Is there a way I can make my bolted-on accessories quick release?

I'm looking for something that allows quick removal & replacement of accessories like lights or screens that come with a hex bolt, philips head or similar fastener similar to the mount on this bell:enter image description here

One possibility I thought of would be cutting a hole through the front of the bottom part of the plastic mount, a thumbscrew that could slide in & out of the hole and a washer or nut on the bottom to prevent the screw from slipping out of the hole unintentionally. I'm not sure how practical that would be though.

  • Seems to be heading into the product-recommendation area, so might be closed as off-topic. Are your items monolithic? IE, are they one-piece already, or are they two-piece with one on the bars and the active part held on by a nut and bolt and toothed/angle mating surfaces ?
    – Criggie
    Mar 27, 2021 at 3:35
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    Separately - whats the underlying purpose? It has been more common for people to ask how to enfix their QR devices for increased security, but you're asking the opposite?
    – Criggie
    Mar 27, 2021 at 3:37
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    @Criggie Everything is one piece. The mounts are the same as what's used in a regular bike bell: a single loop of plastic with enough flex in it to slip over the handlebars, and holes to suit a generic fastener. The purpose is security; display screens and lights get removed from parked bikes even if they're irreparably damaged in the process in my city. There are lots of public parking facilities for bicycles but If you don't take your accessories with you there's a good chance they won't be there when you come back.
    – Scottmeup
    Mar 27, 2021 at 4:29
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    Hopefully this won't be closed for product-recommendation, I'm looking for a relatively generic solution and not something that's likely to go out of date.
    – Scottmeup
    Mar 27, 2021 at 4:32
  • You can get 22.2mm diameter tubes that serve as “handlebar extensions” for accessories. Mount all your stuff on one of those, and then come up with a way to release the entire tube. Much easier.
    – MaplePanda
    Mar 27, 2021 at 20:14

4 Answers 4


I think in most cases there's going to be a better solution than actually doing this, but wing bolts are one way to go.

enter image description here

Since most of the accessories brackets in question have recessed holes for the bolts, you may need a spacer of some sort in between, like a presta ring.

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    Although this may work it also has an underlying 'hurt factor', wing nuts can cause nasty cuts.
    – Carel
    Mar 27, 2021 at 12:27

Reading the question I was more thinking of bits and pieces you want to remove when you make your bike lighter for an occasional race, but securing items after your commute implies frequent removal.

Some more valuable things like lights quite often have dove-tail mounts with some kind of latch, easy to slip off and quick to re-install, and rechargeable at the office. The same goes for the GPS that sits most frequently in a quarter-turn mount. Most saddlebags also have dove-tails and are further secured by a Velcro band. Ass for bells or bottle-cages, there's probably no need to remove these when you park your bike. When commuting (as a retiree/OAP I'm no longer in need) I'd put most of the more expensive stuff in the day-pack and gamble for the other bits. The other thing would be to find a more secure parking place or together with colleagues even pressure the boss to have a bike parking in-house, quite common in Danish office buildings.

  • Along the lines of what Carel mentions, I like accessories that have what are basically small cleats at front and back ends, and use a rubber ring/band stretched from cleat to cleat around the bottom of the handlebar or other tube to clamp the item to the tube. To remove the item, just pull off the rubber ring and the item is no longer attached. This method also affords flexibility as it can be used on a wide range of tube diameters, changing to larger or smaller rubber loops if necessary.
    – Armand
    Mar 27, 2021 at 14:17

There are literal quick release screws, usually M5 and bigger.

enter image description here enter image description here

My light already came with such a system:

enter image description here

  • Your pictured light has a handlebar mount, and a separate light which are clicked together and easily separated. Sounds like OP is asking about reflectors that generally don't unclick like a light does.
    – Criggie
    Mar 27, 2021 at 20:59
  • @Criggie The click for the light is irrelevant, the point is in the quick release for the mount. It makes it easy to not leave the mount on the handlebar and only mount it when necessary. If you glued the reflector to the mount, the answer would stay the same. Mar 27, 2021 at 21:55
  • I see no quick release. I see a stowable handle that helps with fast adjustment, but it is still a bolt that needs to be fully unthreadded to release the clamp from the bars.
    – Criggie
    Mar 27, 2021 at 22:00
  • @Criggie It has a cam, that makes it quick realease for quick adjustment. To fully unthread it later takes much less than a minute and requires no tools at all. A quick release skewer works the exact same way. Mar 27, 2021 at 22:04
  • Perhaps we have a variation in definition. A QR skewer is supposed to Open the lever and then the wheel drops out. Originally you're not required to unthread it any amount (though most of us do a couple of turns)
    – Criggie
    Mar 28, 2021 at 0:27

You have two paths - either take your accessories with you, or make them hard to remove.

Make everything removable

Removing the bolts for every item every time will get old fast. And after some number of cycles you'll have worn down the threads to the point they won't be as tight, or you'll wear out the screwdriver fitting (hex/philips/slot/torx)

You could change all your items for some that have two-part mounts, with a way to unclip them and leave bare plastic fittings on your bars, like lights used to be constructed before rubber bands became common.

How far down this path is reasonable? Someone could steal your QR wheel, so do you take that? What about your QR seatpost? Pedals are only one undo away from being separated too. Take it far enough and you're locking up a bare-frame and taking everything else with you. Which leads to the ultimate of simply taking the whole bike - aim to own a folding bike and keep it with you rather than leaving it in a stand.

Make it hard to remove accessories.

High temp thread lock in the threads is an excellent way of making a bolt hard to remove. The downside is adjustments later will be difficult or impossible because the thread lock will not release until it hits a high temp, hotter than the bike and plastic parts can stand. Even copious amounts of super-glue (cyanoacrylate glue) can do the same.
Additionally you can intentionally strip the screw's head.

It has also been done to drop a ball bearing in the screw hole and use glue or grease to hold it there. Removal can be done with a magnet or a sharp pick, neither of which the average lightfinger would carry.

If your accessory is held on by a metal bracket, then brazing or soldering or welding might be a good solution.

This does nothing to stop vandalism sadly. Also, my suspicion is that a thief would prefer to take the whole bike rather than faff about stealing your bell or reflector. Those parts aren't valuable to a thief.

Don't have desirable parts visible

My favourite alternative solution to reflectors is DOT tape. Essentially reflective stuff that you stick directly to the bike, and it does the job of being a reflector without being stealable. Red in the back, white in the front, Yellow from the side.

A bell is not compulsory here, so I don't have one thus it can't be stolen.

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    Hex/torx heads can be filled with hot blue that can still be removed if required with some picking and an amount of swear words but not that readily by the occasional thief.
    – Carel
    Mar 27, 2021 at 12:53
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    I like the idea of making accessories hard to remove. There are security QR skewers, etc, that can replace conventional ones, and I've seen removable hex-head "fillers" from Pitlock that turn a regular bolt into a security bolt.
    – Adam Rice
    Mar 27, 2021 at 12:57
  • I don't really see how this answers the question. Looks more like a frame challenge to me.
    – thosphor
    Mar 28, 2021 at 12:51

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