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I'm referring to my first new bike front Tyre/quick release lever as shown.

The picture is picked from Internet front quick release lever

How can I know whether I have locked my front QR lever correctly? Neither too tight nor too loose? When I tried to open it recently it seemed too tight for me as I was not able to open it.

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Really tight. It should take significant effort to open and close. (But it should not be so tight that you can't close the lever all the way.) – Daniel R Hicks Mar 10 '14 at 11:00
@DanielRHicks, I liked your commend under another Q that "it should leave a mark in your palm while tightening." Mine have an opening in the lever (probably "to be lighter") so it is very easy to see the elipse marked on my skin after tightening. – Vorac Mar 10 '14 at 13:27
@Vorac surely this q isn't a dup? – PeteH Mar 11 '14 at 9:02

You are correct that those levers are designed to be opened with your bare hands. Unfortunately it's usually easier to push the lever closed than to pull it open, so it's easy to over-tighten it.

  1. Start with the lever open, and facing back as shown in the picture
  2. Wind the nut on the other side back 2 or 3 turns.
  3. Close the lever. It should be very easy, and the wheel is not properly attached.
  4. Wind the nut in until it is tight (finger tight, do not use tools!)
  5. Open the lever.
  6. Wind the nut in half a turn.
  7. Close the lever. It should be firm, but not impossible.
    1. If it's too hard to close, back the nut off a small amount and try again.
    2. It it's too loose, tighten the nut up a small amount and try again.

Unless you're unusually weak, not being able to open it means it is on too tight. Even if you are somewhat weak, unless you have disk brakes "as tight as you can" should be ok.

Note that if you have disk brakes it is much more important that the quick release be tight. When you use disk brakes the reaction force is pushing the wheel down, out of the fork. It is better to have the QR slightly too tight than slightly too lose with disk brakes.

Also, the QR lever should always point backwards as shown. That makes it less likely to catch on anything and be pulled open (of throw you off the bike).

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Good explanation! – andy256 Mar 10 '14 at 8:03
On disc brakes, an important thing is to retighten the thing. On rim brakes, you can probably set the wheel in, and not have to ever touch it again and be safe. However, disc brakes can loosen the QR skewer, so you should make sure its tight before every ride. (Of course, this is best practice for any case, but esp. important with discs). – Batman Mar 10 '14 at 18:16
@Batman - can you please explain this concept further. I would have thought that the hub bearings would prevented any force being applied to the QR skewer. The bearings and axles spin freely around the axle. The QR skewer puts tension on the fork to hold the axle in place. – DWGKNZ Mar 10 '14 at 22:02
The best summary online AFAIK is…. – Batman Mar 10 '14 at 22:47
Batman: thanks for the link, that's exactly what I wanted. And wow, I can make links bold. Handy! – Móż Mar 10 '14 at 23:21

Depends on your forks to a degree - if you don't have lawyer lips on your forks you'll probably want to go a smidge tighter than you otherwise might - I've had loosely closed QR levers work completely loose over the course of a ride. If you have difficulty closing it then it's almost certainly too tight - opening it will be ever harder.

For rear QRs if you have horizontal dropouts you'll want to tighten the QR quite tightly - it can be pretty hard to get them tight enough to prevent wheel slippage if you have QRs with an external cam or chrome plated dropouts.

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Gotta love an expression like "lawyer lips" :) – abstrask Mar 11 '14 at 11:57

Don't over do it. If you over tighted your front or back QR, you can squeeze the bearings too much and cause damage -- unless you left your bearing adjustment slightly loose to compensate. You can experiment by using your QR in the wheel with washers on each end, instead of inside the fork of the bike. On the other hand, you don't want front or rear too loose; I was attacked by dogs one time and when I stood up to pedal, I locked the rear tire against the chain stay. My normal position of the clamp is 90 degrees from the bike when it gets snug - then squeeze all the way in. It should be enough to leave an impression in your hand but not enough to damage your bearings.

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The quick release should start to get tough to push when it is half way between open and closed. Best way is to make sure the lever is closing towards the back of the bike so if it catches on a stick it will not open when you are riding.

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