Often, components that we take for granted make a giant difference in our bikes; performance. Tonight, because it is at night that we hang in the Mountain Bike Action garage, let's put the magnifying glass on our wheels; quick-releases. These handy clamps allow for the quick and tool-less removal of the front or rear wheel. If they are not used properly, all types of handling and performance woes can result.
Invented by Tullio Campagnolo around 1920, the standard quick-release skewer uses a cam mechanism to allow a wheel to be removed quickly without the need of any tools. The cam can be enclosed or exposed. There is an age-old argument over the superiority of enclosed cams, but neither design, if well executed, is a source of problems today.
The bike should be on the ground so you know your axle is properly seated in the dropout. The skewer is spring-loaded, so we push on the lever side and snug the acorn nut.
Once snug, we put the lever in the palm of our hand and push the level up to lock it in place. Push down on the bike while doing this to be sure the axle is all the way up in the dropouts.
Note the fingers under the spokes to add a bit of leverage. The lever
needs to be pushed until it reaches the end of its arc. You are locking
it, not just snugging it.
We have used poorly designed cams that actually loosen a bit near the
end of the lever’s arch, but that was years ago. This should not happen
with any modern quick-release. Some riders like the lever opposite the
brake disc up front so they are less likely to touch a hot disc
The quick-release clamp can only be as good as the surface that it
clamps to. Check all four of the bike’s dropouts for dirt, paint chips
or material irregularities.
A common misconception is that the lever spins on to add clamping pressure to the skewer. This incorrect use of a quick-release clamp does not apply enough clamping pressure and will result in poor handling characteristics, drivetrain problems or worse.
teamed up to develop the QR15 front axle. The axle threads into an
insert in the right fork leg, and this quick-release cam locks it up.
The insert in the right fork leg can be adjusted (clocked is the tech term) so that
the quick-release lever is positioned in the direction of your
preference when locked.
TREK/FISHER APB SYSTEM
The high-tech acorn nut on Trek and Fisher bikes equipped with their APB (Active Braking Pivot) system stays attached to the bike. The skewer threads into the acorn nut (similar to the QR15 system) until snug, and the lever is thrown to lock the skewer.
The two tabs inside the acorn nut allow the skewer to be tightened because the two tabs stop the internals from rotating.
Why not use a fixed nut inside? It would not give the rider the ability
to position the lever exactly where he wants it when clamped.
THE DT SWISS RWS
Unlike the eccentric principle of standard quick-releases, the DT Swiss RWS
builds up clamping force by rotating the lever. Tighten up the system by turning the lever clockwise by hand as firmly as possible.
Once tight, the lever can be pulled out and rotated into any desired position. There are no plastic or synthetic material parts on the clamping surface, which means the clamping force should not be influenced by heat. The RWS is a nice upgrade for long-travel trailbikes that need added rigidity in the rear end.
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