How to true a bike wheel - Alpkit

Essential bike maintenance - How to true a bike wheel

By Alice Peyredieu>

If you can here an intermittent rubbing as you spin your wheels or your wheels are visibly out of true then this guide and video will help you get them straight again.

Tools Required

  • Spoke key


Leave the wheel in the frame.

With the wheel spinning, gently pull the brake until the buckled part of the wheel touches the brake pad.

How to true a bike wheel - Alpkit
Rotate the buckled area of the wheel past the brake pad slowly, to identify more precisely where the buckle is located.

If the buckle is to the right-hand side, it is the spoke to the left-hand side which will require tensioning to pull the wheel back into true.

The spoke is tensioned using a spoke key. Spoke keys can come in different sizes so make sure the spoke key fits the spoke nipple correctly.

With the spokes which require adjusting located at the top of the wheel, tension the left-hand side spoke, this can be done by using the spoke key to rotate the spoke nipple anti-clockwise.

    How to true a bike wheel - Alpkit

    It may help to mark the spoke which is being adjusted to make it easy to relocate after each adjustment.

    When adjusting the tension of a spoke rotate the nipple half a turn at a time.

    Spin the wheel and using the brake see how the buckle has altered. If there is still a buckle, tension the same spoke half a turn again.

    Spin the wheel once more to check if the wheel is less buckled.

    As the wheel becomes less buckled, use smaller turns of the nipple to micro adjust the tension of the spokes.

    When truing a wheel and tightening one side of the wheel it is possible to over tighten one side. To prevent this from happening pinch across two spokes where tension is being added and if they are tighter than the rest of the wheel, the spokes on the opposite side to the spoke that has been getting tightened can be loosened to relieve tension in that part of the wheel. This will allow the original spoke to be retightened to help true the wheel.

    Carry on spinning the wheel to check the buckle and keep adjusting the spoke in the buckled area to reduce the buckle.


    This content is brought to you by us and our friends at Bicycle Maintenance Guide. They have an app which makes a complete bike maintenance course.

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    Android app -

    This repair has been carried out on a component from a popular brand. If you are using a different component please refer to the manufacturers manual to ensure specific details of the component/task are known. The principles and general skills of the task can be transferred but maybe not the exact details.

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