Which direction is the correct way for the QR lever to point when closed and why?

I have found both upwards and backwards on different parts on the SRAM website even for the same forks.

fork QR upward fork QR backwards

I have also been partial to many heated debates, in addition to being exposed to very opinionated bike mechanics’ views around this question.

Personally I prefer backwards, thinking that it has fewer snag opportunities and the aesthetics of the logo work better.

The rear axle potentially has even more view points.

I’m specifically interested in mountain biking. You see the forward clamp fairly often. Whilst neat, this tends to collect grass and shrubbery as you go.

rear QR 45 forward

  • I'm voting to close as opinion-based. You already say that this provokes heated debate and you've summarized all the points of that debate. As such, there's nothing left to do except continue the argument about which points are better. If there was an objectively correct answer, you wouldn't have needed to ask the question because the people you'd already spoken to would mostly agree on it. Jul 8, 2018 at 8:38
  • I’m looking for a substantiated answer David. I have not nearly listed all the point of debate that has been heated over the years, which would have been pointless as I’m after facts. For example, there are training courses for bicycle mechanics, and I’m sure there is some sort of guide that is accepted as standard practice. That’s the point of the question.
    – piet
    Jul 8, 2018 at 10:43
  • If there's a standard practice, why would bicycle mechanics argue about it? You can't have it both ways. Jul 8, 2018 at 12:33
  • I think you’re missing the point David. I haven’t surveyed all mechanics, nor have I listed all their opinions and nor are all mechanics equally qualified. I wasn’t able to find a answer using Google nor am I planning to enrol for a qualification. So the question stands, are there any guidelines and what’s the motivation.
    – piet
    Jul 8, 2018 at 14:35
  • 2
    Also, your first two photos show through axles, rather than quick-release skewers. Jul 8, 2018 at 16:39

3 Answers 3


There is only really one rule - position the lever such that it is protected from being opened by hitting or snagging on something.

Straight forward or down is not a good idea, obviously. A rear lever pointing straight back is not good either as a collision with the front wheel of a bike close behind could potentially open it.

Rear levers protected between chain and seat stays is probably OK, maybe more vertically behind the seat stay is better. Front levers angled back and up behind fork legs is probably good.

Otherwise position the levers wherever is convenient.

  • The ‘protected between the stays’ is actually the one that triggered my investigation. Whilst this has been my preference in the past, I witnessed a lever pierce a mates shoe after a awkward landing. So now I’ve got it snug under the chain stay, which is angled up at the axle pointing the lever slightly down.
    – piet
    Jul 8, 2018 at 14:42
  • Worth explicitly noting some positions don't work on some bikes, and no single position works on all bikes. I would go as far to say if it was important enough to make a theoretical difference, let alone a practical one, every bike manufactured (though fear of being sued) would only be able to be done up in one position and all bikes it would be the same position.
    – mattnz
    Jul 8, 2018 at 21:47

The answer can vary depending on many factors, including lever size and form and fork stanchions form. Disk brake caliper or fenders mounting holes affect also what is reasonable and what won't work.

For rear QR clamp, even chainstay size can affect chosen lever angle. Some people manage to touch the QR-lever with left heel, which forces to point it differently.

One thing is sure regardless chosen QR lever angle — the torque applied to the QR-lever at closing should lie in manufacturer-specified range, and not be too loose.

  • I agree Grigory, there are many factors, but I’m sure there has to be some sort of guideline.
    – piet
    Jul 8, 2018 at 10:45

Another "not" is to avoid the lever touching any part of the frame.

If the lever touches the frame, then riding vibrations can push the lever back over the limit and it will be loose.

This was one of the motivations behind lawyer lips.

I'd always put the lever on the left side of the bike - to keep the rear one away from the oils of the drivetrain and the front one for symmetry with the rear QR lever.

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