How to Safely Remove a Motorcycle Rear Wheel

  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Rear stand
Socket set and Allen wrenches
Torque wrench
Container to keep removed parts in while you work
Rubber mallet

If you intent to take up biking as a hobby, you should know how to safely remove a motorcycle rear wheel. Being able to do jobs like this yourself can save you time, hassle and a lot of money. Follow the steps below to safely remove the rear wheel from your motorcycle. It’s not a difficult job so you should be able to get the hang of it quickly. Wear protective clothing to carry out this task. Heavy duty gloves, knee pads and even safety glasses can protect you in the event of mishaps.

Step 1 – Remove the Huggers

Remove the bolts that hold the bike’s huggers in place. Also, remove any other plastics or body parts that will get in the way of removing the wheel.

Step 2 - Remove Disc or Drum Brakes

To remove disc brakes, unscrew the caliper from the mount and carefully detach it from the disc. Make secure with a cable tie to avoid putting undue stress on the brake hoses. If you have drum brakes, unscrew the cabling or link that connects them to the main controls.

Step 3 - Loosen the Axle

With a bike that has a single sided swingarm, you will only need to remove one bolt to complete this step. If your bike has a double-sided swing arm, it is a little more complicated. Select the correct size sockets and spanners. Use each to hold the head and the nut that are on either side of the axle. Hold the head of the bolt in place and work the bolt loose.

Step Four – Lifting the Bike

Use the stand to lift the bike. Only ever lift a bike when it is on firm ground. Once the bike is lifted, be sure to make it safe with straps or bungies. Never try to balance a bike yourself while working on it. Always secure the body of the vehicle on a stand.

Step 4 - Remove the Axle

Unscrew the axle’s bolt. Tap lightly with a rubber mallet if the axle doesn’t move away from the swingarm with ease. The axle may need a slight tap with a rubber mallet to break free from the swingarm. When the axle does detach, you will need to look out for the brake mount and spacers which will also come loose.

Make clear notes regarding the correct positioning of any removed parts. It's easy to forget where something goes once it has been removed. Always keep removed parts safely in a separate container, not on the floor where they can get lost. Clean any removed parts and exposed parts of the bike before reassembling to make sure that all grit and grease has been removed.

Step 6 – The Wheel is Removed

The rear wheel of you bike should now be released, leaving you free to carry out your maintenance job on either the wheel or the bike itself.