How to True a Bike Wheel without a Spoke Wrench

The Sunday rider got no chill!

On a bicycling forum, I read a story about a biker.

It was something like this; Jimmi, a Sunday biker, rides a commuter for utility. Recently, his bike’s front wheel has got bent. That’s why he can’t ride the bike anymore.

However, you may know most weekend riders spend less money on their bikes. It’s alright! You don’t need a high-end bike or fancy tools and accessories for casual rides.

Anyways, let’s get back to Jimmy. He doesn’t have any tools like a spoke wrench or a wheel stand. So, it wouldn’t be right to give him a pro solution.

Instead, I suggested him get a handy solution.

Along with Jimmi, if you want to know how to true a bike wheel without a spoke wrench or any other fancy tool, read the post till the end.

How does a bike wheel get bent?

A bike wheel can get bent for crash or loose spoke. Besides, it can typically happen for the time being

However, a wheel consists of a tire and a rim held by a hub through spokes. When the tension of the spokes is not uniform around the rim, the wheel gets bent.

Now, uneven spoke tension could cause for various reasons. One of them is loose spoke nuts.

When the nuts get loose in a specific area, stress gets reduced, and it gets bent. Another reason is the crash.

When a bike crash, it’s pretty obvious to get a hit on the wheel. Thus, the bike wheel can get bent.

Lastly, rusty spokes can cause uneven tension around the rim, which leads to wheel bent.

Freaky Tips: If there are rusty spokes on your bike. It’s better to replace them with new ones. Take time and do research to get suitable Spokes for your bike. 

A handy way of truing bike wheel

bike wheel truing

A wheeled stand with a spoke wrench is a pro solution to truing a bike wheel.

But, I have come up with a handy idea that can help you to true a bike wheel without a spoke wrench or any other heavy tool.

But, how to true a bike wheel without a spoke wrench?

Well, use a small Adjustable Wrench instead of a spoke wrench. It’s a very common tool, so you must find one at your home.

Otherwise, get one online.  Now, what about the wheel stand? It’s too costly, right?

Yes. Instead, you can use your bike itself as a wheel stand. Asking how?

Get some Zip Ties and mount a pair on both sides of the fork.

Thus you can detect the wheel movement and identify the bending area.

However, zip ties cost almost nothing. You can get a bunch of it in just 4 or 5 USD.

How to true a bike wheel without a spoke wrench

Sorry for keeping you waiting, mate!

Now, I am gonna reveal the secret of truing a bike wheel without a spoke wrench.

Go step by step to get a straight bent-less bike wheel without expensive tools.

If you still have questions, then jump into the FAQ section and get the answers to all your queries.

Now, let’s start.

Step-1: Unmount the wheel

bike wheel webbing fix

First thing first, you have to unmount the bent wheel. It’s necessary to observe the bending condition and take the proper remedy.

For that, loosen the quick release and take the wheel off the bike. Be cautious while you are doing that.

First of all, you have to loosen the nuts and then carefully take the wheel out.

However, if you don’t do it carefully, you can damage the disc brake or cogset.

Step-2: Use your hands

After getting the wheel out of the bike, identify the bending area by using your hands. How?

Press the spokes pair by pair and try to bring them closer. Thus, you can check the tension between the spokes and the rim.

Anyways, if there is a significant bent, you can identify it by pressing the rim.

For that, flat the tire by opening the tire valve. Then, press the rim gently around its periphery.

The area where you can push with minimum effort is the bent area.

However, during the process, don’t push the rim hard.

But, once you identify the bent area, you can try to true the wheel by pushing the rim downward.

Before that, lay down the wheel on a plain hard surface. A dry wood log will be good for it.

Step-3: The setup

bike wheel bent

Around 80% of wheel bending should be eliminated after the above step.

Now create a setup to identify and fix subtle flex of the wheel. What do you need for it?

No. you don’t need anything else for it. The bike itself is the thing you need.

Reinstall the wheel carefully and tighten the quick release. Then set the bike upside down.

Now, take a pair of zip ties and tie them on both sides of the fork.

Make sure the ends of zip ties just touch the rim well. If the zip ties are too long, you can shorten them with a Cutter Plier.

Or, just rotate them outward to adjust.

The setup is ready now.

Step-4: Adjustment

Now, the real stuff. Adjusting the spoke tension.

Pay attention! All the spokes aligned straight on the rim. But half of them are connected to the left side of the hub, and half are connected to the right side.

Spokes on the right side pull the rim to the right side, where spokes on the left side pull the rim to the left side.

All you have to do is to balance both sides’ tension by tightening or loosening the spokes. Follow the below steps to do so.

  1. Rotate the wheel and observe the rim movement. Is it rubbing with any of the zip ties? If the answer is yes, locate the rubbing area of the rim. Now take the mini wrench and start adjusting.
  1. If it rubs with the left zip, then tighten the right-sided spokes. Tighten the left-sided spokes if it is rubbing with the right zip. Do it until the rubbing problem is gone.
  1. Rotate the wheel again and repeat the above steps. Do it until the bent gets fixed totally. However, don’t over-tight or over-loose the spokes, or you may get a radical bent on the wheel.
  1. Lastly, to eliminate radical bent, adjust the spokes’ tension slightly until it is uniform around the rim.

Frequently Asked Questions about Bike Wheel Truing

Is it hard to true a bike wheel?

Not at all. Truing a bike wheel is all about tightening or losing the spoke nuts.

Yes, it needs some time, but there is nothing complex to do. Again, if you have patience, you can do it yourself easily. 

How much does it cost to true a bike wheel?

It cost absolutely nothing if you do it yourself at home. Well, you will need some tools if you want to do it like a pro.

That will cost a little bit. But, if you follow the process I have described above, it will cost almost nothing to you.

However, 20 to 30 USD is the pay range for a professional bike mechanic to do the job.

Can you true a bicycle wheel with the tire on

Yes. You can true a bicycle wheel with the tire on. But the thing is, you can only locate the lateral (left or right) bent with the tire on.

To thoroughly identify radial bent, you have to take the tire off.

However, you can guess the spoke tension by pressing with your hand. For that, you don’t need the tire to be off.


Since owning fancy tools like a spoke wrench or wheel stand is costly, a handy solution can be good for your pocket.

Besides, you can do this job with such things generally found in every house. 

Yes! If you have a little patience, it’s possible to true a bike wheel without a spoke wrench.

And how to do so? I have described it above. Follow these steps thoroughly and get rid of the wheel bent.

A good pair of wheels without bent or flex can offer an excellent riding experience on any track or road. Moreover, it’s safer to ride with true wheels than a bent one.

So, get bent-less wheels and enjoy your ride.


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