Monday, 5 May 2014

How to replace a QR skewer on a fixie or singlespeed.

Unless you have a very vintage or retro fixie (or singlespeed) the chances are your wheels have been upgraded or amended from modern wheels. Sure custom wheels are very nice but not everybody can afford them, so a lot of folk end up bastardising modern 700c wheels to fit thier steed.

Problems can arise when using modern wheels because they are factory-fitted with QR (quick-release) skewers.  While on geared bikes quick release fewer wheels would be a good thing on a fixed cog or singlespeed bike they're just not strong enough to hold the wheel in place under pressure. I didn't know this for a long time, and therefore spend at least two years constantly pulling my back wheel tight, more often than not in the middle of a commute.

Another reason some people prefer not to have QR skewers is that in theory your bike wheel is a lot more nickable with QR. I understand this logic - why would you make life easy for a thief?

I did some research into how to replace a QR with a straight bolt and a lot of the answers came back suggesting removing the axle, changing the cone bearings, and many other complex things I didn't want to have to get involved with.

Eventually I found the Halo hex-nut skewers, and that's more or less where this blog posts ends.  The old quick release skewers slid out, and the replacement Halo skewers slid in.  The conversation was ridiculously easy.  I was particularly impressed that the Halo replacements even had a recommend torque setting.  Nice!  Now my wheels will stay in place and no bugger can nick 'em!

You can buy Halo QR replacement skewers at Chain Reaction Cycles...

I've included some photos of the conversion to give you an idea of what the new wheel nuts look like.

The old front QR

The replacement skewers on the front wheel.  The other metal bits you can see are the mounts for my mudguards.

I forgot to take 'before' photos of the rear wheel, but you can see the new fittings in place and looking good.