Tools to Remove a Motorcycle’s Wheels

Ever wondered why motorcycle manufacturers give you tools to remove only the rear wheel and not the front? Triumph did this with my Tiger 800 XRx and BMW did this with my G310 GS. Well, that’s because they don’t expect you to remove the wheels at all.

They only give you a tool to loosen the rear axle nut so that you can tighten the chain. That’s all. These motorcycles run tubeless tyres. So you don’t need to remove the wheels to fix punctures.

Having said this, I do make it a habit to carry tools with me to remove the wheels in the unlikely event that you bend your alloy wheel badly enough that it doesn’t hold air anymore. At least you can take out the wheel and take it somewhere to fit an inner tube.

This happenned to us on one of our rides when a friend rode his Kawasaki Versys 650 on a huge stone on the highway possibly left by a truck driver or his helper. Thankfully the front alloy wheel only got bent and didn’t shatter. We fit an inner tube and continued our journey. Needless to say, the Kawasaki toolkit didn’t have a tool to remove the front wheel. How we removed the wheel is an entirely different and far more interesting story.

A more common way to bend an alloy wheel is to ride straight into a sharp edged pothole at normal cruising speed. The front wheel takes the entire load of the motorcycle, rider and luggage. The suspension runs out of travel, bottoms out and then the alloy wheel makes contact with the sharp edge of the pothole bending the wheel and often pinching or tearing the tyre. In such an event, an inner tube is the only temporary solution, assuming the alloy wheel isn’t shattered. If you don’t have a tool to remove the front wheel and take it somewhere you are stranded.

This is why I keep a pair of ring spanners which match the front and rear axle bolts always on the motorcycle. I cut off the end I don’t need in order to save space and weight. So far I haven’t had to use them and I hope it stays that way.