So, after doing extensive research and youtubing on bicycle truing and wheel building, I decided to completely de-tension a rear wheel on one of my old bicycles and try bringing it back up to tension/round/true/dish.

But, I ended up taco-ing my rim pretty badly in my truing process and rounding two of the nipples. I guess my spokes were too tight or something. I was just turning, turning, and then boom, taco'ed. Now I know, I guess.

So, I detensioned all the spokes again to try and start over, except this time, I noticed my rim was physically deformed. it wobbles and is out of lateral true pretty badly with no spoke tension on it. I tried bending the rim back into shape, and got it slightly better, but I think it's as good as it's going to get.

I can't really follow any of the youtube or online tutorials now, since my relative tension between spokes is going to be very disparate because of the rim, and all those tutorials assume (rightly so), you have a good rim to begin with.

I was hoping someone could list a methodical way of bringing such a rim back into tension/true/round/dish-ness.

Thanks everyone.

  • Of the many questions and answers here that you've read, I'm surprised that none of the duplicates I found by searching for "true wheel" answered your question. Can you please provide links the the ones you've considered and explain why they don't help. Specific examples include bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/20829/… or bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/6121/…
    – Móż
    Jun 11, 2016 at 23:07
  • Firstly, get the right tools. You need to look at your spoke nipple tool and consider replacing it with a better one with finer tolerances. Also you need to replace the rounded-off nipples with new ones. Don't just use a screwdriver from the tube-side of the rim, that is a false economy. There's no point doing all this truing work with bad tools.
    – Criggie
    Jun 11, 2016 at 23:25
  • @Móż The duplicated question posted in my question actually had some helpful information, but I don't think the two linked in your comment apply. Thanks for them though. My question was about the method of truing and tensioning a rear wheel that has a warped rim, not about truing or tensioning in general. If my detensioned rim was very straight and round to begin with, I wouldn't have posted this question, since all truing resources I've found were sufficient. I think I will just try to get the rim true, and not worry about even tension. This is a learning wheel, so I"m OK with that.
    – jmrah
    Jun 12, 2016 at 19:29
  • 1
    @jrahhali then you really do need to include those links in your question, otherwise it's very hard for us to guess what your problem is and how much of what we suggest is already part of your extensive research. I really can't help you, because I don't use a different wheelbuilding/truing technique for warped rims.
    – Móż
    Jun 13, 2016 at 2:03

2 Answers 2


You need a good book, and, unfortunately, no really good books on bike maintenance have been written in about 20 years.

Two that you might be able to buy used are:

Effective Cycling
By John Forester
MIT Press, 1984

The All New Complete Book of Bicycling
By Eugene A. Sloane
Simon & Schuster, 1980

Both contain decent discussions of wheel building and truing.

  • 1
    The reason there are no new books is that nothing has really changed - it's still rims, spokes, tension and iteration. "The Bicycle Wheel" by Jobst Brandt reamins, IMO, the definitive work. It has the benefits of being short and cheap.
    – Móż
    Jun 11, 2016 at 23:13

in my own experience, sometimes warped rims are just that: warped. if the wheel was completely de-tensioned, and it is still not true...you might be out of luck.

generally speaking, once aluminum has been bent, it has been structurally compromised, and in the bicycle world bent aluminum frames are dangerous territory. so i would think that would apply here as well, even if you managed to get enough tension to get it straight.

personally, i ride a wheel which i am fairly certain is a bit warped, but it is not drastically out of true, and i have the peace of mind/knowledge of checking it myself. but for a random internet person who does not know what to do, i would suggest going to a local bicycle store.

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