Monday, October 13, 2008

Skewering the wheelgoods business

I tried to fix a quick release skewer problem the other day by joining the lever of one with the axle of another. Let me tell you, there's a bunch of designs out there, and most of them are pretty mediocre attempts at improving on Campagnolo's 1927 design.

These ones are rarely user serviceable, have poor leverage (the cam surface has a large diameter compared to the lever length) and bind up once you get some dirt in them (since the mechanism is hanging out in the open like a bad muffin top). Also, they rarely fit into an axle clamp on a stationary trainer.

These ones, I thought, were pretty good. Decent leverage, protected mechanism. However, they are put together by a workshop full of Malaysian elves with hammers and anvils by riveting the skewer onto the rotating pin. If it ever goes bad, throw it out, you can't access any of the mechanism to clean or repair it. The riveted bit is hidden under that shiny metallic tear drop shaped cap seen below. I found this out the hard way. Oh, and that thing that looks like a flat blade screw head on the other side? That's put there to fool you.

These are, always were, and will be the best. By removing the little spring clip on the other side of the lever, you can pop the whole thing apart, clean it, replace stuff with spare parts you have lying around, grease it, and put it back together.

And this stuff, well, that's for sponsored riders and people with more money than speed:

That last one, the DT Swiss Uber Helveti-Skewer claims 50% greater clamping force, which, if you're rocking traditional cup-and cone wheel bearings, could clamp things down too tight and result in premature bearing wear.

Photos from,


-d said...

I'm not sure about the functionality, but I sure like the looks of the new Crank Bros skewers:

-p said...

The snazzy industrial design fascinates me more than the engineering. I can't imagine them working any better than a Shimano Dura Ace or Campagnolo Record skewer or being any lighter than a boutique titanium model. I'll have to try one out in a shop and write about it.

-p said...

What am I saying? Dura Ace? Record? The Tiagra skewers that came on my Bianchi touring bike are good enough for 99.995% of the cycling population.