How to swap your wheels over

You might want a lighter set for hill climbs, or a more robust set when winter arrives…so what do you need to remember?

Front wheel first

Let’s get the easy one out of the way: to remove your front wheel release the brake calliper, flip the quick release lever and unscrew the nut at the other end until the wheel is loose enough to drop out. Most forks come with safety tabs these days, so ensure the quick release skewer can clear these.

Backing out

Before removing the rear wheel, use your shifter to move the chain onto the smallest sprocket. This will make both removal and insertion easier. Then release the brake caliper, flip and unscrew the quick release and allow the wheel to drop out. You will need to extricate the cassette from the chain, which can get fiddly, but this is why you shifted onto that small ring.

Tyre’d out

If you don’t already have a tyre and tube on your new wheel, you’ll need to swap these over from the old one. Assuming you’re removing and fitting clincher wheels, this is an easy swap, but if your race wheels wear tubs you will need to get them shod accordingly in advance.

Mix cassette

You’ll now need to swap that cassette onto the free hub of your new rear wheel, so ensure they are compatible as SRAM/Shimano and Campagnolo freehubs do differ. You’ll need a chainwhip and locknut tool for this job, but with the chainwhip wrapped around a large sprocket, place the locknut tool over the locknut and turn it anti-clockwise with a spanner. Once loose, unscrew it and remove the cassette. Take care to transfer the cassette in exactly the same order, with the same spacers, and turn the locknut clockwise to fasten it in place.

Pop in

To pop in the new wheels, simply reverse the process. Ensure the chain wraps around the smallest sprocket, and tighten the brake callipers.

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