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  1. #1
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    Commuting with a mountain bike and QR skewers

    I have a fitness bike that's great for commuting, but every now and then I like to take the mountain bike, just so I can bounce off things or plow through non-paved areas. I worry about locking up the mountain bike since it has QR skewers. Has anyone replaced their mountain bike QR skewers with standard 15mm bolt skewers?

  2. #2
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    You mean 5mm skewers? Maybe consider Pitlock instead if you are concerned. I think 5mm skewer can be a deterrent but it's not difficult for a thief to carry a multi-tool either. I've heard a couple stories here about people getting their Brooks saddle stolen even though they didn't use QR clamp.

    Admittedly I've commuted with a mountain bike with QR skewers front and rear and only locked up the frame and back wheel with a U-lock placed near the rear V-brakes. I did worry about my front wheel but in the few months I used it to get to the university and back, no one ever touched my bike. My bike was full STX-RC so it was nicer than almost everything else around.

    My current commute bike came with skewers that are pentagon instead of Allen key skewers so I think I'm a bit safer.

    If you use a standard size U-lock perhaps get a cable to loop around the other wheel.

  3. #3
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    Thanks. I've been thinking it might just be best to carry a 6 foot steel cable with my U-lock. I currently use a Kryptonite mini that i run around the rear rim through the rear triangle, as Sheldon Brown suggests.

    Not sure about 5mm skewers...not familiar with that size. I just know that the bolts on the front wheel of my fitness bike take a 15mm socket.

  4. #4
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    I think we are a bit mixed up here. When I said 5mm, I meant skewers that use a 5mm Allen key instead of a lever like regular QR skewers. You are referring to a 15mm nut or something that requires a 15mm nut or socket.

    I think 6 ft is a bit excessive and that 4 ft should be enough. It is possible to secure the front wheel by wrapping the cable around it and threading one end through the eye on the opposite end. Now take the end that you've just threaded and put it inside the U-lock to secure the front wheel. Cut the cable at any point and it is defeated, so it's not necessary to put both eyes inside the U-lock or carry more you than you need.

  5. #5
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    Ah, I've never seen skewers that use an allen key.

    I've not seen a 4ft cable either. At Home Depot they have 6ft and 15ft. Where would I get a 4ft at?

  6. #6
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    Allen key or hex head skewer:
    Halo Hex Key Skewers at JensonUSA.com

    There are some more on eBay along with some more colors.

    Kryptonite has a 4 ft cable but if you buy from hardware store then the choices will be different.

  7. #7
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    Ah, sweet. Those skewers look like an easy swap. I was worried because the 15mm nuts on my fitness bike screw on to a much larger axle, and I wasn't sure how a swap like that could be done. These should make it easy.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, I've replaced my skewers with the hexhead type. I think mine are from Axiom, maybe? Much cheaper than pitlock, but still pretty easy to steal since you just need a multitool. Then I also run a 4' cable through both wheels, and that came with my ulock.

    Not foolproof, but it lets me breath a little easier.

  9. #9
    namagomi
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    pitlock, pinhead, handcuffs(with pink frilly boa)... ulock and cable. Pretty sure your std thief has a multi-tool so allen keys, torx etc wouldn't be my first choice.

  10. #10
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    +1 for Pinhead. I've been using it for years. It secures the headset, seatpost and wheels. I feel must safer locking it up in the Montreal area.

  11. #11
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    I replaced a friend's QR with 5mm hex bolt skewers, and she's happy with them. She commutes every day and parks in the city center. They cost under $10 for the pair.

    My wife and I use Pitlock, which actually lock with a coded nut (you need the nut and a 14mm wrench or a long hex key in a pinch) to remove them. They are much more expensive.

    I tried Pinhead years ago, but found that they rusted quickly and the 'key' easily stripped out the head of the locking skewer. Maybe they've changed the design and materials since then.

  12. #12
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    Looking at the Pitlock website, a lock for front wheel plus seat post starts at 44 Euros, about $61. I was talking to someone at the shop where I bought my bike once and he mentioned that my rear wheel was about $80-90 to replace (if I trashed it fooling with the rear derailleur and threw the chain into the wheel). I'm not sure if he meant labor to rebuild or just replace the wheel with a new one. That Pitlock set is about 2/3 the cost of my wheel so it seems excessive. I'm well aware some wheels cost far more than $90.

    The argument against that would be that the inconvenience of losing a wheel isn't worth saving $60.

    Hex key skewers I think are a good deterrent especially if there are other targets around. Multi-tool or not, if there are unsecured wheels with QR skewers, those will be a softer target. I would think a primary reason to steal only a wheel is if the thief needs one to make a usable bike. For example if another bike was only locked by the front wheel.

  13. #13
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    How about the security skewers from Velo-Orange? They use a special 5mm allen so your average 5mm allen key won't work. Plus, they are reasonably priced. I have a few sets and am happy with them. I haven't tried, but two pairs of pliers MIGHT allow a thief to loosen it. But, it is still better than a standard bolt-on skewer. Just don't loose the special wrench.

  14. #14
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    My commuter has standard QR skewers, I use a U-lock to lock my front wheel to frame and to the bike rack. The rear wheel is left unsecured but it does take more effort to steal. My bike parking area at work is fairly safe compared to leaving the bike at say a college bike rack or something. If I was worried about it, I would probably add a cable to the rear wheel and keep the u-bolt on the front.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginz View Post
    How about the security skewers from Velo-Orange?
    I'd never seen those before, so thanks for pointing them out: VO Anti-theft Skewers - Skewers - Wheelsets, Rims, & Hubs - Components

    The type of wheeltheft that's the biggest threat where I am is probably the homeless guys who takeoff down the street with somebody's newly liberated qr front wheel. Hex skewers and a cable are enough to prevent that nonsense, so pinhead/pitlock never seemed worth the extra expense. But those velo-orange skewers are a great middle-ground.

  16. #16
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    I had a friend awhile back that started commuting by bike. I warned him to use a cable through both wheels. The one day he forgot to lock the rear wheel, it was stolen. Go price a rear wheel. It gets expensive when you add up the wheel, cassette, tire, and tube. It is really easy to carry a small cable and run it through the wheels to the U-lock. Seems like a no-brainer to me. (Yes, you can cut the cable with bolt cutters, but as you can tell from this post, lots of people don't lock their wheels so the thieves go for the easy targets instead).

  17. #17
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    I would use a cable wrapped around the front wheel and u-lock or a seperate cable lock. Using an allen key-skewer just means the theif needs an allen key to get your wheel and they're easily found. I haven't looking into special locking skewers which need specific tools to open them since I don't like the idea of having to remember to bring a specific tool, non-interchangable tool everytime I ride my bike in case I lose it or forget it one day or it gets worn down.

    A seperate cable lock or a seperate cable looped to your u-lock also means you can attach your bike to the rack at two points which means the bike can't be used as a lever to wrench open the lock.

  18. #18
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    A cable lock for the front wheel also means you can attain the same level of security no matter which wheelset you're using so you're covered even if you're borrowing a friend's bike or using something other than your usual commute bike some day.

    An ideal solution would be 5mm hex wrench skewers combined with a u-lock and a cable if you're feeling really paranoid.

  19. #19
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    Sometimes I just hobble my commuter bike with quick release wheels. You need a u lock with a long u part. Take off the front wheel and lock up to the rear wheel and through the frame. So the u lock has locked it to a post/rack, both wheels and the frame.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    I'd never seen those before, so thanks for pointing them out: VO Anti-theft Skewers - Skewers - Wheelsets, Rims, & Hubs - Components

    The type of wheeltheft that's the biggest threat where I am is probably the homeless guys who takeoff down the street with somebody's newly liberated qr front wheel. Hex skewers and a cable are enough to prevent that nonsense, so pinhead/pitlock never seemed worth the extra expense. But those velo-orange skewers are a great middle-ground.
    Here is another option which will even help stop a hex key equipped thief

    http://www.amazon.com/OnGuard-2-Piec.../dp/B0029LBQPQ

  21. #21
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    Anyone ever seen a narrow gauge cable - like the 2.5mm kind they sell for saddles - but in lengths of 4'+?

    I use a 10mm cable through my wheels, even though anyone with boltcutters could be through it in a second. I just want to keep the kids and drunks away, so I've wondered why I carry a heavy cable when a light one would be just as good? But I've never been able to find anyone selling a long, narrow, looped cable. They're all the short 2~2.5' versions, which aren't long enough.

  22. #22
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    ^^ I got a 4' Kryptonite Keeper 512 Cable and Combo Lock for my bikepacking trip at biketiresdirect.com for $6. Really wimpy 5mm cable but really small/light, fits in the palm of your hand.

  23. #23
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    I usually just use a u-lock with a cable. Anti-theft skewers are a good idea. I'd probably just use a cable though generally. Maybe both if you are in a very high bike theft area.

    On a side note, something I've heard of people doing to protect their seat posts/saddles from being stolen is super gluing a ball bearing inside the allen bolt, so someone can't just stick an allen wrench in there. It's a semi permanent method of protection, so I'd get my set up dialed before doing it.

  24. #24
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    I take 2 locks, one for each wheel, but I thought one day, a thief would only need an allen key to loosen the stem and then take the fork. Suspension forks are worth way more then front wheels.

  25. #25
    namagomi
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxforce View Post
    I take 2 locks, one for each wheel, but I thought one day, a thief would only need an allen key to loosen the stem and then take the fork. Suspension forks are worth way more then front wheels.

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