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Cycle Maintenance - Taking your wheel back off your bike

an easy task

Taking the wheels of your bicycle is easy and you should know how to do it. However even I have to admit that some bikes take me by surprise and I sit there lost for words when a wheel won’t come out. Here are some thoughts to help you if you get stuck.

The first step is to release the brakes to get the blocks away from the wheel rim (for disc, roller or drum brakes, either consult the instructions or check back here at a later date once I’ve got a bike that has them). If you aren’t aware how your brakes release, have a careful look at them, here are some hints.
• For V-Brakes pull the cable guide out of the housing
• For cantilever brakes take the wire end out of its recess
• On some dual pivot brakes turn the lever.
• Some brake levers themselves have a mechanism that will release some cable tension.
• Some brakes just don’t release. You will either have to undo the cable, or consider whether the wheel will come out if you just let the tyre down. (If this is the case, remember to put the wheel back in before you pump the tyre up!)

Next you have to release any other cables, such as those for an internal hub gear.

If you have derailleur gears then it can help to put the chain onto the smallest cog. If your frame has a lug to hook the chain over to help you on rear wheel removal then pop it over it now.

Finally you can undo the wheel nuts. If you have quick release wheels then undo the lever and then unscrew it a few turns. If you have traditional wheel nuts then with the correct size spanner release them a few turns on each side of the wheel.

The wheel should now drop out. If it doesn’t then check to see if you have “lawyer tabs” fitted, and if so release them from the frame (you may need to slacken the wheel nuts even more). On other bikes, especially on the front wheel, you may need to pull the forks apart to release the axle.


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