I weigh 175 lbs. and I can put some good torque into my compact double (I'm riding a steel frame). I'm having trouble with my wheel coming out of the dropouts, or becoming misaligned. It's a big problem. Are the wheels to blame? I already took out the dropout adjusters, and tightened the quick releases about as much as humanly possible. What can I do? Wheels are a big investment, I know this because the the wheels are brand new. The axle rests about half way through the drop out. Is this to blame? Maybe the axle isn't long enough? There is knurling on the quick release and on the outside of the hub.

Dropout with rear derailleur Brand new skewers

  • 3
    Tried replacing the quick release? maybe it is stretching and getting weak, possibly even snap at some point?
    – BPugh
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 19:34
  • Can you post a photo of the rear hub where axle ends are visible? There should be knurling that bites into frame, do you have that?
    – ojs
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 19:36
  • Maybe the axle isn't spaced correctly. Adding some washers could increase the QR tension.
    – Kim Ryan
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 22:45
  • 1
    In general, with QR setups, there should be a nut on the axle with knurling on it's outer face, and there should be knurling on the mating face of the skewer ends. And no loose washers, etc. If that all seems in order, make sure that the QR is tightened such that it takes considerable effort to push the lever "closed". Adding washers will not do anything that simply tightening the skewer wouldn't. Except that if the axle is too long or adjusted off-center relative to the bearings, one or both ends of the axle may be projecting too far and preventing the skewer from doing its job. Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 23:34
  • Sounds like you have horizontal dropouts. Photos would certainly help. Make sure you have no oil or grease on the dropouts or quick release, and that the QR has grip (is not worn down).
    – andy256
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 23:36

3 Answers 3


Check the alignment of dropouts, and if QR mates with dropout with full surface on both sides. Maybe you could use marker or some kind of fresh ink, paint the dropout, install everything and then observe if paint transfer was uniform.

If you have spare wheel (or you can borrow one) ideally without QR try installing it and see if problem persists. If the problem persists, than the issue is on the frame side, or in the way you are tightening. Otherwise, it is on the QR side.

Lastly, I have to ask this, are you sure you are installing and tightening QR right way? (finger tighten, and then use lever on QR to get a good tight)

  • Good question. I had a few people observe me tighten the QR, so they confirmed it was done properly. The QR is brand new. I thought it might be the drop-out adjusters, maybe I'll try some glue. Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 7:08
  • I do not think glue is a good idea. I am not sure if I have communicated issue with alignment of dropouts well. Face of the dropout, and face of the QR contacting it should be parallel on both sides of wheel. If not you would have only partial contact between them, and forces that want to move wheel from its place will be larger. Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 7:14
  • @leaflifelay my opinion is that the QR skewer is defective. I suggest swapping out the skewer for one that is known to work.
    – jqning
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 12:40
  • Thanks @DavorinRuševljan I was only kidding about the glue, maybe welding would work, but that is a whole other can of worms (jk). Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 17:05

The dropouts look like good quality chromed steel, i.e. quite 'hard'. I realise the QR skewer is brand new, but if it's not great quality the serrated (?) nut faces may not be hard or 'sharp' enough to bite into the chrome. I'd suggest trying a better skewer, or possibly using sharp toothed washers between dropout and nut:

(Wikimedia commons - toothed washer


I had a similar problem with my brand-new tri bike. My issue was it had adjustable dropouts so you could snug the tire (depending on tire of size) right up to the frame for maximum aerodynamics. In my situation, the anodize plating on the dropouts was so smooth, as was the carbon finish on the frame, there just wasn't enough friction to keep the dropouts from moving horizontally. We ended up sanding off the plating on the dropouts and putting carbon grit in between the dropouts and frame, which has worked beautifully for two years now, including adjustments for different tires.

Looking at your pictures and assuming you don't have an axel issue, my only suggestions are:

  1. Make sure dropouts and QR nuts are clean and free of grease. Use some citrus cleaner or equivalent.
  2. Try roughing up the outsides of dropouts with a low-grit sand paper?
  • Also, have you tried the QR from your old wheels? I'm assuming those worked? Or was this a build-up project? Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 7:00
  • I don't have the old wheel set. Did you remove your dropout adjusters? Did you have steel dropouts? Thanks for the tips, I'll try them out. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 18:58

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