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

07/22 Hybrid wheels

Hello, I just would like to know if it's possible to put 26' hybrid wheels onto a mountain bike frame? and also if you take a look at the picture of this bike frame, whether or not the back end would be compatible with quick release as it's an old frame. The front should be as I've brought new forks for it, thanks. Daniel... Read more >>

07/20 Axle/dropout question

Hi, all,
this is a complete noob question i know, but please bear with me!
My front wheel had a bit of play so i did a bit of reading, took it off and tightened the cone nuts. Once i did this the hub turned freely and there was pretty much the same amount of axle showing at each side. the thing is, there is only enough axle to go about half way through the drop out. the way i see it, the axle cannot go all the way to the outside of the drop out, otherwise there will be no room for the springs to compress on the quick release skewer, but only about half the thickness of the drop out... Read more >>

07/16 Rear Wheel Nuts won't screw in

I don't know if I am doing this procedure whole wrong, but when I try to tighten my back tire, the nuts just keep spinning and not tightening. I made sure to hold the opposite still screw it in, but the nuts just spin rather than tighten. Is it something wrong with my bike or are the nuts faulty?... Read more >>

07/16 Plastic Spoke Protector Guard.

During cleaning on my bike, I've discovered that this guard has been damaged.

Do you really need this? Or would it be fine without it?... Read more >>

07/15 Wheel build problem

Hey Please to meet you I'm a new user.

I've recently built a set of road wheels

Stan's alpha 340 rims with 253g set of hubs, sapim spokes and nipples (20/24) weighing about 1200g all in with tyres.

I've ridden them twice and both times i've took out a different spoke from the rear drive side of the wheel, its pulled the spoke out of the nipple, thread gone (I believe brass nipples not sure til tomz if they are alloy til I ask my wheel builder guy).

Cant understand why?

I'm now starting to think my weight is the reason I'm 85kg.<... Read more >>

07/08 Need HELP with my hub and wobbling freewheel!

Hi, I bought a cheap foldable 6 speed bike with no front derailleur about a month ago and I have trouble having a nice clean shift of gears everytime I ride. The gears are always skipping when I just got it and some gears are not useable because the rear derailleur doesn't reach them.
I brought my bike the first time for a checkup and the mechanic got the screws on my rear derailleur at the right place, now all gears are useable, only the 5th and 6th occasionally skips but the 2nd gear is annoyingly loud! I lubed the chain using a dry lube and it still remained the same.
Brought my... Read more >>

07/03 Rear hub replacement to disc brake type

Hi, I have a Raleigh Tandem that I want to load and take on trips. I am looking at replacing the rear hub (Shimano FH-RM30 8S) with a matching sized hub, but that also has disc brake bolt holes. Can anyone recommend a replacement hub that will accept a disc and is also sized so that I can use the same rim and spokes. I don't need a super light or high tech hub, but would like something that can be rebuilt and will accept my existing rear sprockets/cassette. Thanks, Michael... Read more >>

07/03 Trike Bike Rims

Hello,

Hopefully im at the right place i recently traded a bike for a 3 wheel adult Trike brand im not really sure of to be all honest i wouldn't doubt its possibly stolen since its all spray painted.

I'm unsure of what brand Trike bike it is in the morning when i have some sun light its going on 10 PM now so its too late to go out their are get a picture of what i need help with but i'll try to explain...

I wanna replace the rims on the rear of the 3 wheel bike they are i believe 24 inch rims they don't have a nut or bolt on the sides like most bikes do.... Read more >>

07/02 Need Help With My First Rim Replacement

I have a Fuji Absolute 3.0 I got from Performance Bike. It fell off the back of my car and I had to buy a replacement front wheel. I've taken the old wheel to two different LBS and both say the rim is beyond repair.

Since I have a replacement on the bike, I have decided to learn to replace a rim. I will try this to learn and not because I need a front wheel. I have replaced spokes and adjusted out of true wheels before without problem.

Finally, getting to my question: where can one buy a replacement rim. Some of the web sites leave one to feel, just about any 700 ri... Read more >>

07/01 Difference between aero elliptical spokes and aero bladed spokes?

Can anyone explain the difference between the 2 spokes? I've got hold of some spokes, and both ends are round (like standard round spokes) but the middle part is flat.

Thank you... Read more >>

06/20 Need help! Problem with skewer, wheel, frame?

Hi! New here! I have a fairly inexpensive mountain bike that I am trying to use with an indoor trainer. I have a Trek Cycleops trainer. This particular brand has a specific skewer and I have the correct one. I'm having two problems.

First, when I install the skewer, my wheel isnt stable on the skewer. It is loose and wobbles from side to side.

Second, ignoring the wobble, if I secure it into the trainer (correctly, btw) if I pedal full revolution, the tire (and skewer) pop off the frame. The skewer is still in the trainer. The frame of the bike is lifted off the ske... Read more >>

06/13 Stolen Back Wheel, need replacement

Hey guys,

So I left my bike locked up at a train station and the back wheel got stolen off of it (as well has the seat and seat post). I'm looking for suggestions on replacement parts. I'd like to get decent parts without breaking the bank (decent to mean means it works well and won't break/fall apart super fast). I mostly ride the bike on the road/dirt trails.

How much do you suspect it'll cost to replace the tire and seat?

I have a hard rock sport 2009 (without disc brakes). It has a 19" frame. I know it's not anything too fancy but it's been a gre... Read more >>

06/09 Hub race spinning?

Hey Guys,
Trying to figure what is going on here... Have a Fixie rear wheel that I have adjusted the cones on twice since I got it in November of last year. Noticed here recently that it had some more side-to-side play and just got a chance to check it out. Figured I would do a complete lube, so I broke it down and noticed that the drive side race(shell) was spinning in the hub along with some side play. The other side is fine.
Is there a way of tightening or getting the race(shell) to stop spinning??
Thanks... Read more >>

06/08 Help with rear hub pls.

Hello. Sorry or my English.
My bike:
Fuji Tahoe Ltd 2011 Mountain Bike | Evans Cycles
After year of using i have noticed that rear weel have play.
I have disassebled rear hub... seems to water was here.
Here i see two types of ball bearings: smaller (11pcs) and bigger (9pcs). Smaller was rusted, but cone is good, bigger- without rust but cone is damaged.
I have attached some photos of my problem. Cannot find any online catalog of Fuji parts. Hub- marked Fuji, not Shimano. What i should to do?
Thanks.

Read more >>

06/07 Mavic R-Sys

I have a pair of Mavic R-Sys wheels with about 2500 miles on them. The front wheel has some play in it (1/8" or more) when it is in place on the frame. I have the Mavic tool which is used to tighten hub on the outside. When I unable to successfully use the tool to remove the play. When I tighten the hub down enough to remove the play the wheel begins to bind. When I back off the hub just a little bit (maybe a 1/4 turn or so) the binding stops but the play in the wheel returns. I can't find a happy medium.

I read a Mavic tech manual where you can take the hubs apart and rep... Read more >>

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