Help with getting Pashley wheel out of frame

I’m having a lot of trouble trying to get my 28" wheel out of the unicycle frame. It’s a home-made unicycle with Pashley style bearing holders. The trouble is that the shafts of the bearing holders are jammed tightly in the fork legs. I’ve attached a pic of the type of bearing holders.

I’ve tried hauling on the frame with my feet braced against the wheel but it won’t budge. I’ve also tried spraying heaps of CRC/WD40 in and around the bearing holders, with no effect. I’ve thought about whacking the axle ends of the cranks with a large hammer, but this probably wouldn’t work and would end up damaging the uni.

Any suggestions?


bearing holders.bmp (51.3 KB)

Is either the frame or bearing holder made out of aluminum?

If one of them is aluminum the bearing holders might be stuck due to aluminum oxide corrosion. Fortunately ammonia will clear up that aluminum oxide gunk. See tip XIII under Sheldon Brown’s 15 Ways to Unsitick a Seatpost

If both the frame and bearing holders are steel then spray a whole bunch of penetrating oil inside the frame and let it flow down to the bearing holder.

There are some other tips in Sheldon Brown’s list if tricks too. Just avoid the ones that will do damage to the frame.

Grease up the bearing holder before putting it back in the frame to hopefully avoid this from happening again.

Good luck!

I feel your pain. I 've been there with my old 24" pashley. After gentle pressure, then firm pressure, then bashing the heck out it with a hammer it didn’t budge. Liberal spraying with oil didn’t help.

In the end I unbuilt the wheel (I was rebuilding it anyway) and levered and hammered between the frame and axle and it finally came apart. I thought I had done major damage to the axle but I still have it on my 26" so go figure.

When I rebuilt it I applied copper grease to it. It has been wobbling and coming loose ever since. I don’t think you can win :slight_smile:

This is one of the problems with the Pashley style bearing holders.

Remember, though, that the ends of the axle will take enormous impacts when you are hopping or dropping.

So, what I do is use a fairly heavy rubber mallet. However hard I hit the ends of the axle with a rubber mallet, the impact will be less than the impact of me hopping on the unicycle.

So, leave the cranks on. Hit the fat ends of the cranks, in line with the axle. A few sharp hits on one side of the unicycle, then a few sharp hits on the other, then repeat. The trick is to keep the bearing holders as near to in line as possible.

When using a mallet/hammer, don’t strike sharply at the surface; hit ‘through’ the surface - aim at a point an inch or two past the impact point. This way, the blow is more effective.

If this method doesn’t work, you could try some form of traction, using ropes or webbing straps.

Also, you could wrap cloths around the ends of the fork legs and pour hot water onto the cloths, thus expanding the ends of the fork legs. You’d need a method of keeping the bearing holders cold.

The mallet trick has worked for me a few times.

I wouldn’t buy another Pashley, though.

how aboot thee ol’ twist an grunt?

I had a lot of trouble with mine at first but now they are a little looser and the grab-with-the-feet method works well. The Pashley frame setup is inconvenient at times but is very rugged, and IMHO, better than the main cap unless you have a custom version. My main caps (freestyle, Coker) are always needing retightening despite loctite.

Both elements of the Pashley setup are steel/iron, not aluminum.

Tony perhaps you could try inserting a crowbar between tire and frame and leveraging upwards.

Don’t give up on it. Now that my 26" Pashley has settled in I really like it. For the same purpose I’d buy another easily. It also seems to make a good 29er.

Halftime Report

Thanks for all your suggestions!

I’ve got one of the bearing holders moving now after plenty of CRC and coaxing with a mallet’n’block of wood. The other one, however, is still firmly fixed in place. I’ve whacked many mallet blows on the crank on the stuck side, but it still won’t move.

U-turn’s idea is worth a try. I could also try hammering in a large wooden wedge between the (deflated) tyre and fork crown.

Maybe I’ll have to resort to the ammonia treatment, as I suspect the bearing holders are aluminium. I know the frame is steel.

I’ll get that sucker off somehow!!

My understanding is that the bearing holders are cast iron.

Good luck Tony!

Yes, I believe the Pashley ones are indeed cast iron.

However my uni is a home-made (or back-room-of-bike-shop-made to be more precise) one and has bearing holders similar to, but not the same as Pashleys. They are bigger and fatter than Pashleys. Sorry no photo.


You could try to heat the frame very carefully with a propane torch or something similar. This trick is mentioned on Sheldon Browns page about stuck seatposts. The idea behind it is that the frame will expand when heated, but the bearing holders will not (or much slower).

This method works well for stuck pedals.

Of course one must be very careful not to overheat anything, and if your frame is painted it’s probably not really the method of choice… . Also it is quite possible that the torch will leave visible marks. But the chance that you can move the bearing holders is very high.


do they look like this?

if so then,just squirt some ammonia in there and they will come off easy.


I’ve managed to get the wheel out of the frame!!

The breakthrough was to lift the uni up off the ground. In this elevated position I pounded on the crank end with a mallet on a block of wood. With a few blows the bearing holders had visibly moved. With a few more the wheel came out completely. By lifting the uni off the ground the wheel has somewhere to go, rather than being forced into the ground. This technique is easier if you have a (beautiful :smiley: ) assistant to hold the uni in the air. Or use a bike work stand.

Jagur - yes my bearing holders look like those ones, but completely enclose the bearing. Maybe they’re an older design.

Now my 28" will be reborn as an offroad 29"er with the help of a new tyre. :sunglasses:


When you are buying a wheel, can you just get over the counter top? Or do you have to get it specially manufactured to fit on the fork and that the hub will be the right one that pedals can be put on. I was interested in buying a new one and just wanted to know how to buy one.

Re: Success!

How can I put this without appearing unkind? Er… um… I had not foreseen that you would try to do it with the wheel still on the ground.:wink:

Much easier than finding a beautiful assistant: turn the unicycle upside down. Rest it on the saddle. Stand with one foot on the underside of the saddle. Steady the unicycle by holding the wheel rim lightly. Strike upwards with the mallet.

If it’s any consolation, by working on the unicycle upside down, I once fitted a pair of cranks on the wrong sides ((don’t ask me how… d’oh!:o ) and I wrote off a brand new crank.

Re: Re: Success!

Point taken, Mike. Score = 1 each.

I’m much more interested in Tony’s technique for finding the beautiful assistant!