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Home > Bike Repair > Wheels

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How to Remove and Install Your Wheels

by Levi Bloom

This is a very basic bike skill that must be mastered before doing any repairs; it's especially vital for fixing a flat tire.

The good news is that it's very easy once you learn how to operate a quick-release skewer, which is found on most modern bikes.

For the front wheel:

Flip open the brake cable release lever, which will open the brake arms, allowing space for the tire to slide out.

Flip open the quick-release skewer at the hub. Then unscrew the nut (on the other side of the hub) a few turns.

Tap the wheel and it should fall out.

Now, to put the wheel back on the bike...

Put the wheel into the fork, lining up the axle with the dropouts (and making sure the tire is centered between the brake pads.)

Flip the lever on the brake back to the closed position.

Tighten the quick-release nut to the point where closing the quick-release skewer will leave an imprint on your palm. It shouldn't take a lot of pressure to close it. (It might take some trial and error though, when you are tightening the nut.)

Tip: Apply the brake before you close the quick-release for the final time. This will keep the wheel centered.

 

For the rear wheel:

The rear wheel uses just about the same procedure, you just have to negotiate around the chain and rear derailleur.

Start by shifting the chain onto the small cog. This makes it easier to remove the wheel.

Flip open the brake cable release.

Open the quick-release skewer.

Tap the wheel so it drops out of the frame, and slide the chain off the cassette.

That's it.

Now to re-install...

Line up the wheel so it's ready to go back into the frame, then pull the chain onto the cassette like it was before.

Then slide the wheel up into the frame. (Pulling the rear derailleur cage back slightly might help.)

Close the brake cable release.

Apply the brake to center the wheel, then clamp down the quick-release lever.

 

Want to see this "how-to" on video?

remove install wheels video

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The tools for this repair can be purchased at:

Performance Bike, REI, or eBay.

Home > Bike Repair > Wheels