Front Wheel Removal

The front wheel must be removed whenever tires are changed or to simply regrease the front axle and bearings.

To remove the front wheel:

Place bike on centerstand.

With the stock front brake lines you must first remove the reflectors and the brake hose holder brackets. Do NOT remove or loosen the brake line banjo bolts. These two photos are borrowed from the Kevlar Brake Line Installation Page and there is an annotation to remove the banjo bolts but do NOT do it for the wheel removal procedure.

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Remove the brake calipers by removing two brake caliper bolts per caliper. Do not pull the front brake lever while the calipers are off the disks. The pads could be difficult to separate prior to reinstallation. An excellent tip from gotfz1 of the Owners Association is to first place a spacer between the brake pads to prevent them from coming together in case you inadvertently hit the brake lever.

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Support the dangling calipers by making duct tape slings and sticking them to the fork tubes. Thanks to Iowaz for this tip. Another idea comes from 'Sparrow' who suggests using carpenter nail bags with the ends of the bags tied onto the forks or handlebars. When you remove the brake calipers, just slide them into the left or right bag pouch.

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Loosen, but no need to remove, the front axle pinch bolt.

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You will be removing the front axle, but first loosen it, don't pull it out just yet. You will need a 19 mm hex bit (Allen) key. This is available from for $10.61, part number 5571A79.

Other options for the 19 mm hex bit are:

  • From Wyn: Go to Ace and buy two nuts that are 19 mm and the bolt that they go on. Tighten the nuts on the bolt and you have your tool.
  • From Wyn: Try the end of a spark plug puller.
  • From Polonchak: Buy a 19 mm L-shaped allen type hex and use a hack saw to cut off about 2 inches. Now you have two tools. The 2 inch piece goes in the tool bag and can be used with a crescent wrench to remove the front tire, and the remaining part of the allen is put your tool chest to be used without the crescent wrench. Two tools for about $2.50.

Keep in mind that whatever method you use, if you wish to properly torque the axle back on when you reinstall the wheel then that must accommodate your torque wrench.

I'm glad that I did this, my axle was so loose that I could turn it by hand!

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Now support the front of the bike so that the front wheel is held off the ground. I use blocks of wood and an extra marble tile to fine tune the height. The total height was about 7 1/2 inches. A towel or rag at the top protects the pipes. One man can do this. Prepare the block assembly and position it in front of the pipes then push down on the back of the bike and slide the block in place under the pipes with your foot. Release the back of the bike. Careful here that the bike remains balanced and doesn't tip over.

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Now you can pull out the front axle and the wheel will drop down. The wheel is not exactly symmetrical. The bearing boss extends out a bit farther on one side. The fork legs are asymmetric also. One leg shows a slightly deeper axle boss than the other. Especially note this if replacing a directional tread tire so that the wheel can be reinstalled correctly.

Also, if you look at the spokes of the wheel you will notice raised lettering. That lettering is on the LEFT side of the bike.

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One quick maintenance procedure you can do while the wheel is off is to grease the oil seal collars and axle.

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On reinstalling the wheel note the direction of tire tread. Also see photo above showing the tire in place for direction of tread.

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Reinstall the wheel and the wheel axle. Torque the axle to 52 lb-ft, 72 Nm.

Reinstall the brake calipers sliding the brake disks in between the brake pads. Torque the brake caliper bolts to 29 lb-ft, 40 Nm. Use a 12 mm socket. Make sure the fork tubes are clean and free from glue from the duct tape sling used to support the calipers.

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Tighten the front axle pinch bolt to a torque spec of 17 lb-ft, 23 Nm. Use a 6 mm Allen.

From mikegtx: One tip for the front end. Before you tighten up the axle pinch bolt, pump the forks up and down a few time to settle them square against the axle. If you don't you might end up with them slightly pulled out of square which will increase stiction on the fork travel and adversely affect the way the forks work.

Push down on the back of the bike and remove the support blocks.

Iowaz has another excellent page on front wheel removal.

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Last Updated: 07-25-2005

Copyright © 2001-05, Patrick Glenn, All Rights Reserved.
Yamaha® and FZ1® are registered trademarks of the Yamaha Motor Corporation.
This site is not affiliated in any way with the Yamaha Motor Corporation.

The information presented here reflects solely my personal experience with my motorcycle and is presented for entertainment purposes only. No information presented here is to be relied upon for issues of rider safety nor to replace the services of a qualified service technician. Any attempts to follow or duplicate any of these procedures are done so completely at your own risk. By reading the information on this site, you agree to assume complete responsibility for any and all actual or consequential damages that may arise from any information presented herein.