How to Balance a Bicycle Wheel

How to Balance a Bicycle Wheel
A balanced wheel is defined as a wheel whose rim is laterally true. Viewing the wheel from above, the rim will be centered over the hub, with an even amount of axle on either side. For this to be possible, spokes have to be tensioned properly. If spokes are too loose on one side of the wheel, tension from opposing spokes will pull the wheel in the opposite direction. 'Dishing' is the first step in determining whether a wheel is balanced. 'Truing' will be the method for restoring balance to the wheel.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Dishing

Things You’ll Need:
  • Dishing gauge
  • Truing stand (optional)
  • Spoke wrench
 
Step 1
Adjust the blocks on either end of the dishing gauge so that they rest against the rim surface. Begin your measurement on the right, drive-side of the wheel.
Step 2
Lower the sliding gauge on the dishing tool until it rests against the surface of the locknut. The locknut is located near the end of axle of the wheel. Do not reset the gauge afterwards.
Step 3
Repeat the above procedure for the other side of the wheel. If the gauge touches both locknuts in the same place, the wheel is balanced and no further action is required. If the gauge falls short of the left side locknut, or extends beyond the locknut, the wheel is off center. Proceed to Section 2.

Truing

Step 1
Tighten the right side spokes evenly if the gauge failed to touch the surface of the left side locknut. Failure of the gauge to touch this locknut indicates that the wheel is off center toward the left. Tightening the right side spokes will pull the wheel in the right direction. Work in small increments. Tightening the spokes too much will cause over-adjustment.
Step 2
Tighten the left side spokes evenly if the gauge extended beyond the second locknut measurement. The wheel is off center toward the right.
Step 3
Use the dishing tool a second time to check your adjustment. The adjustment is correct when the adjustable gauge touches both locknuts in the same place.
 

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

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