How to Remove a Front Motorcycle Tire

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Removing the front wheel from a motorcycle may seem like a difficult task, but it doesn’t need to be. In fact, it can be done almost anywhere using just a few basic tools. While this article will apply to most motorcycles, yours may be different. If you’re unsure how your bike is set up, check your manual or seek help from a professional, as this is a job you don’t want to mess up.

Things You'll Need

  • Metric Allen wrench set or set of metric wrenches
  • SAE allen wrench set or set of SAE wrenches
  • Pliers
  • Motorcycle stand
  • Support motorcycle on center stand or on a motorcycle stand that holds the bike upright. DO NOT use the side stand. Front wheel should be off the ground.

  • Remove the speedometer cable. Many bikes with disc brakes have the speedometer drive on the outside of the hub. Older bikes with drum brakes usually have the speedometer drive on the inside of the hub. Check your owner's manual for specifics.

  • Remove end caps from the axle. Some bikes won't have end caps, just a nut and possibly a cotter pin. If that's the case, skip to the next step.

  • Check to ensure that the front brake assembly doesn't need to be loosened or removed. On most bikes with disc brakes, the disc or discs simply slip out of the assembly.

  • Use pliers to straighten and remove the cotter pin, if your bike has one, through the axle before or through the nut. Remove nut from end of axle and, while supporting the wheel so it doesn't get damaged by falling out, remove the axle, taking care not to damage the brake assembly. Some axles are held in by an Allen bolt or "pinch" bolt; some have multiple bolts. Refer to your owner's manual or a motorcycle repair manual specific to your bike for instructions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Not all bikes have the same setup; these instructions are for one of the most common front wheel setups. Make sure you read all the instructions first to see if they apply to your bike. Check your owners manual first. If you have any questions, consult a professional.
  • When reinstalling wheel, properly line up brake components. Failure to do so could result in brake problems.
  • Follow all torque specifications when tightening bolts and nuts on reassembly--if they're too loose, your wheel could wobble or come off. Too tight, and the wheel may not turn properly.
  • If you're unsure how to perform any of the steps required for this procedure, call a professional. While normally a simple procedure, it's also critical that it is done correctly.
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