What parts may be damaged by bending rear wheel manually with very high force?

My father bent rear wheel several times with such high force that the tire contacted the seat stays. Could he have damaged or worsen any part of the wheel (hub, hub axis, bearings, spokdes, etc)?

I complained about the way of transporting my bike in his car (lying horizontally on rear wheel) so he tried to prove there is no influence on wheel centering and hub health.

Is it okay that the wheel can be bent slightly with proportionally high force?

Bike model: Author Codex 2015, wheels: Author Radon, unsure about type of the hub.

  • Did the wheel nuts/QR slide in the dropout? I couldn't bend a mounted wheel with enough force to touch the seat stays, using just my arms.
    – Criggie
    Apr 17, 2018 at 22:33
  • If you spin the wheel, does it run true or does it have side-to-side wobble? Are there any broken spokes? Work your way around the wheel squeezing pairs of spokes to help identify any broken ones.
    – Criggie
    Apr 17, 2018 at 22:34
  • Certainly you can damage anything by bending it far/hard enough. Without more info it's hard to say in your case. But if you spin the wheel and it doesn't appear to wobble at all then it's probably OK. (And if it does wobble a little, consider that that wobble may already have been there.) Apr 17, 2018 at 22:37
  • Is the wheel still true, or is it bent, if so, how much?
    – mattnz
    Apr 17, 2018 at 22:40
  • I'm finding it hard to imagine how a force was applied to the wheel sufficient to defect the rim so much, if the bike was just lying on its side. I transport my bike that that frequently. Apr 17, 2018 at 23:09

2 Answers 2


There is probably no damage.

In wheel-building, one of the ways to relieve torsional stresses in the spokes is to lay the wheel flat on the ground, so that it rests on the hub. While you press the rim on the ground at the 6 o'clock position by your knees, you put all your upper weight via both arms on the rim at about the 10 and 2 o'clock positions. You feel the elastic deflection, which depending on spoke tension and number may be about 1 cm. The spokes on the de-stressed side are able to unwind the torsional stresses. You rotate the wheel in small steps on both sides. There is no damage to either rim or hub.

Look how this process was cleverly implemented on a luxurious wheel truing stand (at about 2:10)

As long as you keep within the elastic deformation range, there is no damage. The characteristic of the elastic range is that the wheel returns to its original shape if the force is removed.

  • ...and it makes a loverly Ping-TIng sound too as the tension releases.
    – Criggie
    Apr 18, 2018 at 10:28

We used to play bicycle polo (the sport of princes) and would often have someone get their rear wheel bent severely in a T crash. We'd just sit down on the side of the bike that the most prominent bend bent to, grab the rim on either side of the bent spot, put a foot on the spot and push/pull until the rim was somewhat straighter. Repeat until rim fits through the stays (or breaks).

You'd use your junk wheels on a junk bike for this sport or course. Down tube impact dents from under the BB shots and so on. Never had a hub's bearings complain from the impact that caused the rim to figure 8. Rims complained bitterly.

  • +1, Rims complained bitterly LOL.
    – Willeke
    Apr 20, 2018 at 17:55

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