Replacing Bearings in the Rear Wheel of a Bicycle

Replacing Bearings in the Rear Wheel of a Bicycle
Bicycle wheels are filled with ball bearings surrounding the spindle or axle shaft. The shaft rotates on the bearings, reducing friction and spinning freely. Over time, the wheel bearings of a rear wheel will become worn and not spin as easily anymore. It is also possible that small flat spots in the balls or shavings will develop. This can damage the spindle, and the bearings need to be replaced as soon as possible. Replacing the bearings in the rear wheel of a bicycle is fairly simple and can be accomplished by any home mechanic.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Crescent wrenches
  • Axle grease
  • New bearings
Step 1
Flip open the quick release on the axle, and pull the wheel free from the bicycle frame. Remove the quick release from the axle.
Step 2
Use the crescent wrenches to unscrew the stop nuts on the outside of each side of the axle bolt. Slide the axle out of the wheel housing.
Step 3
Pull the bearings and their cages, or races, out of the inside of the wheel housing. Use the cloth to wipe out any excess grease and/or metal shavings.
Step 4
Unpack the new bearings, and spread a bit of axle grease on them. Insert them, ball bearings to the inside, into the wheel housing. Slide the axle back through the wheel housing, and reinstall the stop nuts on either side with the crescent wrenches.
Step 5
Reinstall the quick release back on the axle and then slide the wheel back in place in the bicycle frame.

Tips & Warnings

The new bearings should come pre-packaged with factory grease installed; however, adding a bit of your own will ensure long life and proper functioning.

Article Written By Nathaniel Miller

Nathaniel Miller is a technical writer for an environmental division of Microbac Laboratories, Inc. He has a Master of Science from Ohio University. With over eight years of technical writing experience, Miller has a diverse skill-set and enjoys a wide-ranging client base. He is widely published on numerous writing websites and runs a small writing business out of his home in Marietta, Ohio.

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.