Remove A Bike’s Rear Wheel With Wheel Nuts

Introduction

Follow this guide to be sure your rear wheel is roadworthy before you head out for a ride.

Step 1

Preparation - Remove A Bike’s Rear Wheel With Wheel Nuts

Preparation

Identify somewhere to hang or rest the bike frame once the rear wheel is off.

Pro Tip

There is almost always a tree, a gate or item of street furniture where you can hang your bike. If there’s nowhere to hang your bike, lay it down gently on the non-drive side so the chain doesn’t get dirty, and the rear derailer doesn’t get stressed.

Step 2

Detaching The rear Wheel - Remove A Bike’s Rear Wheel With Wheel Nuts

Detaching The rear Wheel

If the bike has rim brakes open the brake. If the bike has disc brakes, take extreme care to keep control of the bike. If it topples over while the rear wheel is coming out, but the rotor is still in the calliper, the rotor will bend.

Step 3

 - Remove A Bike’s Rear Wheel With Wheel Nuts

If the bike has a derailleur gear select the smallest combination of sprockets and turn the pedals so the chain drops onto them. The slowest at the front and the fastest at the back, in each case the smallest available cog rear wheel.

Step 4

 - Remove A Bike’s Rear Wheel With Wheel Nuts

Select a tool that fits the nuts exactly. They are most likely to be 15mm. Note the position of any washers between the nuts and the fork. Turn one nut a few degrees to check it can move. Unscrew the opposite nut fully. Return to the first nut and loosen it.

Pro Tip

It’s not usually necessary to remove the nuts from the axle completely. This is particularly important when you’re dealing with a puncture ‘in the wild’ where the nuts may get lost.

Step 5

Remove The rear Wheel. - Remove A Bike’s Rear Wheel With Wheel Nuts

Remove The rear Wheel.

Stand behind the bike with your head on its centre-line.

Step 6

 - Remove A Bike’s Rear Wheel With Wheel Nuts

Grab the left side of the bike with your left hand, the seat-stay or luggage rack is usually the best place.

Step 7

 - Remove A Bike’s Rear Wheel With Wheel Nuts

Place your right thumb on the end of the nut on the right side. Use your right fingers to pull the derailler body back towards you so it rotates out from under the rear wheel.

Step 8

 - Remove A Bike’s Rear Wheel With Wheel Nuts

Lift the bike off the rear wheel. The rear wheel will stay on the ground as the bike comes up. If it sticks in the frame check if there’s anything blocking it’s path, if not it may be that the frame is slightly too narrow for the hub in which case you can give the rear wheel or tyre a downward tap with your right fist to get it moving.

Step 9

 - Remove A Bike’s Rear Wheel With Wheel Nuts

Unhook the chain with your right hand to lift the bike with your left.

Pro Tip

If the frame is heavy enough to need two hands hold the rear wheel between your legs until the frame is clear then gently use your feet to let it drop to the ground on the left – non-drive – side. Hang the bike by the nose of the saddle from some convenient gate, fence, tree or other item of street furniture.

Pro Tip

If the bike has longer horizontal drop-outs you may need to push forwards with your right thumb as you lift the frame. Some frames like this – especially if they are fitted with mudguards – may not have enough room to release the rear wheel while the tyre is inflated. In that case let the air out of the tyre to allow the rear wheel to slide forwards and out.