8. How to Remove and Install Your Wheels

Demonstrates how to release brake cables and operate front and rear quick release axles.

IMPORTANT: Nuts and bolts on your bike should always be tightened to the manufacturer's specifications.
How to Remove and Install Your Wheels
DVD Vol. 1 DVD Volume 1
This video is available on DVD

After last week's flat repair tutorial, I received a lot of comments from people who thought I should've included wheel removal and installation instructions. This tutorial will cover the removal and installation of both front and rear quick release wheels.

Remove Front Wheel

When removing the front wheel, the first step is to disconnect your brake. Most brakes will have a simple mechanism that allows you to unhook the cable without any tools. If you cannot easily disconnect the cable you can always let some air out of the tire until it clears your brake pads. Now pull back on the quick release lever and with your other hand on the cap, spin the lever counter-clockwise a few times until your wheel comes free.

Quick Release Components

Quick Release Skewer

  • The lever tightens the skewer, and usually has the words 'Close' or 'Open' written on either side.
  • The skewer rod runs through the hollow axle and is threaded at one end.
  • The cap threads on the skewer and acts as a nut, holding your wheel in place.
  • The two springs should always be facing narrow end inward, on the outside of your frame or fork. The springs are only designed to provide clearance while removing and installing your wheel.

Install Front Wheel

You should always remember to apply a thin layer of grease along the entire length of your skewer rod.

When installing the front wheel, simply slide the axle evenly up into the fork dropouts, with the quick release lever on the left side of your bike. Holding the cap with one hand, spin the lever clockwise, making sure the side marked 'Open' is facing outwards. When tightening the lever, it should meet resistance at about the halfway point, with the lever pointing straight out. Now tighten the lever all the way down.

When the lever is tight, check to make sure it says ‘Close’ on the outside surface. I like to position the lever so that it is tucked in close alignment in front of the left fork blade. This gives you something to grip while tightening and loosening the lever.

Re-attach your front brake and check to make sure the pads are lined up correctly with the rim.

Remove Rear Wheel

Removal and installation of the rear wheel has a few extra steps because of the gear cluster. Just like the front wheel, you'll need to release the rear brake by unhooking the cable or deflating the tire. Next, adjust your rear shifter until the chain is on the smallest sprocket. Then loosen the quick release lever and carefully removed the wheel.

Install Rear Wheel

To re-install the rear wheel, first place the chain back onto the smallest sprocket, and then slide the axle evenly up into the rear dropouts. Tighten the quick release lever the same way as the front wheel, with the lever on the left side of the bike. Make sure the lever is safely tucked in between both of the left chain stays. Re-connect your rear brake and once again check to make sure the pads are lined up correctly with the rim.

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Discuss this topic in the Wheel Forums

02/10 What tool is needed to remove this freewheel?

Hello,

I was wondering if someone could recommend to me which removal tool is needed to remove this freewheel? I recently broke a couple spokes and the freewheel needs to be removed to access the hole to put a new spoke in. I put the ruler there to measure the diameter of the space, it's about 35mm-ish. I was looking at park tools freewheel recommendation site, but don't see one that would necessarily match. Would the FR-6 or FR-8 work? Thanks!

The bi... Read more >>

01/23 Quick Release Lever Recall

I got this from Consumer Reports. It effects disc equipped bicycles from 1998 -2015. Including major brands like Cannondale, Dimondback and Specialized.

The quick release wheel lever can come open and get jammed against the disc brake.

To see if your bike is effected go to: quickrelease-recall.com... Read more >>

12/03 Replacing rear wheel after patching a flat

Hi, I'm having some trouble reattaching my daughter's rear wheel to the frame after fixing her flat. It's a 20" wheel, single speed, with linear pull brakes. I have it reinstalled and with what seems to be a good tension on the chain, but it's rubbing the brakes and it's a real chore to pedal.

I had to go through this just last week when my son did the same with his. It was a learning curve (lots of youtube help) but I got it right on the third try. But he has horizontal forks where the axle goes on, so it seemed to be just a matter of getting it the right distance and holding it ... Read more >>

10/10 Tyres keep popping off wheels...

Hello guys

Just bought a new pair of 700c hybrid wheelset with an inside rim width of 19mm. I have tried to fit schwalbe 700 x 40c tyres on them but the tyres just pop out from the rim when inflated. It seems to be a loose fit. Somebody please advise.

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09/21 Mavic Crossroc wheel

Hello,

I bought a wheel set of Mavic Crossroc. The rear hub came with a 12 X 135 set up, but I need to a 12 X 142 mm so I got some adaptors and I have disassembled the hub but I can't figure out how to remove the actual end cap on the axle. Do I have to remove them, if yes how ? If no do the 142 mm just slides over these caps ??

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09/05 Rear Axle - tough pedaling

I removed my rear wheels on my single drive ancient Miami Sun trike, right rear bolts to bearing, left wheel has a nut on end of shaft ... I had the wheels trued, and tubes and tires replaced ... tires are .25 wider than original. Now when I try to ride it is quite a bit harder to pedal. Is there a proper tightness for the rear wheel axle nut ? or is the wider tire the culprit ? I just assume I did something slightly wrong ... Thanks... Read more >>

09/01 Replace or repair wheel?

Hello All,

I need some advice on whether to repair or replace my rear wheel. I have a decent single speed road bike that a friend built together for me. I let another friend borrow it, and he decided it was a good idea to ride 6 miles on a flat (lessen learned not to let people borrow your stuff). So in doing so, he busted a spoke, and bent the rim. I removed the busted spoke and got a new tube. Its rideable but the wheel wobbles a bit, not terrible but enough to be annoying. Im not an experienced mechanic so I was wondering if this is something that is worth taking to a bike shop... Read more >>

08/12 Fitting tubeless tyres on a rim?

Hi guys

Question for you cycle experts. Would tubeless tyres fit on a magnesium alloy wheel? Please see link below of 26" magnesium alloy wheels that i am interested in.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/MAGNESIUM-ALLOY-WHEELS-FRONT-AND-REAR-MTB-MOUNTAIN-BIKE-WITH-CASSETTE-NEW-26INCH-/221522845583?var=&hash=item3393ca5f8f

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08/11 Remove Hub End Caps

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The reason I'm doing this is because I noticed movement when I grip the wheel and move it side to side. I suspect the hub bearings and would like to remove the caps to have closer look and possible replace the bearings.

Here are some pictures of the wheel and hub:

[Image: 2nvs56h.jpg]
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07/30 What freehub do I have?

Hello to everyone,
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1) I'm not sure I removed it correctly because the back of the freehub is different from what I can see online
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07/27 Replace Cassette with Freewheel

I have a road bike with a Shimano Tiagra, 12-25T cassette.  I have a freewheel that should provide higher power on top gears.  How would I go about removing the cassette and hub and installing the freewheel?
What exactly is needed?  Is it possible

Will swapping the cassette... Read more >>

07/23 Started my 10 speed to 3 speed hub conversion from 27" to 26" wheels.

The rear wheels seems to fit fine. The spacing was perfect. Both wheels are off of  different Raleighs. The  rear brakes need changing. The bent 27" forks are being replaced with 26" forks. I serviced the bottom bracket and put a single chain drive and new peddles on as well. I think it will work but until it's finished, you never know for sure. There will be 4 or 5 pics. Will change the drop bars to flat bars, put a comfort seat on and see where it goes from there. If anyone has any advice I am interested in hearing it.
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07/20 Swapping 27" wheels for 26" wheels.

I have a fairly nice Raleigh with a bad 27" front wheel. Too far gone for truing. I have a nice spare 26" wheel set.
Can I replace the 27"wheels with 26" wheels. I'm thinking the brakes pads would need to be move 1/2 inch and as the replacement rear 26" wheel is a 3 speed Shimano hub, their would be no dersillers to set up. Am I missing anything that would derail my plan?... Read more >>

07/20 Shimano 600 freewheel question.

I picked up Nishiki Custom Sport with what I think is a Shimano 600 freewheel. Odd set up. The freewheel has the axel bearings were the freewheel removal tool would normally go. the only adjustment on the free wheel side is a single nut which goes up against the bearing seal. I wondering if I am missing a part or is that the way it is supposed to be? anyone familiar with this setup?... Read more >>

07/13 Fitting Wrench on Nipple

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