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how to remove motorcycle rear wheel

How To Remove a Rear Motorcycle Wheel

This is how to remove a rear motorcycle wheel and tire on a BMW G650GS. Truthfully, you can apply this simple 5 step procedure to almost every chain drive motorcycle. Doing this simple work yourself will save you a lot of time and money!

Knowing how to remove a rear motorcycle tire yourself is a useful skill for any of the following Do-It-Yourself (DIY) jobs:

  • Replacing your motorcycle chain
  • Replacing your sprockets
  • Replacing your rear brake rotor
  • Replacing your rear tire

You can remove a rear motorcycle wheel and tire yourself in about 5 easy steps:

  • Put the motorcycle on a jack and lift the rear tire
  • Remove the rear axle nut
  • Loosen off the chain adjusters
  • Remove the chain from the rear sprocket
  • Remove the axle and slide the wheel out

watch this video

Watch this video!

Before we get started

Before we begin, let’s go over two questions:

Why should I remove my rear motorcycle wheel? In my opinion, knowing how to remove your own rear wheel and tire is an essential motorcycle  skill. You can do it with only very basic hand tools (usually just a wrench or two). Doing it yourself can save you a ton of money when it’s time to replace your motorcycle tires.

How much money can I save removing my back tire myself? That depends on the job. If all you need to do is bolt on a new sprocket, or bolt on a new brake rotor, you can save yourself about an hour’s labor from a shop (usually about $100) by doing the work yourself. If you’re needing new tires installed, my local shop charges me about $40 less to bring my tires in on a rim, versus bringing them the whole bike.

How to remove a rear motorcycle wheel and tire

You can check out the video above, or follow below as we go into more detail on how to remove your motorcycle’s rear tire.

how to remove rear motorcycle wheel - jack stand

Step 1: Put the motorcycle on a jack and lift the rear wheel and tire

The first step in removing a motorcycle’s rear tire is to set yourself up for success. I have a BlackWidow table lift, but all you need is a motorcycle jack like the one I use or a motorcycle stand that lifts your bike by some spools.

Personally, I prefer the Black Widow Steel Motorcycle Jack because it’s easier to use and feels safer than getting a motorcycle on and off of a rear stand. Some people will even make a stand out of 2×4 bits they have lying around.

However you lift your motorcycle, just make sure it is secure, you’re safe, and the rear wheel is off the ground enough that the rear tire can spin freely.

Step 2: Remove the axle nut

Assuming you’ve adjusted the chain before, you already know how to adjust your axle nut. One wrench on each side of the rear axle nut, and turn one of them left while holding the other firmly.

If you only have one wrench, get a second one! While you wait for it to arrive, you can lower your motorcycle back onto the ground, put it in gear, and you should be able to loosen the axle nut off that way.

Depending on the bike, there may also be a washer for you to remove, as is the case for our BMW G650GS. The G650GS shown uses a 24mm socket bit on the axle nut and a 19mm socket bit on the axle itself.

how to remove rear motorcycle wheel - loosen chain adjusters

Step 3: Loosen off the chain adjusters

If you’ve ever adjusted your motorcycle chain, you should be familiar with loosening and tightening the chain adjusters. This time our goal is to loosen the chain adjusters enough to make A LOT of chain slack.

Remember that loosening the chain adjusters evenly, meaning the same number of turns on each side of your wheel, will help keep your rear wheel’s alignment straight.

Step 4: Remove the chain from the rear sprocket

When you make enough chain slack, removing the chain off of the rear sprocket will be easy. First, you slide or push the wheel or axle towards the front of the motorcycle. Then you can simply spin the wheel while lifting the motorcycle’s chain and the chain will come off.

Once off, move it to the side and out of the way. You can rest it over the motorcycle’s swingarm.

how to remove rear motorcycle wheel - remove axle

Step 5: Remove the axle and slide the wheel out

At this point the only thing holding that rear wheel in place is your axle. Now is a good time to make sure that your jack is in fact supporting the motorcycle, and there’s no weight on your rear wheel. Once you’re sure that you’re safe, just pull the axle out. If it’s stuck in there, use a hammer to tap it out.

In my case, the rear axle had no grease on it whatsoever. I had to use a hammer and a metal rod a little thinner than the axle to bang it out. Always remember to lubricate your motorcycle axle before replacing it.

With the chain off and the axle out, you can just roll your rear motorcycle wheel right out of your motorcycle!

how to remove a motorcycle rear wheel in 5 steps

Final thoughts on how to remove your rear motorcycle wheel and tire

Removing your rear motorcycle is a pretty easy five step job that you can do yourself with only basic tools. Lift the rear, remove the axle nut, loosen the chain adjusters, remove the chain, slide the axle out, and your rear motorcycle tire will roll right out smoothly.

If you have any questions or if you found this helpful, I would love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment and let me know your state or province and if these tips helped you!

About Adrian from YouMotorcycle

I started riding motorcycles in 2007, founded YouMotorcycle in 2009, and was working in the motorcycle industry by 2011. I've worked for some of the biggest companies in motorcycling, before going full-time self-employed in the motorcycle business in 2019. I love sharing his knowledge and passion of motorcycling with other riders to help you as best I can.


  1. How do you handle axle nuts that seem stuck tighter than a sumo wrestler’s grip? Any secret techniques?

  2. Crikey! Watching you use a steel bar on the axle made me wince. Any damage to those lead threads, and you’re in a tight spot for reassembly. I prefer unscrewing the nut flush, then tapping it with a rubber mallet, avoiding any exposed threads. Once it’s loose, usually pulls through from the other side.

    • I’d think you’re at higher risk of damaging the threads by hitting it the axle with the nut still on. The metal bar I was using was thinner than the axle, so it fit nicely within it. No risk of damaging threads as long as you’re paying attention.

  3. This brings back the memory of my local mechanic accidentally tipping my bike over while tapping out the axle

  4. Always take off the rear ABS sensor before the wheel. Prevents damage to the sensor’s face when pulling it from the swing arm. Too many folks and shops mess this up

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