bakfiets rear wheel removal

So I tried to follow cleverchimp's instructions for replacing the tube on my bakfiets. He estimated half an hour.


I spent three and half hours, and had a new noise when I was done...I think the wheel must be crooked or off-center, and is rubbing against the "skirt guard" now.


Rather than re-living all the painful details of my three and a half hour flat-tire change, here's my revised version of cleverchimp's instructions, based on my own experience:


0. fashion a stand to keep the bike upright while working on it (unlike the photo). I eventually did this by parking the bike on a kind of wooden box about 10 inches high. The front wheel, the kickstand lock and the bike resting on the box where my contact points that kept the bike stable enough. If you choose to work on the bike on it's side instead, realize this increases the chance of the chain falling off the front chain ring inside the part of the enclosed case that you could otherwise leave alone. Before I started working on the bike upright, the front part of the chain came off three times.


1. Shift the bike into gear "8". This seems to add some helpful length to the cable shifter.


2. Loosen lug nuts (15mm) A normal socket might not fit over this, so be

prepared with a wrench or vice-grips (what I used).


3. Loosen tug/alignment nuts (10mm) enough to disengage from the dropouts. ( I completely removed them, but maybe that was over kill.


4. Disconnect brake torque arm (2 10mms) and brake cable


5. Remove rear hatch of chaincase (pry with flat screwdriver) It came off and went back one easily in my case.


6. Disconnect shifter cable. DO NOT remove the pinch nut from the cable itself. If you insert a 2mm allen key in the little hole radial to the hub, and use the wrench as a lever to turn the mechanism counter-clockwise, you can de-tension the cable so the pinch nut will come out easily still attached to the cable (needle-nose helps) You may also be able to use finger pressure to rotate this part around to de-tension the cable.


7. Slide the wheel forward and out. Do your business. Consider upgrading to Schwalbe Marathon Plus, with excessive puncture protection


8. Put it all back together. You'll wish you had a third hand. Tighten the axle in place before tighening the brake torque arm. If you do the brake first, the axle may not be sitting in the right place.


9. Figure out whatever I missed that makes the wheel end up in proper alignment.


The sad irony in my case is that the whole process was unnecessary. When I closely inspected the tube, the problem wasn't that the second attempt a patch had failed. The problem was that there was a second hole all along which needed to be patched.


In my idealism, I did not take the opportunity to install a brand-new tube which I had with me, but put the old tube back into the bike, now with two patches on it.



    well done. I have to confess that when I had a flat on the bakfiets last summer, I had the convenience of taking it to Clever Cycles and watched them do the dirty work. It is definitely not a job for the uninitiated.
  • Todd Fahrner PRO 7y

    i estimated half an hour if you have a stand, tools, and know the process cold. but 3.5 hours? i guess i never tried it on its side. yeah a pain if the chain falls off the front ring. you are now properly motivated to patch the tube in place if at all possible.

    if you can't fashion a stand, placing a very heavy load as far forward in the bak as possible, or having a helper sit on the front edge of the bak, will cause the rear wheel to lift while the bike is parked on its own stand.

    if you tightened the lug nuts with vice grips only, there's a good chance they aren't tight enough. if loose, your pedaling torque can induce slippage which could account for the rub you are experiencing. also take care not to tighten the tug/alignment nuts unless both lug nuts are quite loose, as you can easily break them otherwise and replacements seem rare in this here hemisphere.
  • Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious PRO 7y

    The other caution about vice grips: you can strip the nut's head.

    Thanks for sharing the lessons with us, Mark -- I'm sure there are others in the same boat.
  • Mark Stosberg PRO 7y

    cleverchimp, I would estimate I could do it at least half the time next time. It seems nearly step I did wrong, re-did, or did slowly.

    Also, thanks for the tip about the order-of-operations with the tug/alignment nuts. I think I got that part right.
  • alliecat393 PRO 7y

    I think it also did not help that even though it was a "nice" day in February, the high temperature was still only 40. I'm sure warm fingers would have been helpful!
  • supertsaar 7y

    Brrr. Knowing my mechanical dexterity this would take me even longer and I'd be saying unfriendly things about mother mary in spanish while doing it.

    I think it's better if I take it in for repair i I ever need to change a tire :)
  • Mark Stosberg PRO 7y

    Calling cleverchimp:

    The patched tire is now working, and after some help with a mechanically inclined friend, the tug nuts have been adjusted so the wheel doesn't rub from being crooked anymore.

    However, a serious issue remains before I can consider this repair complete and successful. After four attempts, the shift cable keeps falling away from the hub. Sheldon Brown's post of the Shimano Nexus 8 manual was very helpful, but the issue remains. I can ride about a mile and then the cable falls off again.

    I checked that the yellow dots line up when I'm in gear 4, which is a good sign that I put things back how I found them. I now suspect that the "inner cable fixing nut" was re-engaged at the wrong angle. However, I would think that twisting it further would cause the yellow dots to not line up anymore, indicating that the position was not the same as before.

    Any suggestions for a shift cable which keeps coming off the hub?

    ( My mother-in-law is visiting from Portland and just told me that my nephew Sayer went to the same "Garden School" as one of your kids did for a while).

    Thanks so much for your help.
  • Mark Stosberg PRO 7y

    To answer my own question:

    Kurt looked at the shifting problem with and diagnosed it as a bent shifter cable. The cable was indeed bent some where "inner cable fixing nut" was attached. We corrected that with vice grips and connected the cable as before.

    After a test ride of about three miles, the shifting seemed to be working fine.
  • Henry Cutler PRO 7y

    Why in the world are you doing this with the bike on its side?

    The Cargobike has a bombproof parking stand. Just put a block off wood under a chainstay to hold the rear wheel up
  • Mark Stosberg PRO 7y

    Henry, as I mentioned in "step 0", that was one of my learning experiences. In the future, I know better.
  • Henry Cutler PRO 7y

    Gotcha. Your shifter problem must be the result of tweaking something during the repair or just not installing the cable properly. I don't turn wrenches very often these days but I can still disconnect and reconnect that 8sp Shimano shifter cable in a few seconds. You just need hold the rotating ring in the fully rotated position with your thumb while slipping the cable nut into the slot, and then place the outer cable into the end stop.

    But I think you learned the most important lesson: Don't remove the rear wheel if it can be avoided. Patch that tube until there's no more room for patches or a fresh tire is needed. That's "Dutch Style".
  • Mark Stosberg PRO 6y

    Now the brake has come unfastened on the box bike. I had previously purchased a 15mm deep well socket just to remove these lug nuts. I put it in a special place so I wouldn't lose it... but then I moved to whole new house and lost it somewhere in the project. I think this time I'll have the bike shop help fix the brake, and I'll buy another deep well socket for next time, and try to keep better track of it.
  • Umberto Brayj PRO 6y

    I just got my first flat on my bakfiets (bought it in August of 2007, first flat today in October of 2009). The tread on the tire was totally gone, and these were Schwalbe Marathons.

    I appreciate all the tips you guys have put together. Even though I work on chain cases on bikes all day long (Flying Pigeon! Ack!), there is something particularly intimidating about the bakfiets for some reason. Maybe it's just the weight of the darn thing.
  • Henry Cutler PRO 6y

    Are you guys familiar with our bakfiets cargobike FAQ? Lots of nitty gritty bakfiets tips and tricks there.
  • Chris Nicoll 4y

    There is so much good info here...thanks to Mark and everyone. We've been patching in place and have no plan to change that habit but after ~2500 miles and an unidentified slow leak we're thinking of changing the tires and tubes. Make that: we're thinking of asking Hugh in Cambridge to change the tires and tubes.
  • Henry Cutler PRO 4y

    Lots of good info... except please ignore that the bike is very strangely on its side, which is really NOT how to do this. ;-)
  • Mark Stosberg PRO 4y

    Right. I updated the text to reflect that in "step 0", but the novel photo remains.
  • Henry Cutler PRO 4y

    Ah, I didn't see that. I recommend updating it to just say not to do it with the bike on its side. That's just not a good way to work on any bike.

    A bakfiets can be easily worked on by propping a block of wood, a crate or just about anything under the left chainstay to hold the rear wheel above the ground. Even better you can tip the bike and shove a crate or something under each side of the parking stand, one at a time. Then fashion something to hold the rear up... or put some weight on the front to hold the rear wheel in the air.
  • Mark Stosberg PRO 4y

    Henry, I've added a big bold and italics statement to the original caption to clarify to not emulate the photo. Thanks for the tip!
  • Chris Nicoll 4y

    Heh, I almost think the photo's enough of a deterrent! That doesn't look like fun. The great thing (ok, one of the great things) about the bakfiets is the fact that it stays upright on its own. The other day we were working on the back wheel and just stuck the objects we had at hand below the bottom bracket (and the chain case, maybe -- perhaps being a bit rough on it). What we had was a pack of interlocking play mats and a rock. Next time it will be something just as random, I'm sure. :D
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Taken on February 9, 2008
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