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  1. #1
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    Problems with tandem skewers (rear) and bicycle trailers

    I wanted to see what others experience is with rear tandem skewers, especially if being used with a bicycle trailer.

    We recently got our brand new tandem wheel back from Velocity. It is a Velocity Chukker with 48h drill and DT 14g spokes. I had wanted the Velocity Psycho but they were out of stock when I needed to get this done.

    Long story short, I'm having some problems with tandem skewers. I can't find the skewer I always used to use. Instead I can only find the Chariot skewer and an older Shimano tandem skewer. Both are slipping allowing the wheel to go askew. I don't want to mount the new wheel until I can resolve the slipping issues with these skewers.

    Bike is an aluminum Cannondale 140mm dropout spacing.

    What skewers have you had problems with, and what skewers absolutely "lock down" a tandem wheel, even if using a Chariot trailer (hitch attaches to skewer)?

  2. #2
    Senior Member CaptainHaddock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    I wanted to see what others experience is with rear tandem skewers, especially if being used with a bicycle trailer.

    Bike is an aluminum Cannondale 140mm dropout spacing.

    What skewers have you had problems with, and what skewers absolutely "lock down" a tandem wheel, even if using a Chariot trailer (hitch attaches to skewer)?
    I'm riding a 2010/11/12 (?) RT2, so it's spaced @ 145, the stock skewer seems to be working just fine for me and my Burley Nomad (I've got the quick-release attachment due to the disk-brake rear).

  3. #3
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    I'm a little confused. Does your Cannondale have horizontal dropouts rather than vertical?
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    I'm a little confused. Does your Cannondale have horizontal dropouts rather than vertical?
    No, regular dropouts not horizontal.

  5. #5
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Well, not to get into a pissing contest, but there are no "regular" dropouts. There's horizontal, vertical, and track. But I'll assume you mean vertical since they *are* more current day. If so, there shouldn't be room for the axle to move but just the tiniest bit. If there was, everyone's wheels would always be slipping with the lightweight skewers of today due to the pull on the drive side. The power of two riders out of the saddle sprinting or climbing has *got* to exert more force than dragging a bike trailer.

    How much movement are we talking about?
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

    2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

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  6. #6
    Senior Member CaptainHaddock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    Well, not to get into a pissing contest, but there are no "regular" dropouts. There's horizontal, vertical, and track. ... How much movement are we talking about?
    Well, I'd argue that my drops are the "regular" kind! ok with that out of the way, I am in fact riding with vertical drops, and they never move. Yes, mtnbke might ask, "but what about horizontal / track dropp's?" I have a track frame which I use as my commuter single and it also has the QR attachment for my burley nomad and I don't have any issues with that pulling back/out of place.
    Last edited by CaptainHaddock; 03-14-12 at 06:22 PM. Reason: edit for clarity

  7. #7
    Senior Member diabloridr's Avatar
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    The devil in me wants to say this wouldn't be an issue with a steel frame.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    Well, not to get into a pissing contest, but there are no "regular" dropouts. There's horizontal, vertical, and track.
    Only because you're being a bit difficult...

    Track bikes don't use dropouts at all, and neither do BMX bikes. They use forkends, look it up:

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_dr-z.html

    Regarding horizontal dropouts, I communicated that the Cannondale wasn't using horizontal dropouts. I can't imagine that anyone would think a road tandem would have been built with track forkends. As for vertical dropouts people use the term vertical dropouts to mean both semi-vertical or true vertical dropouts, which is why I refrained from stating that the C'dale used vertical dropouts. I think regular dropouts absolutely captured the thought (not horizontal, and obviously not track forkends). Almost every bike in manufacture today, that is a road bike, uses semi-vertical or vertical dropouts (we won't talk about Klein bikes).

    I also think you understood and were just being difficult. The funny thing is you were being difficult and actually wrong in what you were asserting. That is just a little bit funny.

    What is happening with the old wheel is that the wheel is shifting askew as if the skewer isn't holding the wheel tight enough. Try riding without a skewer and you'll observe the same effect.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by diabloridr View Post
    The devil in me wants to say this wouldn't be an issue with a steel frame.
    Okay, that was just awesome! I certainly deserved that.

  10. #10
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    Anyone else had problems with tandem skewers and the rear wheel "shifting?"

  11. #11
    PMK
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    On my single speed single bike, Cannondale M800, I have used a simple no name purple QR with no slippage when pulling the trailer.

    As for tandems, we have not pulled the trailer and our granddaughter with a a tandem yet.

    In regards to what holds the rear wheels in, our road tandem and Ventana suspension tandem run Salsa QRs, while our up for sale Fandango 29r has always run a Shimano. The off-road bikes if any would have problems but don't.

    Not to detour your concern about clamping the wheel, I did not see what hub is used. Does the hub have some form of knurling of "teeth" to grab the frame? I have seen single bikes slip the wheel not from an unsecure QR but rather from the axles inability to grab the frame. Typically this would happen with lighter weight wheels with softer materials used for the axle ends. I try to ensure the axle ends remain clean and grease free.

    We have a Burley trailer, honestly, the bracket we have from them really has no means to provide grip of the bracket to the frame. If the axle can't hold it, I believe you that it would slip. Maybe try a "star" lockwasher between the trailer bracket and the frame?

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  12. #12
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    Track bikes don't use dropouts at all, and neither do BMX bikes. They use forkends, look it up
    Look what up? You are rehashing a semantic debate that has gone on for 50 years. The "other school of thought" called them all dropouts since it's ridiculous to call it a "fork end" if it's not on a fork, and even a fork end allows the wheel to drop out, (some very old and some current day off-road machines with a thru-axle setup being the exception). Campy catalogs, (page 43), called everything "fork ends", including what you and Sheldon apparently call a drop out. So you were wrong in saying that I was wrong, because there is no right or wrong here, just opinion. Sheldon had his opinion, others, including myself and most old-time shop mechanics, even if they didn't necessarily disagree, simply referred to all as drop outs for simplicity's sake.

    Further, if you bother to read the link you sent, you'll see that according to Sheldon's *opinion* your problem can't possibly exist. He says, "Vertical dropouts have a vertical notch for the axle to go up into, and the axle's position is not adjustable. With vertical dropouts, the axle cannot be pulled out of position, even if it is not properly secured."

    Which tends to mirror my own *opinion*, so back now to the original question. Since I am *not* going to ride any of my bikes without a skewer, I ask again, how much movement are we talking about? Is it just skewing the wheel slightly, is it skewing it enough to make it rub the frame, or is it moving dynamically, i.e., feeling squirrelly back there?

    I ask because clamping the wheel tighter may be a solution, but most any skewer should hold, so this *might* be indicative of a larger problem. Have you examined/measured/compared both dropouts for the opening width? Dropouts *do* get bent, particularly on the derailleur side. If the bike is old and was ridden for some time with a loose skewer by someone, there might be some abnormal wear in the dropout. And if I were you, I'd also be looking for hairline cracks while I was there.
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

    2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

    TampaBayCycling.com - A LOCAL Cycling Forum
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  13. #13
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    If I remember correctly you are a 500 pound team and if you are pulling a trailer I am not surprised that the wheel is moving, you are putting a tremendous load through that axle. You may have to go with a threaded axle and serrated washers/fixing nuts to keep things from moving, that is what was on our 48 spoke spoke wheel that was on our 1989 Santana.

  14. #14
    Senior Member waynesulak's Avatar
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    I agree with DubT. The only time we have pulled a rear wheel out was going up a local wall with both of us standing pulling on the bars in full power mode. Steel skewer was not quite tight enough and rear wheel pulled out of the vertical drop out and we skidded to a stop going up a very step grade. Barely unclipped in time to avoid a cartoon character fall.

    Of course the drop out was not vertical but at about a 80% angle at the time.

  15. #15
    Senior Member CaptainHaddock's Avatar
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    So either way, the problem is that you're having movement where none should be. I'm going to say that you should really try manual skewers that have a bite.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onegun View Post
    So you were wrong in saying that I was wrong, because there is no right or wrong here, just opinion. Sheldon had his opinion, others, including myself and most old-time shop mechanics, even if they didn't necessarily disagree, simply referred to all as drop outs for simplicity's sake.
    A dropout is a function of being able to do a quick wheel change to replace a flat, following the advent of quick release skewers. If you can't "drop it out" it isn't a dropout. Which is why track and bmx forkends aren't dropouts. You can't "drop them out." However, you know that, you're just being difficult as per your original intention to post in this thread.

    So I was wrong to point out that while you were being a bit of an a$$ you weren't even right in what you were asserting? Too funny.

    However, you were somehow right to inject some point of semantics when you fully knew that any tandem of recent manufacture would have semi-vertical or vertical dropouts, or rather "regular" dropouts that is not track forkends, and not old-school horizontal. Yeah right. Grouchy much?
    Last edited by mtnbke; 03-19-12 at 03:19 AM.

  17. #17
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    The current hub is a Hope 140mm tandem cassette freehub threaded for the Arai drum brake. It has knurled axle nuts that face the inner side of the dropouts.

    You can absolutely shift a wheel in the dropouts, even with vertical dropouts. Sheldon sometimes doesn't know what he's talking about. The old listserv group used to give him feedback, and later the online cycling community would contribute to update and correct things that Sheldon would put up to everyone's benefit. The world is poorer place following Sheldon's passing, but make no mistake, he wasn't infallible. If you believe that Sheldon knew what he was talking about regarding vertical dropouts take your most expensive racing wheels, preferably carbon, and go for a ride with the skewer completely loose. Let me know about your experience and how confident you are in Sheldon's assertion following your "ride."

    That's a good point about the bracket for the trailers being smooth against the dropout face. However, I've had the shifting problem with just me on the bike with no trailer and no stoker, even using the 175mm clown cranks.

    Thinking of giving some Salsa tandem skewers a try. Anyone got some to trade?

  18. #18
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    So on your front forks is it a "drop out" because the wheel can drop out, or a "fork end"?
    Seriously though, I think "PMK" pretty much covered it. Or you could make a small sleeve that fitted over each end of the rear axle to make it a neater fit in the drop out.
    Then it will not be able to move.

  19. #19
    Oldie, just not here! Onegun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    you're just being difficult as per your original intention to post in this thread.
    My original intention was to try to help. That is all.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    However, you were somehow right to inject some point of semantics when you fully knew that any tandem of recent manufacture would have semi-vertical or vertical dropouts
    That is correct because I had no idea how "recent" your tandem was. There are many on here who ride tandems with horizontal dropouts.

    Secondly, again, there are no REGULAR dropouts. My point was merely to ascertain if it was vertical drops we were talking about. Nothing more. If you want help with something, you need to be specific.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbke View Post
    So I was wrong to point out that while you were being a bit of an a$$ you weren't even right in what you were asserting?
    And now we get to the name calling. Am I not Hitler and a Muslim, too? Unbelievable. You're welcome for the attempt to help.
    Last edited by Onegun; 03-19-12 at 07:03 AM.
    BICYCLE - [bahy-si-kuhl] - Noun :> A medical device used to correct the common geriatric condition of OFS, (Old, Fat & Slow), in a manner that does not induce brain-decaying boredom like walking or running.

    2005 Trek T2000 Tandem, 2003 Burley Tosa Tandem, Pacific Dualie beater tandem, and 6 singles including 2 fixies.

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  20. #20
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    I had the problem of the axle sliding on a late 80s Burley tandem with a bolt on rear hub. On hills, the chain side would pull forward to the point that the tire would rub. The LBS put on serrated washers and that stopped the problem.

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