheel really is bent or if it simply isn’t sitting right on the axle. 

It is also essential to check for any broken spokes. These will need to be repaired sooner rather than later, although they won’t necessarily stop you from straightening the rim in the meantime. 

Place your bicycle on a Bikehand Bike Repair Stand to make bicycle reparation comfortable and easy 

how to straighten a bike rim bike repair stand

Step 2: Find The Bend

If the axle and brake pads are all where they should be, then it is likely that the source of your problem is a bent wheel rim. Next, you will need to find out which direction it is bent in, which will help you know how to go about straightening it. 

Spin the wheel and see how far away it is from the brake pads during each point of its rotation. If the rim is closer to one pad than it is to the other, then you will know that this is the section that needs to be straightened. Make a note of which direction your wheel is bent in, as you will need to know this before you can perform an effective repair.  

Step 3: Start Adjusting The Spokes

In order to correct dings and bends in the rim of your wheel, you will need to use your spoke wrench to adjust the spokes on the opposite side of the damage. 

To do this, spin the wheel until your bent section is in between the brake pads. Find the spokes at the opposite side of the bent section and tighten them with your spoke wrench. 

Tightening a spoke will usually require you to twist the spoke nipple counterclockwise. If the nipples are slightly corroded and difficult to turn, you can use a little grease to loosen them up. 

how to straighten a bike rim precision and straight

For particularly large dings or bends, you will need to tighten up to 3 or 4 spokes in order to correct them. As such, it always makes sense to start with the biggest ding you can. 

If you find that you need to tighten a lot of spokes to fix one bend, then you should also loosen the spokes opposite to the ones you are tightening. This will prevent you over tensioning your wheel and causing more damage. 

Work your way around the wheel, fixing each bend until it is perfectly straight. 

In the unlikely circumstance that the rim of your wheel is bent away from its hub, you will need to tighten all the spokes in this area. Likewise, if the rim is distorted inwards, then you will need to loosen all the spokes to let it regain its original shape. 

Step 4: Check If The Wheel Is Straight

After you think you have straightened out all the bent sections, spin your wheel again and check that it is the same distance from both brake pads, all the way around.

If your wheel is completely equidistant from both pads, then it is straightened out and ready for the road. If you find another small bend, then simply correct in the same way we did above. 

Step 5: Check The Tension Of The Spokes 

Before finishing, go around the entire circumference of the wheel and gently press each pair of spokes inwards. This is to remove excess tension that could damage your spokes. 

After doing this, quickly check the wheel is still straight and fix any dings or bends that may have reappeared. Another way to gauge the tightness of a spoke is by plucking it like a guitar string. 

Carry with you this handy 17 in 1 Bike Multitool – Compact and Lightweight Bicycle Repair Kit

how to straighten a bike rim multitool bike repairation kit

Conclusion

Bikes provide a fun form of exercise and are a great way to get around town. Unfortunately, accidents can happen and a large pothole in the road can easily damage the wheels on your bicycle. 

A broken wheel makes a very annoying noise as the bent section swipes across the brake pad with each rotation. It can also slow you down and take a lot of the fun out of riding a bike. 

Thankfully, knowing how to straighten a bike rim is something that you can easily do yourself with the right tools. 

If you have any broken spokes, or if the wheel is very out of shape, then you may still need to take it to a repair shop. 

However, provided the damage isn’t too extensive, you should be able to get your bike back on the road in a matter of hours with a spoke wrench and a little patience and that’s how to straighten a bike rim.

5 Easy Steps on How to Straighten a Bike Rim Yourself