How to Straighten a Bike Wheel

How to Straighten a Bike Wheel
Even the best bike wheels can get crooked over time. This happens when wear and tear on the wheel rim causes loosening in some of the spokes on the rim. You can identify a crooked or misaligned wheel by spinning the wheel on its axle and observing the wheel's distance to the brake pads. Luckily, straightening a bicycle wheel is an easy process that can be done in your garage with a spoke key and a free hour.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Spoke key
Step 1
Set the bike upside down so that it rests on the bike saddle and handlebars. Slowly rotate the wheel and note any points where the wheel moves closely to the brake pad. These points will need spoke tightening to straighten the wheel in that location.
Step 2
Use your spoke key to tighten the spoke nipple on the opposite side of the rim where the wheel nears the brake pad. Make short, incremental turns of no more than 1/2 of a rotation until the wheel returns to center.
Step 3
Continue spinning the wheel and adjusting spokes until you can not see any significant lateral movement of the wheel as it spins. Depending on how precise you want this straightening to be and how misaligned the wheel is, you could take 30 minutes to an hour.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.