How to Remove and Install a Wheel on a Bicycle

How to Remove and Install a Wheel on a Bicycle

In this video, we’ll show you how to remove
and install a wheel on your bike. Hello, Calvin Jones here with Park Tool Company. First, let’s go over the tools and supplies needed. This process is typically done without any tools, but if your bike is equipped with a solid axle,
you will need an appropriate wrench to loosen it. First, let’s make it easy to drop the wheel. On rear wheels, begin by shifting to
the smallest cog in the front and rear, which gives you the most chain slack. If you have a caliper rim brake, look for a
quick release lever located at the caliper arm. Simply flip the lever up to open both pads. The caliper quick release can also
be a button at the lever. Pull the lever slightly, push the button,
and release the lever. Cantilever brakes disengage by squeezing the calipers together and disconnecting the brake cable. Linear pull brakes use an elbow-shaped piece
of tubing known as a “noodle”. Squeeze the arms together and disengage the noodle. If you have disc brakes, no pad
disengagement is necessary. And with hydraulic disc brakes, NEVER squeeze
the lever when the disc is out of the bike. Otherwise the pads will close and you will have a very
difficult time getting the wheel back on the bike. If this happens, You can spread the pads using
a purpose-built pad spreader such as the MTB-3.2 Rescue Tool. Alternatively use a small straight bladed screwdriver; however, this can end up damaging your pads. Now we can remove the wheel from the frame. A traditional quick-release axle uses open dropouts. Simply pull the quick-release lever outwards,
and if necessary loosen the skewer. For wheels with axle nuts, loosen both axle nuts
with an appropriate wrench. On thru axles, there are different systems.
For some, pull the lever outward and use it to turn the axle counter-clockwise
until you are able to pull it straight out. Other systems use a lever
to engage a fitting on the axle. Turn this counter-clockwise until you can remove the axle. Some thru axle systems have a simple lever.
Turn it to loosen or tighten. On a rear wheel, it’s a bit more complicated
because we need to clear the derailleur and chain. Simply pivot the derailleur back. Some derailleurs have clutch mechanisms that
make it difficult to pivot the derailleur. These come with a feature to
help remove the wheel easily. for SRAM, move the lower pulley forward to
relax the chain, and use the button to lock it in place. For Shimano clutch derailleurs, look for the on/off lever.
Move the lever to the off position. Now let’s put the wheel back on. On the front wheel of an open drop-out quick release, make sure the hub is fully seated into the fork. Hold the lever while you tighten the nut. The skewer should be tight enough that the lever meets resistance at about 90 degrees from the frame. The final position of the lever is important. The lever should be oriented upwards in a position where it can be easily disengaged, yet won’t be in danger of getting caught on foreign objects. On a rear wheel, put the cogs into the loop of the chain, pivot the derailleur back and lift the wheel up into the dropouts, making sure the hub is fully seated. Adjust the tension of the quick release as with the front, placing the lever between the chainstay and seat stay. The lever needs to be fully closed and flat. On a solid axle bike, tighten both axle nuts to manufacturer’s recommended torque, typically about 25Nm. With a hand wrench, use perceived effort. For 25Nm, apply about 40 pounds of effort
holding the wrench 5 inches from the axle. Now let’s look at the thru axle system,
starting with the front wheel. Install the wheel into the dropouts. Slide the thru axle into place, then turn
it clockwise to tighten the fork against the hub. The lever should be tight and oriented
so it is easy to get at. On the rear wheel, as with open dropouts,
make sure the rear hub is fully seated. Install the thru axle, making sure it is tight. Be sure to re-engage the quick release on any rim brake. If you have the clutch type derailleurs, remember to return it to the riding postion. For SRAM derailleurs,
push the pulley forward to release the cage. For Shimano, flip the lever back to the “on” position. Verify that the wheel is centered in the frame or fork. Check also any rim brake pads are centered
to the wheel and adjust as necessary. Especially for disc brakes on open dropouts, make sure the disc is not rubbing the pads as shown. Adjust as necessary. This concludes wheel removal and installation. Thanks for watching, and be sure to subscribe for the latest videos from Park Tool.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Great vid. Only one thing it doesn't have is the QLOC thru axle system. I was confused when I first encountered it.

  2. This video reminded me to get a disc pad spreader for my tool kit. It would not be fun to fix a flat out on the road and not be able to get the wheel back on because the pads tightened.

  3. first time someone is showing what will happen if u squeeze the brake lever when the wheel is removed. thumbs up 👍

  4. THank you so much. Your videos are so professionally made, easy to follow and straight to the point. Thank you again!

  5. The mechanic guy on this video has done a great job for tips and techniques, and been working hard lately…he deserves some time off and a vacation to recover, he just lost a lot of weight busting his ass working !

  6. Great and very helpful videos on this channel! Thank you for sharing all this knowledge! Quick question: Where should the thru-axle lever of the rear wheel point to when it is installed? The video shows twelve-o-clock position, but there seem to be many opinions on the internet and on the trails. What do you recommend for maximum safety?

  7. Wow, one of the best tutorials I've seen on YouTube. Fixed my very first puncture just by simply following your instructions.

  8. What happens when there are mudguards and racks? Do you have to take them off completely or just unscrew the nuts at the axle?

  9. In America u need to carry a metric to standard conversion table and a calculator, so 99.8% of Americans watching have not a dam clue how much 1 newton meter of force is.

  10. Thank you for this thorough instructional video! I changed my inner tube for the first time with the guidance of this video. I appreciate your attention to all the little details, including the notes on what minute mark to skip to to move to the next step.

  11. Just chiming in to say that this also helped me.

    Front tire is easy and straightforward. I royally screwed myself on the back, and this gave me what I needed to get it back on.

  12. How do I get a wheel past the "lawyer tabs?" This video only addresses traditional drop-outs. Have the lawyers gotten to you?

  13. Can't reattach the brake cable – cantilevers too terribly tight to put back on! There is no quick release button.

  14. Anyone intimidated about taking and putting back the rear wheel? Feels like I'll definitely screw it up.

  15. What does gcn say to close the skewer spin the skewer handle until tight open it then turn the nut a little bit and close it. even my manual says to keep it open tighten the nut then close it with the handle never mentioning to spin the handle so what is the correct way I really don't want to damage a pair of carbon fiber forks

  16. How come they don't tighten the thru axle at the disc rotor side, like qr usually does. The clamp would usually be on the non drive side

  17. PLEASE HELP When I try to install a rear sheel with a solid axle my wheel keeps getting out of alignment when I start tightening the nuts. I just can't get the wheel straight

  18. Thanks for your pacesetting station! Super informative. I have some hockey stick tape. Will that suffice as handlebars tape, Park Tool?

  19. thank you so much for this! Also watched your "replace tires and tube" video and finished changing everything on my bike within 1.5 hours for the first time! Now I know how to do it easily the next time! Thank you so much for the learning experience.

  20. Damn, I was in a hurry earlier replacing a tube and forgot to shift to the smallest cog on the rear derailleur. I didn't realize until after replacing the wheel and now the shifter is really tight and hard to shift. And the derailleur is completely out of whack where as before it was in almost perfect adjustment. It won't even shift to the largest cog now :(. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. The shifter is the twist kind with numbers on it.

  21. I’m trying to reinstall my rear wheel on an MTB with disc brakes and quick release. I fought with it for a half hour and can’t get it back on. It seems like a two person job, unless you own a bike repair stand. Bicycles are one of the most difficult mechanical things to work on in my opinion.

  22. Sir, My actual inseam size is 83cm(32inch) and my total height is 172cm(68inch). Please prefer a frame size(L/M) and tyre size(27.5/29) for me.

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