How to Remove a Rear Bike Wheel

How to Remove a Rear Bike Wheel
If you've been confounded by the process of removing a rear bike wheel, you're probably not alone. Many first time mechanics have taken one look at their rear wheel, firmly enmeshed behind a derailleur, chain and a series of baroque-looking cogs, and scratched their heads. Appearances aside, the process is actually quite simple. It's also essential knowledge if you've been unlucky enough to find yourself with a flat rear tire. Removing the wheel is the first step in remedying this common misfortune.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • 5mm allen wrench (as needed)
Step 1
Shift the chain to the smallest rear cog and largest front chain ring. Having the chain in this gear combination will greatly help in freeing the wheel from the chain. If the bike has only one cog, and no derailleur, skip this step.
Step 2
Open the quick-release on the axle skewer. The skewer passes through the center of the wheel and when tightened helps hold the wheel in place. The quick-release will be located on the left, non-drive side end of the skewer.
Step 3
Hold the quick-release with one hand and loosen the lock nut on the other end of the skewer with your second hand. It isn't necessary to fully remove the skewer. The skewer simply needs to be loose enough to allow the wheel to clear this portion of the bicycle frame.
Step 4
Release tension upon the rear brake. Many brakes will feature a quick-release, located somewhere on the brake. If necessary, using an allen wrench, loosen the anchor bolt securing the cable to the brake. Releasing tension from the brake will give the wheel enough clearance to clear the brake pads.
Step 5
Lift the rear of the bicycle off the ground. Push gently down on the wheel. While still elevating the rear of the bike, pull the wheel free of the bike.

Article Written By Matthew Ferguson

Matthew Ferguson is a writer living in Savannah, Ga. He has been writing for over 10 years and his work has appeared on various online publications. A collection of his short stories was published in spring 2010. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.