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I recently purchased a fixed gear bike, Kilo TT. I had some fenders lying around, SKS raceblade. I tried to install them on my bikebut noticed that the fenders attached to the skewers. My fixed gear bike has bolts in the front and back and the fenders only fit quick release skewers.

What are some options? Can I put QR skewers on a fixed gear bike? Is there a reason they come with bolts?

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Sheldon Brown to the rescue – Fred the Magic Wonder Dog Jul 30 '14 at 21:28
For the record, the Sheldon link says that either hollow or solid axle is fine. – PeteH Jul 30 '14 at 21:58
If you use a chain tug you should be fine. I did that for a few years before I changed the dropouts on my commuter bike – Móż Jul 30 '14 at 22:10
+1 for chain tugs. IMHO a must on a fixed gear. – headeronly Jul 31 '14 at 10:56
I've never seen fenders designed to fit on skewers -- it wouldn't make sense to do so, since the fenders would come loose while you were removing the tire. I'm fairly certain that your fenders are designed to be attached to fender lugs on the dropouts. If you don't have those you can perhaps use cable clamps from a hardware store. – Daniel R Hicks Jul 31 '14 at 11:19
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've always used a quick release for the front of my fixed gear bike, I've only ever used the bolts on the back.

His highness Sir Sheldon Brown says you should be okay to use a quick release with an enclosed cam ( not an exposed cam ) with an acorn nut that has steel teeth ( not aluminum teeth ).

disclaimer: there's no guarantee this is safe with your particular bike, modify with care and be safe.

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If I bring this up with my local bikeshop will they be able to pick out an appropriate QR? – bdeonovic Jul 30 '14 at 21:56
Most likely, yes. You may have to seek out the more experienced employee, I'd start with the mechanics, in order to find someone that has experience with identifying steel threads, steel teeth, etc. You always run the risk of running into an employee that doesn't have much experience. Worst case scenario they lie and sell you a quick release that isn't what you're asking for. In which case, post photos of it here asking for help identifying the materials. You get the idea. – hillsons Jul 30 '14 at 23:00

They come with bolts because QR's typcially don't clamp with enough force to keep the wheel from slipping forward.

It looks like you have rear facing dropouts, so you should easily be able to use QR's if you get yourself a Surly Tuggnut.

Surly Tuggnut

That little circle on the side of it is a QR adapter. You just pop it in and then slide your skewer all the way through.

It's not a bad idea to have a chain tensioner anyway. One on the drive side will help you get the chain tensioned correctly when mounting the wheel. I personally like to use chain tensioners on both sides so that the wheel doesn't get knocked crooked if I hit a bump. I've had it happen. It sucks.

I've used a bunch of chain tensioners and can say from experience that the Tuggnut is by far the easiest to use on the market, partially because it's the only one I've ever found that requires no tools. It's also the only one I've ever found that has a QR adapter. The built-in bottle opener is handy too.

After that little rant, I feel I should mention that I am in no way affiliated with Surly. The tuggnut is just a really good product.

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But the question is fixie not single speed. The tug would not stop it from going the other direction when braking? – Paparazzi Jul 31 '14 at 15:05
@Blam the chain stops it from slipping the other direction when braking. If the chain is loose enough that the wheel can slip backward, it's too loose and needs to be tightened. – jimirings Jul 31 '14 at 15:28
But if it is slipping because it does not have enough grip then you still have the problem of not enough grip. But the Surly Tuggnut does come with QR adapter. +1 – Paparazzi Jul 31 '14 at 15:39
@Blam The grip isn't so important as long as you have something to keep the wheel from moving. I've actually ridden my fixie with the bolts loose and not realized it because my chain tensioner was keeping the wheel firmly in place. The only thing that clued me in was that it finally unscrewed a millimeters or so and was rattling against the frame. I have no idea how long it was loose before it finally unscrewed enough for me to hear it. – jimirings Jul 31 '14 at 15:51
I will politely not agree. And you can delete this comment. – Paparazzi Jul 31 '14 at 15:54

Please note that since those fenders are mounted on the outer side of the frame, your skewers are tightened against the fender brackets instead of tightened directly against the frame. Therefore the skewer's nut splines and material are not the only thing to look at. You could of course get a pair of those anti-theft-skewers that you tighten with a wrench to get enough torque...

I would simply just enlarge the hole in the fender bracket to 10mm. Preferably with a round file, since drilling through an oval hole is cumbersome by hand. That'd be easiest and most reliable. No need to swap axles and you could securely tighten your nuts as before.

Discalimer: Modifying the brackets would of course make your fenders un-returnable to the store if they don't fit for some other reason.

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Just to add to the other answers, it is my experience that you can't get as secure a fit with a QR skewer as with a nutted axle. If your bike has track forks (like below), rather than forward facing horizontal dropouts, you can probably get away with this, especially by adding a chain tug to keep the wheel from sliding forward in the rear fork end.

track fork end

If however your bike is a fixie conversion with an old-school horizontal dropout (like below) I'd highly advise against using a QR. The forces exerted when pedalling tend to pull the rear wheel forward relative to the rest of the bike. The axle nut is the only thing resisting this force. If this connection isn't tight enough your rear wheel could fall out of the dropouts when in motion. With a fixed gear drivetrain this is very dangerous for obvious reasons. You can't use a chain tug to prevent this as they old work for backward-facing track forks.

horizontal dropout

Images from sheldon brown

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It is possible to use a chain tug with forward-facing dropouts. Though it depends on the shape of the dropouts, and design of the chain tugs. Some may need modification to fit. The Surly Hurdy Gurdy is specifically designed for forward-facing dropouts. – vclaw Jul 31 '14 at 14:53
Indeed, if such a device were applied to a forward facing dropout I'm sure QR skewers can be safely used. I'd still recommend proper internal cam style ones over the "boutique" ones though as @hillsons mentioned – harryg Jul 31 '14 at 15:00

With the horizontal dropout the axle can shift. You pretty much need the nuts to get a tight enough grip. But I suspect people have used quick release on a single speed.

So Sheldon states an enclosed cam is good enough - not good enough for me. I am not buying the historical reasons as I see new bikes with nutted horizontal dropout and still QR on the front. If they were doing it for historical reason they would nut front and rear. At some point you need to trust that he manufacturer did it that way for a reason. I have never seen a manufacturer with QR on a horizontal drop out.

The other factor is alignment. I typically tighten the non drive side first and tweak the drive side for chain tension.

The other factor is the axle size. On my single speed the axle/skewer is much larger. I have never seen a nut on the smaller size and never seen QR for the larger size.
enter image description here

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Interesting point, you seem to be asserting that you will get a tighter connection with a nut than you will with a qr, but is this really the case? – PeteH Jul 31 '14 at 11:33
@PeteH Do you think you can generate as much force with quick release as you can with wrench? Why do you think you see bolts and not quick release on a horizontal drop out? – Paparazzi Jul 31 '14 at 11:39
Well, Sheldon seems to think that bolts are more popular than qr purely for historical reasons in velodromes. As for the amount of force, I can only answer personally - I have always found both mechs to be "enough" to hold the wheel firmly. This is why I posted my original comment. – PeteH Jul 31 '14 at 14:28
@PeteH But your original comment was not "enough" it questioned if a wrench could get it tighter. And I am not buying the historical as I see nuts on the rear with horizontal but still QR on the front on new bikes. If they were doing it for historical would not have QR in front. – Paparazzi Jul 31 '14 at 15:15

You could avoid interfering with your wheel fastening solution by mounting the guards using P-clips on the seat stays.

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