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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this is probably a newbie question, but I get conflicting reports from everyone I ask.

How much do you tighten your skewers? Should you crank them down as much as you can? Just enough to keep them secure on the drop-outs? Can over tightening impede the bearing function?
 

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So. Calif.
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Definitely not either extreme: "crank down as much as you can" or "just enough to keep secure "

I set QR so that I have to press "firmly" with full length of thumb, and maybe part of thumb's base, to lock the QR. I can loosen QR, grasping with 2 fingers and thumb.

Generally, you should just begin to feel some resistance in the lever, when the lever is pointed straight out, or a little past. This will vary slightly by brand of QR. Some of the ultra-light minimalist skewers are a bit more fussy about initial positioning.

On some brands of hubs, eg Shimano, tightening the skewer does slightly tighten the bearing play. Park Tool recommends setting Shimano bearings slightly less tight, before tightening the skewer. Higher end, ball and cup/cone Campagnolo hubs do Not have this behaviour. IMHO, it's better to err on bearings too snug, than too loose.

Finally, many elusive creaking and clicking sounds can be eventually traced to the QR skewers ... the shaft should always be coated with grease, and a drop of oil into the cam mechanism ... sometimes the surfaces of the lug may also require a thin smear of grease, to eliminate unwanted noises.
 

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maybe getting a little OT

You can figure out just how tight you need your skewers on the road. As stated, tighten firmly. On the ride, check the back wheel. If it's too loose the chain may have a tendency to pull the wheel off center (under load) and in extreme cases the tire will rub against the chain stay. If you find your rear wheel loosing it's alignment after putting some pressure on it for some miles, tighten just a bit more. Again, you don't want to tighten so tight that you risk snapping the skewer but I find I tighten the rear tighter than the front.
A little OT here:
If a shop will be adjusting your bearings, you really won't have to worry about this.
In regards to the bearings, I have found that all bearings will be affected by tightening the skewer. I adjust my bearings for minimal play with a tight skewer. This is actually easier to test than it may sound. You just get 2 thick washers that are thicker than the ends of the axle shaft and put the skewer on and tighten it up and spin test for bearing play, and this is where I disagree about bearing play though. It's better to error on the side of too loose than too tight. You definitely will wear out the hub bearings quicker with a too tight bearing as opposed to a too loose bearing. A too tight bearing will start trying to wearing in clearance starting with the first revolution.
tom_h said:
Definitely not either extreme: "crank down as much as you can" or "just enough to keep secure "

I set QR so that I have to press "firmly" with full length of thumb, and maybe part of thumb's base, to lock the QR. I can loosen QR, grasping with 2 fingers and thumb.

Generally, you should just begin to feel some resistance in the lever, when the lever is pointed straight out, or a little past. This will vary slightly by brand of QR. Some of the ultra-light minimalist skewers are a bit more fussy about initial positioning.

On some brands of hubs, eg Shimano, tightening the skewer does slightly tighten the bearing play. Park Tool recommends setting Shimano bearings slightly less tight, before tightening the skewer. Higher end, ball and cup/cone Campagnolo hubs do Not have this behaviour. IMHO, it's better to err on bearings too snug, than too loose.

Finally, many elusive creaking and clicking sounds can be eventually traced to the QR skewers ... the shaft should always be coated with grease, and a drop of oil into the cam mechanism ... sometimes the surfaces of the lug may also require a thin smear of grease, to eliminate unwanted noises.
 

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On my steel frame from '87, I had to crank them down hard because they would slip if I didn't. I couldn't use the modern style, I had to use the original campy style ones too. On my new frame, I get them snug, as the dropouts are vertical vs. nearly horizontal.
 

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I've tended to do the routine as from the old internal cam QR. With the lever open and perpendicular to frame, snug the nut up and then push the lever closed. Some variables of a 1/4 turn or so but on internal cam types, this works for me. Consistent too...I've seen frames that have lots of dropout wear...I can only attribute that to lots of wheel removals, overly tightening them to smash the dropout over time or overly loose where the movement abrades the dropout.

Done similar with the external cam types but those go into vertical dropouts so having the rear wheel shift isn't like on horizontal drop out frames.
 
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