The quick release (QR) came to make life easier for cyclists. It’s an essential piece for anyone who doesn’t want to waste time tightening and loosening screws. Furthermore, it revolutionized the time of changing wheels, mainly in competition. But using the QR wrongly or dangerously is still common.

Quick Release is the name of the cylindrical part that sits inside the axles of the bicycle wheels and fastens the wheel to the bicycle frame. Therefore, they make the removal and placement of the wheels much easier.

On road bikes, the QR has a smaller measure at the front and a bigger one at the back, and they press on the opposite side of the transmission, that is, the left side of the bike.

The part was invented in the late 1920s by Tulio Campagnolo, a cyclist who pedaled in the rain and cold, and with cold hands could not remove the nut and change the wheel. The invention has been copied by many different makes and models of bicycles and it couldn’t be more popular. But there are three common mistakes that are made by those with quick release wheels that need to be corrected to ensure safety.

Errors in using the QR

1. Ride with lever open

This is still a common mistake, especially among beginners or cyclists who have recently used the QR. The quick release lever must always be closed. It is important to turn the quick tightening by the locknut until it is tight enough and then close the lever. Being only with the wheel tight, but with the lever open or up, still keeps the wheel “loose”, which can cause discomfort with the wheel during pedaling and even accidents. QRs generally have “close” and “open” indications on their levers. Make sure the “close” is facing outwards when you’re done adjusting the quick tightening.

2. Too tight

Another problem for many cyclists is that they tighten the key too much. This can cause cracks in frames, particularly carbon ones. Also, another very common mistake is to press the key so that there is little space to place your fingers when opening again.

It’s important that when we close the key, we are able to have space to place our fingers, because if it is too tight, we may not be able to open it with our hands. Of course, in a situation of an occasional ride, everything is resolved taking longer. But for those who compete and need quick changes, this is a very common mistake.

3. Use inappropriate QR for disc brake wheels

Some brands manufacture QR that open over 180 degrees. In other words, the levers make a greater movement than the traditional one moves up and down. If you have a wheel with a rim brake, this will not be a problem, but using this type of quick release can be dangerous on disc brake wheels because the lever can open and lock onto the disc, causing an accident.

The ideal for those who have disc brakes is to use the new special QR for disc wheels, the so-called thru-axles, which do not need a locknut. They are tight on the opposite side of the disc through a more complex thread system. Of course, this will always depend on the type of axle the wheel has, and whether or not it is compatible with the last one I mentioned.

Author: Tiago Torres, Segredos do Ciclismo