The Chainlink

Just a freindly warning about most of supposed anti-theft quick releases.

I do a lot of buisness on ebay and suddenly there is a flood of cheap sets that have either treaded areas or flat spots that make them removable with any old pair of pliers or even some possibly by hand, which make them as anti theft as old fashion bolt ons. To top it off some are aluminum which pliers have no trouble bitting into.

Some examples of the cheap ones, the reds are anodized aluminum and even threaded for easy plier grip:(


This is not aimed at Onguard or Hublox which are much more secure. These are rounded/tapered and Hublox ends are cromoly (I think) and is much harder to bite into and these give very little room to grab even with vise grips.

Heres a picture of Hublox


Anyhow I just dont want to see a rash of wheel thefts because people stopped locking up there wheels and started trusting "Anti-theft" skewers that are cheaper than a decent set of normal ones. With a decent set of wheels costing hundreds of dollars I think locking them the old fashion way is still the best option anyway.

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I've broken a QR skewer and learned that the threads can't be torqued like a normal skewer can.
Video_Drome said:
anti-theft quick release sounds a bit oxy moronic to me....

Well the Onguard and Hublox have unique keyed levers to open them so they are more secure than bolt on axels, so I think the good ones are not a bad thing as it harder to get good hub with bolt on axels these days. Still as a said before I will stick with a cable through my rims, and my fork for that matter.

As an experiment I had a Pinhead skewer locking my expensive rear wheel and a Hublox on my cheaper front wheel. This morning I went outside and saw that a thief had hit the neighborhood. He got away with my Hublox-protected front wheel, but not the rear. I strongly advise against the Hublox system, but the Pinhead stuff is great, or at least has been great so far. 

Just about any of these "locking" skewers can be easily defeated with a simple item that can be purchased at a dollar or thrift store.  I'm not going to mention the item here but most thieves already know what it is, and it's only a dollar (or less at a thrift store.)

Don't count on these "locking" skewers being secure, or a bolted tire either. Thieves have wrenches, and tools to defeat "locking" skewers.  I would not trust a locking skewer to secure a wheel here in Chicago even during the day if left for more than a few minutes like outside of a restaurant.    Overnight, or at a high-target opportunity train station, no way.  Put a U-lock on each wheel or kiss it goodbye. A "locking" skewer is not a substitute for a U-lock in this city.  In the burbs OK -not here in town. 

I like using the simple bolted skewers sold by Nashbar that simply use a hex head instead of the complicated "locking" (LOL) head.  They don't add much security but I like the way they clean up the looks of the bike and they save a few grams because they don't have the handle or the cam mechanism.

Be careful with any bolted skewers on horizontal rear dropouts as it's really hard to get them tight enough sometimes to keep the rear wheel from being pulled out of alignment when you really hammer on the pedals, like taking off from a stop and standing up while in a higher gear.  A lot of these skewers use aluminum bolts and those threads can't take much more than 4-5Nm of torque.  The steel ones can take a bit more.   When I put mine on (steel for the rear horizontal DO) I use my torque key (or a torque wrench) at 5Nm and it works fine for me, but if you ever over-torque them even a little bit they can strip out.  It might not be a problem that time, but the next time you take the wheel off you will have a problem.

Edited to add:

Man, I got suckered by a zombie thread...

Pinhead has changed their design and the old trick no longer works on them, FYI,

There is still another way to get them off pretty quickly.

The two of you went through all this two years ago and James lists a couple different tools used to defeat locking skewers. The thread shows up on the first page of google results when searching for "pinhead locking skewers." Maybe you guys should edit those old posts?

Stahp being rational!!!

A couple Allen wrenches and a crescent wrench will get most parts off any bike if it's not locked up.

So lock it and make your bike the hardest to steal.

What's interesting is that Dug's subtle coaxing to not publicize thieving methods seems to have ultimately had an effect on James.  Let's here it for gentle persuasion!

KevinM said:

The two of you went through all this two years ago and James lists a couple different tools used to defeat locking skewers. The thread shows up on the first page of google results when searching for "pinhead locking skewers." Maybe you guys should edit those old posts?

I see what you did there...


h' 1.0 said:

What's interesting is that Dug's subtle coaxing to not publicize thieving methods seems to have ultimately had an effect on James.  Let's here it for gentle persuasion!

KevinM said:

The two of you went through all this two years ago and James lists a couple different tools used to defeat locking skewers. The thread shows up on the first page of google results when searching for "pinhead locking skewers." Maybe you guys should edit those old posts?

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