I need to replace my front axle. I've bought the new axle with bearings and lithium grease, but I obviously need to remove the old axle. I know I need to use a cone spanner on one side, and a socket or spanner on the other side to remove it.

How can I easily identify which side of the axle to use the cone spanner on? Will only 1 side of the axle have the appropriate nut for the cone tool?

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I've used a 17mm socket on one side, and a cone tool on the opposite side, and it just won't budge.

  • do you have the wheel in your possession? could you show the hub? could you tell us what brand/model it is?
    – Paul H
    Aug 14, 2023 at 20:41
  • Yes. Yes, will update the question later. No, it's just a generic Halfords Carrera TDF bike. Nothing fancy. Aug 15, 2023 at 6:41
  • @PaulH images added of both sidea of the axle. Aug 15, 2023 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


I tend to use the cone spanner on the same side as the outside spanner, so I know which locknut will undo.

Your description of one spanner on either side will work, but there's a chance that either locknut will undo, as well as a possibility one stackup of cone-nut+locknut will just move on the thread a little.

Some rear wheels may be set up so that you have to do one spanner on either side, like a freewheel-based rear axle can sometimes have its drive-side cone buried too far to reach.

For a front wheel, both sides should be equal and identical. Take some photos first and see how you go.

  • 1
    I've tried focusing on one side, and tried both sides. Nothing will budge :( Aug 15, 2023 at 17:44
  • 1
    After applying an equal measure of brute force and ignorance, I've managed to get it apart. The axle Halfords sold me isn't the correct one, as the one that came off has cups. I've put it all back together and there's a bit of play, so I'm going to strip it down again and put the old bearings back in with a healthy dose of grease. Aug 15, 2023 at 18:38

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