Can A Bent Motorcycle Rim Be Fixed?

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One of the amazing things about motorcycles is that a lot of the mechanics and components on them can usually be fixed by the owner with a little help from the internet, a friend, or the owner’s manual.

You might have been riding down the street and struck a huge pothole in it, run over a large branch or done something similar. These situations often lead to bent rims. This is what I wished I knew when I first got on a motorcycle.

Is it possible to fix a bent rim on a motorcycle? A bent motorcycle rim that is causing wobble and vibrations can be fixed by a professional. There are too many dangers involved in fixing a bent motorcycle rim. The metal on a bent rim cannot be reformed perfectly to it’s previous shape without the right heavy machinery.

Out of the several motorcycles I’ve owned, I’ve had my fair share of bent rims on them. I tried to fix them myself but was left in an even worse mess than before. There is a lot to consider when fixing a bent rim and it’s important knowing the options you have.

How A Bent Rim Is Fixed

There will be a few rims that have slight bends at the edges of the lips. If this is your case and these bends don’t cause any riding issues, you probably don’t need to worry too much about them. You can fix them yourself if you wish. This article is for you if your rim has bends that are obvious or cause your motorcycle to vibrate or wobble.

A motorcycle with a bent steering wheel is very frustrating. Not only is it dangerous to ride on, but it’s usually pretty uncomfortable because of the vibrations or bumpy ride it causes.

It can be incredibly tempting to fix it yourself, but it’s important to remember that noticeable rim bends is a fix that needs to be left for the professionals. Professionals have a certain way of fixing them and I’ll explain how they do it.

The reason I’m explaining how the professionals fix a bent motorcycle rim is to emphasize the large and specialized equipment needed to perform such a fix that most amateurs don’t have at home. I’ve seen different shops use slightly different types of tools, but the basic process is the same.

The mechanic mounts a rim on a machine which allows it to spin in front. There is a sensor they use that usually consists of a needle like point that’s placed right behind the inside of the outer lip of the rim. This sensor can provide precise numbers and indicate the severity or extent of the bend.

Once they locate the bend, they use a torch to heat up that spot up between 300° – 400° Fahrenheit which makes the metal easier to work with. They place a half-moon-shaped device in the area where the bend is, and then the machine applies pressure. Once the spot is cool, they place the needle sensor on the spot and check that it is free from bends.

Sometimes cracks can be caused by bends in wheels. The mechanic will need to remove the metal from cracks, reweld it and reshape the entire thing to match the rest of the lip. Finally, the mechanic will have to straighten it all out.

Although each shop may have a different method of straightening wheels, all of them use sensors to determine the smoothness of the inside of the wheel. This equipment is essential for straightening motorcycle rims. I doubt many motorcycle riders have it.

If you find yourself with a bent motorcycle wheel, it’s a good idea to call around to a few shops and get some quotes. Also, get quotes from different shops to find the best price for a new rim. It may be more cost-effective to simply get a new rim.

Rim repair shops will cost anywhere between $65 – $400 depending on the severity of the bend. The average price I’ve seen for a new motorcycle rim is about $200, but you can find one cheaper if you buy one that’s used.

Why You Shouldn’t Fix A Rim Yourself

If you ask around a little, you’ll hear of a lot of people who suggest to simply fix the rim yourself. Although some may be able get away with it, there are too many risks. Engineers cringe at the thought of people fixing their own rims, and then riding on them.

Doing a fix like this on your own may seem easy, but there’s actually a lot more going on with the metal than you realize. Even if you think you’ve fixed it and it looks brand new, it probably isn’t.

A bent wheel can be very difficult to return to its original form without the right equipment and sensors. In addition, rim bends can also have underlying cracks and breaks in the metal you can’t see that a mechanic would be able to catch.

People often do more damage to a rim than they actually fix it by trying to fix it themselves. Hammers are frequently used to fix rims. “pound out” the bend, but that’s just furthering the problem and not fixing it at all. Crow bars are used often and, while they might seem to fix it and make the bike more stable, they also create small bends and dents which could cause damage to the motorcycle’s functionality.

You have to think of this logically; if you’re planning on fixing a bent wheel yourself, you’ll have to take it in to a shop to dismount the tire then take the wheel back in to remount the tire (because you can’t have the tire on while you’re fixing it). A tire can be dismounted for $20-40 and remounted for about $40. You have now spent between $40-$80 on your tire dismount. “DIY” fix.

That’s already a large chunk of what it would cost to just take your rim in to get it professionally straightened (dismounting and remounting the tire is included with their rim fixing prices) or it’s almost half the price of simply getting a new rim.

The Dangers of Riding with a Bent Rim

I’ll often hear the argument that people fix their car rims all the time and it turns out fine, why is a motorcycle rim any different? I’ll admit, I have fixed a bent rim when I was restoring a ’68 Firebird and it was something I shouldn’t have done. Keep in mind that cars are different than motorcycles when it comes to their wheels. One wheel on a car is 25% of the balance while a wheel on a motorcycle is 50% of it’s balance.

When a bent rim isn’t properly fixed, you run the risk of your tire deflating or creating bulges while you’re out for a ride. It’s also possible for the tire to blow during the ride because of the improper suction it has against the rim. This is particularly true for tubeless tires.

It is very dangerous to ride a motorcycle with a tire blowing out or suddenly going flat. You could be thrown off your bike and suffer severe injuries.

If you have a bent motorcycle wheel that causes wobbles on your ride, you may have a rim that’s considered “out of round.” The rim is not bent or flat on its lip, but it is crooked if you examine the back profile. This condition causes the wheel to bend more frequently as it is being ridden. “taco” Or, you can completely bend in half.

How a Rim gets Bent

There are many common bends that motorcycle rims can have. And there are many ways to create them. Some bends can be more severe than others, while some bends can prove dangerous.

When the motorcycle is traveling at high speeds, bends are common. The most common reasons for rim bends are large potholes in roads, unexpected speed bumps, and some type of accident and impact between another vehicle.

Sometimes bends in motorcycle wheels can happen, and we don’t know how. Sometimes, it is possible for slight bends to occur months before. With constant riding and other bumps on the road, the bend becomes more noticeable.

A bent rim can cause vibrations and wobble. A bent front rim can cause wobbles and shaking in the steering column, while a bent back one will usually cause vibrations.

Similar Questions

Why are motorcycles equipped with different sizes of wheels? To aid in movement and steering, most motorcycles have larger front tires. Because the engine is located in the back, the wheels are smaller and more traction-friendly. You can click here to read an article that I wrote about this.

What are the signs and symptoms of a cracked or chipped rim? Other than signs like a bent wheel, cracked wheels can also produce noticeable sounds such as a pulling to one side or a noticeable increase in gas usage.

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