Ask a Mechanic | Adjusting Wheel Dish

Question: Any tips on how to re-dish a wheel? My wheel is true but leans to one side when seated in the drop out. From: John

Answer: Before you start to re-dish a wheel, get it true and round. To move the wheel over to say, the drive side, all of the spokes on the drive side need to be tightened and/or the spokes on the non-drive side have to be loosened. Check the tension on the spokes to figure our which way you need to go. Usually it requires a combination of the two.

If that is the case, I prefer to do the spoke loosening first in order to make the whole job a little easier. Lubing the base of the spoke nipples with some chain lube or suspension lube before you start will help to protect alloy nipples from scoring and to make the tensioning process easier.

For our example of pulling the rim to the drive side, start at the valve and use your spoke wrench loosen all of the spokes on the non-drive side a quarter turn and then tighten all of the spokes on the drive side a quarter turn. Check your dish and continue the process until you get the wheel centered.

You can check your work with a dishing tool, or just install the wheel in the truing stand or frame or fork backwards and see where the rim ends up relative to the brake pads. Compare the centering of the rim on the backwards install to a normal install to see if there is any difference. If the rim is in the same position when installed both ways, your rim is properly dished. If the rim still looks off center in the frame or fork with a properly dished wheel, then you have a frame or fork alignment problem.

Once your dish is set, re-true the wheel and make sure that your spoke tension is still nice and even, and you are done.

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