I’m going to try and help out with hints, tips and info to keep your bike running smoothly. As I come across issues and ideas in my course of work I’ll post them up here.
Now I’m going to start with one of the most common issues I see, and it manifests itself from one of the smallest and most insignificant parts on your bike.
The humble quick-release skewer spring.
If your bike has traditional quick release skewers then chances are there will be two small conical shaped springs sitting at each end of the axle. The two springs purpose is to centrally locate the quick release skewer in the axle of the wheel. This makes life easier when removing and reinstalling your wheel, especially if your frame or forks have safety tabs.
The problem that I see all to often is that these springs are installed backwards. This means that the large end fits over the axle, hence not allowing the wheel to sit in the dropout correctly.
This can cause a few issues, firstly and usually the one the rider notices is that the brakes are now rubbing. On the rear wheel, not only can it cause the brakes to rub, it can throw the gear alignment out, meaning the gears will feel like they need adjusting. Lastly it can damage the frame or fork dropout. On softer aluminium bikes and carbon fibre bikes it can enlarge the recess in the dropout due to the larger diameter of the spring over the axle being forced into the dropout recess.
So there you have it, a tiny part that often goes unnoticed yet can have a significant negative effect when installed incorrectly.
MBW HOT TIP: If you transport your bike in your vehicle with the wheels off it is a good idea to wind the skewer nut on multiple turns before stowing it. The skewer nuts can easily vibrate loose and fall off after removal from a bike. A few seconds to wind it on before stowing it for transport will save you hunting through the boot looking for the nut and spring later.