I've heard a lot of folks complaining about freewheel hubs getting bent axles.

I have a rigid BSO with a solid rear axle that I occasionally pound on local trails.

I've never gotten a bent axle. That said, I only weigh 145 so maybe that's not saying much.

Anyhow, I have a friend who doesn't weigh much more than me (maybe 160) who has gotten TWO bent axles. He never rides off-road, and his bike is nicer than mine.

He has a QR rear axle.

Is this a legitimate reason to avoid QR's on freewheel hubs? Has anyone bent a solid axle?

  • 1
    Bad luck? Low quality QR's? There isn't a general reason for avoiding QR's (even on fixies,despite common wisdom -- just use a good QR), and people have bent solid axles.
    – Batman
    Mar 19, 2015 at 19:09
  • I've never had a bent axle (in perhaps 20K miles riding, much of it with bags, and I'm not a light person), though I once had a deformed front hub. Unclear whether the hub got bent on the road or was defective out of the Shimano factory. Mar 19, 2015 at 19:46
  • Not tightening the QR enough can cause this.
    – mattnz
    Mar 19, 2015 at 23:14
  • 1
    I've never bent an axle in my life, and I weigh 215 pounds. Your friend must be doing something wrong, or he's just really unlucky. Mar 22, 2015 at 17:51

2 Answers 2


This is not a 'legitimate' reason to avoid quick releases.

Just like anything in life, there are low and high quality offerings, and there is good and bad luck. Your friend either has a low quality wheel or bad luck. The bar for quality on a BSO is pretty low, so even if his is nicer than yours, it might still not be high quality.

All my wheels besides the coaster-braked wheels have QR axles. I weigh 200 pounds, beat up my bikes and I've never had one bend.

This collection of bikes includes a tandem. It has QR wheels. If anything is going to put a QR axle to a test of strength, the tandem is going to be it. And it is fine. Many vendors of tandems equip their bikes with QR wheels. They're all fine.

  • @whatisname Your quality argument makes sense, but you didn't address the freewheel/cassette issue. Freewheel hubs are much harder on axles than cassettes are. What kind of hubs does your tandem have?
    – BSO rider
    Mar 19, 2015 at 22:35
  • @OverOverUnderSkipAHole: I've had both on different tandems. Mar 19, 2015 at 22:42

In my opinion, freewheel vs cassette is probably more relevant to axle issues than solid vs hollow.

Back in the 70's I weighed 150 pounds, and broke or bent a couple of solid axles on freewheel equipped rear wheels.

I spent many years without cycling.

Since 2003 I have been riding primarily cassette bikes, and I weigh over 300 pounds. I have not yet bent or broken a rear axle

  • Part of that might just be changes in bike quality or bike type. Also, people have gotten heavier over the past 30 years, so most non-race bikes are rated for someone in the 250-300 lb rider+cargo range.
    – Batman
    Apr 28, 2015 at 18:46

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