Bike Handlebars And Wheels Not Aligned (Explained)

Handlebars And Wheels Not Aligned

Misaligned bike wheels are one of the most frustrating issues for bikers, especially when you ride frequently.

Unfortunately, it’s a common problem, and the good news is that you can fix it without hassle. It’s so easy that it takes just a few tools, good eyesight, and perfect coordination.

You’ll be done within no time and can enjoy as much riding as possible, ensure that you’re cautious henceforth.

Consequently, it is caused by various reasons like; improper adjustment while riding or accidents. A twist in the wrong direction will harm the bike’s handlebars unless it’s fixed. In this article, you will discover why handlebars are misaligned, how you can fix them, and the tools you need, among others.

Reasons Why Handlebars Are Not Aligned With Wheels

Handlebars And Wheels Not Aligned

There are several reasons why handlebars are not aligned with wheels, these examples;

#1. Worn Allen Bolt

Time plays a major role in the various faults that bicycles develop, and a worn Allen bolt is one of them. The Allen bolt at the handlebar passes vertically through into the torque’s fork frame.

It is responsible for tightening and loosening the bike’s handlebars, hence the alignment.

Once you notice your wheels facing a different direction than your handlebars, it’s best to tighten the bolt.

You can do this by using a 5mm Allen wrench to tighten the bolt while holding the wheels in a straight line.

Luckily, the 5mm Allen wrench or key is quite affordable, and you can easily purchase a set. 

This way, you don’t have to worry if you can’t find one when you have a whole pack.

#2. Loose Handlebars

Over time, the bicycle’s handlebars may become loose and cause a misalignment which you can fix easily. The longer the bike lasts, the more likely it is to develop one fault or another.

If you notice that your handlebars are turning with just a little twist, it’s an indication you mustn’t ignore.

#3. Excessive Exposure To Rough Terrain

Even though bikes can withstand rough riding here and there, they’re prone to damage once in a while.

In a case where you subject a non-mountain bike to a steady uphill and rocky terrain bike, expect anything.

Mountain bikes are specially built for the rough life of the hills and can last longer than other bikes in that situation.

Contrarily, even mountain bike handlebars experience misalignment now and then.

It’s unavoidable when you keep riding your bike and don’t tighten your bolt on the top stem occasionally.

#4. Negligence To Routine Check

No matter how well your bicycle may seem, it’s best if you subject it to routine check once in a while. Preferably after a rough ride that leaves you uncertain of the bike’s condition.

In addition, during this check, you can also discover a misaligned wheel before you experience any weird riding moments. Therefore, it would help if you service your bicycle regularly.

How To Align Bicycle Handlebars With Front Wheels?

The best way to align your bicycle with the front wheels is explained in the following steps.

  • First, ensure that it’s not a faulty bicycle seat that is misaligned instead of the handlebars. Sometimes, our coordination goes off when the bike’s seat bends to the right or left. You may begin to think that your handlebars are the culprit when it is your seat.
  • Next, stand in front of your bike and ensure you’re in line with the front wheel with the top cap bolt in view. If you don’t stand at the right angle, your measurements will be off, leading to an improper adjustment and alignment. Next, hold your front wheels firmly with your two knees, firmly gripping the wheel in-between them.
  • Place a straight stick or measuring rule on the front wheel and in-between the fork. Even though you can use any rod as long as it’s straight, it’s best to use an alignment rod. The rods are ideal for aligning handlebars with front wheels.

Ensure that the wheels are perfectly aligned with the handlebars before moving forward. Keep adjusting until you can see the top cap bolt between your two eyes straight.

Also, each half of the rod between the torque’s fork must be equal and perpendicular to the handlebars.

  • Afterward, take your Allen key and twist your top bolt stem in the clockwise direction. While doing this, keep an eye on the front wheel’s legs so it doesn’t shift from their place. As long as you secure it correctly and tighten the Allen top bolt, your alignment should be perfect.

But, you must know that the task requires patience, or else you’ll have to go over it again after the hard work earlier.

So, it would be best if you took your time and did the right thing once and for all.

How To Fix a Misaligned Bike Wheel?

It’s easy to spot a misaligned bike wheel because you face the same problems as the axle turning in the wrong direction.

To fix this problem, you have to follow these steps;

  • First, you must place the bike so you can access the rear wheels, preferably upside down.
  • Next, you observe how each wheel turns when you roll it and if it’s in a straight line. Here, your tape measure is significant for precision and adjustments. Unfortunately, the human eye cannot be a reliable tool for measuring inches and millimeters.

You can decide to deflate the tires or not before you begin alignment to have access to the spokes on the rim.

Although if you don’t, it doesn’t have a significant difference, as long as you have access.

  • Using the wrench, you can loosen the spokes while adjusting the rim and measuring the distance between the two sides. Until there is the same space in-between each side, keep adjusting the spokes by tightening or loosening.

By the time you finish the process, you should have your perfectly aligned wheels and smooth riding.

Bike Handlebar Alignment Tool

The right tools make your job easier, faster, and save time. There are essential tools you cannot do without when it comes to handlebar alignment.

The primary alignment tool is designed to suit certain bike specifications. If you decide to try manually, then you need other tools. 

In addition, there are a few other examples.

  • An alignment rod is used to get the perfect line between the front wheel and the handlebars. Without this tool, you’ll struggle with getting a straight alignment. You could also use it along with a measuring tape for preciseness.
  • Allen wrench is for tightening or loosening the top cap bolt on the handlebar, which is most likely responsible for the misalignment.
  • Hex key; you can use this pair to tighten the bike’s axle until you get the perfect alignment. However, you must not tighten it too much as it stiffens the bike’s neck. It’s best to take precise measurements before taking permanent actions.


Finally, when your handlebars and wheels are not aligned, it just needs fixing. If you have the right tools, tighten the correct bolts and loosen the spokes.

In addition, it’s best to avoid crashing your bike into every boulder you see when riding. Hence, protecting yourself from an accident and your bike from repairs that you could avoid.

Josh Matthews

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *