How to: change your bike wheels for winter

Winter is officially here, but so are we with a ‘how to’ on changing bike tyres. Everything you need to know is below. You’re welcome!

First, remove your front wheel

To do this, you need to open the front brake calliper’s quick release, you can usually allocate this where the cable enters the brake. Follow by flipping the wheel’s quick release lever and unscrew the nut that is at the other end, until the wheel is loose enough to come off.

If your bike happens to have disc brakes, then its easier to take your wheel off as the disc slides out without you having to mess with the with the disc brake calliper.

Most forks on bikes come with safety tabs to avoid accidental releases, so make sure the quick release skewer is clear or remove the entire lever.

For cyclists that have thru-axles, taking the wheel off is easier. All it takes is the lever being turned anti-clockwise or you can flip the lever as you would for a normal quick release. Then follow for rotating it anti-clockwise until it comes loose from the fork.

Remove the rear wheel

With the help of the shifter, you need to move the chain onto the smallest sprocket before taking your rear wheel off. Shifting down to the small front chainring will give you more chain length to mess around with.

Follow by releasing the brake calliper’s quick release, unscrew the quick release and let the wheel drop out. Keep in mind that you will need to free the cassette from the chain, which can get fiddly and messy due to the oils, so be sure to wear gloves.

Transfer your tyres

Swapping summer tyres to winter tyres is simple, assuming that the wheels being removed and fitted are both clinchers. All you need to do is deflate the inner tube – use a tyre lever to undo just one side of the bead of the tyre. Then pull the inner tube out, followed by pulling the reverse side of the tyre off.

Swap the cassette over

You will then need to switch your cassette onto the freehub of your new rear wheel. But you must make sure that your new wheel is compatible with the cassette and that the winter wheels are compatible to the number of cogs within the cassette.

After this, you will need a chainwhip and locknut tool close by. This is to wrap the chainwhip around a large sprocket, followed by applying light pressure in a clockwise position. Then place the locknut tool over the locknut and start to turn it anticlockwise to unscrew it. When it becomes loose unscrew the rest by hand and remove the cassette.

It would be a good idea to clean the individual clogs on the cassette. Once the cassette is in place on the new wheel, screw the locknut back into place.

Fit your new winter tyres

Rear wheels: make sure the chain wraps around the smallest sprocket and turn the brake quick-release levers down. If the new wheels are wider you can loosen the cable tension on the brake callipers.

You can do this by using an adjuster barrel on the brakes, if this doesn’t work then you have to loosen the cable retention bolt that holds down the brake cable.

You may possibly need to adjust the alignment of your brake pads if the new rim’s braking surface is at a different height, an Allen key is all you’ll need for this.

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