How To True A Bicycle Wheel
How To True A Bicycle Wheel

This is something we’ve had a lot of
requests for underneath our Maintenance Monday videos: how to true a wheel. Well,
luckily enough, here in the workshop we’ve got a high-end wheel truing stand in which
to do the job. You can get much cheaper ones which are perfectly adequate if
you’re just doing this job occasionally at home. The advantage of a wheel
truing stand is this point here. It allows you to very easily see and hear
exactly where the rim is warped. You can do the same thing with a wheel
inside the frame or forks, using the break pads, but of course it’s
much harder to be accurate and it’ll make the job overall a lot harder as well.
Tools you’re going to need for the job apart from the stand, well, of course
you’re going to need a spoke key. These come in different sizes so you’ll
need to make sure you’ve got the right one for the job. If you’ve got bladed or aero
spokes, you might also need a tool in order to keep them in the right position.
And finally, if you want to be extremely accurate, you can do with a wheel dishing
tool, which I’ll show you how to use now. What is the dish of a wheel,
I hear you ask. Well, effectively, it’s how central the rim is in comparison
to the hub. And of course, it’s very hard to do that by eye, which is
where this tool comes in useful. Effectively, just put the two ends of the
tool against the rim itself and you wind this part in until it meets the part of
the hub which meets the internal part of the fork or the frame on the bike. Once
you’ve got that, simply take it away. Do the same on the other side. Now as you
can see, the dish of our rim is correct, but if you find that your rim is one way
or the other, you’ll need to pull it over before you start truing the wheel. To do
this, you’ll need to use your spoke key and tighten the spokes on the side of the
wheel that you want to pull it over to. Start by the valve hole so that you know
that you’ve gone all the way around. Using your spoke key, just do each spoke
up half a turn, which means turning your spoke key anticlockwise. And then
recheck that it’s in the center, using your dishing tool. Before we begin
with this process, it’s a good idea to go round the spokes a little at a time,
feeling with your fingers to make sure there aren’t any that are really
overly loose. If there are, you can tighten them up using your spoke
key before you start truing your wheel. Now one of the first things to remember
is that to tighten a spoke, you need to turn this spoke key
anticlockwise. The second thing to remember is that as you tighten a spoke,
it will pull the rim towards the side of the hub that the spoke is attached.
And the other thing it’ll do, it will also pull the rim towards the hub,
from a radial point of view. Put your wheel into the truing stand. Spin
it gently and find a point where the rim is touching one side of the dishing
fingers or break pad, and then tighten the spoke which attaches to the hub on the
opposite side. If you’ve got a wheel truing stand which allows you
to see the radial true of the rim, i.e. , the distance away from the hub,
as well as the side to side true, then you can use the following method.
If the rim pulls over to one side and it moves slightly away from the hub in terms
of its radius, then tighten a spoke on the opposite side. If, however, the rim moves
to one side but also moves closer to the hub, then loosen the spoke on the same
side. Keep going around the rim until it no longer touches the dishing fingers. At
which point, you can wind these fingers in and start going around the rim again. You
can spend as much or as little time as you want going around the wheel, but of
course the longer you spend on it, the truer it will be, and the longer it
will remain in true. It’s a good idea every so often to remove the wheel from
the stand, place the hub on the floor, and put your weight on opposite sides of
the rim. Do this on both sides and make sure that everything is seated properly.
If you don’t do this, then you might well get your wheel very
true when it’s on the stand but it may well quickly buckle again when you start
riding it. Well, I’ve spent a fair amount of time on this now. I think this is about
as good as I’m going to get it. It’s accurate to within 0.1 of a
millimeter from side to side. Which, despite the fact that professional
mechanics who have been helping me have scoffed at that, I think it’s as good as
I’m going to get it. And it’s perfectly adequate for me to ride. Stay tuned
to GCN for more mechanical videos. But what can you expect to get from a
basic service? Well, that very much depends on how much you’re willing to pay,
what type of bike you’ve got, and what type of riding you do.

100 thoughts on “How To True A Bicycle Wheel”

  1. Yorouken says:

    One word – mission

  2. Julian UK says:

    What about spoke tension ?

  3. Mason Cook says:

    Great video man. Very informative.

  4. Noob Noob says:

    Lefty ain't loosy 2:03

  5. Aaa Aaa says:

    thank you very much, good clear explanation. It works.

  6. Chuck Norris says:

    The best way I've found, is to bin the wheel and get another one.

  7. Gerald Davis says:

    wheel truing stand. I believe got one of those in the shad.

  8. paul ready says:

    Hi there, how do you decide to tighten one spoke on one side or loosen two spokes on the opposite side ?

  9. Conor Sambrook says:

    to anyone trying to true a wheel I've got a cheap solution, if your brakes can be adjusted make sure to have them adjusted so that they are just slightly clearing the rim therefore if the brakes start rubbing you can tighten or loosen the spoke in the correct places
    Happy fixing 🙂

  10. Scott Plumer says:

    Should one remove the tyre when truing a wheel?

  11. Nathan McCarter says:

    What kind of information do you have on specialized solid axles and no quick release.

  12. Dũng Lê Văn says:

    What about the wheel that have eyelet/ nipple ( tubeless version )

  13. JackstandJohnny says:

    Great. All of the most vital things to know are glossed over in a super fast thick British accent so…thanks for nothing.

  14. lcc83 says:

    just picked up a cheap second hand winter bike……………it's got stock wheels on………………..on the rear wheel while it runs true a lot of the spokes where very loose when I had a feel of them and had a lot of play side to side……………………so I took my spoke key to them and gave them around a half turn or so and tightened them all but now the wheel is way out of true and pulls to the left………………..doI back off the spokes a bit and try to get the wheel trued again but have loose spokes or do I try and tighten the spokes that are laced on the right hand side of the wheel…..? thanks

  15. 1MNUTZ says:

    Only video that made sense

  16. Rob Maynard says:

    excellent thanks.

  17. Jeremy Brown says:

    The length of this video is perfect. You tell and show just enough to get the job done, without over-explaining as so many other videos do. Good job!

  18. Aryan Adibmehr says:

    If the center of the indicators is exactly inline with the center line of the drop outs in the stand, the truing stand can easily be used as a dishing gauge simultaneously, which is why I' building my own stand that will literally be better than any stand money can buy.

  19. Alben Adonijah Cangas says:

    What do you call the tool that tighten a rim

  20. Lucian - Cătălin Stupariu says:

    I have a question: What's the name of the support where you put the wheel? Thank you.

  21. Bris Focus says:

    the method in the video is to get it super accurate – you can leave the tyre on and simply turn the bike upside down and spin the wheel and use the brakes or something else as a guide for the alignment. Then loosen a spoke on one side and tighten the one on the other to adjust – you can get it fairly close simply using your eyes.

  22. Jon Ang says:

    just had a small crash and my rear wheel is not true anymore. It's not an expensive wheel, do you guys suggest just getting a new one altogether or truing it?

  23. lesio333 says:

    did anybody noticed at the marker 2:00 that the instructions are correct but the picture is wrong? LOL  both arrows point to the same direction – clockwise and counter-clockwise :)beside that – very nice video

  24. cx07bzh says:

    Good advice, but your graphic showing "Anti-clockwise – Tighten" and "Clockwise – Loosen" (at 2.02 in the film) have the arrows of rotation both going the same way. Think you need to change the "Loosen" to the other way around.

  25. Norman Diego Norman says:

    Hi Sir I'm frm South Africa. I would just like to know what is the name of the tool that u have put the wheel in. I've seen it for the first time in your videos

  26. Tom Rucero says:

    how to true a wheel with bladed spokes?

  27. mario parra says:

    thanks for the info

  28. Jon McGoey says:

    Tightening by going clockwise versus counter clockwise… ??? It depends on whether you're looking down into the inside of the rim at a spoke at six o'clock versus looking down from the outside of the wheel at a spoke at 12 o'clock! If you look from the outside of the rim, your spoke wrench should go clockwise to tighten. The trick is to always maintain the same perspective or similarly always use the spoke wrench at the same spot on the truing stand or frame

  29. AussieKopite says:

    At 2:04, are those arrows pointing the same way?

  30. Simón Torres says:

    How important is the balance of the wheel? Mine vibrates at the frequency of rotation, it could be the valve of course plus some of the "no flats" liquid. My question is: Should I do something about it or not?

  31. Norman Diego Norman says:

    Yes thank Uuuuuu. I've got it now. I would to come in touch with u Sir. I want to come and work in The UK.

  32. melbman43 says:

    In my experience, this is a tricky job and unless you really know what your doing do not mess around with this, use your LBS

  33. Elliot Klein says:

    Thanks, really helpful!

  34. Vann Du Pappa says:

    Great vid!

  35. jon low says:

    Replace 6 spokes so i put my wheel in my Jet trainer stand, got it running true and then found when i tried to fit to my bike the dish was way out, so followed the instructions, adjusted to true again and sweet! First time ever tried – big thanks GCN!!!

  36. Rich Marshall says:

    So confusing, I'm sure the graphic is incorrect!

  37. thelandofmisteroz says:

    Dude looks stoneddddd.

  38. Sonja Gaffer says:

    i am so glad i watched another vid first, yours is very hard to understand

  39. Joni English says:

    At 2.00 the picture is incorrect !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Family fun!! says:

    Hello GCN,

    Are you going to do a wheel building video..pretty please??


  41. Ashaun Walwyn says:

    thats the most true rim I've ever seen

  42. Camiel Aarents says:

    What about wheel balancing? I saw a video of Shane Miller showing some drastic wheel shaking due to the weight of the valve on one side of the wheel. I never heard of this phenomenon before and couldn't find a video explaining it on the GCN page. Cheers!

  43. Med Amine Rahmani says:

    Does it work with really twisted wheels?

  44. HONDA cbr says:

    i think this would be a nightmare to try to do

  45. Vivungisport says:

    Oh man ! This is one of the best youtube videos i have seen in years,,, and i spend 2-3 hours daily. Your voice /instructions/ illustrations/ lenght at the vid etc .
    I enjoed the moment 🙂 !

    Thousand thx Bud !

  46. DaniDaimondz Official says:

    I trued my wheel with a screwdriver

  47. dreifear says:

    nope. LBS.

  48. Maynard Brown says:

    Truing bike wheels is a consumate fucking pain in the ass. Pay someone to do it.

  49. Erik says:

    What if all the spokes on the side that you are trying to pull towards are too tight, while the other side is loose?

  50. Gustavo Bruzadelli says:

    I weigh 77 kg and I have a ztr mk3 rim, cube tune king and kong and spokes sapim cx ray. I would like to know how much voltage (tensiometer) I put in the rays. Because when I ride of standing  the wheels pop

  51. jojojaykay says:

    Anyone have suggestions for a budget truing stand? (US)

  52. Lextasy says:

    This looks hard

  53. Curtis ZZZ says:

    Because everybody can afford a stand.

  54. The Only Alan says:

    Marty Feldman… am I right? I like this guy, always has lots of good information and he presents it well.

  55. Pushyhog says:

    Not that easy, lbs trues for $14.

  56. Jim Dor says:

    oh yeh cuz i own all them fucking tools

  57. Branimir Marold says:

    eppur si muove!

  58. Psps218 says:

    The ccw and cw arrows in the graph are showing the same direction…

  59. Scorpio54 says:

    I'm confused, I just read on another website that to tighten the spokes, you turn it clockwise and to loosen turn counter clock wise? Which is it? Thanks

  60. fernando caceres says:

    how much weight can a 700cc wheel with 28 spokes hold?

  61. Justmyopinionlol says:

    another useless video from you guys. I mean if you want to teach people something spend some time doing research how to best present the information. There is also no explanation of the important aspects of theory behind the contruction of the wheel and why turning clockwise loosens rather than tighten the spoke. Lastly, most people do not own all the equipments in this video so the process is not exactly replicable for 99% of the people watching this.

  62. Alireza Parchami says:

    Very very good and efficient video
    Also it shows clockwise and anticlockwise at same direction, but the video explain solution very good

    But it needs professional and complete tools. Now what's your solution and your idea for disk brake wheels and without these professional tools for measure the force of wheel and any bracket???

  63. anthony mccartan says:

    Who knew adrian brody fixed bikes on the side

  64. Halo3Rippin says:

    He goes straight mythbusters on us

  65. Steven Adams says:

    True instructional video 🙏

  66. Nick says:

    This dood in the video did a poor explanation of dishing. If you your wheel is out of dish 9 times out of 10 it's a manufacturing defect. When you redish a wheel you at the point where you are rebuilding the wheel. Best start with simple truing before you open that can of worms.

  67. this is the wolf says:

    i'm confused. i just did a finished my try at truing a wheel 5min ago, and i'm pretty sure i went clockwise to tight, anti clockwise to loosen. the wheel came out straight..

  68. Vadym Klimovich says:

    I am really sure you can build it yourself mates. I made it 2 weeks ago thanks to woodprix website.

  69. Bingfu says:

    I get cancer each time i have to do this… but good advice, great video!

  70. Audun Jemtland says:

    I have a bike without spokes. It's these racing wheels. How do you straighten the wheel then?

  71. monkeh88 says:

    correction so that you tighten correct, at 2:02 to tighten the spokes you need to turn clockwise, to loosen the spokes anti clockwise

  72. slimjim0630 says:

    very difficult to follow this guy…

  73. sibrilliant says:

    "just true it yourself it'll be cheaper" but don't forget to buy like 20 damn tools and also not ruin whatever you're trying to fix which could end up making the situation even more expensive and worse.

  74. RavelloBikes says:

    This is actually quite awful. Never change the dish of a fully tight wheel with 1/2 turns, more like 1/4 turns. The rim is being pulled to the left or right, not towards the hub. There were no explanation of "long areas" out of true only short ones that need single spoke adjustment. there was no part on truing out of round??

  75. Jerry says:

    This is the best bang for your buck to true most bike or bmx wheels. Link per Amazon Affiliate site

  76. Jerry says:

    And one of these Park true stand base will make the job even easier. Link per Amazon Affiliate site

  77. David R says:


  78. Astral'o Pithecus says:

    You did a really bad job at explaining vertical truing.

  79. Willard Dean says:


  80. 清高倉 says:


  81. skankhunt42 says:

    @ 1:30 and @ 2:30 are the key steps (as @Jake Wilson pointed out, @2:30 the clockwise arrow in incorrectly drawn)

  82. bioshock elite says:

    Can you true a wheel without a true stand?

  83. Jay Igaboo says:


  84. Jagdish Singh says:

    Say can get audio

  85. Indeed Interesting says:

    too sad i don't have a truing stand😢

  86. Sean Farrelly says:

    So THAT'S how they do it. Makes sense now.

  87. Chris chomley smyth says:

    Easy to make a home dishing tool.

  88. Carlos Macías says:

    how tight do the spokes have to be? is there something like too tight? can i over tighten them with just the spokie?

  89. jfaust97 says:

    Took me a good 2 minutes to realize you were in fact saying 'spoke key'… and that you didn't just have an affectionate nickname for your spoke wrench and liked calling him Spokie…

  90. Kurtis McKemmie says:

    Where can I get one of those? I have a ton of rims in my storage unit. I have no money to buy new rims.

  91. y. o. says:

    can i just use a pliers ? lol i dont have that tool

  92. jbird Perez says:

    i hate when my foot fall asleep during the day watching videos … cause that means it's goin to be up all night .

  93. etherjoe505 says:

    This video for me was pretty disappointing. I'm trying to true a wheel on a normal bike stand, which he said should be possible, then goes into a pretty rapid explanation of how to use these professional style tools.

  94. Ramon Rodriguez says:

    Wheel saved, thank you!

  95. James Albis says:

    How do you adjust the wheel wiggling up and down?

  96. poormans bicycles says:

    I will have to get a truing stand …. Thin ill be a tru bicycle mechanic

  97. Alexander Wayne says:

    Thx bro ! Perfect! I am ready to build my new rim with fresh spokes and a hub! BTW, I am thinking theses Pros are a bit who scoff at your wheel would faint at my DH bike. Rear wheel has been 6-12mm off or so for more the 7 years !!!!! hahahaha It has never failed! just keeps pounding the trails out. Cheers !

  98. Brandon Donkey says:

    My BMX wheel is fucked if he thought that wheel was too out of tru

  99. Call-Me-turbo- says:

    I had to search this up because an old ass mofo hit me with his car and hit my bike and now I'm here

  100. louchemobile says:

    anyone else spotted the mistake at 2:01?

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