1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
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  1. #1
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    Total noob question re: quick release skewer

    I have a 2010 Gary Fisher Cobia 29er. I bought this bike used about 10 days ago, and I'm brand new to mountain biking. The skewers are of the quick-release variety. Here's my question:

    When I pop the quick release on the skewer for my rear wheel, it drops right out... but when I pop the quick release on my front skewer, the wheel won't budge! In order to remove the front wheel, I end up having to unscrew the knob on the far side of the quick release to loosen it further before the wheel will drop out.

    The result, then, is that when I put the wheel back on and tighten everything back down, I have to readjust my brake calipers since the rotor isn't in the exact same spot laterally. This cannot be right -- what am I missing here?

    If it makes a difference, each wheel has the skewer mounted with the quick release lever to the left, alongside the brake rotor.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbartlett79 View Post
    I have a 2010 Gary Fisher Cobia 29er. I bought this bike used about 10 days ago, and I'm brand new to mountain biking. The skewers are of the quick-release variety. Here's my question:

    When I pop the quick release on the skewer for my rear wheel, it drops right out... but when I pop the quick release on my front skewer, the wheel won't budge! In order to remove the front wheel, I end up having to unscrew the knob on the far side of the quick release to loosen it further before the wheel will drop out.

    The result, then, is that when I put the wheel back on and tighten everything back down, I have to readjust my brake calipers since the rotor isn't in the exact same spot laterally. This cannot be right -- what am I missing here?

    If it makes a difference, each wheel has the skewer mounted with the quick release lever to the left, alongside the brake rotor.
    This is normal.

    The front forks are made to not drop out straight without requiring you to unscrew the QR nut. There is the result of front wheels falling off while riding, in the early days of QR axles. Most of this was due to user error, but that led to lawsuits etc.

    All QR forks after that era come with a ridge around the dropout area that prevents the axle from coming off unless the user unscrews the QR nut on the skewer.


    -S

  3. #3
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    Got it. So it's normal to have to readjust the calipers (these are Avid BB-5 mechanical disc brakes) every time you reinstall the front wheel?

  4. #4
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    That doesn't sound right...?
    Do you use an caliper insert while the wheel is out? I would avoid squeezing the brake lever at all.
    I am very new to discs - albeit hydros, and haven't have to re-adjust anything as a result of wheel removal

    As far as the "lawyer nubs" you can grind them off if you wish - I certainly like the idea of true QR
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  5. #5
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    You shouldn't need to readjust your calipers. Are you tensioning your skewers with the bike on the floor? I let the weight of the bike rest on the axle, I will kind of balance the bike with my chin on the stem, and adjust the skewer.
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  6. #6
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    Yeah, that doesn't seem right... right?

    I know you're not supposed to squeeze a hydraulic brake with the wheel off -- because then you have to spread the calipers -- but on a mechanical brake that shouldn't be a problem. No pressurized line.

    I haven't been tensioning the skewers with the bike on the ground, but will try that. Alternately, I suppose I could squeeze the brake lever to align the rotor, then tension the skewer?

    EDIT: tried both, neither made a difference. Wheel spun fine with no rotor drag, removed wheel, reinstalled wheel, now I have rotor drag. Removed and reinstalled 6-8 more times with same result, trying weighting the bike and squeezing the brake different ways as I tightened down.

  7. #7
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    Don't use the brake lever. If I put my wheels on with the bike in the stand, then drop the bike on the floor and release the skewer, the bike will drop down on to the axle perceptibly sometimes. You need the weight of the bike to get the axle centered in to the dropouts on the fork, and the rear drops for that matter.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by natzx7 View Post
    Don't use the brake lever. If I put my wheels on with the bike in the stand, then drop the bike on the floor and release the skewer, the bike will drop down on to the axle perceptibly sometimes. You need the weight of the bike to get the axle centered in to the dropouts on the fork, and the rear drops for that matter.
    Yep...you need to make sure the axle is centered properly. I pull upwards on my wheel (bike on stand) while tightening the QR lever.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    Yep...you need to make sure the axle is centered properly. I pull upwards on my wheel (bike on stand) while tightening the QR lever.
    I wonder if it's possible that my calipers are currently set up for an improperly-centered wheel... I've had to adjust them multiple times.

    Trying to make sense of Park Tool's instructions re: adjusting nut now.

  10. #10
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    Be consistent about how you install and remove your wheel. I've always been able to just put my wheel in and go with both mechanicals and hydraulics. At least unless some genius squeezed the brake lever on the hydros. Usually me.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbartlett79 View Post
    I wonder if it's possible that my calipers are currently set up for an improperly-centered wheel... I've had to adjust them multiple times.

    Trying to make sense of Park Tool's instructions re: adjusting nut now.
    Check out their vid, or many on youtube, you should not have to re-adjust everytime you take the front wheel out. I have a lefty fork which requires loosen the front caliper everytime I take the front wheel out but I just pop it back in without any adjustment.

  12. #12
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    That's quite common if you wont set the skewer the same tension as it was before you took the wheel off. With experience you'll learn to put it on without the necessity of readjusting. (or maybe not )

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Millfox View Post
    That's quite common if you wont set the skewer the same tension as it was before you took the wheel off. With experience you'll learn to put it on without the necessity of readjusting. (or maybe not )
    I have to disagree.

    Unless you set the tension too low (to an unsafe level) the skewer should seat mechanically against the dropouts and the dropouts seat mechanically against the axle. One thing that might happen when you aim to set the same tension is that you use the same technique every time you close the skewer which ensures repeatable positioning of the axle in the dropouts. If the skewer is closed properly (it should be difficult to release the lever but should be able to be done on the trail by hand) then the exact tension of the closure is not important.

    My tips:
    -Make sure the skewer is closed to the back of the bike on the fork or closed so the lever is protected by being closed between the chainstay and seatstay. That's old school and may not work on full suspension frames or suspension forks. If you can't follow those tips, try and close the fork lever straight up and the rear toward the back of the bike. Whatever you do, you want to try to protect the levers from being snagged on branches or any other trail obstacle.
    -Put your hand on the stem and press down while you close the front skewer. I'll usually give the wheel a rock back and forth to ensure the wheel seats in the dropouts properly before I close the skewer. Same with the back only with pressing down on the saddle.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbartlett79 View Post
    I wonder if it's possible that my calipers are currently set up for an improperly-centered wheel... I've had to adjust them multiple times.

    Trying to make sense of Park Tool's instructions re: adjusting nut now.
    Did you try doing a simple caliper realignment ? (loosen the two caliper screws; squeeze and hold lever; tighten caliper screws; release lever)

    -S

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by shibiwan View Post
    Did you try doing a simple caliper realignment?
    Yes, that's my concern -- that I am having to realign the caliper every time I reinstall the wheel, which is an extra step of fiddling if I need to change a tube trailside.

  16. #16
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    I have this problem with my Avid CRs. I just don't take my front wheel of unless completely necessary. And if I do, I push the pads all the way back in before I put my wheel on.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  17. #17
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    Nice to know someone else has the same problem with the front skewer. Drives me nuts as I have to fiddle with both sides of the skewer to get it to work right. I've just learned to visually look to center the rotor and attempt to tighten the skewer. Maybe it's a strength thing, but getting the handle of the QR to close can be a pain as well. I have to keep adjusting until I can get it to close.

  18. #18
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    I mean I push the pads out to their widest setting.
    No, YOU don't understand. You're making an ass of yourself for all of eternity.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Millfox View Post
    That's quite common if you wont set the skewer the same tension as it was before you took the wheel off. With experience you'll learn to put it on without the necessity of readjusting. (or maybe not )
    I have to agree and disagree. I have had several friends and myself who have had this problem over the years. I just rode anyways because the drag wasn't bad. Now I don't have a problem and I'm not sure what I've done differently. With a specific brake, I just didn't want to remove the front wheel. With my BB7 brakes it wasn't that big of a deal because a simple click or two of the brake pad and it was realigned again. I had a friend and we could never get his wheel to set in there right.

    Currently I don't have this problem. I can't quite put my finger on what causes it.
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  20. #20
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    OP,
    Focus on properly centering the front wheel.
    The "lawyer tabs" prevent true Q/R function, so with them one must re-set proper tension* each time the front wheel is installed.
    (old school proper tension = imprint left in palm)
    As others mentioned, let the bike weight rest on the front axle, then before tightening, check to see if the tire/rim is close to being centered between the stays.
    If so... tighten up the Q/R, adjust the caliper, and go have a fun ride.

    If not... get the dropout alignment checked before having the wheel re-dished.
    Most shops have a Park tool with adjustable cups to insure that the dropouts are parallel. With disc brakes mis-alignment can cause many issues. If far enough out, like my new fork was, braking caused the axle to shift, and effect caliper adjustment.

    Not implying this is the case, just something to check, as without the wheels in place, it takes very little to knock a dropout out of parallel. (Big offenders are shipping & fork mount racks.)
    Before setting the "dish" of a wheel to the bike, the dropouts should be properly aligned, and a # of people do not do /know this..
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  21. #21
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    Zebra mentions pressing down on the stem when securing the quick release.

    I guess I assumed other people did this too - after all, how else do you get the bike to stay on the wheel?? But I wonder if actually, my "secret ingredient" for not having problems with caliper alignment and mechanical disc brakes was that I've been doing this all along.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  22. #22
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    I too have this issue with my Hardrock Disc (mech), it drives me nuts as I have the brakes aligned perfect for both feel and clearance. I take the front wheel off for some reason and put it back on and the brakes are dragging slightly. I was hoping there would be some old timer confucius answer to fixing this. I have done the stem pressure trick with no help, wiggling no help either.

  23. #23
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I'd also add that I've often had a little brake rub at least in spots on my bikes with mechanical disc brakes. I just shrug and go ride.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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