Tune Quick ReleasesJan Heine
If you’ve built a bike with quick release hubs lately, you probably noticed that elegant and lightweight quick releases are hard to find. I know, because that’s a problem I’ve run into. I am embarrassed to admit it: My Rene Herse bikes for Paris-Brest-Paris, Oregon Outback and Unbound XL all have been sharing a single set of quick release levers that I’ve ‘borrowed’ from the Peter Weigle for the Concours de Machines.
I’ve tried to find nice quick releases, but the big makers have redesigned theirs to become big, bulky, and black to match the aesthetics of carbon bikes. They simply don’t look right on a slender steel frame. Long gone are the elegant classic Campagnolo quick releases. The smart Dura-Ace QRs that press-fit an aluminum lever onto a steel eccentric are history and impossible to find used. The Internet is full of superlight skewers of questionable aesthetics and dubious quality. In desperation, I ordered a set, and found that they use plastic washers under the levers. Imagine if a washer splits under the wheel clamping force (as it inevitably will), and your quick release suddenly is completely loose. If you’re riding on rough terrain, your wheel will fall out as you go over the next big bump.
Then I remembered the company that pioneered ultra-light quick releases: Tune in Germany. Their quick releases use an absolute minimum of material in their quest for light weight, That means they are small and elegant. They are also available in silver. In the past, I hadn’t really considered ultra-light quick releases with external cams, because they grip the wheels less tightly than (heavier) internal-cam quick releases. That was in the days of horizontal dropouts, where the high torque of starting from a stop could pull the rear wheel out of alignment. Now most of our bikes have vertical dropouts, and that isn’t an issue any longer.
Online, Tune quick releases may look similar to the knock-off copies, but when you hold them in your hands, you notice the differences: The finish is jewel-like, the threads turn with smooth precision, and they are quite a bit lighter than the copies, too. The skewer is reduced in diameter where it’s unthreaded, which reduces the stress on the threaded portion. (Threads are inevitable stress risers.) That’s smart design beyond the weight savings. And just because, Tune made the actual levers out of carbon fiber. Why not? More important is the patented anti-friction coating on the washers—these quick releases turn much more smoothly than other external-cam quick releases I’ve tired. You wonder how much they weigh? Just 37 grams for the pair. They are quick releases reduced to their essentials, without giving up any function. In that way, they are a perfect match for our Rene Herse components.
In their quest for the ultimate in light weight, Tune has left out the springs that center the quick release. We include springs (not shown in the photos), since they make it easier to install the wheel. Use the springs if you like or install the quick releases without them. There’s no difference in safety: The springs don’t affect how securely the wheel is tightened in the dropouts.
As with all components in the Rene Herse program, we’ve tested the Tune quick releases on the rough gravel roads of the Cascade Mountains before we offer them for sale. They’ve performed flawlessly on numerous rides, including the epic exploration of new bikepacking routes with Ted King a few weeks ago. Now they are stock. And my bikes finally each have their own quick releases!
- Hubs and quick releases in the Rene Herse program