CX/GL 500/650 Rear Wheel Removal

Drum (Z, A, B, C, D) and Disc (500 Eurosport, all 650s, Turbos) Rear Brake Models

This site tells you how to remove the rear wheel (and drum brake, if fitted) from your CX/GL, and replace them. I am very receptive to comments and suggestions, but you use this information at your own risk.

All the tools, hands and the bike in the article belong to the author.

All nut and bolt sizes are quoted as the spanner size required to fit them.

Skill Levels explained.

Skill Level : 1½. Personally dirty : 2. Work mess : 1. Tools : 1. Space : 1.

Tools : 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 22mm ring or socket spanners; socket ratchet handle and extension arm; rubber mallet; torque wrench; wire brush; grease; pliers.

Time : Expert 10 minutes, average 15 minutes, "first time" 20 minutes.

Allow the bike to cool so that the exhaust system is cold, or at least, cool enough to touch.

As you may have to remove one or both silencers, you might need to make new 'asbestos h-box gaskets'. There is a very simple way to do this, it's on the Tips and Tricks page.

Park on the centre stand on a firm surface. The operation is greatly aided if the left hand silencer is removed to improve access; but this isn't strictly necessary. However, some 2:1 aftermarket exhausts which have the silencer on the left hand side may need loosening or removing.

In order to improve clearance for the wheel during removal, it's a good idea to fully deflate the tyre, as this does make things easier.


Remove the split pin or R-clip from the brake drum torque arm (left) on the lower left hand part of the rear wheel hub, undo the 10mm nut and prise the arm away from the bottom of the brake drum assembly. Don't lose the thick rubber washer which is between the arm and the hub.







Remove the brake lever arm's adjusting nut (right) from the end of the actuating rod, and slide the lever off the actuating rod, don't lose the spring which sits between the rod's shoulder and the brake lever arm. The brake drum should now be free to rotate around the axle.






Remove the split pin or R-clip from the castle nut on the right hand side of the axle (left). This is the same on both drum and disc brake types.







Remove the 22mm head castle nut and thick washer (right). This is the same on both drum and disc brake types.










Undo and remove the 12mm pinch bolt at the rearmost part of the swinging arm, on the left hand side of the bike. This is the same on both drum and disc brake types.











Knock out the axle from right to left. If you don't have a rubber mallet, use a block of wood between a normal hammer and the end of the axle.

Depending on what exhaust system you have, you may find that the silencers are in the way. Either remove them, or undo the top or bottom suspension bolts, to allow the swinging arm to drop lower and clear the exhaust system.

If the axle sticks, poke a broad bladed screwdriver into the slot right at the end of the swinging arm, where the pinch bolt fastened. Tap the screwdriver in gently, to open the gap a little.

This is the same on both drum and disc brake types.




Axle (left) coming clear of the brake drum and swinging arm. Note the shaped washer. This is the same on both drum and disc brake types.







Pull out the axle (right) and don't lose the shaped collar which is located up against the brake drum. The rear wheel should now pull towards the left hand side of the bike and simply drop off the drive mechanism, and fall to the ground.






You may have trouble in wriggling out the rear wheel from the restricted space between the rear mudguard, tail cone unit and swinging arm.

Try lifting the bike by its rearmost part (rack, top box or grab rail) to increase the clearance, or jack up the bike from under the engine, to give a little more clearance.

It can be a tight squeeze to get the wheel free. If all else fails, remove the left hand silencer to give you more room to work. This will, again, often depend on what exhaust system your bike has fitted. You can also deflate the tyre.

Edvard Korsbt says "I have found on my GL650 with drum brakes, that it is nessecary to loosen the drive hub unit to be able to get the tyre out. It's not enough to deflate the tyre. If you loosen the drive hub (takes 1 minute extra) the rear wheel is easily taken out. Without its impoosible on my bike, which has totally standard dimension tyres."



Patrik Blommaskog adds "When removing the rear wheel as described on your site, like Edvard Korsbt on his GL650, I found that it was not possible to get the standard dimension tyre past the drive hub unit. Loosening the three drive hub nuts about 4 mm (removing the right hand silencer first for access) enabled me to wriggle the wheel out."

Once the rear wheel is out, the brake drum lifts away. Beware of inhaling brake dust. Take the drum brake outside, lay it down with the "drive" side uppermost, and tap it firmly to dislodge any dust or debris.

Check the wear on the shoes, and replace them if necessary (a future webpage will deal with this); the minimum thickness is 78/1000" or 2mm.







Refitting is a reversal of this procedure. Chet comments that you should "loosen the three nuts holding the final drive in place before tightening the [castle nut on the] axle with the wheel. This lines up the splines correctly, improving wear. These three nuts will then be the last ones to tighten making everything mate up correctly."

Grease the drive splines well (left) before reassembly, as excessive wear between the wheel and the drive hub means a difficult and expensive repair.

The splined flange in the rear wheel hub unbolts with the 5 bolts you see here, and can be easily replaced. If anyone has pictures of replacing the splined part of the differential, I'd be grateful to receive them. Does the differential splined flange unbolt in a similar way, or is it part of a larger unit?





This is what happens if you don't grease these splined flanges. Notice that the splines have almost completely worn away.

Shudder .... I wonder what kind of awful noise this was making?






It should look like this.







Grease the brake adjusting mechanism and after reassembly, ensure that the rear brake works correctly. This is NOT something you want to discover on a road test!




Torque Settings

CASTLE NUT : CX650 Custom and Eurosport 43-58 ft/lbs (6-8 kg/m); all other Pro-Link variants 36-58 ft/lbs (5-8 kg/m); all other variants 40-47 ft/lbs (5.5-6.5 kg/m).

Pinch bolt 14½-22 ft/lbs (2-3 kg/m).

Disc rear brake mounting bolts 7-9 ft/lbs (1-1.2 kg/m)

Drum rear brake torque arm nuts CX650 Eurosport 13-20 ft/lbs (1.8-2.8 kg/m); all GLs and 650 Custom 11-18 ft/lbs (1.5-2.5 kg/m); all other variants 11-16½ ft/lbs (1.5-2.3 kg/m).

Differential unit retaining nuts (3 or 4 nuts depending on the model) 33-44 ft.-lb.

Drum Brake Adjustments

Adjustment of the rear drum brake after reassembly is as follows. With the brake at maximum pressure, the chromed brake lever should never be further forward vertically than the wheel axle. If it is, either the brake shoes are worn out, or the brake lever is incorrectly sited on the splines at the brake drum. There is a punch mark on the chrome lever which aligns to a similar mark on the splined shaft. Some owners resort to unbolting the brake arm and moving it round, in a ploy to extend brake life. However as rear wheel removal is so easy on the CX, it's a simple matter to replace brake shoes rather than apply this cheat.

Footbrake Lever Adjustments

How the footbrake lever sits in relation to your toes is largely a matter of personal choice. I like the footbrake pad height not quite touching my right toes when riding normally, and with about 1/3" of free play before the brake begins to bite. To adjust this, look underneath the bike on the right hand side and locate the adjusting screw. Slacken the 10mm locknut and then screw in or out the stop-screw until the footbrake lever is at the desired height. Then tighten the locknut.

If the height cannot be adjusted by means of the stopscrew, unbolt and remove the footbrake lever from its spindle, and move it round as necessary, one spline at at time. Then use the stopscrew for fine adjustments.

I recommend fitting new split pins where necessary, but R-clips are a much better proposition. Your local bike or spares dealer should have a selection.

Additional Pictures

Drive hub unit, with the rear wheel removed.










General view of the bike with the rear wheel removed.












Correct location of the collar, between the axle and the brake drum.







Inside the hub (right), into which the brake drum locates.










Brake drum, shoes, and mechanism (left).











The procedure is very similar to the drum brake models, except that there is no brake torque arm to unfasten.

Remove as much of the exhaust system as you need to be able to withdraw the axle from the left hand side. This probably means removing the left hand silencer. Remove the split or r-pin from the axle's castle nut and remove that as well. Remove the pinch bolt on the left rear end of the swinging arm. Remove the two bolts which hold the rear brake caliper to its bracket.

Without unfastening the hydraulic hose, pull the caliper upwards to clear the disc. If you have trouble with this, put strong pressure on the caliper face and push it inwards towards the wheel hub, this retracts the brake pistons. If this still doesn't work, slide a wide blade screwdriver in from behind the caliper and gently but firmly lever the caliper away from the disc.

Now knock the axle through from the right, as per the drum brake model, and withdraw it to the left. Once the axle, space and brake caliper are clear, suspend the caliper so that it doesn't dangle and possibly damage the hose or paintwork. Wirebrush clean the caliper body and as much of the inner area as you can reach. You can use ACF-50 or light grease on the piston and moving parts area, but don't get any on the pads or disc surface.

Now swing the caliper bracket upwards to clear the disc. The Turbo has an aluminium spacer between the inside face of the swinging arm, I expect the other disc brake models are the same, please correct me if not. The wheel can be pulled towards you off the drive splines and then wriggled out backwards and to the left. It is a tight fit and can be a struggle; extra clearance is possible by either removing the rear mudguard or having someone lift the rear of the bike an inch or two. If you do this be careful that the centre stand doesn't retract.

Also try completely deflating the tyre, as this does give extra clearance. Clean everything thoroughly before reassembly.

Refitting is a reversal of removal, grease the drive splines thoroughly as per the drum brake type. After refitting, pump the rear brake pedal several times to restore pressure and re-align the disc brake caliper and pads.

You are welcome to comment on these pages.