How to Remove a Front Bicycle Wheel

Bicycle wheel

Inexpensive, light and potentially fast, bicycles are a great means of exercise and enable people to get around traffic-clogged cities. There are a number of reasons why you might have to remove your front bicycle wheel. Some bicycle racks lock in with the front wheel removed, or you might have to remove a wheel to change a flat tube.

Open the Brake

Determine which type of brakes you have on your bicycle before you begin to remove the wheel. Each has a different method of opening far enough to release the wheel. Once you have opened the brake via one of the following three methods, proceed to Sections 2 or 3, depending on the style of hub your bike has, to remove the bicycle wheel from the fork.

Compress the brake arms with one hand to slacken the brake cable if you have V-brakes or cantilever brakes. Pop the brake cable catch out of its housing with your other hand.

Turn the release handle upwards if you have the side-pull brakes found on the front and rear wheels of most road bicycles. This opens the brakes just enough for you to remove the front wheel.

Leave the brakes alone if you have disk brakes on your bicycle. Do not compress the brakes when you have the wheel removed, otherwise you may blow out the seals of the brake caliper.

With a Quick Release

Look at your front bicycle wheel's hub and see if there is a lever or a nut. If you have a lever, then you have a quick release hub and can proceed with the following steps.

Release the lever by pulling it outwards. Hold the other side of the hub with one hand to stabilize it, and rotate the lever several times counterclockwise with the other hand.

Hold the front bicycle wheel with one hand, and lift the bike with the other. The wheel should drop out. If the bike is on a stand, the wheel should drop out without manipulating the bike.

Move the bicycle rearward and upward while holding the wheel steady if the wheel doesn't drop straight out. Some bikes have tabs to prevent an easy and accidental release of the wheel as a safety measure. If the bike is on a stand, pull the wheel forward and downward to clear the safety tab.

Without a Quick Release

Look at your front wheel hub and see if there is a nut on either side.

Put a box, open end or wheel wrench of the proper size on each of the nuts. The size of the nuts vary depending on the brand of hub.

Rotate the nuts counterclockwise to loosen them. You don't have to remove them. Once the nuts are loose, you can remove the front bicycle wheel by following Steps 3 and 4 in Section 2 of this article.