Mountain and road bike axles are easy to change. Most often they will last a lifetime, but occasionally they can become bent because of hitting something. Threads can become stripped because of poor work done on the bike, or dirt has penetrated the seals and created an abrasive that can make the axle loose. For whatever reason, if you feel the need to change the front axle on your bike, all you need is two wrenches, a new axle and about a half an hour.
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Things you need
- 13mm wrench
- 17mm wrench
- 110mm quick-release hollow axle
Remove the wheel from the bike by releasing the brake lever, open the skewer and lift the wheel from the bike. Finish turning the knob end of the skewer counter-clockwise until it comes off, being careful not to lose the spring. Now slide the skewer out of the hub, from the lever side. Put the knob back on the skewer and set it aside.
Pry off the rubber dust seals with a screwdriver if your wheel has them. Now slide a 13mm cone-wrench onto the cone flats---the shiny nut, the first one. Slide the 17mm open-end wrench on the nut behind that, loosen the cone by turning it counter-clockwise against the cone wrench.
Using both hands from both sides, unscrew the locknut, cone and spacers. Now pull out the axle. Carefully set the wheel aside standing up without dropping any of the bearings out. If you do drop one or two, place them in a cup to be put back in later.
Remove the cone, locknut and spacers from the old axle. Place a small amount of grease on the new axle and put the cone, locknut and spacer on the new axle on one side only. Carefully insert the new axle into the hub, if you have dropped any bearings, place them back in and then finish seating the cone.
Place the cone, locknut and spacer on the other side, and finger tighten everything. Using the wrenches, tighten both sides in the reverse procedure of removal, moving back and forth so that the distance of the protruding axle is the same on both sides. When everything is tight, stretch the rubber dust seals back on. Put the skewer back through the hub and put the wheel back on the bike.
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