It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, and my wife and I were enjoying a scenic bike ride along the coast. Suddenly, the tranquility was interrupted by the unmistakable sound of a tire deflating. My wife’s electric bike had a flat. But instead of letting this ruin our day, I was prepared. I had practiced this very scenario at home, and I had the tools we needed to remove the rear wheel and get back to our sightseeing quickly.
If you’re reading this, you might be feeling a bit frustrated or overwhelmed by the thought of removing the rear wheel of your electric bike. Trust me, I’ve been there. But I promise you, with a little practice and the right tools, you’ll be able to handle it like a pro.
Video Instructions for Removing Wheel
As they say a picture can be way better than words. I’ll help you even more with video instructions removing the electric bike wheel.
Tools You’ll Need
Before we dive into the process, let’s talk about the tools you’ll need. I always carry a hex wrench set, an adjustable wrench, an 18 or 19 mm wrench, and a knife or clippers for bikes with zip ties holding the wires. Having these tools on hand will make the process much smoother.
- Hex wrench set – a bike multi-tool is best. Used to move and loosening items on handlebars. Also the wiring might be held with a small bolt.
- Adjustable wrench – axle nuts are big, most multi-tools don’t have a 18 or 19 mm spanner wrench.
- Clippers or a knife – for cutting zip-ties
- OPTIONAL item to carry – Bike Tube
- OPTIONAL item to carry – Bike Tire Pump
1. Shifting the Rear Derailleur
The first step is to shift the rear derailleur into the smallest cog. This will be the highest gear on the shifter. Remember to rotate the pedals to allow the chain to move into the smallest cog. This step makes it easier to remove the wheel later on.
2. Removing the Battery
Next, you’ll want to remove the battery from your bike. This is a safety measure to ensure the bike doesn’t accidentally power on while you’re working on it.
3. Check Over the Handlebars
Look over your bikes handlebars. Visualize everything that might smack into the asphalt when you flip the bike over. Often the display can be moved out of the way, but mirrors and bells can get damaged if a bikes weight rests on it.
Use the hex wrench set to loosen the item and rotate to a safe spot.
4. Flip the Bike
Now, carefully flip the bike over so it’s resting on the seat and handlebars. I like laying a packing cloth on the ground to avoid scratching up items.
Be mindful of any components on the handlebars like mirrors or displays. You might need to loosen and move them to prevent damage.
5. Disconnecting the Motor Wiring
Look for any zip ties or attachments on the motor wiring. Use your knife or clippers to cut these off. Then, disconnect the wiring to the rear wheel motor. Be sure to pull straight apart to avoid bending the pins.
The wiring connection has two small arrows so you can orient the connectors correctly.
6. Removing the Axle Nuts
Now, remove the protective plastic cap at the bike axle to expose the nut. Some bikes have a derailleur hang guard, which may need to be removed. Use your adjustable wrench to loosen and remove the axle nuts on both sides.
7. Noting the Order of Washers
This is a crucial step. As you remove the axle nuts, take note of the order of the washers. From inside to outside, the order should be: round axle washer, torque washer, another washer, and then the axle nut. You’ll need to remember this order for re-installation.
8. Removing the Rear Wheel
With the chain undone and the power cable disconnected, you should be able to pull out the rear wheel. This may require extending the rear derailleur to allow the wheel to come out.
9. Preventing Brake Caliper Closure
Once the wheel is out, be careful not to touch the rear disc brake lever. Doing so can close the brake caliper, preventing the rotor disc from being reinstalled. I recommend using a disc brake pad spacer to prevent this.
10. Reinstalling the Rear Wheel
Now that you’ve fixed your flat or replaced the tube, it’s time to reinstall the wheel. Simply reverse the steps above. Pay special attention to the order of the washers and the positioning of the brake rotor and the derailleur guard.
Pay close attention to the orientation of the torque washer. If positioned incorrectly the wheel can pull out of the drop-out while power is being applied.
Once everything is tight, double check the nuts again. This is the wrong time to rush.
11. ReAttach the Wiring
Watch closely that as you reconnect the wires that they are oriented correctly. Look for the arrows to meet point to point.
Do Not Have Lose Wires! Reconnect the wiring to the frame before you ride. If the wires get caught in the spokes or gears, you’ll have much bigger problems than a flat tire.
An Easy Thing to Do If You Practice
Remember, practice makes perfect. I recommend trying this process at home a few times to get the hang of it. That way, when you’re out on a ride and hear the dreaded hiss of a flat tire, you’ll be prepared, just like I was on that sunny day along the coast. Happy biking!