What is the purpose of the conical springs in quick releases?

For centering? For anti-rotation? For dropping on the garage floor and rolling under the table? A legacy of the great spring controversy of 1913?

  • 4
    Obviously not the great spring controversy of 1913 -- The quick release was invented in the late 1920s/early 1930s. And I don't think its the garage thing either, because I don't own a garage.
    – Batman
    Sep 11, 2016 at 17:05
  • 3
    @Batman The Controversy was a painful memory for decades and its legacy would have been felt at least until the 1940s. Sep 14, 2016 at 21:31

1 Answer 1


The springs help you center the skewer in the dropout which makes the wheel easier to install. You don't need them for the QR skewer to work, but they're nice to have -- if they're damaged or lost, don't worry about it.

Once the wheel is on the bike, they don't do anything.

  • 3
    And to move the mechanism and the nut away from the dropouts to ease the removal of the wheel. I'd like to add with Sheldon Brown that the idea behind the quick release has been annihilated by the 'lawyer lips' on the fork. Thanks to the (US) suing culture!
    – Carel
    Sep 11, 2016 at 20:54
  • 2
    Yeah, that's basically the same thing. As for lawyer lips, I see enough people with improperly installed quick releases (including people who run discs) that I'm kinda thankful -- not everyone is a racer who will do it properly.
    – Batman
    Sep 11, 2016 at 21:01
  • 4
    Actually, the springs help a lot with regard to the "lawyer lips", since they center the skewer so that it will clear the lips on both sides, once unscrewed enough, vs sliding back and forth and catching one side or the other. Sep 12, 2016 at 2:39
  • 1
    @DanielRHicks's point is a good one. I run pinhead non-QR skewers and you end up having to unscrew more than strictly necessary or jiggle, unlike with real QR.
    – Chris H
    Sep 12, 2016 at 10:29

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