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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 sheldonbrown.com/fixed-conversion.html#qr – 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
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    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. – linguamachina Jul 31 '14 at 10:56
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    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
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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 ).

http://sheldonbrown.com/skewers.html

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

  • 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. – Scott Hillson Jul 30 '14 at 23:00
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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.

  • But the question is fixie not single speed. The tug would not stop it from going the other direction when braking? – paparazzo 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. – jimchristie 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 – paparazzo 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. – jimchristie Jul 31 '14 at 15:51
  • I will politely not agree. And you can delete this comment. – paparazzo Jul 31 '14 at 15:54
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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

  • 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. surlybikes.com/parts/drivetrain/hurdy_gurdy – 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
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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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You could avoid interfering with your wheel fastening solution by mounting the guards using P-clips on the seat stays.

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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

  • 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? – paparazzo 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. – paparazzo Jul 31 '14 at 15:15
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Don't change the axle assembly just to fit mudguards!! Adapt the mudguards instead. As pointed out lockuts secure the wheel with much greater force than skewers. I have these mudguards and whilst they are suited for use with skewers you need to use an adapter with a bigger hole to fit them. Alternatively direct mount the mudguards to the frame.

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With all respect to Sheldon, I frequently use his notes and references, I disagree on the skewer but I also see that often on forums people confuse what he really says.

He says that if you have the OLD ALL STEEL skewers and don't want to replace the axle with a solid one, but want to have a simple quick and cheap conversion of geared bike to single speed, you can still use them. If I remember he says that the newer aluminum-nutted/levers are not adequate.

Now, a 10mm solid steel axle and its steel nuts can handle enormous tightening force. The larger the tightening force the larger the amount of static friction caused by the nuts/drop-outs to the axle spacer/nuts. A 3-4-5mm skewer even made of titanium can't handle that much. All steel skewers may be borderline adequate, but you can't find those of the old cro-mol-steel any more and even the skewer shaft itself is not really made of good enough steel as they used to.

I have seen many modern skewers snap from excessive force, from bearings going bad and shafts being bent. On a single speed bike you need all the strength you can get and hollow axles with high powered loads, sprint, starting up hill standing up, can't handle it. Racing velodrome for decades people would know better and use hollow stuff for weight savings. They don't! Some of those riders can take a top of the line 22s race bike, shift in highest gear and really reduce the frame and drivetrain into scrap plastic and alloy bits. It is like putting a train engine power on a 3d economy 4 passenger car.

The damage you will get on the wheel, drivetrain, frame, and yourself when all this fails under maximum load is not worth the chance of being cheap and lazy. Switching to a solid shaft and HD nuts in the rear is priceless security, cheap and quick if you have repacked bearings in the past. Then yank on that breaker bar to 40-50lbxft ?50-60Nm?

Solid axle, gnurly nuts that bite into steel, and a breaker bar, then get a real chain 1/4-5/32 and show that bike who is boss.

PS [Edit] I know the question is old but answers are here for everyone not to personally answer to the one person asking. This is a reference for all those that face a similar problem and it is pretty common.

PS2 How did I forget the most obvious of what I wanted to mention. Modern skewers have nice chrome plated springs inside the skewers to center them while they are released. Most often those springs are wider than a 9-10mm axle and foul up the nut's surface that is meant to hold the wheel together. When the axle slips with those on it is because the nut's surface is making contact with the squished spring against the drop out surface and makes it more likely to slip. Older skewers if they had springs they were tiny, these days because in 95% of applications it is a vertical drop out it is not important and those conical springs are 12-13mm in diameter. Take them off and the skewer will be able to provide more friction. They just tangle up a bit while installing or removing the wheel.

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    From physics standpoint this does not make any sense at all. Besides, the question is 5 years old and already has several answers. Perhaps you'd like to have a look at unanswered questions instead. – ojs Oct 1 at 17:33

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