Truing a wheel is the process of adjusting the tension of the wheel spoke nipples to ensure proper trueness in your wheel. Trueness is the absence of any side-to-side deviations in your wheel, or "wobble." All professional bike shops have truing stands that allow a mechanic to dial wheels into nearly perfect trueness quickly and efficiently.
Riding a bike naturally puts stress on all the joints. Overtime this can mean your wheel spokes loosening up, much like the strings on a guitar, and resulting in a wheel wobble. This makes riding inefficient, can add more stress to your bike in other ways, and can result in more wear and tear over time. Sometimes, if a wheel is very untrue, it will even rub against the brake pads. No bueno!
Luckily for you, its very easy to true a wheel as long as you know the secrets. In this article, we will try our best to make it easy to understand so that you can true your wheel and start riding more efficiently in no time!
First you'll need the proper tool, a spoke wrench. You can pick one of these up at your local bike shop, or online at amazon.com or any online retailer. This is a tool that will fit onto the nipple of your spoke, that part which lays against the rim and holds the spoke tight to the rim.
Be sure to buy a multi-size nipple tool, or measure the size of your nipple in millimeters to get the correct size. If you don't have a wheel truing stand, you can perform a quick wheel truing with the wheel still on your bicycle. To do this, simply flip your bike over on its handlebars and saddle, and begin.
Looking closely at your brake pads, slowly spin the wheel to see where it hits the brake pads. The wheel should spin freely in your hands, then develop a bit of drag where the wheel is out of true.
Once you have identified the out-of-true area, identify how many spokes are in that area.
Squeeze together pairs of spokes in the out-of-true area to see if any of the spokes have broken or lost their tension entirely.
If you have a broken spoke, you will need to replace it, which is ideally done in a bike shop because you'll have to take the tire, tube and wheel apart to do it.
If you have a loose spoke that isn't broken, try tightening it first. You do this by putting the nipple wrench on the nipple while the nipple is on the bottom part of the wheel and turning counter-clockwise. Alternatively, if the nipple is on the top part of the wheel, then you can turn it clockwise to tighten.
(Side note) You can also