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Quick release skewers. Which to use, which to avoid?

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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

Quick release skewers. Which to use, which to avoid?

Old 12-31-22, 12:13 PM
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mrmb
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Quick release skewers. Which to use, which to avoid?

I get that QR skewers can work perfectly well with a fixed gear bike. I am not looking to debate QR vs axle nuts.

Without getting into a long story, I am stuck with QR, but my issue is that I am having a hard time figuring out which QRs are best suited to fixed gear duty.

The QRs that I have in my possession and fit the axles/hubs I am using are these.




I have never used QR in this application.

I hear that enclosed cam is the way to go. I read that on SheldonBrown. Admittedly, I have never had an enclosed and open QR side by side to compare and tell what exactly the differences are. So, are these QRs in the pic the way to go? If not, what QR should be used?
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Old 12-31-22, 12:40 PM
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Polaris OBark
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That one is internal cam, and should be ok. XT is one of the best.

The ones you need to be cautious about are external cam. I also would avoid the more expensive titanium skewers.

The best ones in my experience are steel DT Swiss skewers (which avoid the flip lever design entirely). You just crank them on like a thru-axle. A close second are Dura Ace/XT/Ultegra level internal cam quick release. Also Campy (who invented it).
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Old 12-31-22, 12:47 PM
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79pmooney
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That QR is enclosed cam. Enclosed cam QRs have the lever coming out one side as that does, not symmetrically. Another tip - avoid non-steel skewers like aluminum or titanium. Both stretch a lot more than steel and therefor have a lot less holding power. (The manufacturers of ti and aluminum skewers could make them just as good and still lighter if they did what they do on frame tubing - increase the diameter. Of course, that would mean needing bigger axles which would require frames with bigger dropout slots (and just what we always needed; a whole new bike standard!)

The reason not to use QRs for fix gear has nothing to do with the holding power. It is simply simpler to have nuts for an easy way to get the chain slack correct and center the tire between the chainstays at the same time with just two hands. Push wheel back to approximate correct slack. Tighten right nut. Center the tire. Like the slack? Tighten left nut and done. No? Barely tighten left nut, loosen right and correct the slack. Tighten. Repeat rear. Done. Takes less time to do than to write and not brain power or coordination at all. With a QR, you have to get slack correct and center the tire and close QR simultaneously. Fast, yes, but if you are having a bad day, maybe not even possible.

I abandoned QRs for fix gear hubs 45 years ago and never looked back.

Now, if you are using a bike with dropouts, not rear facing track ends, you can use the adjusting screws common on better frames to correctly set the chain slack and wheel center. Then, with one hand, you push the wheel back 'till it hits both screws, then close the QR. I use those screws on my commuter that I never change cog size on (but I still use nuts).

Edit: On good, cheap skewers - cheap Shimanos are really good. Not light, sexy ... but simply work. Less elegant and I wouldn't run them for as many decades, the cheap QBP steel skewers. Now, old skewers, including the very best, used an older cam design that didn't lock as securely. This includes the revered Campagnolos. That $10 QBP QR is a much more secure QR than the very best NOS early '80s Campy.

Last edited by 79pmooney; 12-31-22 at 12:55 PM.
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Old 12-31-22, 01:14 PM
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Another cheap but solid option is hex-key-lock skewers. Get the ones that are all steel, including the nuts. You can crank them down really hard, and they won't move around at all.
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Old 12-31-22, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
Another cheap but solid option is hex-key-lock skewers. Get the ones that are all steel, including the nuts. You can crank them down really hard, and they won't move around at all.
Got a part number, or product name or anything? Looking around, manufacturers tend not to list the shaft and nut material on retailers sites, not where I have looked anyways.
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Old 12-31-22, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
That QR is enclosed cam. Enclosed cam QRs have the lever coming out one side as that does, not symmetrically. Another tip - avoid non-steel skewers like aluminum or titanium. Both stretch a lot more .
So with a QR set up, whatís more importantÖ.shaft material or nut material? Or are they equally important?

Last edited by mrmb; 12-31-22 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 12-31-22, 02:29 PM
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Probably shaft, but if you really want to crank it down, you could strip aluminum threads, so find a steel nut.

I bought these in 2019

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...TF8&th=1&psc=1

but had to change out the aluminum nut on the drive side for steel.
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Old 12-31-22, 04:06 PM
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Personally I prefer solid nutted axles but quick release axles can be made to work....Make sure to use chain tugs with your quick release...They prevent slippage, help adjust chain tension and help to center a wheel...I use chain tugs on my nutted axles just for some extra security.
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Old 12-31-22, 05:34 PM
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I would definitely not use external cam skewers and look for good internal cam. My favorite is the Stainless Steel RWS Levers from DT Swiss. However Shimano, Campagnolo and Paul make some good ones as well. The Pauls are nice but I think I like the DTs a little better but Paul stuff always looks nice and is well made.

Also agreed, no aluminum or titanium, great metals poor for QRs.

However like others have said a nutted axle is the way to go when you can. For the front wheel QR is fine but the rear is made much easier with nutted wheels like 79pmooney suggested. Chain tensioners could be another good thing to have with the QR. I tend to find them a bit fiddly when I have dealt with them in the very distant past but could be handy with a QR as wolfchild suggested.
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Old 12-31-22, 06:51 PM
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Looks like the skewer shaft and nut on my Shimano deore xt QR set are both steel, so thatís good. Still open to other options, but that is what is in my hands right now.

Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
Another cheap but solid option is hex-key-lock skewers. Get the ones that are all steel, including the nuts. You can crank them down really hard, and they won't move around at all.
Do these tend to be made to be tightened down with a 5mm allen? Or is it 6mm?
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Old 12-31-22, 07:54 PM
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I think it is 5mm
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Old 12-31-22, 08:15 PM
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External cam is fine on a front wheel, but not the rear. You want internal cam for the rear.

N.B. despite what @79pmooney says above, I've never had a problem with Campagnolo and other skewers from the 70s and 80s, but maybe I'm just not the animal he is.
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Old 01-04-23, 07:50 AM
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I've run vintage steel q/r skewers for fixed-gears since 1998. The last decade or so I've standardized on '70s M.M. Atom/Maillard pattern skewers, which so far have never been a problem and haven't slipped. They're all steel with an internal cam, cheap and plentiful. I have not felt the need to run chain tugs, but perhaps my pedal action and power don't require them. I've run this setup on both forward-facing "horizontal" dropouts and rear-facing track ends with no issues.
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Old 01-04-23, 08:16 AM
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That's an internal cam XT. Internal cam is good. Steel is good. As far as XT, is it the correct axle length?
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Old 01-04-23, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mrmb View Post
Looks like the skewer shaft and nut on my Shimano deore xt QR set are both steel, so thatís good. Still open to other options, but that is what is in my hands right now.


Do these tend to be made to be tightened down with a 5mm allen? Or is it 6mm?
What you are using is just fine. I'd stick with them personally.
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