I'm trying to true the rear wheel of my 26" MTB but couldn't make any improvement so far. I don't have a truing stand so I am turning the bike upside down and when I look from above I just noticed that the rim is slightly bent or curved through the right side of the frame on the front and it looks to be bent/curved through the left side at the back. It doesn't change when I turn the wheel. I tried to loosen the spokes on the right side and tighten the ones on the left side but it doesn't make a difference as well. The wheel is wobbling both horizontally and vertically atm. Can it be fixed by spoke tension adjustment or do I need a dishing tool or something?

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  • A picture would really help. Should I understand it that it looks like the axle not being perpendicular to the frame? Do you have a quick-release or a thru axle? If QR, how firmly is it seated and how much can it be adjusted? Commented Apr 15 at 11:08
  • Hi Ender, You said "It doesn't change when I turn the wheel" which to me is sounds like it's not a truing issue. It's just that the axel for the rear wheel is not aligned. Loosening the axel and aligning the rear wheel so that it's aligned with the frame and the front wheel and then tighten it in place and recheck, would be my first thought.
    – MindDBike
    Commented Apr 15 at 11:52
  • @VladimirFГероямслава I've added the photo with an imaginary line. It has QR skewers but I removed them before taking the photo. Wheel is properly seated.
    – Ender
    Commented Apr 15 at 12:39
  • What you removed are the skewers, not the axles. The axles are inside the hub. However, I would still try to do some movement with the wheel before tightening the QR. Commented Apr 15 at 12:43
  • 2
    What you describe sounds as if the axle was not at a right angle to the line you draw in your picture. Start by clamping your quick release down, to remove any play there, and then see if your observation is still true. If so, no, you can't fix that by changing spoke tension (since it would mean that your frame is bent), but you might get your wheel good enough to be usable.
    – Burki
    Commented Apr 15 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


This is not how you true a wheel. You look at a fixed spot, typically the brake pads, and loosen and tighten spokes to move the rim up and down, left and right till it is centered both horizontally and vertically. The alignment of the wheel within the frame is a separate issue, although I would certainly replace the axle.

A dishing tool is very effective in making sure the rim is equidistant from both ends of the hub, but again, that has nothing to do with the wheel sitting diagonally in the dropouts.

  • I like to use a fingertip touching lightly into the brake track, and also resting against a fixed point like a chainstay. When you spin the wheel with the other hand, the highs become quite obvious, and the lows are just highs on the other side. You can also strap a ziptie around each seat stay and arrange it to rest lightly on the brake track. That shows well slight variations in rim height.
    – Criggie
    Commented Apr 17 at 1:57

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