How To Remove And Replace Your Mountain Bike Wheels | MTB Maintenance


– Removing a wheel from a bike is something we all need
to do at some point, whether that’s just to fix a puncture, or perhaps if you wanna put your bike in a car and transport it. Now, removing wheels is
a very easy thing to do, but it’s also easy to make a few mistakes. So this is the best and safest way to remove and replace your wheels. Now first up, before
you remove your wheels, you need to understand which type of axle fastenings you have. Now on most mountain bikes these days, you have what’s known as
quick-release thru-axles. They’re basically a bigger version of the classic quick-release. Now for this video, I’m gonna
show you how to use those, gonna show you how to
use the allen key version and also the classic quick-release. (light music) Now none of our presenter
bikes here at GMBN, actually have quick-releases anymore, because you don’t often see them. However, I’ve just borrowed
Dan the cameraman’s bike, just to have a look at this. So he’s got an old Giant here and this has got
quick-release levers on it. Now, a quick-release lever
is a cam-operated lever, it’s very easy to undo,
but there’s a couple of little details you need to know. On the bottom of the fork,
or the rear of the frame, there’ll be little safety tabs. These are to ensure that
if the lever comes loose, the wheel won’t fall out. So, you have to undo the lever enough, in order for the wheel
to pass through that. So quick-release itself
is a very simple thing, so cam-operated lever on a bar, with a thread on the
end, a spring and a nut. All you need to do, is make
sure it’s sufficiently tight and you should be able to close
it no problem and open it. That’s all there is to it. But you don’t tend to see it on mountain bikes that much these days. So I’m gonna show you the two
common versions right now, that you’ll see on most
modern mountain bikes. Now with most modern mountain bikes, you’ll find they either have the quick-release style thru-axle system, like you see on my Scott here, or you’re gonna have
the allen key version, which you’ll see on my Nukeproof here. So to make it super easy for you, I’m just gonna show you one of each, nice and simple, but
the process is exactly the same no matter what axle you have. (light music) Most mountain bikes today have disc brakes on them, even the budget bikes, but occasionally you’re going to get one that has regular v brakes
or cantilever brakes. If that’s the case, then you
need to loosen the cable first, before you can remove the wheel, to enable the tire to pass the brake pads. In this case, it’s a conventional bike, that has a disc brake on it and I’m gonna need a six
millimeter allen key. So you either want a multi-tool for that, or a good old-fashioned allen keys. So, just gonna get my
six millimeter allen key, nice and simple, put it
straight into the end there, into the head and you wanna loosen this anticlockwise or counter-clockwise. Nice and easy. And because it’s a thru-axle, the threads are actually on the fork ends, so you just wanna completely
remove this from the bike. When it comes loose, you
can slide this straight out. Now there we go, there is the axle. Nice and simple now to remove, fork goes up, wheel comes out. Now, something to pay attention to, when you are removing
your wheel from the bike, is if you accidentally
press the brake lever, you can squash the brake pads together. So a little handy tip for you, if you’re putting your
bike in a car perhaps, is to get a bit of
cardboard, fold it in half, wedge it in between your disc
brake pads, just like so. And that basically takes up the same void that the disc would. So if your brake lever
is accidentally pressed, nothing is going to be affected and when you go to put your wheel back in, it’s gonna work perfectly and you won’t have to prize them apart. If unluckily, you do manage
to squeeze the brake lever and your pads are drawn together, a flat-bladed screwdriver will be fine to just prize them apart, just
be careful when you do that. And for putting the wheel back in, you just need to make sure
it’s orientated correctly, so the disc rotor is on the
same side as the caliper. Then you wanna line it up,
use line of sight there, just to make sure it slides
in between the brake pads and then it will sit home nicely. And then it’s a case of sliding that axle back into place and tightening up. Once that wheel is in place, all you need to do is
slide that axle back in and make sure that the threads on the end, bite on the threads in
the end of the fork there. Now sometimes, you might wanna
just stand over the bike, just to make sure it lines up correctly, so you can get a good line of sight. There you go, I can feel
it going into the end there and then simply tighten up
that allen key on the end, to make sure that the wheel
stays nice and secure. Job done, ready to hit the trails. Now the good news is, if you have any sort of quick-release lever on your bike, like on this quick-release 15 here, you don’t need any tools to
remove either of your wheels. However, you do need to pay attention when putting them back in again, so there’s an important safety
feature I’m gonna show you. To remove the wheel, sometimes
you’ll find some brands, the lever will be on the
non-drive side of the bike, other brands will be on the other side. The principal is identical
and you need to undo them in a counterclockwise or
anticlockwise movement. Same as before, with the quick-release, literally undo the lever,
it’s a cam-based lever and then simply unwind until the threads aren’t unwinding anymore And then slide the axle straight out and then the wheel is ready to remove. Nice and simple. Same thing applies to
put the wheel back in. Make sure it’s orientated correctly and then using line of sight, line up the disc rotor
in between the brake pads and then sit it home. And you simply wanna replace that axle, make sure the threads grip at the end and then wind it back into the bike. Now the idea is that you tighten this up and the lever needs to be
facing in a safe orientation. In this case, it’s completely
upright with the fork. And the reason for that is, if you tighten it against the fork, the cam can’t actually
tighten sufficiently and it could come undone. If you wanna know a bit more detail about all the different
types of axle out there, there’s a link below this very video, in our new Essentials series on GMBN Tech and that will detail the very
specific things about them. But the fundamentals are the same, just use your common sense, make sure it’s in a safe position. Make sure the lever is closed properly and make sure it’s not in a position like for example, facing
forwards like this. If it’s facing forwards and you ride along a trail with lots of
brambles, that could unflip it and of course, with
the rattling over time, the lever could undo and
that axle could fall out. So make sure that you do it nice and safe. Get it done right. (light music) Okay, now it’s time to look at removing and replacing the rear wheel. Now regardless of the
type of axle you have, it’s the same principle. So if you just take note of
what I said earlier in the video with the allen keys or the levers and you apply that to
this, it’s no problem. Now all bikes will have gears on the rear. Now you wanna make sure
that your gear is shifted, so the chain is in the smallest sprocket. And the reason for that is
if it’s in a bigger sprocket, there’ll be a lot of chain tension and you’ll be fighting that when you remove and replace the wheel. So make it easier for
yourself to start with, put it in a small sprocket. So this particular bike has
a Sram derailleur on it, so you wanna swing that
lower cage all the way round and engage the button
which locks the cage. This basically makes the
chain nice and slack, so it makes it very easy
to remove that wheel. If your bike has a
Shimano derailleur on it, chances are it might
be a clutch derailleur, in which case you need to
just move this little lever. So now it’s time to
literally undo the axle and let the wheel slip out the bike. So depending on your axle type, you need to loosen that axle
and unwind it from your bike. So mine has unwound now, so I’m just gonna slide it all the way
out, just remove that. Now lift your bike up, now carefully, you need to just move the rear
derailleur backwards slightly to allow the chain to
release the rear wheel and you’re done, nice and simple. So unlike replacing the front wheel, on the rear wheel you have to line up both the disc rotor in the
pads and also the chain. So my advice is to line up the chain first because it’s further away. Just get it onto that small sprocket, then line up the rear disc
rotor in between the pads and put the wheel in place. Then it’s a case of running that axle straight back in again,
tightening sufficiently and also making sure that the lever itself is in a safe position, just
like with the front wheel. Something to take into
account with the rear, is make sure that your ankle or your foot can’t accidentally strike that lever, with the position it is on your bike. Get that tight and safe. Then it’s simply a case, on this bike, of pushing the cage forwards and that will disengage that lock. There we go and let it back. If your bike has a Shimano derailleur and it has a clutch on it, this is when you just reengage that
clutch and you’re good to go. So there you go, that’s the basics of removing and replacing
your wheels from your bike. Don’t forget those little safety tips, with the lever accidentally opening. And the little handy tip with the cardboard between the brake pads, that’s saved me on many an occasion. If you wanna know a bit
more about different types of wheel axle and how they actually work and all the features, click over here for the first in our GMBN
Tech Essentials series. There’s a whole series of stuff, teaching everyone everything
about fixing your own bike. As always, click on the round globe to subscribe to GMBN,
tell everyone about us and if you like fixing your
bike, give us a thumbs up.

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