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.


Related Links

Discuss this topic in the Wheel Forums

09/21 Mavic Crossroc wheel


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 ??

Thanks...

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.


Thank you...

08/11 Remove Hub End Caps

How can I remove the hub end caps from my front wheel? The wheel is a 2014 TBC Revolution Trail 27.5 with 32 spokes. I tried pulling them off by hand and with a pair of pliers but was unsuccessful.

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]

07/30 What freehub do I have?

Hello to everyone,
I'm new to the forum and I want to congratulate with all of you for your excellent work! Now we can go to the serious stuff:

I'm not an expert of bikes and I'm trying to fix my old TREK. The freehub is broken so I decided to replace it. It was not easy but, finally, I removed it from the bike. Now I have two questions:

1) I'm not sure I removed it correctly because the back of the freehub is different from what I can see online
2) if I removed it correctly, can someone tell me what kind of freehub is this? I want to buy the replacement <... Read more >>

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...

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.

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

Recently the front wheel on my 2012 Specialized Sirrus Sport became wobbly. I'm the kind of guy who would normally just take this to the shop to get trued by a professional, but I'm planning a long bike trip this Fall and decided I need to learn how to keep my wheels true myself. I went down to the bicycle dealer and bought two things: a triangle-shaped spoke wrench that fits three size nipples (0, 1, 2), and a $100 truing stand. I wanted to do this right.

I was not expecting the problem I ran into: I could fit the wrench (size 2) onto about 2/3rds of the spoke nipples, bu... Read more >>

06/30 How to choose the correct rim tape for my wheel?

Hi guys

Can anyone tell me how to choose the correct rim tape width for my wheel/rim? My wheel has an inside rim width of approx. 19mm. Would an 18mm wide rim tape thus be the ideal size for my wheel?

Thank you...

06/20 Will this work on 20" rim?


I want to buy a electric conversion kit for my bike but the smallest rear wheel that they supply is a 26"
rim. I asked if they can supply a 20" rim with spokes and the fella said he just sells them he dose not know if that is possible. If I do buy the 26" rear wheel can I change the rim and spokes for a 20" one?
and what size spokes would I need?
...

04/14 Replacement axle for Ritchey V4 or V5 hub

I need to replace the axle on Ritchey hub that is part of a set of Pro DS wheels. Based on the hub ID document http://ritcheylogic.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Ritchey-HUB-ID-Sheet-20140121.pdf, I believe that it is V4 or V5 hub. It doesn't precisely match any of the pictures. It has a Shimano-compatible freehub.

Would this axle kit work? http://www.amazon.com/Ritchey-WCS-Roa...

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