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I just bought a used Kona Roundabout bike and I can't figure out how to remove the wheels. I've never seen this connection before.

The same connection is on both the front and rear wheels and attached in the pictures. First two on the left are the front wheel with and without that black cap on. Top right pic is the rear wheel and bottom right is the other side of the wheel.

I've tried using a combination of pliers and wrenches but it doesn't seem to budge. Any ideas? Am I missing something?

Thanks!

pics of bike wheel connection

  • 1
    You need a special wrench. As Chris H suggests, it's likely a security fastener scheme, so even a pin spanner wouldn't do it without some work. But if you have a pin spanner at hand, you could drill two holes for the pins to remove the bolt. Then throw it away and get a regular skewer. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 11 '17 at 20:41
  • The other approach would be to use a drift punch (& hammer) in one of the notches. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 11 '17 at 20:43
  • @DanielRHicks getting a drill hole started would be tricky but once you did a pin spanner would do the trick. – Chris H Jan 11 '17 at 21:45
  • @ChrisH - You use a center punch (ice pick) to start the holes. – Daniel R Hicks Jan 11 '17 at 22:11
  • You can use file/grinder to make it possible to catch nut with wrench. – krzyski Jan 12 '17 at 1:04
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That's a pinhead security fastener. You should have got a key to match with the bike. Without the matching key number you can't get a replacement key either.

Here's a picture of a pinhead key fom about 2010. Yours will look at bit different. The key number is under the red blob, and the pins to mate with the nut are in the silver bit on the right. As you can see, mine is old and battered, so the original keyring attachment failed and I drilled a hole in it.

There's another format that looks like a hex nut on one end as well.

pinhead tool

  • Thank you!! At least I now know what it is and will go back to the seller to ask. Thanks for your help! – user31085 Jan 11 '17 at 21:32
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    The seller not having or knowing the pinhead key is a strong indication of stolen merchandise. Be sure to run the serial number through BikeIndex.org for your own protection. – RoboKaren Jan 12 '17 at 4:19
  • @RoboKaren, absolutely. I hope the seller has just forgotten about it - perhaps after not using the bike for a while. But I'm not optimistic. – Chris H Jan 12 '17 at 6:50
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I normally use this trick for rusted in nuts in cars: use a cut off wheel with a rotary tool. It should take you no more than 5 minutes to cut off this nut.

If you have access to a tool such as a Dremel tool or the like, getting a set of cutoff discs will cost no more than USD $5. A hand saw would take too long but also doable. There are also faster cutting tools such as air tools that all car shops should have.

Cut carefully not to damage the other parts. You don't have to cut through the entire nut to get it out. Cut enough to weaken it, then use a chisel or a sharp flat screw driver to knock it out or use pliers to pull it out. You don't have to cut right on center either. you can even cut a quarter angle, remove that part, which would sufficiently weaken the nut for removal. The idea is to weaken it enough that it no longer has integrity. There is no need to fully destroy it in order to remove it.

You may want to use duct tape to cover the axle a couple layers so that if the disc hits it, it won't immediately mar it.

As I write, I though of another trick I use occasionally: Drill a whole sideways into the nut, enough to insert a hardened steel rod such as a good allen wrench. Once inserted, you can start using the lever of the rod/wrench to turn the nut. You can also use a small sharp chisel to hammer-turn the nut through the drilled hole/notch. Be sure to lubricate the axle well first.

Once done, you can easily find a regular replacement nut at your hardware store or any bike shop for very cheap. All this should cost you much less time and money compared to getting a replacement key to open it.

It's interesting the wheel (& bike) pictured is not an expensive wheel yet protected by this design.

Hope this helps!

  • 3
    Even a cheap rear wheel and cassette is an annoyingly expensive thing to have stolen. Add to that the inconvenience of being without a bike, and having to either get the bike home or risk having the whole thing stolen and it doesn't seem so strange. (I mention the possibility of having the whole bike stolen because one thing thieves have been known to do is to disable a bike by stealing a wheel in the hope that the owner will leave it there overnight, giving them the opportunity to cut the lock when they have more time and there are fewer people around.) – David Richerby Jan 12 '17 at 19:09
  • @David , I hear you. Even though I don't live in the city, I have had a bike stolen overnight at a metro and another its skewer nuts gone over a span of a few years. City folks must be pretty stressed as I have seen vandalism like you mentioned. Better locks & deterrent systems that can be used across any bike should always help and not difficult to come by. Not sure if the special nut approach like this is really worth the cost to both manufacturer & owner. I could only see it being more acceptable if applied to a rental bike left on the streets. – người Sàigòn Jan 12 '17 at 19:40
  • I've had this system on my main bike for several years (since new) and it hasn't been any hassle at all. I lock up in places where quick release wheels get stolen sometimes even with cable locks through then so it's a useful extra bit of security. The other end is smooth so you'd probably have to space the whole skewer - but that's OK, they're not expensive. Your estimate for cutting is possibly a little optimistic unless you've got a much better dremel than me (I've modified these on my other bike, the steel is quite hard) but not enough to matter overall. – Chris H Jan 14 '17 at 18:43

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