How Much Does It Cost To True A Bike Wheel?

There are many reasons why bike rims can go out of shape. However, when they get bent, they hit the brake pads. They can even start rubbing against the steel stay, which will not only create noise but also slow you down. That is where you need to true the wheel. But how much does it cost to true a bike wheel?

To true a bike wheel, you can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $30. It depends on the bike shop and the professional you rely on. And if the rim is too bent, the shop can charge you more than $30.

However, did you know you can skip the cost of truing a bike wheel by doing it yourself? Yes, it is certainly possible! Stick around to learn how.

What Is Truing a Bike Wheel?

Truing a bike wheel basically involves using a spoke wrench to modify the tension of the spokes. It leads to better roundness of the wheel and makes the wheel straight. You need to true the wheel at least once a year as the rim does tend to bend for different reasons.

At its core, there are four aspects of truing the bike wheel. However, in most cases, only two factors come into action, which are lateral and radial trueness. But let’s take a look at all the aspects to get a better idea:

Lateral Truness

As the name suggests, lateral trueness is the correction of the lateral deviations or the side-to-side wobbles of the wheel. For rim brakes, lateral trueness is pretty essential. And that is why professionals will start with lateral truing when correcting the straightness of the wheel.

Radial Trueness

The amount of up and down movement of the wheel when it moves is radial trueness. In other words, it states the roundness of the wheel. For radial truing, you will need to work with the spoke tension and adjust the issues related to the overall roundness.

Dish Centering

You basically ensure that the bike’s wheels are centered in the frame through dish centering. Also, you have to adjust the alignment, which results in the wheels being correctly set.

Spoke Tension

Like any other fastener system, there is a range of acceptable tightness for the spokes. The wheels with high spoke tension do not remain straight or true for a prolonged time. Also, wheels that have too loose of tension tend to cause problems. That is why professionals will often take care of the spoke tension while truing.

What Causes the Bike Wheel to Bend and Require Truing?

The wheels of the bike can bend and lose trueness for different reasons. However, straightness is generally lost when you hit large potholes at higher speeds. They can also bend when you wedge the bike and twist the wheels too much.

How to True Bike Wheel?

You can reduce the bicycle wheel truing cost by taking things into your own hands. And the process is really not as complicated as many thinks. Take a look at the steps:

  1. Get the Right Tools

To true a bike wheel, you will need a certain number of tools. Do not worry; the list is not long. You just need two things, which are:

  • Bike truing stand
  • Spoke wrench
  1. Place the Wheel on the Truing Stand

In order to true the bike wheel by yourself, you mostly have to focus on the lateral alignment. And before you work on the wheel, you must take it out of the frame. Put it on the truing stand and then dial the calipers of the stand vertically. And they should remain vertical until they are at level with the rim’s outer edge.

  1. Inspect the Wheel and Adjust the Jaws

After putting the wheel on the truing stand, rotate the wheel. Adjust the caliper’s distance and ensure it sits on the rim. Also, check whether the wheel is bobbling up and down. If it does, you will need to carry out radial tuning. And for that, it is recommended to visit a bike shop.

  1.  Determine the Location of the Buckle

Once you have adjusted the jaws, slowly turn the wheel and dial the jaws. Stop when the jaws are starting to make contact with the rim. When they do, it means that the area is heavily buckled. To find the center of the buckle, rotate the wheel back and forth.

  1. Locate the Relevant Spoke

When the rim is pulling to the left, you will need to find the spoke coming from the hub’s right-hand side. This hub should be the nearest one to the center of the buckle. On the other hand, when the rim pulls to the right, locate the corresponding spoke coming for the hub’s left-hand side.

  1. Work with the Tension

Make half a turn on the nipple of the spoke. If you are viewing the nipple from above, it will need to be turned clockwise. However, you will need to make a counterclockwise turn when viewing it from the stand.

  1. Check and Repeat if Needed

After making half a turn, move the wheel back and forth. While moving the wheel, check whether the adjustment straightened the wheel or needs further tweaks. If it does, tweak the tension a bit further and check again. And once you are done with one buckle, dial the caliper slightly and work on the next one.

Related: Bike Tire Replacement Cost

Can You True a Wheel without a Spoke Stand?

You can true a wheel without a spoke stand. However, you will need to put more effort into the process. Basically, you will need to flip the bike upside down and make it rest on its seat. Then, rotate the wheel and use one of your fingers as a guide.

When the finger touches the rim, that specific location requires adjustments. Adjust the tension and rotate the wheel again.

What Can You Use Instead of a Spoke Wrench for Truing the Wheel?

You can rely on spoke keys if you do not have a spoke wrench. The advantage that spoke keys offer is that they are not as wide as spoke wrenches. And that can make it easier for you to work with the spokes and adjust them accordingly.

Final Words

In case of how much does it cost to true a bike wheel, the price range is from $20 to $30. However, the cost will depend on the shop and the overall condition of the wheel.

But you can indeed skip the true bike wheel cost. All you need to do is adjust the spokes yourself. And as you can see, the process is straightforward and has only a few steps.

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