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How safe is the quick release system?

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How safe is the quick release system?

Old 07-06-17, 03:27 PM
  #1  
ToiletSiphon
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How safe is the quick release system?

I've been thinking about this lately. To me, it seems like a very crucial part of the bike only relies on a small steel rod. Clamp it too tight and you risk weakening it and having it break, clamp it too loose and the wheel may pop out or you'll end up chewing your dropouts (if they are full carbon) and end up with the same result. It's also prone to user error in many different ways (poor wheel alignment, clamping force, poor lever placement, accidental unclamping). It also needs a very tight tolerance with the wheel axle to make sure nothing moves / is misaligned.

I know they have been around forever so they can't be that bad, but to me the thru axle makes way more sense. If I could have rim brakes with thru axles, I would.

What's your take on the subject?
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Old 07-06-17, 03:42 PM
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You're overthinking it. After you've done it once or twice it's not difficult to adjust for decent pressure. I've never heard of one snapping, it's a complete non issue.
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Old 07-06-17, 03:45 PM
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Lots of things I'd worry about before something that's been in common use for over half a century.
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Old 07-06-17, 04:38 PM
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I think you'd have to be pretty strong to clamp one hard enough to weaken or break it and a little common sense should tell you if it's tight enough to keep from coming loose on it's own.

Definitely not something I worry about.
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Old 07-06-17, 04:38 PM
  #5  
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You're underthinking it. Calculate the tension on the rod required to create enough friction on the clamp ends to not move under the strongest force it will experience, then give that a safety factor of two.

You shouldn't be too concerned about something if you haven't done the math on it. Laziness leads to ignorance which leads to unnecessary wringing of the hands.
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Old 07-06-17, 04:46 PM
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Do you know how many accidents were caused by a broken QR axle?
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Old 07-06-17, 04:49 PM
  #7  
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Don't forget the "Lawyer Lip" that helps keep the QR axle in place.
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Old 07-06-17, 05:03 PM
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Keep in mind that fork ends and dropouts mostly contain the axle in the direction where the greatest forces are applied. For a front wheel the only direction that the QR does all of the retention (less lawyer lips) is downward. So when you do a wheelie, the QR only has to support the weight of the wheel plus any inertia from hitting a bump.
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Old 07-06-17, 07:41 PM
  #9  
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Close the lever on the Q/R with just enough force to leave an indentation in your palm. I've seen 20-year veteran cyclists use the Q/R lever as a built-in wrench, not knowing that it's a cam that's supposed to be closed.

Anybody who is strong enough to break a 1/4" steel rod with their bare hands and a 2-inch lever, I DON'T want to shake their hands.
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Old 07-06-17, 08:20 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by ToiletSiphon View Post
I know they have been around forever so they can't be that bad, but to me the thru axle makes way more sense. If I could have rim brakes with thru axles, I would.

What's your take on the subject?
My take is that internal cams are 10x better than external cams.
Even cheap external cams work just fine.

It isnt difficult to get a wheel centered. It isnt difficult to tension the cam.

I have 0 interest in thru axles for rim brakes. Completely unnecessary. As useful as tube valve covers. Why complicate that which works simply?
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Old 07-06-17, 09:12 PM
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I've been road cycling since 2007 and have not had any problems with quick releases.
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Old 07-06-17, 09:56 PM
  #12  
prathmann
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Originally Posted by doctor j View Post
I've been road cycling since 2007 and have not had any problems with quick releases.
Have quite a few more decades than that and have experienced frames cracking, stems breaking, forks snapping, broken axles, etc. But to date have never had a quick release fail - including the ones holding broken axles together for hundreds of miles.
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Old 07-07-17, 03:29 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
But to date have never had a quick release fail - including the ones holding broken axles together for hundreds of miles.
Just remember that nothing is idiot proof. There is lots of evidence around here.
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Old 07-07-17, 03:53 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
Just remember that nothing is idiot proof. There is lots of evidence around here.
Watch this to the end


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Old 07-07-17, 06:29 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by ToiletSiphon View Post
I know they have been around forever so they can't be that bad,
You've hit the nail on the head. They aren't "that bad". They aren't that good either.

but to me the thru axle makes way more sense.
Thru-axles are the future. They are more precise, more secure, and are often quicker to use than a quick release. When riding rough terrain, the added stiffness from a thru-axle over a quick-release is easily noticeable.
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Old 07-07-17, 06:42 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Do you know how many accidents were caused by a broken QR axle?
Couldn't find numbers, but last year Shimano issued a recall...Shimano. The "always reliable" "buy their QRs because they don't suck" company

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2006/sh...ng-fall-hazard

Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Don't forget the "Lawyer Lip" that helps keep the QR axle in place.
Presuming your equipment has them...ENVE forks don't for example.
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Old 07-07-17, 07:00 AM
  #17  
mcours2006
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Couldn't find numbers
Probably because the incidence of QR failure causing a crash is extremely rare. I'd be more worried about my carbon rims asploding than my QR breaking.

I suppose if one was really concerned about this happening one could replace the axle and use bolt on nuts. Then you'd just have to carry a wrench on rides in case you have to replace a tube.

Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Presuming your equipment has them...ENVE forks don't for example.
My 1980's steel also does not have it. I think this 'lawyer' lip might be a more recent addition to bicycle forks, like the last 30 years. I'm basing that statement from two bikes I own from the 1980's, neither of which have lawyer lips. I am always careful about making them extra tight.
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Old 07-07-17, 07:25 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
Just remember that nothing is idiot proof. There is lots of evidence around here.
+1.


Many years ago, during our club's century from New Hope, PA to Brooklyn, NY, a group of us stopped for water, etc., after about 27 miles. When we were about to head out, one group member picked up the front of his bike by the bars to take it out of a bike rack. When he did, the front wheel fell off. Dude had ridden 27 miles with the QR completely open.
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Old 07-07-17, 07:35 AM
  #19  
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Always perform a pre-ride check, much like pilots do.
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Old 07-07-17, 07:51 AM
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Even as a 14 yr old with my first quick release equipped lbs bike, I managed to not have any problems. 44 yrs later, I'm still problem free with quick release wheels.

I wish I could make the same claim with clipless pedals.
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Old 07-07-17, 08:11 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by ToiletSiphon View Post
...It also needs a very tight tolerance with the wheel axle to make sure nothing moves / is misaligned.
No.


What holds the wheel in position is the dropouts being pinched between locknuts and inner faces of the q/r.


Fit of q/r-to-axle doesn't do squat.


A good fit axle-to-DO makes alignment during install easier - assuming the DO is in the right position...
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Old 07-07-17, 08:23 AM
  #22  
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Called by the plaintiff, American cycling great and paid 'expert' witness John Howard testified 'quick releases vibrate loose all the time'. It was after this judged tort bicycles got secondary front wheel retention.

Oddly enough, Mr. Howard's book 'The Cyclist's Companion' makes no mention of this issue.

Last edited by tcs; 07-07-17 at 08:27 AM.
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Old 07-07-17, 08:46 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
No.


What holds the wheel in position is the dropouts being pinched between locknuts and inner faces of the q/r.


Fit of q/r-to-axle doesn't do squat.


A good fit axle-to-DO makes alignment during install easier - assuming the DO is in the right position...
That's what I meant although I was not very clear. That's why as was talking about the QR system as a whole, and that includes dropouts and locknuts. I have two set of wheels and one has locknuts that are loose in the dropouts while the other fit super tight. Result is some differences in alignment (not dish related). With a thru axle, there's only one possible position.

Last edited by ToiletSiphon; 07-07-17 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 07-07-17, 09:44 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Ogsarg View Post
I think you'd have to be pretty strong to clamp one hard enough to weaken or break it and a little common sense should tell you if it's tight enough to keep from coming loose on it's own.

Definitely not something I worry about.
I broke a steel QR spindle by hooking the lever on my bike trailer, and twisting the lever with the trailer like a cheater while clamped. The nearest sporting goods store wanted to order a replacement for me, and have me wait a week for it to come in

I had the aluminum handle break off of a cheap imported lever.
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Old 07-07-17, 11:41 AM
  #25  
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I had a cheap aluminum quick release lever snap in two in my bare hand once. Made a shallow puncture wound on the side of my hand. Bled pretty good. I only use steel quick release levers now. Heavy riders (above 225 lb.) may find that a solid rear axle is better than a QR for safety reasons. Never had a problem with a QR on a front axle.
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