Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Repair And Restoration

Rear Wheel Fitting Tip #2

Tip Date 21 February 2016

By Ren Withnell From Ian Soady

In Tip For Replacing The Rear Wheel a certain Mr Ian Soady suggested in the comments that there is another way to make refitting the rear wheel of a motorcycle that much simpler. I got the drift of what he was suggesting we could try but I think a video demonstrates much more clearly than words ever could in this case. On to the video...

Anyone who has fitted a rear wheel to a motorcycle knows the struggle, unless you've only ever worked on a single sided swingarm. The spindle goes through - ahem - the swingarm the adjuster the spacer the sprocket carrier the bearing the spacer the bearing the brake plate or hangar the spacer the swingarm the adjuster and maybe something else. All these things need to a be a close fit to the wheel spindle which means all these things have to be lined up perfectly.

Lining up all the above items is fiddly. When all this also has to be held up in mid air with the weight of a wheel it's nigh on impossible. Many an hour has been spent trying to keep that small spacer between the swingarm and the sprocket while fitting the brake hanger only to find the spacer has dropped out of position after you picked up the spindle. ARGH!

Ian's suggestion is simplicity itself. Rather than starting out with the spindle find yourself a suitable metal rod of smaller diameter and similar length. In the video I made use of an old screwdriver that had lost its handle. Perhaps a piece of small bore pipe? I would not recommend threaded bar though, make sure your rod, tube or bar is smooth and clean as we do not want to damage the surfaces of the bearings or spacers.

This smaller diameter rod will pass much more easily through all the fiddly bits. Once all the way through the wheel is suspended in position with all the items in place ready to receive the tight fitting spindle. After applying grease to the spindle start inserting it, using it to push the temporary rod out. You will still need a little jiggling and cajoling but you are no longer fighting gravity and the possibility of bit falling out just at that critical moment.

Thank you Mr Soady, after many years you've made the idea of putting a rear wheel back in place. much less daunting.

Reader's Comments

Ian Soady said :-
Always ready to help!
21/02/2016 12:36:35 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Sometimes it's the simplest of ideas that escapes me. It is an obvious thing to do when you first do it and it just left me thinking "Why didn't I think of that?!"
21/02/2016 23:08:54 UTC
Bob said :-
Nice, been doing this for years :o)
When it really comes in is swingarm removal and refitting, that can be even harder than the rear wheel.
Also for engine removal and replacement, when you've wrestled the engine roughly into place, just stick anything through the first available mount to secure it, then you can wrangle it with the trolley jack and pop the proper bolts through one by one.
25/02/2016 09:25:22 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
In the old days, magazines like The Motor Cycle and Motorcycling had weekly hints & tips pages. The suggestions ranged from the brilliant, through the obvious, to the weird and dangerous.

But they always offered a prize (a guinea if memory serves) to the best one every week.
25/02/2016 11:06:24 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
A GUINEA?? Good heavens Ian I know you're a bit older than me but not THAT much! I suppose it was all black and white back then huh?

The more I learn the more I realise I know so little.
25/02/2016 17:16:11 UTC

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