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Quick release skewer. These scare me! Can I convert to a solid bolt?

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Quick release skewer. These scare me! Can I convert to a solid bolt?

Old 10-06-21, 08:00 PM
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777funk
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Quick release skewer. These scare me! Can I convert to a solid bolt?

I have an old 10 speed with a quick release skewer and it occurred to me that if for some reason the little 4 or 5mm diameter inner bolt were to fail, my rear wheel would come off.

Does this happen? Am I mostly worried for nothing.

It would make me feel better to put a regular 8mm (size is a guess) axle bolt in there instead. Is this possible or practical?
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Old 10-06-21, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
Does this happen? Am I mostly worried for nothing.
No. Yes.
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Old 10-06-21, 08:25 PM
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Yes, if it is titanium or anything other than steel.

Also be worried about the non-lever-side nut. Some are made of aluminum and the threads strip out, with a similar net result.

Finally, you should use internal cam skewers, as they work better than the boutique external cam type. DT-Swiss also makes
a skewer that has a ratchet-like system rather than a lever. It is almost as good as a thru-axle, but again, stick with the steel one.
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Old 10-06-21, 08:26 PM
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I'd imagine the bulk of failures if any were due to user error. I trust my QRs as much as my modern thru axles.
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Old 10-06-21, 08:40 PM
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I have, twice, broken the axle itself on a rear wheel and the "little" QR skewer held the wheel on just fine until I got home.
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Old 10-06-21, 08:50 PM
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over my lifetime of QR based wheels, I only had 1 issue and it was my fault entirely. I had to remove the wheel to change out a cassette and drive side spring came off when I put the QR on my work bench and I did not think about it when I put it back in. It did not inhibit the wheel properly seating or the bike working correctly. I think you are worried about nothing.
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Old 10-06-21, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
I have an old 10 speed with a quick release skewer and it occurred to me that if for some reason the little 4 or 5mm diameter inner bolt were to fail, my rear wheel would come off.
Come off? How?

Dropouts are typically either vertical or facing forward, so the rear wheel will only come off when your bike is taken off the ground or go backward! Are you planning to do a lot of riding backwards? Or better yet, you're planning to do back flips with your bike?
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Old 10-06-21, 09:16 PM
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On rides in the last few years I've seen two broken seat tubes, a broken chainstay at the BB shell, a broken seatpost, 2 broken derailleur hangers, and a broken handlebar (mine). In 45 years of cycling, I've never had, seen, or heard of from anyone I knew a broken QR skewer.

Be prepared to fix a flat, and be prepared to deal with something breaking you cannot fix. With those in hand, don't worry.
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Old 10-06-21, 09:43 PM
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So, it seems like you're asking two questions here. I'll try to answer them in reverse order.

Can you convert a quick-release hub to nutted attachment? Sometimes yes, often no, never easily. Quick release axles are hollow and do not protrude past the outer edge of the dropout. They're hollow for the skewer to pass through the axle, and they can't stand proud of the dropout at all, or the quick release can't work at all. Because the QR skewer is a clamp, not a weird-looking bolt... they work by compression, not torque. Nutted axles are solid, and stick out at least a nut's thickness past the dropout on both sides. So, to switch them over, you need to change the axle inside the hub. Most quick-release hubs didn't come in a nutted version, so the axle you'd need probably doesn't exist.

Does this happen, or are you worried for nothing? No, it doesn't, and yeah, you kinda are. Quick release skewers run though the center of the steel axle, so any impact that would break the skewer would have to break the axle first. Also, the skewer is only loaded in compression... all it does is squeeze the dropouts together. It sees no riding load whatsoever. And even the compression load isn't much... the classic test for a sufficiently-tight QR skewer is "can you read the brand name from the impression in your palm after you close it?"

The overwhelming majority of quick-release failures are 100% user error, and the #1 user error is using the handle to turn the skewer tight as if it were a one-armed wingnut. Never turn the lever side. Ever. You only turn the non-lever side, and only with the lever open. Then you close the lever with an open palm (IE, don't wrap your fingers around it,) and feel the tightness. Too easy is too loose. Too tight, and it won't close at all. Just right is when you can see the image of the lever in the flesh of your palm.

The front lever should be parallel to and tucked behind the fork blade, pointing up. The rear should be either parallel to and tucked under the non-drive-side chainstay, facing the front of the bike, or splitting the angle between the seatstay and chainstay, pointing forward and up at about a 45 degree angle. These are not just cosmetic rules, although they are that as well... they're important to making the skewers work as designed.

--Shannon
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Old 10-06-21, 09:54 PM
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OP your fears are unnecessarily overblown. Skewers have been used for decades and are just about bomb-proof. The pro’s use and used them and they sure don’t want to risk their lively hood. If they weren’t practically indestructible they wouldn’t have been used for so long.

We now have through axel mounting systems which are definitely more substantial but there are millions upon millions of bikes happily running around with quick release skewers. Besides, if you get a flat, you don’t want to be carrying a wrench to remove your wheel.
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Old 10-07-21, 04:25 AM
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Ok thanks! I was picturing a failure of the small bolt (yes only loaded in tension, no radial load). If it failed the dropouts could spread and the axle could pass through it. It sounds like this doesn't happen. Good to know.
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Old 10-07-21, 04:41 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post
Nutted axles are solid, and stick out at least a nut's thickness past the dropout on both sides. So, to switch them over, you need to change the axle inside the hub. Most quick-release hubs didn't come in a nutted version, so the axle you'd need probably doesn't exist.
Axles come in standard threadings, various lengths, can be cut to fit, and are readily available from numerous sources to fit virtually any hub.

https://wheelsmfg.com/products/hub-parts/all-axles.html
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Old 10-07-21, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by ShannonM View Post

The front lever should be parallel to and tucked behind the fork blade, pointing up. The rear should be either parallel to and tucked under the non-drive-side chainstay, facing the front of the bikeÖ. making the skewers work as designed.
Be advised that (many) quick-releases have been redesigned.
On recent/redesigned units, the lever no longer swings past perpendicular.
So - the way I interpret your writing - that part about tucking in/under isnít possible on a new-ish quick-release.

This redesign happened several years ago in response to a q/r on a disc brake bike working itself loose and causing the lever to swing inboard and catch in the brake rotor.
More about it here:https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2015/Th...-Release-Lever

Going through my - admittedly limited and slightly random inventory of q/rs - itíd seem like Shimano at least have introduced this change to ALL their q/rs.
The newest/least old Ultegra/D-A q/rs I have donít swing back as far as the older stuff.
But Iím sure there are still q/rs out there and available for purchase that will swing past perpendicular.
I havenít checked the swing on my external-cam q/rs. They might still swing past perpendicular.

Last edited by dabac; 10-07-21 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 10-07-21, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
Ok thanks! I was picturing a failure of the small bolt (yes only loaded in tension, no radial load). If it failed the dropouts could spread and the axle could pass through it. It sounds like this doesn't happen. Good to know.
I am pretty sure you mentioned in a prior post that you have worked on/owned/fixed up dozens of bikes. Have you ever had one actually spread at the dropout while riding? That is a pretty tough situation to create- rear triangles dont exactly widen without people pulling on the dropouts.
Have all your bikes used low end bolt on skewers?
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Old 10-07-21, 07:14 AM
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I think most people's concerns about QR's are based on a misunderstanding of how they work, and how to use them. The misconception is that the QR skewer is actually the axle, and the whole wheel is supported by that skinny rod; when the actuality is that the axle is a) integral to the wheel hub, b) far more substantial, and c) rests on the frame, not the QR.

Anecdotal evidence aside, I still don't see how a properly secured QR can 'work itself loose'
I think the 2015 recall was more about eliminating a path for user error, rather than correcting an inherently flawed design.
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Old 10-07-21, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I am pretty sure you mentioned in a prior post that you have worked on/owned/fixed up dozens of bikes. Have you ever had one actually spread at the dropout while riding? That is a pretty tough situation to create- rear triangles dont exactly widen without people pulling on the dropouts.
Have all your bikes used low end bolt on skewers?
Don't quote me on it... or maybe do quote me if I'm mis-typing... but I don't think I've mentioned dozens. I do have about a dozen bikes right now between my bike and family, but I consider myself intermediate on experience. I don't have experience with the more difficult repairs. I've never had to change a crank set. I've never had a chain break. I've never had a freewheel apart until yesterday. I'd call most of that advanced and out of my comfort zone. I do change cables, brakes, fix derailleur adjustment issues, wheel truing (learning) etc. There's a LOT I don't know.

As far as the dropout spreading... the road bike in question has built in frame tension pulling the dropouts out and away from being pressed tight to the bike hub. If the small diameter skewer bolt were to snap and fall out, clamping force would be gone and the dropout would spread (tension pulling its two sides outward). The axle (8mm diameter) that touches the frame, only does so by say 1/4" axle length or so on either side of the hub. Of course this takes the load when all is intact and everything is good. Once the frame were to spread open (in the case of clamping force from the skewer being gone), the dropouts would spread to clear the 8mm axle and the wheel would be free of the frame.

EDIT: It would be easy to test this. I could carefully ride without the skewer. I'm pretty sure the wheel would not stay in the frame.

EDIT2: I just tested it and the 8mm diamter axle is wide enough to just barely remain in the now spread rear frame/dropouts. Thus the bike does not fall. I think that a skewer failure would be very obvious however due to the tire now rubbing against the frame.

Last edited by 777funk; 10-07-21 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 10-07-21, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
Don't quote me on it... or maybe do quote me if I'm mis-type... but I don't think I've mentioned dozens. I do have about a dozen bikes right now between my bike and family, but I consider myself intermediate on experience. I've never had to change a crank set. I've never had a chain break. I've never had a freewheel apart until yesterday. I'd call most of that advanced. I do change cables, brakes, fix derailleur adjustment issues etc and do ok at that.

As far as the dropout spreading... the road bike in question has built in frame tension pulling the dropouts out and away from being pressed tight to the bike hub. If the small diameter skewer bolt were to snap and fall out, clamping force would be gone and the dropout would spread (tension pulling its two sides outward). The axle (8mm diameter) that touches the frame, only does so by say 1/4" axle length or so on either side of the hub. Of course this takes the load when all is intact and everything is good. Once the frame were to spread open (in the case of clamping force from the skewer being gone), the dropouts would spread to clear the 8mm axle and the wheel would be free of the frame.

EDIT: It would be easy to test this. I could carefully ride without the skewer. I'm pretty sure the wheel would not stay in the frame.
The bike's dropout spacing is wider than the axle? If so, then 1- thats for sure not what is commonly seen and 2- fix it. Either use the proper width hub or coldset the dropouts to the proper width.
I am guessing this is a bike that is 30-40 years old and steel, so you can coldset if you want. Probably easier to just get a wheel with a hub that has the correct OLD. With that said, some frames used to be set at 128 so they could use 126 or 130mm hubs. And other frames used to be set at 132.5 so they could use 130 or 135mm hubs.

But you are saying the frame is .25" wider than the axle on both sides, so the frame is 12mm wider than the hub. Are you using a 120mm hub in a 130mm road frame or 135mm MTB/cyclocross frame?
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Old 10-07-21, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
The bike's dropout spacing is wider than the axle? If so, then 1- thats for sure not what is commonly seen and 2- fix it. Either use the proper width hub or coldset the dropouts to the proper width.
I am guessing this is a bike that is 30-40 years old and steel, so you can coldset if you want. Probably easier to just get a wheel with a hub that has the correct OLD. With that said, some frames used to be set at 128 so they could use 126 or 130mm hubs. And other frames used to be set at 132.5 so they could use 130 or 135mm hubs.

But you are saying the frame is .25" wider than the axle on both sides, so the frame is 12mm wider than the hub. Are you using a 120mm hub in a 130mm road frame or 135mm MTB/cyclocross frame?
It's about 0.25" (total) wider than the axle (with no skewer tension). With everything tight, it all sits perfectly. It's an old Sears Austria (Puch maybe) road bike with chromed steel wheels. I will likely try to bend it inward to remove this or put a nutted solid axle in there just for peace of mind to the thread of the problem (perceived or actual).
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Old 10-07-21, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
As far as the dropout spreading... the road bike in question has built in frame tension pulling the dropouts out and away from being pressed tight to the bike hub. If the small diameter skewer bolt were to snap and fall out, clamping force would be gone and the dropout would spread (tension pulling its two sides outward). The axle (8mm diameter) that touches the frame, only does so by say 1/4" axle length or so on either side of the hub. Of course this takes the load when all is intact and everything is good. Once the frame were to spread open (in the case of clamping force from the skewer being gone), the dropouts would spread to clear the 8mm axle and the wheel would be free of the frame.

It sounds like you're using the wrong width hub for your frame. Dropout spacing on the frame should match the over-the-locknuts (OLD) width of the hub. If your axle is long enough (you only need a millimeter or so projecting past the locknut on each side), you could add spacers under the locknuts to get the OLD to match that of your frame.

And 8mm sounds undersize for a rear axle. 10mm is typical, and even wider diameter axles can be found on tandems and other high-load applications. What kind of bike is this, anyway?
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Old 10-07-21, 07:54 AM
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Sounds like the very wrong wheel for the frame. Problem isn't the dropouts, it's the hub width and dropout spacing not matching. I'd take @mstateglfr's advice and either resize the rear triangle or I'd get a wheel which fit.
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Old 10-07-21, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
I have an old 10 speed with a quick release skewer and it occurred to me that if for some reason the little 4 or 5mm diameter inner bolt were to fail, my rear wheel would come off.

Does this happen? Am I mostly worried for nothing.

It would make me feel better to put a regular 8mm (size is a guess) axle bolt in there instead. Is this possible or practical?
QRs are pretty mature and reliable technology. I’ve only ever heard of one QR skewer failing, and that was titanium, IIRC - definitely not the place to save a few grams. A decent-quality steel QR will likely outlast you. Also, given that most bike use vertical rear dropouts and front lawyer lips, you don’t need massive clamping to ensure that the wheel stays in place - likely orders of magnitude less than needed to tax a 4-5 mm steel shaft.
However, if it is sufficiently an issue to impact your cycling peace of mind, you can almost certainly swap out the hollow axle for a solid one, especially if your hub is oldish and unlikely to contain proprietary parts. However, it’ll require disassembling your hub to retrieve the axle, buying a solid one of the same diameter and thread, and 30-40mm longer, and a set of nuts and washers, then putting the whole thing together again. Not difficult. Get a decent quality solid axle (not from, for example, Amazon), otherwise you’ll be no better off, reliability-wise, than you were with a name-brand QR setup. I’ve done the reverse (converting a solid axle to QR) - pretty straightforward.

Last edited by Litespud; 10-07-21 at 08:08 AM.
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Old 10-07-21, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 777funk View Post
put a nutted solid axle in there just for peace of mind to the thread of the problem (perceived or actual).
How do you plan to fix a flat if the wheel is bolted on?
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Old 10-07-21, 09:07 AM
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I have broke one front quick release skewer in 25 years of riding. If you are riding a road bike, you will be nowhere near the conditions it took to break it. I usually switch the rear to a solid axle on my single speeds because the quick release will not tighten enough to hold the rear wheel from slipping in the dropouts. It is a fairly easy conversion if you have cone wrenches, about $10 for a 10mm x 175mm solid axle from chinabay.
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Old 10-07-21, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post

Anecdotal evidence aside, I still don't see how a properly secured QR can 'work itself loose'
I think the 2015 recall was more about eliminating a path for user error, rather than correcting an inherently flawed design.
The possible user error- not closing the q/r hard enough - remains.
The particular accident - the q/r lever snagging the brake rotor - was eliminiated.
As it would have been by flipping the q/r over, putting the lever on the non-brake side. The levers (I have) canít reach into the spokes.
On a disc brake bike, the possibility for wheel ejection remains.
On a rim brake bike, the design change is probably for the worse, as the lever now ends up further from the frame/fork, and by some unknown amount, more likely to snag something.
And yeah, a good q/r closed hard enough can be good enough.
Too bad humans donít come with calibrated hand strength, pain threshold or palm skin.
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Old 10-07-21, 10:03 AM
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Experience with quick releases on several hard use mountain bikes (gap jumps, hideous crashes, etc. ) -- and never had a skewer related failure
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