Centering bicycle wheel – How to build a bicycle wheel?

Centering bicycle wheel - How to build a bicycle wheel

Centering bicycle wheel in a bike is nothing more than correcting the spoke tension so that the wheel does not “beat” sideways. It is popularly said that the circle was “picked up”. To help with centering wheels in professional bicycle services, a center is used – unfortunately, such equipment costs about PLN 1000. There are also available amateur centers for the price of about PLN 200, but it seems to me that this is an unnecessary expense and you can easily manage in home conditions with this task.

Centering bicycle wheel

All we need to do is supply a nipple, i.e. those small tips at the ends of the spokes. These keys come in different sizes (matching the nipples) – most often 3.2 mm, 3.3 mm and 3.4 mm. There are also 4.0 mm nipples. It is good to check which key we need – a 0.1 mm difference seems small, but centering behind a small key or too large can go very reluctantly – or impossible at all. How to replace cassette road bike? Or freewheel bike part

There are also universal nipples for sale, having the three most popular sizes in one tool – it costs 20-40 PLN. As a last resort, you can also use small pliers or pliers – but this is not the recommended way – precision when centering is indicated – and such tools do not guarantee it.

Start centering

When starting centering, first check that none of the spokes is broken or loose. If we come across such a loosen piece – it should be tightened to be just as taut as the neighboring spokes lying on the same side of the wheel.

Then put the bike on the ground upside down and look for a place where the wheel beats the most. We clamp the brake (the jaw, the disc should be supported with something well attached to the fork) so that the brake pad touches this place.

Build bicycle wheel

How to build a bicycle wheel? we adjust the spokes tension on the section where the rim touches the block. We loosen the spokes from this side from which the wheel wipes and we tighten from the opposite side. As it can be seen in the picture below. It should be remembered that the nipples are “upside down” and we tighten them to the left, and not as the habit wavers to the right. We are loosening the reverse, i.e. to the right, not to the left.

Spokes should be turned very carefully – no more than a quarter turn once. The rim will slowly move away from the block. Once it is well positioned, we check the wheel further. You have to do it both on one side and on the other side of the rim – alternately. It could turn out that we will center the wheel on one side only – and it will not go well 🙂


The less the wheel beats, the gentler you have to handle the nipples – it is not advisable to tighten them too much, to unscrew them – because in a moment the wheel can again concentrate. You also have to shoot with feeling and not feeling.

Bicycle buying guide for beginners – Before buying your first bike, a number of factors that you should consider. The first thing you should consider is if you want a competition bicycle or a bicycle with a more relaxed geometry. This article are maybe helpful to your buying tips.

A centered circle will definitely repay us with a long and trouble-free ride.

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