Bicycle Wheel Truing Stand

2012 January 18
by Chris Vernon

A bicycle wheel truing stand is a must have tool for any bike mechanic. The shape of the wheel, its lateral (wobbling side to side) and radial (up and down) trueness are a function of spoke tensions. By using a spoke key and tightening either odd spokes or adjacent pairs of spokes, out of true wheels can be gradually straightened out.

There’s nothing fancy about a truing stand, it simply has to hold the wheel firmly in place as you spin it, and have indicators of the two degrees of trueness. Commercial stands are at least £50 and you can pay a lot more. There’s no need though. I learnt to build wheels with Alf & Teresa Webb at The Bike Inn on an old cast-iron stand with perfect results.

Here’s the stand I built, loosely based on Roger Musson’s design from his book, The Professional Guide to Wheel Building:

Bicycle Wheel Truing Stand

The completed stand with a 700c wheel.

The upright in the foreground can slide in and out to accommodate a range of hub widths from 100 mm front hubs, up to 150 mm dowmhill rear hubs. The two gauges are free to move around on the white surface making adjustment very fast, no fiddly screws to wind in and out, no levers, and swapping from a 700c wheel to 26″ is instantaneous. The gauges are black plastic which show up great against the white background. The corner gauge is used for lateral trueness with the longer angled one for radial trueness.

Bicycle Wheel Truing Stand

Obviously for radial trueness (is the hub in the centre) the tyre must be removed.

In total it cost about £15, I bought the M8 nuts and bolts, the angle brackets and a lump of aluminium for the ‘jaws’. The wood and plastic was all scavenged from the street/skips.

I am still lacking a dishing gauge though, haven’t quite worked out how to make one I’d be happy with yet. Any bright ideas, let me know!

4 Responses leave one →
  1. Mads Peter permalink
    November 6, 2012

    I am considering building such a stand, instead of buying, since the less expensive ones seems flimsy, and the Park TS 2.2 are two expensive for using only once in a while.

    Are you satisfied with the stand? Does it work properly for both lateral and vertical trueing? The wood stands for lateral and vertical trueing seems to be able to be knocked about easily, from what I can see. Don’t you bump your hand into them quite easily, and then the move around or what? Besides from that it looks nice!

    Was it hard to get the two pillars (axle entry points) exactly the same height? (as I am supposed they have to be, in order for the wheel not to run tilted)

    Best regards,
    Mads Peter

  2. Chris Vernon permalink*
    November 15, 2012

    Hello there, yeah the stand works pretty well. The gauges can be knocked around, but that’s to their advantage. It’s super quick to move them around, no turning dials. I haven’t had a problem knocking them accidentally. I bolted the aluminium ‘dropouts’ on such that they were the same height – just measured with a steel ruler so +/- 1mm or so. I don’t think it’s critical for the heights to be exactly the same though. Even with the wheel running with a tilt to it, radial and lateral trueness can still be achieved.

  3. James McCombie permalink
    March 4, 2013

    The stand looks very good. Was it difficult to make and would you consider making another to sell? I don’t have the right tools to make this.

  4. Chris Vernon permalink*
    March 4, 2013

    Hi James – very easy to make, you only need a saw, drill, spanner and screwdriver. I’m not really in the business of making them for sale though. The fun part is scavenging the materials.

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