As a result of an impact, I have a bike wheel that is slightly bent. As a result, as I'm moving it appears to wobble. The wheel is supposed to be a flat circle but now it's very slightly saddle-shaped. I have tried to manually wedge the wheel against a corner and press against the bent sides to straighten it out but I cannot seem to get it just right.

How do I straighten a warped/bent bike rim? Will I need a new one?

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    Does this or this help? Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 20:13
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    How much is "slightly bent" ? A photo/video may help show if its just slightly out of true, or if the metal in the rim has deformed.
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 22:45
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    @Criggie It's not visibly deformed. But it's deformed enough to wobble slightly as it spins and make weird noises while in motion, probably due to interference with the brake pads. As it spins, the side to side motion relative to the part of the frame it's attached to should be zero, but it's maybe a few millimeters of displacement per rotation.
    – CPlus
    Commented Oct 12, 2023 at 23:07
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    @user16217248 based on that I'd try truing it with spoke tension - its not taco'ed enough to go to the more-brutal fixes. Loosen the tight spokes, and tighten the loose spokes to nudge the rim over. A truing stand helps but I've trued a heap of wheels using an old fork stuck in a bench vise.
    – Criggie
    Commented Oct 13, 2023 at 3:01

1 Answer 1


If you absolutely must get further use out of a wheel like this, the way to do it is to forcibly bend it back by smacking, wedging, or twisting it as you describe. You're trying to restore the base shape of the rim (the shape it would be before being acted upon by spoke tension) to closer to radially and laterally true. There are a lot of different styles and approaches; it's inexact and takes practice. After roughing that in, finish by re-truing the wheel. Ideally this would be done with a procedure closer to building a wheel, i.e. backing off all the nipples to a known uniform starting point and adding layers of tension from there. Doing it that way gives a clearer view of where the distorted spots are on the rim, since they'll be the spots where adding even tension doesn't leave you at true, which in turn can guide the decision of whether enough has been done to correct the distortion.

For steel rims and/or low-resource environments this is pretty common bike-fixing procedure. In most every other context it's better to scrap it unless you're doing it to ride back from wherever you tweaked the rim.

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