BROKEN WRENCH TIP OF THE DAY #8 – Wheel Removal/Installation…Tires, Rims, and Brake Pads

Time for another sexy one! How many times have you gone to remove your front wheel and had to knock it out to get it past the brake pads? Well, I hope you had the brake QR in the open position, otherwise it’s really hard to remove a wheel… If that wasn’t the case, here are few things to help you.

First off, it’s likely that you have a rim that’s relatively narrow compared to your tire. For example, if you have a 15mm rim and a 25mm tire, the brake pads are still going to be fairly close together even with the QR in the open position. Even an extra mm or two of tire overlap will make wheel removal more difficult.

One of the easiest things to do use the brake barrel adjuster to open up the brake pads more. If your cable was installed correctly, you should be able to loosen cable tension without using the cable anchor. This will increase the distance between the brake pads. Using the barrel adjuster is pretty simple…To increase space between brake pads, turn the barrel adjuster clockwise (looking at it top down)…To decrease space between brake pads, turn the barrel adjuster CCW.

Thus, to remove a stubborn front wheel, first open up the brake QR, then turn the barrel adjuster CW as far as it will go (just remember how many times you turned it). To reinstall the front wheel, turn the barrel adjuster CCW the number of times you turned it to loosen it, then put the brake QR in the closed position. Pull on the brake lever to ensure that the brakes are working like you expected.

TIP: Use the barrel adjuster when swapping wheels with different rim widths instead of using the cable anchor.

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