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How to Straighten a Bent Bike Rim in Only 6 Steps

how to straighten a bent bike rim

Did you notice that your rim bent after a day trip? Luckily, you can fix it yourself. A bent bike rim is not the end of your bike’s career. So, you don’t have to buy a new one just for its sake.

One characteristic of a bent rim is the annoying sound it makes. It slows your speed, which can be a total bummer if you’re out there.

Worry no more. We will teach you how to straighten a bent bike rim right here.

What You Need

fix-a-bent-bike-rim

Rims are usually bent from hitting huge potholes. They also deform from too much twisting as you wedge your bicycle. A hugely bent rim hits your brake disc in every rotation, resulting in the swishing sound of your bike.

To straighten a bent bicycle rim, you will need the following tools to effectively true your bike wheel:

  • Spoke wrench – this tool is available in different sizes to perfectly fit various spokes. If you have none, you can check out the LETUSPORT Bike Spoke Adjustment Wrench.

straighten-a-bent-bicycle-rim

  • Truing stand (optional) – a truing stand is an optional tool that makes your work easier. You can still true your wheel without it, but it can definitely give you the right angle and position to work on your bike.

fix-bent-bicycle-rim

If your bike is in top shape, you can ditch this tool.

Guide on How to Straighten a Bent Bike Rim

straighten-a-bike-rim

Follow these simple steps to true your bike.

Step 1: Check your Bike’s Spokes and Rim

If you have a truing stand, it’s time to put your bike in there. If not, you can flip it over.

This will give you a good angle that allows you to access all hard-to-reach areas when you straighten a bike rim. Besides, spinning your bike wheel is easy with this position.

Check if your bike has broken spokes. If it does, you can also use this method to fix and straighten your spokes. But I still suggest replacing the damaged spokes as soon as possible.

I suggest you lighten your bike’s load if you have a broken spoke. Also, ensure that the axle completely sits in the dropouts unless your bike comes with an instant-release wheel.

It can be a waste of time truing your rim if the only problem is an axle that does not sit straight. This rule also goes for your brakes. Check them out and ensure that they are not moved to the side. Also, take a look to see if the brake cable is stuck on something.

Step 2: Check your Bike’s Proper Alignment

Once you finish checking your bike, it’s time to slowly turn the wheels and inspect the gap between your wheel and the brake disc. You will notice that there are parts that are closer to or farther from the pad.

You know that you perfectly fix a bent bike rim if it comes with even gaps all around.

Step 3: Look for the Problematic Areas

To straighten bike rim, start by carefully turning to the rim area where it hits your brake pad. This will allow you to determine if the rim is bent right or left.

For the next step, tighten the spoke opposite to the damaged area. This will pull your bike rim to the opposite direction of the bend. So, if the rim is bent to the left, it will tug your bike to the right.

Step 4: Tighten the Bike Spokes

Place your spoke nipple to the notch located in your wrench. It is crucial to check your wrench and ensure that it comes in an accurate size. Then, turn it in a counter-clockwise direction to constrict and tighten.

You can double-check by plucking the spoke, similar to how you pluck a guitar. Tighten one whole turn and pluck it again. A higher pitch indicates your spoke tightening, while a lower sound means the spoke is coming loose.

Step 5: Start Truing

Take a look at the rim’s ding, which is a few inches in length. Then, evenly tighten the two spokes across from the ding. Do this with a half turn of your spoke wrench then check the gap.

Do this method again until you notice that your bike’s ding is mostly unbent. If your bike comes with a larger dinged area, you might have to tighten three to four spokes that are opposite the dinged section.

You can also apply a lubricant if you notice that the nipples are rusty. This will make them easier to rotate.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

After fixing the wheel and making the gaps even, proceed with pressing each pair of spokes in your bike rim. By doing so, you can easily even out the remaining stresses.

Pro Tips To Straighten Bent Bicycle Rim:

  • I highly suggest starting with the largest ding when you fix bent bicycle rim. This is applicable if the bike rim comes with various dings.
  • Your bike rim may be slightly farther from your hub compared to other parts. This problem is easy to fix, though. Simply tighten the spokes in the place where the rim is farther from the hub.
  • Carefully pluck the spokes to gauge or measure its relative stiffness.
  • If you noticed that your bike needs more than five turns for tightening, then your bike wheel is probably in a horrible shape. If you keep re-truing the bike rim after enough dings, you will eventually need a new one.
  • Relax the spoke that’s opposite the one you’re tightening.

By doing so, you can keep your bike rim from overtightening and being out of round. You can also use masking tape to fix an out-of-round issue. This can come in handy if you do not have a truing stand.

Carefully adjust your masking tape like how you do with the brake calipers. Slowly squeeze it tighter each time the wheels do not touch.

  • Cinch your brake one level tighter each time you prevent the bike rim from rubbing on one section.

Now that I finished telling you all my tips, it’s time to start truing your bike. You can also check out this video so you will know more when you fix bent bike rim.

Conclusion

Did you enjoy the tutorial? I hope you did. Knowing how to straighten a bent bike rim allows you to effortlessly speed up any driveways with your fixed rim. You can also ditch the worry of having a bent rim that slows you down.

Remember to have a handy spoke wrench in your toolbox always. If you don’t have one, you can try out the LETUSPORT Bike Spoke Adjustment Wrench.

Tell us your experience in the comments and also share this article with your loved ones if you enjoyed it. It would really mean a lot. Remember to keep riding and stay active.