What’s The Cost to True a Motorcycle Rim? (Bike Shop & DIY)

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Have you ever noticed faint swinging sounds as you ride your motorcycle? The sound usually comes from the wheels as they turn. This is an obvious indication that your motorcycle wheel is bent. If such happens, riding your motorcycle may not be easy, and truing it would be the best deal.

Truing a motorcycle wheel will cost you between $20 to $40 at a repair shop. However, if you decide to do it yourself, you will spend more than this since you should buy a truing stand and other equipment. Once you have those however, truing will be free in the future.

Read on to learn more about the cost of truing a motorcycle wheel and how to do it yourself.

How Much Does it Cost to True a Motorcycle Wheel?

As just stated, truing a motorbike wheel will cost anywhere from $20 to $40, depending on whether you do it yourself or take it to a repair shop. If your wheels’ rims have cracked they will most likely be repaired instead. 

You can also true your wheels yourself with an adjustable wrench explicitly made for motorcycles wheels. These cost around $20.

To make truing easier it’s advisable to get a truing stand as well, which will help hold the wheel straight while you work. These cost anywhere from $80-$500 depending on brand and type needed.

Signs Your Wheel is Bent and Needs to be Repaired

A bent wheel rim might negatively impact vehicle performance. Many motorcycle and bike owners are unaware that a bent rim is a problem that, if left unchecked, can develop into more serious issues. In reality, a bent wheel is a typical issue with many bikes, along with flat tires and alignment issues.

A huge pothole, a speed bump, uneven roadways, or heavy impact on the wheel from hitting or driving over one might bend the rim. Due to exposure to moisture and salt from the roads, winter can cause corrosion in the wheels.

Uneven rims corroded can eventually stop creating a tight seal with the tire. A bent rim that lacks a suitable seal can eventually let air out, which can result in a flat tire or, worse yet, a blowout.

A bent rim might cause your motorcycle’s other wheels to become out of alignment, which can interfere with steering and make it difficult to handle and manage your vehicle.

While damage on the inside of the rim will not be visible, signs of a bent rim may be noticeable. You might be unable to observe the damage to your wheel if your hubcaps are big and made of metal or plastic. Remove the hubcap and look at your wheel to check if the rim is damaged.

Vibration and Shakiness: A rocky ride is caused by motorcycle motion or the seats’ rapid vibrations. Additionally, you might hear a thumping sound that gets louder when you accelerate.

Poor Braking: When you apply the brakes, your motorcycle pulls to the side.

Poor Tire Pressure: Unexpected tire deflation could be an indication of a damaged rim. If the tire is not correctly sealed, air will leak out, resulting in a blowout or flat tire.

Tires squealing: Tires typically screech when they are supposed to be rolling over the pavement but instead are grinding against it. When you drive too quickly, it doesn’t screech as in movies. Therefore, when your tires start to squeal at generally safe turning speeds, it may signal that your rim is bent. The wheel with the bent rim may be the source of the squeal, preventing you from turning and rolling smoothly in the desired direction.

How to Avoid Bent Wheels

We are aware that there are too many potholes to avoid altogether, and who wants to spend their entire life slowly riding at a 25 mph limit out of concern for their wheels? 

While there will likely always be a “big one” lurking along your route, there are a few things you can take to reduce wheel rim damage from the majority of smaller potholes and rougher roads.

Maintain Tire Pressure

If your wheels contact the edge of a pothole with enough force to bend or crack, a lot will depend on how much air is in your tires. 

You see, a tire is more likely to bounce over an uneven patch of the road when it is full and bouncy. However, an underinflated tire with insufficient air and bounce is more likely to collapse when pressed against a sudden turn in the road. 

The impact finally extends to the rim with a loud “clang” as the wheel presses in without air to halt it. Keep your tires at their recommended pressure or a touch higher to reduce rim damage. Avoid overfilling the tire because the impact of a pothole could blow it and harm the rims.

Avoid Low-Profile Tires

People who frequently drive in “urban” settings tend to favor low-profile tires. They may be composed of a thinner material and are thinner than regular tires, leaving less room for air to fill them. 

Low-profile tires are designed to glide over smooth, well-maintained concrete streets, which is how “urban” streets should be in an ideal world. However, even if your area has nicely paved roads, if you live in New York, you will eventually find yourself somewhere (most places) with the typical pothole-filled mess.

Low-profile tires provide less “bounce” space between the rubber and the wheel, which increases the likelihood that pothole impacts may push through the rubber and dent the rims.

Stay Away from Potholes

The less likely your motorcycle will sustain damage, the more cautiously you drive. Yes, we are aware that you want to move from one point to another in a decent period. 

While many potholes may potentially be avoided, sometimes their location makes them impossible to avoid. 

In the same manner that you wouldn’t try to run over a box in the center of the road, try to avoid potholes, avoid bumpy roads, and drive extremely slowly if you must cross either.

How to True a Motorcycle Wheel at Home? A DIY Guide

Since trueing a motorcycle wheel is not as difficult as people believe, mounting a new rim is one of those dreaded tasks that has to be debunked.

How to True a Wheel With a Truing Stand

With a little patience, replacing the spokes or rims on any motorbike should be easy. If you have your truing stand, follow these steps:

Step 1: Place the wheel in a truing stand and tighten it down just enough to hold it firmly without over-tightening.

Step 2: By rotating the wheel and monitoring the rim’s deflection from side to side and any up and down deflection, you may determine how far out of true it is (also known as hop).

Step 3: Use the rim’s valve stem hole as a reference point.

Step 4: Just enough to prevent movement between the spokes and the rim, tighten each spoke with a spoke wrench until it is placed against the rim. As you move around the rim, if you encounter a spoke that seems too tight, back it off and re-seat it.

Step 5: To locate the location of the hop that is the most extreme, spin the wheel in the truing stand. Just turn each of the four spokes on either side of the spoke at the center of the hop one-eighth of a turn tighter. As a result, the rim is drawn closer to the hub, flattening the hop deflection. If the spokes feel too tight when making adjustments, loosen them by 1/8th of a turn on the other side of the wheel.

Step 6: To see if there is still any hop, spin the wheel once more. If it happens, go back to Step 5 and repeat it until all hop is gone from the rim.

Step 7: Spin the wheel in the truing stand to check the amount of rim side-to-side deflection. The rim’s highest points of deflection should be noted.

Step 8: Tighten the spokes on the left side of the rim and hub by 1/8th of a turn if the sideways deflection is to the right. This flattens out the deflection and pulls the rim to the left. Tighten the spokes on the right side of the sideways deflection to the left. While tightening a spoke, if it feels too loose, adjust it until it is as tight as the others.

Step 9: Check to see if the wheel deflects sideways by spinning it again. If it occurs, repeat Step 8 until all left or right deflection from the rim has been eliminated.

Step 10. Use a spoke torque wrench to tighten each spoke to the level recommended in the service manual for your motorcycle in the manner shown below:

  • First, pass: Beginning at the reference point you created in Step 3, tighten the first spoke, skip two spokes, tighten the next spoke, skip two spokes, tighten the next spoke, skip two spokes, and so on until you reach the reference point again.
  • Second pass: Once you’ve reached the reference point, tighten the second spoke, skip two spokes, tighten the third spoke, skip two spokes, and so on.
  • Third pass: From the reference point, tighten the third spoke, skip two spokes, tighten the following spoke, skip two spokes, and so on until you reach the reference position. The wheel is now true.

How to True a Wheel Without a Truing Stand

If you don’t have a truing stand, watch this video and follow the instructions. 

Recommended Truing Stand & Spoke Wrench

If you’re looking for a good truing stand, Amazon have multiple variants available. I have used the BikeMaster Wheel Balancer and Truing Stand (Amazon affilite link) that my father owns. I think it worked great, but I’m sure that many other brands and types work just as well.

The spoke wrench tool I recommend is the Motorcycle Spoke Wrench Set (Amazon affiliate link) from the brand Qiilu. It’s fairly cheap, high quality and does the job well.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to true a motorcycle wheel?

It can take up to 20 minutes to true a motorcycle wheel. Type “Motorcycle wheel truing near me” or “bicycle wheel truing service near me” into Google to find local motorcycle wheel truing repair shops.

How often should you true your motorcycle wheels?

The quality of your wheel will determine how frequently you must true your wheels. Regardless of the rider’s weight or the amount of abuse the wheels endure, if you have higher-quality wheels, you should only need to true them once after traveling about 200 miles (322 km).

About once a year, you should have the wheels and spokes trued and tensioned (if you ride often). Similar to any stringed instrument, such as a guitar or harp, bicycle spoke rings could be plucked.

Can you true a motorcycle wheel with the tire on?

If the wheel is reasonably straight and has no loose spokes, it will ride smoothly and hold up well (the rim and tire must not scrape against the brake pads).

Is it easy to true a motorcycle wheel?

The straightforward method of truing a wheel entails tightening and loosening spoke nipples to fix warped rim sections. Owner of Blackbird Motorcycle Co. and knowledgeable motorcycle technician Justin McCloud says, “It’s laborious and time-consuming, but the core notion is fairly clear.

What are the risks of riding on untrue wheels?

The top priority when riding a motorcycle is safety. It’s why you dress appropriately, including a helmet, adhere to traffic regulations, and have your motorcycle serviced regularly.

A motorcycle crash puts you at greater risk of serious injuries than other vehicles. Therefore, it is not a good idea to intentionally ride a motorcycle that is in poor shape.

However, there may be instances where you discover that your motorcycle is no longer reliable, and you must ride it to get back to your house. You could have no other choice if you don’t have a key or a way to fix it.

The general guideline in this situation is to think about why the wheels are false before deciding if riding on them will be dangerous. Due to missing spokes or weak spokes, which may be the result of uneven strain, the rim has a chance of collapsing.

A motorcycle with rim brakes may eventually be compromised, causing the wheel to swerve from side to side and loosen the hub. It is emphasized that hub nuts falling free are pretty harmful. There is an urgent need for action in this circumstance. You shouldn’t stay on this wheel much longer.

Why do motorcycle wheels go out of true?

Loose spokes are the most frequent reason for wheels deviating from their actual alignment. According to LaPorta, you may check the tension by squeezing two spokes at a time between your thumb and fingers. A shoddy spoke will be obvious.

Is it safe to ride a motorcycle with an untrue wheel?

Everything depends on the reasons why they are mistaken. Broken spokes shouldn’t be disregarded because a lack of equal stress in the spokes may suggest a weakness in one (or more) of them. One or two might be sufficient for a while, but the rim is in danger of collapsing.

Is wheel truing necessary?

If a rim is not perfectly true and round, it can be drawn using more or less spoke strain. Therefore, even though a “completely” genuine wheel might not exist, creating one that functions as intended is straightforward.