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I just bought my first bike in probably a decade (Schwinn Discover hybrid bike). There is a quick release for the front wheel. The skewer had a nut, lever, 2 springs, and these 2 washers on it. The instructions explain all the other parts, but don't mention the washers. Any idea what I should do with them?

Photo of mystery parts

  • Those are meant to keep the front wheel from coming all the way off should it come loose. Some forks have an opening up and back from the axle for that small tab to fit into. The large end is fitted onto the axle inboard of the nuts/quick release and outboard of the fork, then the small tab goes into the extra opening in the fork. I don't have specific experience using those with quick release forks so I can't say whether there are differences in that case. – compton Jun 1 '17 at 21:44
  • Edited to put photo inline. – RoboKaren Jun 1 '17 at 21:53
  • I have found these washers to be problematic with inexperienced cyclists who don't notice that their front wheel is not properly secured. The only hint they have that something is wrong is that their brakes rub when turning. So please make sure there is no play in the dropout after securing the wheel when using these! – itfuwub Jun 8 '17 at 14:34
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Those washers help prevent your axles from dropping out of the dropouts if your quick releases become loose. In the USA, the CPSC requires some sort of secondary axle retention device -- if you don't have "lawyer's lips," you're likely to have these.

With some solid axles, they also help a bit with the axle nuts not loosening by themselves.

With ebikes, they can serve as antirotation washers, preventing the torque of the hub motor from twisting the axle loose.

They should be flush against the outside sides of your forks, right next to the bolts. There should be a notch in the fork or dropout in which the indent fits. The photo is of solid axle rear dropouts so just imagine them in a vertical orientation with front quickreleases.

antirotation dropout washer

  • They're a bit small to have much benefit as a torque arm, most of the one's I've seen have been at least 50mm long with 80-100 being more common lengths. 5-10 mm isn't going to do a lot, but the extra thickness will help the dropout from getting chewed out by the axle moving. – Criggie Jun 2 '17 at 3:02
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    They're common found on the 250 watt hub motors. They're not powerful enough to need more. – RoboKaren Jun 2 '17 at 3:08

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