In the present work, we demonstrate a novel approach to nanotribological measurements based on the bending manipulation of hexagonal ZnO nanowires (NWs) in an adjustable halfsuspended configuration inside a scanning electron microscope. A pick-and-place manipulation technique was used to control the length of the adhered part of each suspended NW. Static and kinetic friction were found by a ‘self-sensing’ approach based on the strain profile of the elastically bent NW during manipulation and its Young’s modulus, which was separately measured in a three-point bending test with an atomic force microscope. The calculation of static friction from the most bent state was completely reconsidered and a novel more realistic crackbased model was proposed. It was demonstrated that, in contrast to assumptions made in previously published models, interfacial stresses in statically bent NW are highly localized and interfacial strength is comparable to the bending strength of NW measured in respective bending tests.