How do you center a bike wheel correctly?

How to center your bicycle wheel correctly?

You have probably noticed that the wheel of your bike is not centered. First of all, don’t worry, it is something relatively normal and easy to solve. It’s possible to center the wheel of the bicycle in a simple way, following a series of steps that, next, we explain to you. Take note.

What tools do you need to center your bike wheel?

tools do you need to center your bike wheel

It could be that the rim of your bike has lost its position or, when you turn it, it tends to move, rubbing against the brake pads or brake shoes. Many people, faced with this problem, take the bike to the workshop. However, many two-wheel enthusiasts carry out the repairs at home or in a makeshift workshop. This saves a lot of money and, of course, time, since you will avoid having to go, leave the bike, return home and have to pick it up when it is ready.


In this situation, for a correct centering and, since you have decided to start working on your home, you must have the most accurate wheel tools on the market.

1. Wrench

Spoke or spoke wrench with the appropriate size for the nipples.

2. Alignment bracket

It will be necessary to make the work easier and faster.

3. Centering device

A centering device that indicates that the mass is in the center of the rim. The Unior 1688, for example, will help you to get everything just right.

4. Foot pump

Pump to inflate the wheels with the pressure you need once centered.

5. Spoke tension gauge

With the spoke tension gauge you can accurately and safely check the tension of each spoke.

What do you need to know before centering the wheels?

Before centering, it is best to observe the rotation of the wheel to identify the spokes that affect lateral centering. Remember that all the spokes are anchored, or attached, to the hub that goes next to the axle. When looking at the disc, you will notice that the location of the spokes is alternated, so that one spoke is anchored in the inner area of the hub and the next one is in the outer area.

Before continuing, you also have to disassemble the tube and the tire. You will get the rim completely ready, leaving the vehicle already prepared and starting to think about taking the wheel centering device.


How to center a bicycle wheel step-by-step

It should be noted that such a wheel can move in two ways: laterally or vertically. In both situations, the movements may affect pedaling, especially when riding on the road.

Lateral wheel truing

Lateral wheel truing

It is probably the most common, as it occurs in all types of wheels. It does not matter the cost of the bicycle or the type of wheel. It will be necessary to correct the offset:

  • Identify the area where the displacement occurs. This way, you will know where to act in detail.
  • Operate the spoke on the opposite side to where the displacement occurs. If, for example, the movement is to the right, press it to the left, and the same on the opposite side.

The main tip to keep in mind is that the adjustments you make should be a quarter turn, simple, safe and relatively slow. When tightening you make a new turn to make sure that everything has gone well.

Wheel centering in case of vertical jump

Wheel centering in case of vertical jump

It isn’t so common, but in case you have such a centering problem, you will also have to perform some steps, although minor. You will see with the vertical jump that the wheel makes an oval and not a circumference.

You only have to do one thing to correct this: loosen the spokes where the jump occurs towards the top.
In all cases, both in the vertical jump and in the lateral off-center, you must be careful because the over-tensioning you will perform may cause greater damage, since it could cause the rim to lose circumference. We recommend you to be patient and perform the steps mentioned above little by little.

This way you can center the wheel of a bicycle, at home, in a simple way and with results equal to those offered in a workshop. If you have excellent tools and follow our advice, you will be able to ride your bike normally again and enjoy it. Get everything you need now and keep pedaling!


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