Axle nuts / QR?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by molloy, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. molloy

    molloy New Member

    Dec 12, 2005
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    How simple is it to change a QR hub over to fixed nuts? I use my bike for commuting in London. It seems an awful lot of wheels get pinched unless secured by yards of cable for the sake of a spanner in your puncture kit.

  2. fish156

    fish156 New Member

    Mar 26, 2005
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    It's not that difficult, assuming you know how to properly adjust hub bearings. Most axles are 9mm, for fronts, and 10mm, for rears. You need to measure the distance between the outside of the dropout faces and then add the thickness of the two nuts, plus about 2mm per side for good measure - I like to have a couple of mm of the axle protruding past the outside face of the nut For rears, you may need to add the thickness of a bolt-on derailleur hanger (common in a lot of older bikes).

    So, for a typical front:
    Assume 100mm standard dropout spacing
    Assume 4.5mm for dropout thickness (yours may be different - you must measure)
    Assume 7mm for thickness of nut (yours may be different - you must measure )
    Assume 2mm for "good measure"
    100mm + 2(4.5mm) + 2(7mm) + 2(2mm)
    = 100 + 9 + 14 + 4
    = 127mm x 9mm

    For a typical rear:
    130mm + 9 + 14 + 4
    = 157mm x 10mm

    Ok, these are minimums. You can get away with more, but I'd advise against less.
    You may want to add a washer on the outside to protect your dropouts. They make special serrated washers for this purpose. Add those thicknesses if you use them.

    Here's a reference source for replacement axles. Just about any LBS can order from these guys, or get them via QBP:

    There is a link for "Spacers & Nuts" on that page, as well.

    Pick out "solid axles" that are at least as long as you need. You may have to cut them down with a hacksaw. An axle vise is very useful for this task.

    Now for the replacement proceedure:
    1. Remove QR skewer, adjustment nut and springs.
    2. Remove outside locknut. You'll need at least one cone wrench and another
    wrench for this.
    3. Remove cone nut from axle. IMPORTANT: Keep all parts in order for
    re-assembly. Lay them out neatly or put them on a cable tie to keep them in
    4. There are many different hubs. Some will have a bearing seal that needs to be
    removed here. It may have to be removed before the cone nut.
    5. Remove bearing.
    6. At this point you should have removed all of one side of the axle components.
    There may be spacers (there will definitely be a spacer on the rear drive side).
    Just make sure you keep them in order.
    7. With all of the components from one side removed, pull out the axle from the
    opposite side. Again, a seal may complicate this a bit. Deal with it as
    8. Remove all of the components from this side of the QR axle and keep them in
    9. Figure out how much exposed axle you will need for the first side:
    Dropout thickness + locknut thickness + washer(if any) + 2mm
    (i.e. 4.5mm + 7mm + 2.5mm_washer + 2mm = 16mm)
    10. Take your new solid axle and thread the axle locknut on leaving 16mm (from
    our example) exposed.
    11. Thread the cone nut, spacer, seal, bearing on the axle and install in hub.
    12. Thread the opposite side components on the hub and do a proper bearing
    13. Install wheel in bike with washers and nuts on the outside of the dropout and
    see how much axle is protruding on the 2nd side.
    14. Cut axle down.

    That's it!
    Here are two links for hub bearing adjustment and cutting an axle to length:
    - read this one thoroughly and it will clarify a lot of my instructions. Pictures, too!
    - there are two axle vises shown on this page. Since most axles are steel,
    these aluminum vise inserts can be used to hold the axle to cut it down
    without damaging the threads, and, they are very nice for holding the wheel
    when you are doing the bearing adjustment.

    For tools you must have the correct cone wrenches - likely one size for the front cone nuts and one size for the rears. Open end, or a good adustable works fine for the lock nuts. Axle vises are pretty cheap (<$10) and make this job sooo
    much easier.

    For parts, you just need the two axles, four nuts, and four washers. An LBS is going to get ~$10 for an axle (I've paid that on several occasions), and about $5 for the rest. You can buy all of this stuff on line for less.

    Good luck!
  3. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

    Sep 15, 2004
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  4. el Ingles

    el Ingles New Member

    Oct 3, 2003
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    I´ve seen qr wheels that have the rq modified to open with a seperate tool ( allen key ? ) rather than an integral lever .
    will look for details .

    ps I´ve seen bikes stripped of all the expensive bits that were bolted on - thieves carry spanners too I´m afraid .
  5. John M

    John M New Member

    Jun 21, 2005
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    I agree with artmichalek. Don't go through all of the effort to switch axles, get the bolt-on skewers. They are just as secure as solid nuts.
  6. Ray Dockrey

    Ray Dockrey New Member

    Oct 25, 2005
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  7. molloy

    molloy New Member

    Dec 12, 2005
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    Thanks a lot guys.