Quick release (QR) axles are a convenient and tool-free way to quickly remove and install your wheel quickly. They consist of a threaded rod (the axle itself) with a closure lever, a nut, and two conical springs. The springs are oriented with the small ends pointing towards the middle of the axle. These springs aid in installation and help to center the axle in the dropouts. QR axles are very common, and knowing their proper setup will keep you safe and confident.
Steps for Removing your QR wheel:
- Shift into your smallest cog in the back. This allows the most slack in your chain, making it easiest to remove.
- Disengage your brakes. If you have disc brakes, this is not necessary.
- Open the QR lever and unscrew the nut until there is enough room to slide out your wheel.
- Remove your wheel, making sure your axle clears your chain.
To replace your wheel, just reverse the steps-
- Making sure the axle clears your chain, reposition your wheel in the dropouts. Slotting disc brake rotors into calipers is a good indication you’re on the right track.
- With the wheel in the dropouts, tighten the axle nut. Open and close the lever as you tighten, checking for resistance.
- When the lever encounters resistance halfway through its travel, stop tightening the nut and close the lever.
- A properly-tensioned lever will leave an imprint on your palm.
Re-attach your brake, give the wheel a spin to make sure it’s straight, and you’re good to go!