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  1. #1
    Senior Member moosetoth's Avatar
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    QR to thru-axle conversion on a front hub

    My friend is moving to New York very soon and will need to keep the front wheel of his commuter from getting stolen. The rear wheel is a bolt on but the front is an XT QR hub. Is there a way to convert the hub to run an axle(any size will do)?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moosetoth
    My friend is moving to New York very soon and will need to keep the front wheel of his commuter from getting stolen. The rear wheel is a bolt on but the front is an XT QR hub. Is there a way to convert the hub to run an axle(any size will do)?

    Thanks
    With all due respect, anyone with an adjustable wrench can steal that wheel with nuts. It's a much better strategy to lock it to the frame. The prevailing "best" strategy to prevent theft is to use a high end "U" lock in combination with a heavy chain lock. There's a video that floats around in the bike forums that documents some guy "stealing" his own bike in NYC in broad daylight. He "steals" it several times using different methods - hacksaws, bolt cutters, power tools, etc. No one questions him at any point - even the police. They just take a look and move on. Very good locks (at least two) and very ugly bikes seem to be the best way to insure your bike is there for the ride home.
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    You can buy very effective locking skewers. A bolt on wheel is very easy to steal with a simple wrench or alan key, which all good theives carry.

    Both my wife and I use Pitlock locking skewers on our good wheelsets that we commute with. They work.

    Pitlock skewers are available in North America here: http://www.urbanbiketech.com/

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    ppc
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    You need one of these anti-lock QR skewers: the ones I have on my commuter have a penta nut with a free-turning slippery outer sleeve in lieu of the lever. Of course, nothing is completely fool proof, and it just takes a thief with the right penta key, but it's much better than 15mm nuts imho.

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    hunter, gatherer coelcanth's Avatar
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    if you ask me, the front wheel with qr is a security measure..
    it allows him to remove the front wheel and lock it together with the back wheel when he feels he needs that much assurance...
    or, if that is too intense, he can lock only the front half of da bike when he is locking up...
    since he feels nutted axels are secure and the rear is already nutted, isn't this good enough ?

  6. #6
    Senior Member moosetoth's Avatar
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    Thanx everyone for your input. I found some Veratomic quick locks online They're not too expensive, actually. Anyone have experience with these? As for you comment cascade168, um wow, I didn't know it could be THAT bad. I'd like to this video, if you can find the link - but I'll certainly advise my friend on getting a big chain lock since he already has a good krypto u-lock.

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    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    It's here:

    http://neistat.com/

    You have to go to the "Movies" page, scroll down to the third row and click on "Bike Thief"

    It takes a while to load, so be patient.
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
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    There are many tricks:

    – A bolt-on "not-so-quick-release" axle that needs to be removed with an Alan key. Then you need to bring a key to fix a flat.

    – Replace the hub with a bolted on hub. Then you need to bring a wrench to fix a flat.

    – A pipe collar around the handle of the quick-release. Good trick, except you need to bring a screwdriver to fix a flat.

    – Special locking skewer.

    - A second U-lock to lock the front wheel to the frame.


    No trick is perfect.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  9. #9
    PITLOCK Shop
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    If your friend is looking for solid security, a U-Lock (a solid, good quality one!) is his best bet. Then look at other options such as locking skewers if he needs a bit more convenience. As for locking skewers, keep in mind that any part that sticks out and is static in relation to the rest of the skewer can easily be clamped and turn with vicegrips. No cables, they go snip real quick.
    Authorized North American PITLOCK Locking Skewer dealer. http://www.urbanbiketech.com

  10. #10
    To be continued Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascade168
    With all due respect, anyone with an adjustable wrench can steal that wheel with nuts. It's a much better strategy to lock it to the frame. The prevailing "best" strategy to prevent theft is to use a high end "U" lock in combination with a heavy chain lock. There's a video that floats around in the bike forums that documents some guy "stealing" his own bike in NYC in broad daylight. He "steals" it several times using different methods - hacksaws, bolt cutters, power tools, etc. No one questions him at any point - even the police. They just take a look and move on. Very good locks (at least two) and very ugly bikes seem to be the best way to insure your bike is there for the ride home.
    It takes time to remove bolts, and the longer it takes to remove something, the less of an appeal it has to a bike theif. The longer it takes, the chances of the theif getting spotted is greater. Besides, last spring I met up with a friend who had her light stolen from her beater bike, while I had a simple cable lock on my Kona, which has alll high end parts on it was left alone. The difference was due to a non qr stance. A Quick release is a theif's best friend.
    Strike like an eagle and sacrifice the dove.
    Words and Stuff.

  11. #11
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KonaRider24
    It takes time to remove bolts, and the longer it takes to remove something, the less of an appeal it has to a bike theif. The longer it takes, the chances of the theif getting spotted is greater. Besides, last spring I met up with a friend who had her light stolen from her beater bike, while I had a simple cable lock on my Kona, which has alll high end parts on it was left alone. The difference was due to a non qr stance. A Quick release is a theif's best friend.
    And how many times have you locked up your "Kona, which has all high end parts on it" - "with a simple cable lock" - in NYC?

    I'm not saying it doesn't take longer, just as you say, to overcome the safeguards. Watch the video I linked to and see what people spotting the theif do. Some actually stopped to offer assistance. Chain locking or U-locking your wheels to the triangles in your frame is clearly far superior to any type of non-QR solution. Someone linked to some fancy, unique skewers designed to slow down a theif. They are pretty damn expensive and that money would be much better spent on high quality chain locks or U-locks. I spent four years living in Lawrence, Mass. It's one of the worst car theft cities in the US. One thing I learned there is that the cars least likely to get stolen are the beaters. Bikes are no different. Leaving things like lights, computers, saddle bags, and QR seat posts, on an unattended bike is just plain dumb. You might as well put a sign that says "Free bike stuff here". Don't leave that kind of stuff and lock your wheels to the frame triangles with high quality locks and all but the most determined professional thieves will move on to an easier target - and there are plenty of them.

    When I visited Amsterdam one of the real eye openners to me was in the middle of the city. Adjacent to the big central train station there is a huge square and every working day there are (I'm guessing) about 20-30,000 bicycles parked and locked there. It's an amazing sight. How they get sorted out at the end of the day is beyond me. Most of them just have basic locks, but they are all pretty much beaters. Bike commuting and bike theft are really ingrained in the Dutch culture and it's obvious by looking at all of those bikes what the Darwinian solution is.

    Protecting your stuff takes a good strategy and investment in good locks (U-locks and link cable locks).
    Leaving a nice bike unattended - locked or not - for more than a minute in an urban environment is taking a huge chance. Only my beater/commuter, which I like very much, would get locked up in the city, and only then with my chain lock and U-lock. My good bikes? Fuggedaboudit.
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
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  12. #12
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    If your friend does decide he wants to convert the front hub to bolt-on, it can be done. All you need is the correct solid axle. Axles come in two diameters 9mm and 10mm generally, and with different thread pitches. You may need a fairly experienced mechanic to advise you on the proper axle and axle nuts, but after that, it's an easy job to swap it out.

    My advice - put the solid axle in (about $10-15 in parts) and save the rest of his $$ for that big-ass chain lock from Krypto. Unbolt the wheel and lock it to the bike. He'll just have to learn to wear the chain like a belt.

  13. #13
    ppc
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    Quote Originally Posted by cascade168
    Leaving a nice bike unattended - locked or not - for more than a minute in an urban environment is taking a huge chance. Only my beater/commuter, which I like very much, would get locked up in the city, and only then with my chain lock and U-lock. My good bikes? Fuggedaboudit.
    I agree completely. However, for those who really insist on taking their nice bikes out all the time, there's a trick: camouflage. The idea is that thieves are attracted by shiny things, so what I did with my last, very nive mountain bike is, I covered the frame and fork in newspapers and duct-tape (the newspapers so the duct-tape goo didn't ruin the paintjob), and I spray-painted the duct-tape in pink and brown. I also covered the rear shock with a home-made boot made of trashbag plastic, and masked any markings that might reveal the price of the trim with black electrical tape (like on the derailleur, brake levers, etc... Finally, I mounted a macrame basket with a rainbow motif on the handlebar. The bike really looked like crap, I commuted for 2 years with it and nobody ever stole it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member moosetoth's Avatar
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    Finally got around to watching that film. Holy cow. That was really depressing- just watching all those people walk by and not even bat an eye. I relayed all of your suggestions to my firend and we concluded that I'll just help him buy a Kryptochain as a grad present and he'll just have to learn to ride with a medieval flail device. Also, we're gonna sand off the Mavic labels off the rims and maybe even all the decals too.

    Thank you all for your input. It seems to me that while locking skewers, and bolt-on axles are really great anti-theft deterrents for commuting in Denver or Boulder (which is in a league of its own cuz every "boulderite" owns a thousand dollar bike), they probably won't be as effective in NY.

    F.Buxton, you comment about the 9/10 mm axles is super helpful. I'll let the guys at my LBS know because we sometimes get some customers asking for hub conversions.

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