How To Put Back Wheel On Bike

Knowing how to replace a back wheel on a bike is a useful skill to have you use your bike regularly. You may need to change an inner tube or tyre and being able to replace the wheel is an important part of this. Cycle Maintenance Academy have put this guide together on how to put back wheel on bike yourself, hopefully making it easier for you.

6 simple steps on how to put back wheel on a bike

Step 1.

The first step is to check that you are fitting it the correct way around. The direction of the rear wheel is easy. You have cogs on the back wheel and they fit with the chain.

Step 2.

Now lean the wheel against your leg or in easy reaching distance. If the bike is upside down and you are standing behind it, then the derailleur is on your left.

Step 3.

Next, pull back the body of the derailleur with your left hand, or both hands if necessary and hold it. The chain will be in a loop.

Step 4.

Hold the derailleur with your left hand and pick up the wheel with your right hand. Put the wheel into the loop with the smallest cog on the chain

and guide the wheel into the dropouts.

Step 5.

When it’s nearly there, let go of the derailleur and your wheel should be in position.

Step 6.

Make sure that the wheel is located in the dropouts correctly. Once all of the above steps are complete, tighten the wheel. if you have a nut on each side then do each side a little at a time. Roughly 1 rotation of the spanner at a time. This will stop the wheel slipping before the final tighten. 

Horizontal dropouts or track ends

How to put back wheel on bike with horizontal dropouts or track ends?

These steps only work if you have vertical dropouts.  This means that there is no adjustment where your wheel sits in the frame. The axle on the wheel drops into place and can’t go anywhere else. The position of the drop out is more or less vertical.

Horizontal dropouts mean that you have to feed your wheel in from the front of the bike and track ends look very similar, but you feed your wheel from the back of the bike. The dropouts are now slots and your wheel can be positioned and tightened anywhere along the left and right side slots.

Use steps 1-4 in the same way.

Once your wheel is in position, let go of the derailleur, but keep hold of the wheel. Slide the axle on the right hand side (gear side with the derailleur) as far back as it can go. If you have wheel nuts and not a quick release lever, tighten the wheel nut so that it grips the frame

but is not fully tightened. Now slide the left hand side back and forth while watching the position of the wheel in the frame.  You need to be looking at the position of the wheel between the chain stays near to where they join the seat tube. Try not to focus on the tyre as this is unlikely to shoe the wheel sitting centrally.  Instead look at the rim. If you have someone to help you, then let them position the wheel centrally and you can concentrate on tightening the wheel nuts or tightening the quick release skewer.

Now you should know how to put a back wheel on bike.

2 thoughts on “How To Put Back Wheel On Bike”

    • Hi Bruno, thanks for the comment. Fitting a tubeless tyre can be tricky. Make sure that the part of tyre that is already fitted does sit in the middle of the rim where is deeper. This will add a bit of slackness to the tyre. I hope this helps


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