The bicycle wheel quick release is a mechanism designed to attach a wheel to a bicycle quickly, easily and without the need for tools.

Although this type of mechanism is also commonly found in seat post clamps and folding bike hinges, today we will talk about the quick release for bicycle wheels. 


Quick release operation

The mechanism consists of a rod with a cord   one end and a lever-operated cam system at the other end. The rod is inserted into the hollow axle of the wheel, threaded into a special nut which is also known as a cap and the lever is closed to tighten the cam and secure the wheel to the fork or dropouts as appropriate.


How to adjust and close the quick release on your bike

The lever of the quick release mechanism is usually labelled in English with: Open or Close on each side, but if yours does not have this legend, you will know it is open when it is turned 180 degrees on itself. This indicates that the system is released and the mechanism is open. 


 Close it, proceed as follows:

Screw one of the caps: Hold both ends of the quick release and turn one end clockwise until you feel the mechanism tighten.

Check the tension of the mechanism: Try retract the locking lever by turning it 180 degrees from its open position. If you can only partially close the lever, open it, unscrew the adjustment slightly and try again to adjust its tension as explained below.


the adjustment

The tension adjustment of the quick release mechanism is correct when the lever presents adequate resistance to closing using only your hand, it should leave an impression in the palm of your hand. If this is not the case, you must adjust the tension of the mechanism. To do this, open the quick release lever.


Screw to add tension or unscrew to remove tension: Gradually rotate one of the caps until you feel that the tension is adequate and the wheel is securely fastened to the fork and/or frame. 


Press down with the palm of your hand to close the lever. Using the palm of your hand allows you to put your fingers behind the frame or fork to “pinch” and help squeeze the lever closed.


Make sure the wheel is correctly positioned. Check that it is correctly positioned on the dropouts, that it is centred and that the quick release is fully closed.


Removal of a wheel with quick-release

Open the quick release mechanism:  Rotate the lever 180 degrees, then unscrew the ends and clear the dropouts from the fork or frame.


Loosen the caps. Turn counterclockwise to unscrew until there is enough room for the wheel to come out of the dropouts of the fork or frame.


Keep in mind that most forks have retaining tabs. These tabs are small protrusions that prevent an improperly secured wheel from slipping out of the fork. If your fork has them, just unscrew the nut until there is enough room for the caps to release the tabs and you can remove the wheel. 


Mounting a wheel with quick-release fastener

Mount the wheel: You can’t centre the wheel, either on the frame  on the fork, as the case may be. Check that the axle is securely seated in the dropouts of your bike and tighten one end of the quick release until it is snug.


Close the mechanism: Squeeze the locking lever so that it is positioned in line with the fork or frame stays, so that it is levered with your fingers when you close the lever with the palm of your hand. This way, the quick-release lever will be somewhat protected by the fork or frame and will not be able to catch on anything.


How to tell if the quick-release is correctly adjusted

There are two main ways to tell if the quick release lever is doing its job in keeping the wheel securely on your bike.


Make sure the mechanism is in the closed position: Most levers are stamped “Open” and “Closed”, so look for it. If it says “Open”, it means that the wheel is not tight and may come off, even if the wheel and lever feel tight. In case the lever is not marked, you can tell if it is closed or open by its curvature. 


Check that the lever does not protrude from the frame: If a quick-release lever protrudes from the frame, is not flush, this also means that it is not fully closed. It may appear to be holding the wheel, however, a lever that is protruding is not closed and may come loose. 


Check the tension of the mechanism: If everything is in order and the lever of the quick release mechanism looks in a proper position, you can test how firm it is by trying to release it by pulling it with a little force.


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