Cheaply Fix Bent Wheel In Depth

YetiWoodz

Well-Known Member
Local time
11:14 AM
Joined
Dec 19, 2019
Messages
1,275
Location
Pennsylvania
You don't need to buy a truing stand. Make your own like I did.
Making A Truing Stand
Just take any old bicycle fork and jb weld 2 nuts on it and put matching bolts through it. Cap off the ends with something that won't scratch your rim. I used tire valve caps which actually threaded right on to the bolts. Then make, buy, or use any kind of stand to put it on. I used my bicycle stand. Now its a 2 in one stand lol.
101544
101545


Fixing Flat Spots
Next, buy a spoke tool if you don't have one. You can get 2 for $6 on amazon. It tightens/loosens spokes of any size.
Amazon link
101546

Then you want to put the rim on the truing stand and loosen all the spokes all the way loose. Check for flat spots by resting a ruler on the fork and holding up close to the rim. Spin the wheel. Get at eye level with the rim and line up a mark on the ruler with the top of the rim. As its spinning, if the rim moves up and down, there is at least one flat spot.
101547
101548

If you got wide rims with cruiser tires, a 1 to 2 mm flat spot is fine. As you can see my flat spot is 1/16" which is right in between so I left it like that.
Watch this video if you need to fix the flat spot(s). Youtube link
He'll even show you how to make a cool little tool you'll need.
101549


Straightening A Bent Rim
Now on to side to side alignment. This is if your rim is too bent to fix just by tightening the spokes. So first, keep wheel on the stand. Spin the wheel and find the side that the rim kicks out at the most. Tighten the bolt on that side until it rubs against the area that sticks out the most. Mark the beginning and end of the rubbing.
101550

Then mark the beginning and end of where the rim starts to move closer that area where it rubs from being straight.
101551

Get out 2 horses (portable work stands) and 2 adjustable clamps. Put the rim on top of the horses, the bent out side facing up. the rim should hang over starting on the outer lines (which would be the beginnings of the bend). Clamp it down snug but not too tight that you bend the rim walls.
Get a small block of wood that fits very snug inside the walls of the rim (you may have to sand it down or taper it, cut out a curve that matches the rim's curve.
101552

This will be your wedge to protect your rim from bending when you align it. Jam it in between the inner lines. It should all look like this.
101553

Now take a wood board at least 1/4" thick. Its important that you don't use one much thinner, you may bend your rim too much when aligning. Preferable thickness 1/4" to 3/4". Now lay it over the wheel. It just needs to cover the rim. You want the board wide enough to at least completely cover the inner lines. A little more is better. Now tap the rim where the wedge is with a sledgehammer. Don't swing the hammer over your shoulder, just tap it lol.
101554

Start out lightly until you get a feel for how hard you need to hit it for it to bend back enough. You want the rim to flex when you hit it. Don't worry, the wedge and the wood board will protect the rim from any possible damage. Keep putting it on the truing stand and checking it. This will likely be a lengthy process, but this is the only method I tried that seemed to be the most controlled. I tried bending the rim with my knee with my weight on the horses too, but it was very hard to gauge how much force I'm using and I ended up making it worse more times than better.

Truing with the Spokes
Once you're ready to true the rim with the spokes, put the rim back on the stand and find the area that rubs again but instead of marking it, just put your thumb there and turn the wheel so its at the highest point. Notice how one spoke is attached to one side and the other is attached to the opposite side. Tighten the spoke on the opposite side of the bend with your spoke tool. That will pull the rim to that side. Initially, tighten it until its about half way tight. Then from there turn it a quarter turn or so and keep checking it until that area straightens out. Tighten all the spokes that need to be tightened for straightening and then turn all the other spokes a little at a time and readjust as needed until all spokes are tight enough and the rim is pretty straight. The rim doesn't need to be perfectly straight, but the closer the better.

And that's how you can fix your rim for little 💰. Remember, its more about patience than skill!
 
Last edited:
Links to Amazon may include affiliate code. If you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase, this forum may earn a small commission.
Yes there are different ways of straightening a wheel. But only one way to True a Wheel - TRUE
It's an art. Artists are all different. There is no exact proven way to true a wheel unless your a machine.

I true my wheels while their mounted on the bike.

Cheep aluminum China Wheels - I have straightened out badly bent wheels just by stepping on them.
Badly bent wheels never turn out perfectly straight.
To tell ya the truth. These days, I just throw away a badly bent cheep wheel. Their common and inexpensive, I find em too

To true a wheel with a warp - I can get the wheel perfectly straight.
Yes the wheel should be straight. That's why it's called TRUING a WHEEL not Almost Truing a Wheel

To fix a flat spot - Pot holes can leave a pretty big flat spot. If you got Heavy duty wheels like I got by Worksman Cycles, 11 gauge spokes with steel clincher rims. Front wheel $129 Rear wheel $159 A new steel clincher rim is only $20
So replace the rim and forget about trying to fix the flat spot.

Most times it easier and less frustrating to buy a new wheel

Tip - When trying to true a wheel and ya get it close but it's still not perfectly straight.
Now when ya turn the spoke wrench only turn it very little bit. The Closer ya get the less ya gotta tighten or loosen the spokes.
Like I said it's an art. Artists are all different

BTW I never loosen all the spokes before starting to true a wheel
 
I clamp pencil to brake caliper on bike, spin wheel, start turning spokes. you can hear and feel pencil contact rim, as well as see gap smaller than sheet of paper., Wont leave permanent marks. Keep adjusting till just barely contacts all way around everyehere . If it skips thickness of paper in dpot, just a slight tweak, 1/16 of turn will do it

Good info for flat spots. Thx
 
You don't need to buy a truing stand. Make your own like I did.
Making A Truing Stand
Just take any old bicycle fork and jb weld 2 nuts on it and put matching bolts through it. Cap off the ends with something that won't scratch your rim. I used tire valve caps which actually threaded right on to the bolts. Then make, buy, or use any kind of stand to put it on. I used my bicycle stand. Now its a 2 in one stand lol.
View attachment 101544 View attachment 101545

Fixing Flat Spots
Next, buy a spoke tool if you don't have one. You can get 2 for $6 on amazon. It tightens/loosens spokes of any size.
Amazon link
View attachment 101546
Then you want to put the rim on the truing stand and loosen all the spokes all the way loose. Check for flat spots by resting a ruler on the fork and holding up close to the rim. Spin the wheel. Get at eye level with the rim and line up a mark on the ruler with the top of the rim. As its spinning, if the rim moves up and down, there is at least one flat spot.
View attachment 101547 View attachment 101548
If you got wide rims with cruiser tires, a 1 to 2 mm flat spot is fine. As you can see my flat spot is 1/16" which is right in between so I left it like that.
Watch this video if you need to fix the flat spot(s). Youtube link
He'll even show you how to make a cool little tool you'll need.
View attachment 101549

Straightening A Bent Rim
Now on to side to side alignment. This is if your rim is too bent to fix just by tightening the spokes. So first, keep wheel on the stand. Spin the wheel and find the side that the rim kicks out at the most. Tighten the bolt on that side until it rubs against the area that sticks out the most. Mark the beginning and end of the rubbing.
View attachment 101550
Then mark the beginning and end of where the rim starts to move closer that area where it rubs from being straight.
View attachment 101551
Get out 2 horses (portable work stands) and 2 adjustable clamps. Put the rim on top of the horses, the bent out side facing up. the rim should hang over starting on the outer lines (which would be the beginnings of the bend). Clamp it down snug but not too tight that you bend the rim walls.
Get a small block of wood that fits very snug inside the walls of the rim (you may have to sand it down or taper it, cut out a curve that matches the rim's curve.
View attachment 101552
This will be your wedge to protect your rim from bending when you align it. Jam it in between the inner lines. It should all look like this.
View attachment 101553
Now take a wood board at least 1/4" thick. Its important that you don't use one much thinner, you may bend your rim too much when aligning. Preferable thickness 1/4" to 3/4". Now lay it over the wheel. It just needs to cover the rim. You want the board wide enough to at least completely cover the inner lines. A little more is better. Now tap the rim where the wedge is with a sledgehammer. Don't swing the hammer over your shoulder, just tap it lol.
View attachment 101554
Start out lightly until you get a feel for how hard you need to hit it for it to bend back enough. You want the rim to flex when you hit it. Don't worry, the wedge and the wood board will protect the rim from any possible damage. Keep putting it on the truing stand and checking it. This will likely be a lengthy process, but this is the only method I tried that seemed to be the most controlled. I tried bending the rim with my knee with my weight on the horses too, but it was very hard to gauge how much force I'm using and I ended up making it worse more times than better.

Truing with the Spokes
Once you're ready to true the rim with the spokes, put the rim back on the stand and find the area that rubs again but instead of marking it, just put your thumb there and turn the wheel so its at the highest point. Notice how one spoke is attached to one side and the other is attached to the opposite side. Tighten the spoke on the opposite side of the bend with your spoke tool. That will pull the rim to that side. Initially, tighten it until its about half way tight. Then from there turn it a quarter turn or so and keep checking it until that area straightens out. Tighten all the spokes that need to be tightened for straightening and then turn all the other spokes a little at a time and readjust as needed until all spokes are tight enough and the rim is pretty straight. The rim doesn't need to be perfectly straight, but the closer the better.

And that's how you can fix your rim for little 💰. Remember, its more about patience than skill!
Thanks for all the info Yeti. You used some tactics I've never seen before.

To make a truing stand. I use an old bicycle, I turn it over and use the front forks

To keep track of what spoke I'm working on I put numbers on the rim with a sharpie pen.
The sharpie pen ink wipes off with carb cleaner
 
Links to Amazon may include affiliate code. If you click on an Amazon link and make a purchase, this forum may earn a small commission.
Thanks for all the info Yeti. You used some tactics I've never seen before.

To make a truing stand. I use an old bicycle, I turn it over and use the front forks

To keep track of what spoke I'm working on I put numbers on the rim with a sharpie pen.
The sharpie pen ink wipes off with carb cleaner
Oh that's smart writing numbers with sharpie. I also didn't think about replacing the rim if its really bent lol, thanks.
 
What happened was I was cruising around town on a weekend and freaking took too wide of a turn at a normally quiet intersection and all I could see is this big white pickup truck heading toward me only 10 feet away and I quickly made a sharp left turn straight into the curb and destroyed my front tire and bent my rim. 😅
LEARNED my lesson.
 
Whenever I replace just the rim on the wheel, obviously it would need to be the same diameter 26", but does it need to be the same width as well? My rear rim is a little too wide for me and I'd like to replace just the rim, the wheel is more on the expensive side so I want to keep what I can. Chain always rubs bad on tire no matter how many times I adjust it. I'd like to go from a 2.125" to 1.75" width.
 
Whenever I replace just the rim on the wheel, obviously it would need to be the same diameter 26", but does it need to be the same width as well? My rear rim is a little too wide for me and I'd like to replace just the rim, the wheel is more on the expensive side so I want to keep what I can. Chain always rubs bad on tire no matter how many times I adjust it. I'd like to go from a 2.125" to 1.75" width.
I bet the chain doesn't contact the rim, put on a skinnier tire. No, you don't have to put on same size of rim.
 
Back
Top