How to Remove a Bicycle Wheel Wobble

A true wheel will improve your ride.

Bicycle wheels support your weight by placing a high amount of tension on the spokes that connect the rim to the wheel hub. Riding your bike regularly, over rough terrain or having an accident can cause the spokes to become tensioned unevenly, thus making the wheel wobble while riding. This type of wobble can make braking uneven and create the potential for wheel breakage. To fix an unevenly tensioned wheel, you must put it through the truing process.


Step 1

Deflate the tire after removing the wheel from the bicycle. Insert a tire lever down between the tire and rim. Fold the tire lever toward the center hub of the wheel so the tire is pried up. Insert a second tire lever about 6 inches from the first and pry up the tire. Continue working your way around the tire with the levers until one side is pried up completely and the tire can be removed from the rim.

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Step 2

Mount the wheel rim in the truing stand. Place the indicators close to the outside edges of the rim. Spin the wheel slowly in the stand and note areas where the indicator drags against the rim.

Step 3

Add a drop of linseed oil to each of the spoke nipples before attempting to tighten or loosen them. Visually find an area that is off center to the left or right. Place a spoke wrench on the nipple of one of the spokes in that area. If the rim is being pulled toward the same side as the spoke you are adjusting, turn the wrench clockwise a quarter-turn to loosen the tension on the spoke. For spokes that are on the opposing side, turn the wrench a quarter-turn counterclockwise to tighten them.


Step 4

Tighten or loosen the spokes over areas that are out of center as you work your way around the rim. Add an extra drop of linseed oil to any spoke nipples that are difficult to turn. Continue rechecking the rim until it is completely centered between the hubs.

Step 5

Move the indicators so they are against the top edges of the rim. Spin the wheel slowly to see if there are any areas of the wheel that are out of alignment vertically. Tighten the spokes over high areas to lower them and loosen the spokes on low areas to raise them. The spokes should be evenly tightened or loosened a quarter-turn at a time.


Step 6

Check the lateral and vertical wheel alignments again. Truing is a slow process that requires you to go over your work many times until the wheel is straight. When the wheel is finished, squeeze parallel sets of spokes toward each other and check your work again. Make any final adjustments before you remove the wheel, replace the tire and put it back on the bicycle.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench

  • Tire levers

  • Truing stand

  • Spoke wrenches

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Linseed oil

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