How to Fix a Wobbly Bicycle Tire

How to Fix a Wobbly Bicycle Tire
Bicycle wheels can be very delicate. Road ruts, stones or collisions can cause dents, warps leading to poor handling, a rough ride feel and safety concerns. Check your wheels often for wobbles, dents or loose spokes, and fix them as soon as possible. Pulling out warps in your rims--called truing the wheel--is easier if done frequently to avoid large bends and uneven spoke tensions.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Spoke wrench
  • Lubricant
  • Truing stand
Step 1
Apply a small amount of lubricant to the spoke nipples to facilitate adjustment. Any non-corrosive lubricant will do, including dry chain lube. Avoid wax or wet lubricants to prevent grime buildup in and around the nipples.
Step 2
Mount your wheel in a truing stand. Spin the wheel and tighten the guide calipers as close as possible to the wheel rim. Any wobbles in the wheel should be readily apparent.
Step 3
Locate the warped section and find the pair of spokes directly underneath it. The spokes should attach to opposite sides of the wheel hub.
Step 4
Tighten the nipple of the spoke that pulls opposite the direction of the wobble. Loosen the opposite spoke an equal amount. Use small adjustments (no more than a quarter of a turn) to avoid over-compensation.
Step 5
Spin the wheel and check to make sure you pulled out the warp. If necessary, repeat Step 4 until the rim is straight.

Tips & Warnings

If you do not have access to a truing stand, leave the wheel on your bicycle and use the brake pads like guide calipers as described in Step 2.
Pluck your spokes like harp strings and listen for any large deviations in pitch that may indicate improper adjustments.

Article Written By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson earned his Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from The Ohio University. He has been a professional writer since 2008, specializing in outdoors content and instruction. Johnson's poetry has appeared in such publications as "Sphere" and "17 1/2 Magazine."

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