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Attaching bolt-on wheels

Old 01-12-22, 03:47 PM
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Attaching bolt-on wheels

As I was musing in another topic, on my 1974 Zeus track bike project, “With the wheels being new, less to worry about there. In case of a flat while riding, would wing nuts be a smarter idea than simply carrying wrenches?”, these being wheels made by Wheelmaster and sold by Velomine ( WHEELS LINK ) discussed in yet another topic… anyway, measuring both front and rear the nuts for the hubs both measure 14.83. So I presume I can use a 15mm wrench, not that’s convenient when on the road. Anyone prefer wing nuts? While the wrench flats are the same, the front axle is about 8.9mm to the outside of threads, but the rear is about 9.9mm, so I figure two different size wing nuts. Hmm, a Google search only seems to show used ones on eBay, that might make matching thread sizes iffy?
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Old 01-12-22, 04:05 PM
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Don't use wingnuts on the rear. They're very difficult to get tight, and if you do they're even harder to loosen. If you went this route, axle tensioners are required. Really, wingnuts are an old school technology that look appealing but can be a liability.

I've used them on the front of some fixed gears, never on the rear.
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Old 01-12-22, 04:11 PM
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Lowe's has a stubby 15mm wrench for under $7. Jersey pocket or under saddle bag.
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Old 01-12-22, 04:16 PM
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I've used wing nuts on the front. Haven't tried them on the rear, partly because I didn't have suitable ones. I think I used a 6" adjustable wrench on the rear, and then used it for other hex fasteners on the bike too.
This seems like a great opportunity to experience wingnuts front and rear, though! An adventure!!

Steve in Peoria
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Old 01-12-22, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Don't use wingnuts on the rear. They're very difficult to get tight, and if you do they're even harder to loosen. If you went this route, axle tensioners are required. Really, wingnuts are an old school technology that look appealing but can be a liability. I've used them on the front of some fixed gears, never on the rear.
Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
Lowe's has a stubby 15mm wrench for under $7. Jersey pocket or under saddle bag.
Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
I've used wing nuts on the front. Haven't tried them on the rear, partly because I didn't have suitable ones. I think I used a 6" adjustable wrench on the rear, and then used it for other hex fasteners on the bike too. This seems like a great opportunity to experience wingnuts front and rear, though! An adventure!!
Sounds like all good input -- perhaps simply get the 15mm wrench, and experiment with wing nuts if/when I find them and don't be too worried if they do not work out.
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Old 01-12-22, 05:29 PM
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I did a wheelie on a bike with wingnuts on the front wheel....once.

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Old 01-12-22, 05:47 PM
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Though they reek of vintage appeal, wingnuts are a poor way to mount a wheel. I have then on my recently built Torpado (have used them before and did not like them) but only temporarily. I will be swapping them out for a set of quick release Campy low flange hubs shortly (well, will build them now and install them in the Spring, after Mother Nature takes her deep white coat away). You might get away with wingnuts on the front wheel but you are taking a chance on the rear. Put another way, I totally agree with clubman, bad idea on the rear wheel.

Hand tight is definitely NOT adequate...


I don't do wheelies anymore and would be worried about front wingnuts if I did...
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Old 01-12-22, 05:48 PM
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Nuf Said...

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Old 01-12-22, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Though they reek of vintage appeal, wingnuts are a poor way to mount a wheel.
Looking online I found a composite construction combination 15mm wrench and tire iron with the name "3wrencho", looks about right to keep in the underseat bag.
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Old 01-12-22, 06:11 PM
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I believe wing nuts can be safe and secure and removable using no tools, BUT the threads and the nut/washer interfaces MUST be kept well-oiled.
Just as important might be that the hub's driveside axle locknut present a sharp and well-formed knurled biting surface to the dropout. Some locknuts are inadequate!

I've never had a problem with wingnuts and I've done quite-spirited rides here in the foothills with periodic 20% inclines.

As for a 15mm wrench, I use a 4" adjustable wrench, some examples of which I had to file away a half-millimeter to reach 15mm. But one of them also serves to remove my Varsity's rear nuts which are fully 5/8" or 16mm across. Again as with the wing nuts, threads and washer interfaces kept well-lubricated with ordinary oil.

My customized MTB uses hex nuts front and rear, and my 4" adjustable wrench is all I've ever used out on the trail:




Camera parallax can be a weird thing, this wingnut actually turns without removing the rear derailer:

Last edited by dddd; 01-12-22 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 01-13-22, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
I did a wheelie on a bike with wingnuts on the front wheel....once.

Wow, that makes those stoopid CPSC-mandated wheel retainers we had to deal with decades ago seem almost reasonable!

Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
Hand tight is definitely NOT adequate...
You know, the new rear wheel came with an oversized axle length to accommodate differing dropout spacing, and with the wheel on the bike and nuts tightened down, there's a good 10mm of axle threads sticking out on either side. I guess I could put wing nuts outboard of the hex nuts just for looks.
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Old 01-13-22, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
...wing nuts...?
If using wingnuts -

a) get ones with the longest wings you can, and not flimsy ones either. Those old bronze Huret ones would bend when getting the rear tight enough.
b) use locknuts with a surface that bites into the dropout inner face
c) lube the threads
d) if getting them for a derailleur bike, one of the rears needs to be longer to clear the mech top knuckle
e) stay away from other riders' spokes
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Old 01-13-22, 01:33 PM
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I never had strong hands and now with arthritis coming on, wing nuts would be a nightmare. Half my bikes are fix gear with nutted rear hubs. I use peanut butter wrenches at home and either a 6" crescent or Pedros Trixie on the road. (I fit the Trixie through straps I sew under my tool bag and secure with Velcro. Two minute wheel flips and I lift the chain off with the lockring spanner, keeping my hands clean.)

Peanut butter wrench - the classic Campagnolo, VAR or TA 15mm wrench for crank bolts. Shaped perfectly for spreading peanut butter.
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Old 01-13-22, 03:23 PM
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There's the legend that Campagnolo couldn't get his wingnuts loose on a a climb in the mountains during a race and that inspired him to invent the quick-release.

Cheers
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Old 01-13-22, 07:12 PM
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My 1968 Raleigh Record came with wingnuts on the front wheel. I think all the Grand Prixs and Super Courses of that vintage did too. They worked fine. I seriously doubt that you could get the back wheel tight enough using wingnuts to not slip out of place when standing on the pedals.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
There's the legend that Campagnolo couldn't get his wingnuts loose on a a climb in the mountains during a race and that inspired him to invent the quick-release.
Seeing all those guys in the B&W photos of mountain climbs and deep snow on either side of the road and the riders now dressed for in; yeah, I can see hands getting cold and wing nuts becoming a problem.

Originally Posted by davester View Post
My 1968 Raleigh Record came with wingnuts on the front wheel. I think all the Grand Prixs and Super Courses of that vintage did too. They worked fine. I seriously doubt that you could get the back wheel tight enough using wingnuts to not slip out of place when standing on the pedals.
Perhaps to get the front wheel only off to stuff a bike in the back of a car? Aesthetically, I'd say both wheels or nothing... it's starting to look like "nothing" and carry a wrench.
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Old 01-14-22, 10:43 AM
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I've drillium'd adjustable wrenches to get the weight down for touring. Really an essential item, I carry one anyway, regardless of whether I'm on a bike with nutted axles or not. Put it in my handlebar bag right next to the road flare and cliff bars.
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Old 01-14-22, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
There's the legend that Campagnolo couldn't get his wingnuts loose on a a climb in the mountains during a race and that inspired him to invent the quick-release.
Classic story! I was crushed when I read among other discrepancies his name does not appear on the entry list of that race.

Hey, even if it was a routine training ride, chapeau for the quick release, Tullio!
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Old 01-14-22, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I've drillium'd adjustable wrenches to get the weight down for touring.
Reason 423 for getting a drill press.
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Old 01-14-22, 01:31 PM
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My first road bike, a bottom-of-the-line Bianchi Corsa, came with wingnuts, which eventually led to the theft of my front wheel while I had the bike parked at work. (Yeah -- my bad.)
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Old 01-15-22, 04:41 AM
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I know this a track bike/wheels….. but isn’t the legend of the quick release born out of Tulio’s hands being do cold and frozen on top the Col de Freezurbum he couldn’t get his wing nuts off?

I put Kevlar belted tires on my only bike with a nutted rear wheel. Haven’t had a flat in 15 years. Unfortunately I never ride that bike for some reason, maybe time to rebuild or pass along
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Old 01-15-22, 08:42 AM
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Gripfast made rear wing nuts with wrench landings, basically an integrated hex nut. Gives the look with a little more security if you still want to go that route. Search on the bay, there is usually a set for sale.
​​​​
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Old 01-15-22, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Wow, that makes those stoopid CPSC-mandated wheel retainers we had to deal with decades ago seem almost reasonable!

You know, the new rear wheel came with an oversized axle length to accommodate differing dropout spacing, and with the wheel on the bike and nuts tightened down, there's a good 10mm of axle threads sticking out on either side. I guess I could put wing nuts outboard of the hex nuts just for looks.
It's pretty obvious from looking that the rider losing his front wheel simply had no retention going on. Did someone perhaps loosen his axle nuts as a prank? Was this a stunt? Seeing the heavy jacket, maybe this pre-dated helmets and the jacket was supposed to allow him to survive the fall?

Over-length axles are to allow for some frame's very thick aluminum dropouts and derailer "claw" hangers, so are a necessity on "replacement" wheels.
A little extra axle length also retains the nuts better when the wheel/tire is removed to be worked on or for transport.
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Old 01-15-22, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
I did a wheelie on a bike with wingnuts on the front wheel....once.
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Old 01-15-22, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by PilotFishBob View Post
Gripfast made rear wing nuts with wrench landings, basically an integrated hex nut. Gives the look with a little more security if you still want to go that route. Search on the bay, there is usually a set for sale.
​​​​
Good info!

Whaddaya know, there is a set on eBay right now; wrench flats on rear only, that sort of makes sense. I'd have to decide if I want to spend $45 just-for-looks. Alternatively, perhaps best to simply use the nuts I have and a wrench.
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