Take The Wheels Off A Sportster

Knowing take the wheels off your Harley-Davidson Sportster is crucial knowledge in caring for, maintaining and shipping your motorcycle. Whether you are simply giving your spoked wheels a touch-up true, shipping your motorcycle across the country, or even fixing a flat tire on the rear wheel, the wheels must come off. Keep your Sportster in good running condition by knowing remove the wheels to perform basic maintenance.


1. Prop up your motorcycle on a specialized motorcycle stand or anything else that will safely hold its weight with the wheels suspended from the ground. Be sure that it will not tip or fall easily.

2. Remove the two pinch bolts at the bottom of the Sportster fork. These hold the axle firmly in place while you are riding the bike, and as such are tightened a considerable amount. It may take some force to turn them loose.

3. Loosen the axle nut on the right side of the fork and remove it. You should now be able to remove the axle through the left fork leg. Some Sportster axles will thread into the left fork leg, so you may need to unscrew the axle from that side as well.

4. Remove the wheel from the fork. Set the wheel and any removed hardware, such as the axle and pinch bolts, somewhere you will find them later.

5. Unscrew the chain-slack adjusters at the back of the swing arm. Do not completely remove them; just unscrew them considerably so that the axle may move freely in the swing arm adjustment tracks.

6. Loosen and remove the axle nut on the right side of the swing arm. The axle should slide out of the wheel from the left side of the swing arm.

7. Push the wheel forward in the swing arm adjustment tracks until you can remove the chain from the wheel sprocket. If your Sportster has a drum brake on the rear wheel (as some older models do), remove the brake actuator bolt from the drum brake surface.

8. Pull the wheel out of the swing arm. Set it aside with any hardware removed, such as the axle, axle nut and brake actuator bolt, where you can easily find them later.