Introduction: Stomp Straighten a Bicycle Wheel

Seems like every time Star goes off a ski jump with her bike or finds a load of scrap iron to carry home, she needs a new bike wheel.
Here's how we straighten them back out in a hurry, or make "taco-ed" bike wheels from the bike shop's dumpster usable again.

This wheel is pretty bent. Notice how the joint is even coming apart.
Pix by Star

Step 1: Find a Hole

You can stomp a wheel pretty close to straight on regular pavement, but it's a lot easier if you find a way to do it without pushing on the hub. A hole in the pavement, a round table with a hole in the middle, the top of an oil drum, or a big iron garbage can are all good options. Cut a hole in a heavy piece of scrap plywood if you've got one handy.

As they say in Venezuela, "En tiempo de guerra, Cualquier hueco es trinchera."

I guess the city is planning to plant a tree here. In the meantime it's a good place to fix a wheel. Here I am uncovering the hole. Remember to cover it up again, this is a litigious society.

Step 2: Do the Stomp

This is the easy part.
Just go for it and stomp it flat.
Extra points for yelling and gesturing.

Step 3: Overbend

The metal rim has memory, so it'll spring back a bit after you flatten it.
So you have to bend it a little further than straight.
Put one or more sticks under the low spots and stomp again, a little more carefully this time.

After a bit of this the wheel will be mostly straight.

Step 4: Spin and Eyeball It

Spin the wheel and hold it by the hubs to see where the bent spots are.
You can mark them on the side with a pencil if you want.

Step 5: Repeat

Repeat sighting and bending.
Here's another way to arrange the sticks.

Step 6: Knee Technique

Here's another method to bend the wheel. Try out any technique that seems like it might work.
The wheel is now straight enough to ride again.

If you want it totally straight, now that you've got the tight kinks out, use a spoke wrench.
That only works if you've gotten the tight bends out.
Messing with the spokes is for gentler bends.
Tighten the spokes to move the rim toward that side.
Loosen a spoke to let the rim move away from it.
Hit the the spokes to make them ring.
The pitch of the tone you hear tells you the spoke tension.
If the spoke tension is totally non-uniform the wheel will get bent again just from riding it.


aimania made it! (author)2016-01-15


raymccullie made it! (author)2015-06-01

Wow, that rim is bent. What are those "spoke" thingies for?

savant77 made it! (author)2011-12-10

This should come in handy for trailside repairs, thanks for sharing man!

Lokisgodhi made it! (author)2010-10-11

This reminds me of how I used to fix the rims of my old junker Datsun 200SX when one of the NYC potholes would swallow it and put dent in the rims.

Pull it off the car, utter a few choice curses, put the dented side up and wail on it with a large headed long handled ball pein hammer until it was mostly round again. Bolt it back on, pump up the tire with flat fixer and I was good to go.

Who says blacksmithing is a dead art?

masterochicken made it! (author)2010-01-25

It's too bad my local bike shop keeps their dumpster locked.

Lokisgodhi made it! (author)Lokisgodhi2010-10-11

That's what bolt cutters or a crew bar is for. Pop that lock right off.

ortsa made it! (author)2010-08-04

i hope you dont continue to use wheels repaired in this way.

Darwinfish made it! (author)Darwinfish2010-09-25

Of course he doesn't actually use them, he goes to all the trouble of straightening them and then throws them away afterwards. (Make a passive agressive comment, you'll get a sarcastic answer.)

Thanks for the Instructable Tim, I'll have to try this out sometime. :-)

guatsamosa made it! (author)2010-07-12

nice crocs man :D stomp in styleeee

{tauney} made it! (author)2010-04-22

woohoo! I'll give this a try when I get home--too bent to be trued, this ought to do the trick tho!

garrys newman made it! (author)2009-12-25

i wonder what ppl in the street were thinking by seeing u like this

sscooley made it! (author)2008-10-10

Perhaps OK to get out of the woods, or home in the city, but not a long term fix. The rim pictured (with compromised weld joint) will fail catastrophically, which is to say, all at once. On a rear wheel, that would at best mean a sudden loss of motion; on a front wheel, at best a severe endo. Add traffic or hillside trail conditions, and results could be much worse. Be safe folks!

Derin made it! (author)2008-08-29

I dont think this would work with the superbent wheel i saw in italy,it was small enough to fit in a 9" CRT case,and the wheel was about 17"

JerryMopar made it! (author)2008-05-20

Good instructable!!! I will have to try this on one of my "tacoed" wheels I got from an aquired bike!!

JerryMopar made it! (author)JerryMopar2008-05-21

I just did it in a sitch I have nearby, worked GREAT, just needed to true it up a little bit

Jay Walker made it! (author)2008-05-03

I gotta say that I don't think that's a fix I'd like to trust rippin' 'er down a slope at 60K. I mean, when the seam is coming apart, how stressed is the metal and the seam. Looks dangerous dude ...

nrlucre made it! (author)2008-03-17

I've been poking around Instructables for a week or so now, spending most of my free time here, and this is the most useful item I've seen yet. Those who posted wondering how that wheel could ever get so messed up obviously didn't grow up in a college town, where few drive and many drink. To think all the stomped-wheel frustrations and missed appointments / late dates could have abated with an appreciation of this nifty technique.

incorrigible packrat made it! (author)2007-12-20

Bent a rim on my bicycle wheel garden cart, carrying 400 lbs. of rocks on a side slope. Bent it back by levering a 2x4 against cart frame and rim. My cart is incredibly ugly. I put skis on it for winter; didn't bother taking off the wheels.

callmeshane made it! (author)2007-11-21

Oh what a sexy clever man... Thanks for putting up a really neato "fixit".... I had a small problem with CHEAP, THIN and SOFT rims for a while...and because of my weight 6'2" and big and muscley and a bit fat too - and the flimsy rims, they would distort and go out of true just from riding on the flat roads... Ended up getting some very high quality "A" section rims with some extra thick stainless spokes.. I now have solid wheels that never go out of true. But it's a good fix for crashes and bad rims..

dillweed made it! (author)2007-11-05

scul hearts taco stomping. -pilot dillweed

Korexz made it! (author)2007-11-02

Without a spoke wrench and some time this is only a temporary fix at best. Cheap-O rims found on bikes from TRU, Target, and Wal-Mart will pretty much fall apart if you attempt to stand on them to right the wrong. The walls are not strong enough to resist bending in the first place.

ll.13 made it! (author)2007-11-02

The only time my wheel looked like that was when I tried to stop a car.... stopped me. -then again the whole bike frame was bent. :)

Slowpoke made it! (author)2007-11-02

Once again Tim Anderson has posted a great instructable. Having viewed most of his instructables I am most impressed with his knowledge. Excellent 'Bush-craft'. But one question, how on Earth did that wheel suffer that much damage?

Ezza made it! (author)2007-11-01

I've Used this technique before. I imagine your turnover rate of wheels is pretty high?

T3h_Muffinator made it! (author)2007-11-01

Ooh! Could use this for the bike wheel my cousin and I are using as a "reduction gear?" for our tree house elevator!

Spectrace made it! (author)2007-11-01

i should try that with my BRAND NEW BIKE'S bent rims... first one i did something stupid, second one my friend tapped my back rim with his bike and it went all wacked... rear rims are mad weak.. nice instructable

Sun Gear made it! (author)2007-11-01

that instructable is pretty useful and simple which makes me wounder why no body has ever thought about it.

lollerz made it! (author)2007-11-01

nice shoes

zachninme made it! (author)2007-11-01

Nice pix of Tim showing a wheel who's boss. ;-) That was a really bent rim... makes you wonder how it happened.

ItsTheHobbs made it! (author)2007-11-01

1st comment!!!

Sun Gear made it! (author)Sun Gear2007-11-01

only worth it if you have something to say

About This Instructable




Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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