If you find your bike wheel not centered, do not worry. It’s not as big of an issue as it seems. There are simple fixes for it which we’ll discuss in this article.
But knowing the solution is not enough. You need to use the bike in a way to prevent the issue from even occurring in the first place. And that requires us to know the reasons behind an off-center wheel.
You have landed in the right place. In this article, you’ll learn how to spot an off-center wheel, recognize the factor causing it and fix it efficiently.
How to Spot An Off-Center Wheel
Sometimes you will feel that the wheel isn’t acting right, but you don’t know for sure what happened to it. Here are a few methods to spot an unbalanced wheel.
1. Watch The Brake Pads
The easiest way to tell if the wheel is not in the right place is by checking the brake pad.
- Pull the brake lever as hard as you can
- Watch how the brake pads are touching the wheel
- Now release the brake lever slowly and check if either of the brake pads leaves the wheel first, then the second one
- If that happens, it means two things
- Either the brake pads aren’t positioned right, or the wheel is off-center
2. Watch The Forks
Check your bike’s suspension of metal forks. The wheel should be right in the middle with equal gaps on both sides. Your eyes should tell you, or you can just take a measuring tape.
3. Check How The Wheel Moves
A non-true wheel will be wobbling slightly or heavily. Pick up the wheel you suspect to be off-center and spin it. If you’re right, the direction of the wobble would be towards either side. You don’t need to take out your measuring tape for it. It’d be noticeable with the naked eye.
4. Measuring with A Dishing Tool
Now, there’s a good chance that you won’t need to use a dishing tool (such as WAG-4 or WAG-5). But it’s the most surefire way to determine if the wheel is off-center. And if it is misaligned, it’ll also tell you how much off the mark it is.
Here’s a good instructional video to dish a wheel with a WAG-4 device.
Interested in similar topic on Bike Care:
What Causes An Off-Center Bike Wheel?
There are multiple reasons behind an out of true bike wheel. It could have impacted the wheels, such as landing too hard or a speed bump you didn’t notice. A pothole or a large rock could also de-center your wheels.
Could a Stuck Brake Lever Cause the Bike Wheel to Not be Centered?
If a bike brake lever sticking causes the brake to remain engaged, it can lead to the wheel being off-centered. This can cause uneven wear on the brake pads, decreased braking efficiency, and potential safety issues. Regular maintenance, lubrication, and fixing any sticking issues can help ensure the wheel stays centered and optimize brake performance.
What Will Happen If The Wheel Is Not Centered?
Bicycles are designed to keep the wheels centered in the middle. It should always be on the midplane of the bike. If any of them are out of the dish i.e., misaligned with the midplane, it would be disastrous for your bike.
It could cause pressure to certain points in your bike frame, which would result in a reduced lifetime.
The first victim of an off-centered wheel is the wheel itself. The spokes could brake if the wobbling increases too much. Even it can break down because it can’t balance the rider’s weight.
How to Fix an Off-Center Wheel: Step by Step Guide
Centering the wheels is not terribly complicated. Here’s what you can do:
Step 1: Prepare the Wheel for testing
Put up the wheel on a truing stand if you have one.
If not, turn the bike upside down on a low bench.
Step 2: The Tube
Empty the air-filled tube to remove any pressure from the wheel frame.
Step 3: Troubleshooting
Spin the wheel to see the degree of misalignment.
Check which spots of the wheel touches against the brakes while you hold down the brake lever.
The spokes around those warped spots need to be fixed
Step 4: Adjust the Wheel By Using the Spokes
Tighten those spokes and move to areas with smaller wobbles. You have to tighten some spokes and loosen others to get the perfect alignment. There’s no single solution. So, be patient.
While the process is simple, it takes time to get it fully fixed. Do the necessary tightening and loosening to finish up. You can follow this instructional video to grasp the ideas.
When you’re riding your bike every day for work or pleasure, the bike wheel not centered is a pretty common issue. It’s nothing to be alarmed about, but it’s crucial to take notice of it and fix it ASAP. You can do it yourself, but if you’re worried about messing up your bike, please take it to a good bike repair shop.