Use quick-release to upgrade your bike

Bike was equipped with flywheels on each side of the rear wheel and the two flywheels were different sizes before 1972. When going uphill, use the big flywheel to pedal with less effort. In contrast, use the small flywheel when going downhill or riding on flat roads. However, if you want to replace the flywheel, you must remove the rear wheel, turn it over and put it back on.

In an amateur bicycle race, Tulio Campagnolo was replacing the flywheel but the stuck snow froze the screws. Due to the cold weather, his hands were frozen. He wasted a lot of time and energy when replacing the flywheel. After that, Campagnolo began to think about ways to improve it. Three years later he invented the quick-release, which was very popular in the following years. With the development of quick-releases, how many types are there and how to use them correctly? Let’s talk about the quick release.

The quick-release generally consists of a handle with a cam structure, a threaded shaft, and a matching nut. When opening the handle, the handle cam is in the minimum position; in contrast, the cam is in the maximum diameter state which reduces the distance between the handle base and the nut at the other end to fasten.

quick-release parts

1.1 Types of quick-release levers

Open and closed quick-release
RockShox, and Fox thru-axle quick release

According to different cams, the quick-release lever is divided into open and closed cams. The closed type has a stronger fasten force than that of the open type. Seat post clamps and mountain bike quick-releases usually use open cams, while road bike quick-releases mainly use closed cams.


According to the different axis of the quick-release levers, they can be divided into rod quick-releases and thru-axle quick-releases. Thru-axle quick-release must be used with the corresponding front fork. Currently, Fox and RockShox thru-axle quick-release are very popular. The thru-axle axis is thicker, more rigid, and more stable.

 
1.2 How to use quick-release correctly


1. How to lock the quick-release


Generally, the manual quick-release nut is used to tighten or loosen the quick-release. The rotating quick-release handle is used for DT Swiss quick-release. Otherwise, the nuts and the forks may wear easily and cannot be locked.

Lock quick-release

When locking the quick-release, there is resistance when the quick-release handle is pulled to the same linear position as the axis, and push the handle with the palm to lock it. If the force required when locking keeps increasing, it means it is too tight. If it is easy to push, it means it is too loose, continue to adjust until more force is required to push the handle and it reaches the locking position.


2. Quick-release inspection


Before riding, check whether the quick-release handle is locked. Lift the wheel and tap the tire toward the ground (the rear wheel taps toward the central axis), make sure the wheel does not shift or fall.


3. Locking position of the quick-release-handle


For the front wheel, try to fix the handle in front of the front fork. For the rear wheel, fix the quick-release handle between the seat stay and chain stay, or behind it and parallel to the chain stay.

front quick-release locking position
rear quick-release locking position

In conclusion, we should pay attention to the following three tips when using quick-release.

1. The quick-release cannot be fastened by rotating the quick-release handle

2. The quick-release handle must be locked in place.

3. Before riding, check whether the quick-release is locked.

1.3 How to maintain quick-release


The key point is to lubricate the cam and threads. If the quick-release handle is difficult to lock, you need to add grease to the quick-release cam, it can reduce cam wear. Also do not forget the screws, grease help screws prevent corrosion.

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YouTube: https://youtu.be/uUFFd8IVcZ0

References:

[1] ‘Cycling Bible’ Editorial Board. Cycling Bible [M]. 1st Edition. Beijing: Machinery Industry Press, 2013.

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