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Road Bike Quick Release Skewers and Thru Axles – Everything You Need to Know

Want to change wheels quickly at your road machine – road bike skewer and thru axles makes it possible. These allow you to quickly and easily fit or remove a wheel in just a few simple steps. But what exactly are quick releases and road thru axles? And what are the differences between them? On this page, we tell you everything you need to know about road bike quick release skewers and thru axles. Read more

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Road Bike Wheel Skewers and Thru Axles – Crucial Bike Parts

Changing the wheels is one of the most regular maintenance tasks when you ride a road bike. If you have a puncture when you’re out and about, you have to remove and refit the wheel in order to change the tire. If you transport your road bike in the car, you usually have to transport the frame and wheels separately. And if you have several road bike wheelsets, you’ll have to change them frequently anyway. There are two main systems for changing wheels on the market: quick releases and thru axles. The former are used on road bikes with traditional rim brakes, while the latter are fitted on road bikes with disc brakes.

Quick Releases for Road Bikes: What Are Road Bike Quick Releases? And How Do They Work?

As the name suggests, road bike quick releases are small bike parts that enable the quick release and tightening of the wheel hub on the fork or on the frame. They allow the wheels to be changed in seconds with no need for any tools – a huge advantage if you have a puncture or want to change a tire when you’re out and about. Road bike quick releases consist of three parts: a lever, an axis and a nut. The axle is inserted into the wheel hub and the nut is then screwed onto the axle on the chain ring side. To tighten the wheel, screw on the lever on the side opposite the chain ring and secure it. To remove the wheel, simply open the lever again. You don’t usually need any tools to fit road bike quick releases.

Road Bike Axles: What Are Road Bike Thru Axles and How Do They Work?

For many years, quick releases were the only available option on the road bike market. With the introduction of disc brakes however, an alternative in the form of the thru axle was added. Thru axles are already a familiar sight on the mountain bike scene, where they have been used for many years thanks to their greater stability. Because disc brakes ensure increased application of force on the axle thanks to their excellent grip, a mountain bike thru axle is therefore the solution of choice for all racers with disc brakes. The same is true for the road bike.

Why road thru axles are more stable than quick releases becomes clear when you look at the details: while quick releases are only a few millimetres thick, thru axles measure up to 15 millimetres in diameter. 

But that’s not all: their special design ensures additional security. Unlike the quick release, which is pushed by the axle, the thru axle takes on the role of the axle itself. This prevents it from slipping out even when under heavy stress. In addition, thanks to this design, the wheel always sits perfectly in the bike frame, which is essential due to the delicate design of disc brakes. The disadvantage of the axle is its somewhat complicated use: for example, screwing and unscrewing a thru axle takes a little longer compared with the quick release. In addition, there are different thru axles standards that make finding spare parts more difficult.

Road Bike Quick Release Skewer vs Thru Axle – Which Is Better?

Both systems have their advantages and disadvantages: while road bike quick releases are easier to use, thru axles offer better stability. Which system is right for you is a matter of personal taste or depends on your road bike. Below we provide an overview with the most important information on quick releases and thru axles for road bikes:

Summary about Road Skewers and Thru Axles

  • Quick releases are fast and easy to use.
  • Quick releases are almost always used on road bikes with rim brakes.
  • Using a quick release, you can fit and remove the wheel on your bike without any tools.
  • Quick releases are lighter than thru axles.
  • However, thru axles are thicker and thus also significantly more stable than quick releases, making them suitable for heavier loads.
  • The design of the thru axle ensures that the wheel is always perfectly straight when fitted. With the quick release on the other hand, the wheel can sometimes be fitted at the wrong alignment.
  • Thru axles are almost always used on road bikes with disc brakes.
  • There are thru axles with different axle standards in relation to diameter, length and thread dimensions. You should therefore find out exactly which thru axles you need for your road bike.