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Basically, can a older (early 90's) American/SAE measured non-suspension fork take a quick release wheel?

I'm looking to rebuild/restore my old Huffy Fire Mountain MTB made around 1990*. It has a non-suspension fork with a bolt on wheel. I believe that the front hub is a Wald, but I would have to look again. However, I'm going to replace the old steel wheels with some "good enough" aluminum ones with quick release axles from my LBS. I'm asking can my current fork take the new wheel or is there other considerations I need to make?

  • Yes, it is a BSO but it is my buddy and needs some love. Be nice for a spare as well.
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Yep, you should be able to use a QR hub with no problem. You won't have "lawyer lips", but bikes with QR axles didn't have those for decades and the world didn't end -- they're basically just for people who are too stupid to get the QR clamped tightly enough. –  Daniel R Hicks Feb 4 at 16:33
    
@DanielRHicks - I am sorry misapplication of a QR can happen. Calling people "stupid" is inappropriate. If the QR is not tighten it properly the constant vibration of riding off road can cause it to loosen further. The "lawyer lips" can help keep the wheel in the drop outs under such circumstances. –  Rider_X Feb 6 at 6:01
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I don't think its inappropriate - these people didn't read the documentation or ask how to use quick release, typically, and didn't tighten the quick release periodically. A separate issue is the loosening of quick releases with disc brakes, and thats a separate problem (in fact a design problem; see: ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames/home/disk_and_quick_release). –  Batman Feb 6 at 6:16
    
@Batman - name calling is not appropriate behaviour. –  Rider_X Feb 6 at 6:20
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2 Answers

Assuming the wheel fits into the fork, you can use quick release. As for your old wheels, you could find a same sized hollow axle and replace it or attach something like axle release to turn it into a quick-releasey wheel.

See this bicycles.SE thread as well. And Sheldon on how to properly use quick release.

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The answer is less "can" it take the wheel (yes it can physically fit) but more an issue of safety.

Misapplication of a quick release (QR) can happen. If the QR is not tightened properly the constant vibration experienced riding off road can cause it to loosen further. Older forks may be missing "lawyer lips" (little tabs at the bottom of the drop out) that can help keep the wheel in the drop outs in the situation that a QR does loosens off.

I have personally had a QR back off under very rough conditions. The wheel rattled about but did not come off. I was very grateful for the lawyer lips. I don't consider myself "stupid" either for the misapplication, in my case it was one of those crappy Bontranger QR's that never seem to engage well.

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Which is why I have nice Shimano QR's. –  Batman Feb 6 at 6:12
    
@Batman - while better even Shimano QRs are not faultless. I stand by my original answer. –  Rider_X Feb 6 at 6:18
    
While it was sold as a mountain bike, it is really a 10 speed with knobs (or as everybody hearing has told me, snow tires). I personally am just going to slap some street tires on it since I don't mountain it. I use QR on on my other bikes so I know how tight to make them. While this fork doesn't have lawyer lips, it does have this lawyer tab like thing that slips on the axle and fits into a slot on the fork. –  BPugh Feb 6 at 14:24
    
I'm considering getting locking/bolt on like skewers. Any known issues with vibrations there? –  BPugh Feb 6 at 14:27
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