Incorrect quick-release use is dangerous because these mechanisms hold the wheels in place. The most common mistake is simply turning the lever like a nut until the wheel seems tight. Used this way the lever and wheel can loosen as you ride leading to catastrophe. Follow our directions and view the pictures and animation below to learn how to properly use a quick release. Please contact us if you’re still unsure how to use this crucial piece of equipment after reading this tutorial.
There are two ways to tell if the lever is open: most levers are marked "open" (photo) and "closed" so look for these markings. Also, levers are usually curved. When the bend protrudes outward like a bump, the lever is closed. When the bend is cupped, the lever is open. Closing and opening the lever requires flipping it 180 degrees, not spinning it.
Even if the lever reads "closed" and looks right, it's a good idea to test how tight it is by trying to open it by pulling on it. If it resists, it's tight and safe. If it opens with only a little effort, it's not tight enough. Follow our directions to tighten it.
With the wheel centered in the fork (or frame), adjust the quick release by opening it, holding both ends and turning one clockwise until, when you close the lever, you feel some resistance. At this point, try to close the lever. The adjustment is correct when you can fully close the lever (animation) but with some effort (the lever should leave its impression in the palm of your hand). If you can only close the lever part way, open it, unscrew the adjustment slightly and try again.
Most forks have wheel-retention tabs on them, which are small protrusions that keep a loose wheel from falling out of the dropouts. The quick release must be open and adjusted by unscrewing to clear these tabs when you remove and install the wheel.
To do this, hold both ends of the quick release and turn one counterclockwise to unscrew it (photo) until there's enough clearance for the wheel to drop out of or fit into the fork (note that this adjustment is unnecessary on most rear wheels because retention tabs aren't used).