The front wheel on my bike is quick-release, and I often remove it when locking up my bike. Then when I go to put it back on, sometimes it is a bit difficult to make sure that the wheel is centered properly. I.e., the brake pads are not equally distant from the wheel rim, so sometimes one side of the brakes is a bit too close to the wheel.

I don't want to have to spend a spend a ton of time placing the quick-release wheel back on the frame. That defeats the purpose of quick-release, if it is slow-replace.

What are some techniques for quickly but safely replacing the quick-release wheel with v-brakes?

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    Sounds like there is more going here. A quick release (front) wheel should just sit at the top of the dropouts, and be centered. Are you disturbing the brakes when you take the wheel out?
    – andy256
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 6:46
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    You must not try to align the wheel to the bakes, the wheel is just pushed all the way in the dropouts and tightened. If your brakes are misaligned, you fix the brakes: Sheldon to the rescue sheldonbrown.com/canti-direct.html
    – linac
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 10:03
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    Yep, for a normal bike, if the axle is all the way into the dropouts, the wheel should be aligned. If it's not then the brakes need adjustment or, possibly, the fork is bent. (In your case it may be simply that the brake pivots and cable need lubrication.) Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 11:17
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    Are you sure the wheel is itself is centered?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 11:53
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    @Blam: Good point! I once had a rear wheel where someone very smart tensioned all the spokes equally - left as right. The whole wheel was 100% true but centered to the left, making it necessary to have the brakes tilted ... \- || -\
    – linac
    Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 11:59

3 Answers 3


What I worry about mainly is the horizontal alignment of the wheels and brakes (V brakes or disks). In my experience just pressing fork down on the wheels will then "auto fit" which creates an horizontally accurate alignment.

I press from the handlebars vertically to the ground and the wheel keeps an horizontal alignment with the brakes (accurately set). The operation to press and lock the wheel takes 10 seconds, no more.

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    then sqeeze the brake lever briefly and the brakes should come back into alignment.
    – Nuі
    Commented Aug 23, 2014 at 23:35

As others mentioned, do not try to manually align your wheel to the brakes (rather, adjust the breaks). Also, you might want to make sure that your wheel is dished properly (the rim is centered about the hub correctly).

If you want some extra "push" of the axle into the dropouts of the fork, I like to do the following: When you go to put your front wheel back on, stand at the front of your bike, facing the handlebars, with legs straddling the wheel. Bend over the handlebars with your chest pushing down on them and then tighten/clamp your quick-release. I've been doing this for many years (both to lock the bike and for transport), and it's worked wonders!


Assuming you are removing your wheel for theft prevention purposes, not for storage fit reasons...

Get a ski/snowboard cable lock, and when you lock up your bike, leave the front wheel ON the bike (otherwise lock as normal, e.g., U-Lock, chain, whatever you have) and use the cable lock to secure the front wheel to the frame. (If you want to leave your helmet with the bike, run the cable through that too)

Here is a typical example: http://www.rei.com/product/807540/burton-cable-snowboard-lock

The pros: * Easy to carry (I just leave mine on my bike, on handlebars) * Fast to secure (use the combo version, not the key type)

The cons: * Less secure than taking wheel off and using a chain or U-lock through it * One more thing to carry on the bike

The practical view: * The bike thief will be looking for better targets than your front wheel. * As long as your front wheel isn't something like a Zipp or other high-end carbon wheel, thieves will pass it by.

I've done this for a while with no issues. I have a high-security Kryptonite chain lock, but it won't reach through my front wheel. A cable lock is too easy to cut, IMO, and too bulky and awkward to carry on the bike in addition to the high-security lock.

If I secured the bike frame and rear wheel but left the front wheel vulnerable, I feel like some idiot prankster or vandal might rip off the front wheel just because they could. This small security cable will stop the casual crime-of-opportunity idiots, which gives me piece of mind. A pro bike thief is going to break out the bolt cutters and get your whole bike anyway, if they want it. Or they just may pass on yours because the second small cable makes the task a few seconds longer and increases their risk, so they move on to easier targets.

EDIT: There is another, similar option. Credit to @Criggie for his comment on the original question, for sharing the Pitlock approach also. You can buy Pitlock skewers for your wheels that also will defeat casual thieves. Looks like about $55 for a set from some online sites. For more info on Pitlock, see https://www.pitlock.de/en and also http://www.urbanbiketech.com/, and http://www.wiggle.com/zyro-2pc-security-wheel-skewers-front-rear-wheel/. The pros and cons would differ a little bit to my earlier suggestion.

* Only need to carry the Pitlock key for your skewers, instead of ski/snowboard lock

* You have to have your Pitlock key with you on the bike to take the wheel off, e.g., to change flats.
* Also, you need take your Pitlock key with you, i.e., not leave it on the bike, when you park and lock the bike.
* Cost of the Pitlock skewers, $55-100
* Additional work to install the Pitlock system

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