How to Remove a Bike Wheel

How to Remove a Bike Wheel
The only way to patch or replace a flat inner tube is to remove the entire wheel from the bike. Otherwise, your inner tube and tire will simply be caught between the wheel and the fork (or rear triangle). The process of removing the wheel is quite simple and requires minimal tools and skill.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Wrenches
Step 1
Pull over to the side of the road or trail immediately upon getting a flat tire.
Step 2
For a problem with the rear wheel, shift the right shifter to the smallest cog one click at a time. Move the chain by pedaling with a hand or foot to get onto the smallest cog.
Step 3
Open up the brake pads. Look at the brakes and determine if they will block the wheel from removal. V-brakes and side-pull brakes will generally prevent you from pulling the wheel off. To open, you should be able to pull one side of the brake cable out of the brake mechanism. When you do this, the pads will separate enough to pull the rim off.
Step 4
Determine the construction of your wheel axle system. Many bikes use quick release skewers, but others use nuts. Quick release is a tool-free system in which you manually pull the release open and hand-loosen the nut on the other side. For nuts, you'll need two properly sized (or adjustable) wrenches to loosen the axle. In either case, you don't need to take any hardware off, just open enough so that the wheel is loose.
Step 5
Rest the bike upside down. For the rear wheel, it's easier and safer for the bike to turn the bike over and remove the wheel. Slowly pull the wheel off the frame, and remove the cogs from the chain until the wheel is free.
Step 6
For the front wheel, you can either turn the bike over, or hold the wheel between your legs and pull the fork up and off.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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