December 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm #93561Keymaster
It’s been over 4 years since I wrote the last skewer shootout and many of them have since changed. I’ve decided to do an updated review featuring the latest and greatest. Writing this review has made me realize that things have changed over the years and the gaps between brands have definitely shrunk. They do still have their differences but those are becoming smaller. Any of the skewers in this review are just fine and there won’t be clear winners and losers but there will be some differences.
AX-Lightness, Road only
AX-Lightness Specs Weight 37 grams Price $130 Cam travel 1.48mm Rod material Titanium rear, Aluminum front Rod Length 163mm rear, 123mm front Colors Black, Blue, Gold, Red, Silver
Thoughts: Mixed materials in the skewer rods, titanium rear and aluminum front.The alloy front shaft accounts for a 2 or 3 gram weight savings which really doesn’t make a difference except when weight is the ultimate goal, however if weight is the ultimate goal there are lighter choices. I do really like the handle shape and length on the Ax skewer. It provides plenty of leverage and is easy on the hand. The skewer uses a fine pitch thread for small adjustments and what should be solid retention however the nuts are sometimes lax in tolerance as we’ve seen a few that have stripped threads where others would not have.
Enve Road Titanium
ENVE Titanium Specs Weight 60 grams Price $42 Cam travel 2.1mm Rod material Titanium Rod Length 158mm rear, 128mm front Colors Black
Thoughts: The heaviest and least expensive of the titanium skewers in this review. The external cam is linear rather than a cup like some so alignment must be done manually. The handle is a really nice length and shape, easy on the hand and opens and closes easily and securely. At the price it is a nice aftermarket option, but was designed to be OE with Enve wheels, and in that case it matches well.
Extralite Aliens3 Specs Weight 55 grams. Price $150 Cam Travel 1.52mm Rod Material Titanium Rod Length 163mm rear, 129mm front. Colors Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red, Silver
Thoughts: 4 years ago when I wrote the last skewer review, the Aliens2 was one of my favorites. The Aliens3 is brand new, released only this month. It doesn’t make dramatic changes from the last version, but some nice details to what was already a truly fantastic skewer. The cam changes from gold to black giving it a more consistent look. The nut becomes an integrated 3 piece design with a fixed spring, rotating washer and nut. All 3 pieces rotate individually but stay together as one piece on the skewer. The attention to engineering detail on this skewer is off the chart. An external cam as in common in most skewers, but with a very clever fixing mechanism which keeps it from moving and having to be manually aligned. Also a retention device for the springs on both ends means that this is perhaps the quickest and easiest skewer to use when it comes to a speedy wheel change. A knurled nut and a long ergonomic handle on the lever end make this super friendly on the hands and provide plenty of clamping force. Suitable for road or mtb. It’s not the lightest, in fact it’s one of the heaviest in this review, but it’s also one of the overall best in every other category.
Extralite Streeter Specs Weight 29 grams Price $150 Cam Travel 1.79mm Rod Material Titanium Rod Length 159mm rear, 129 front Colors Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red, Silver
Thoughts: Given that the Aliens3 is a universal skewer with all the bells and whistles, Extralite thought they should have a weight oriented road specific skewer as well and recently released one. The Streeter keeps the same basic external cam design of the Aliens3 but strips away all the bells and whistles making this the 2nd lightest skewer in the review. At 29 grams only the carbon rod version Tune is lighter. The Streeter looses the springs, large knurled nut and wide smooth handle in favor of weight savings. Also the cam plate gets smaller. Cam travel however is increased. Overall this is a really nice lightweight skewer with good funtion.
Far and Near Carbon Road
Far and Near Carbon Road Specs Weight 42 grams Price $70 Cam Travel 2.3mm Rod Material Titanium Rod Length 157 Rear, 126 front. Colors Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red, Silver
Thoughts: Very similar in design to the original Kcnc. It has a long handle and good retention. Very basic and trouble free design. Handle is comfortable to grip for both closing and opening which is a good thing being that this skewer has one of the largest cam movements of all the skewers. Solid clamping force and overall nice design at a good price. The carbon wrap over the handle sometimes has a bit of a laminate look which won’t appeal to everyone. But functionally there is nothing to fault here.
Kcnc Stainless Z6
KCNC Z6 Specs Weight 60 grams Price $38 Cam Travel 1.73mm Rod Material Stainless Steel Rod Length 158 rear, 124 front Colors Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red, Silver
Thoughts: This is the first choice when it comes to weight vs price. Lighter than almost all other steel skewers, and still at a reasonable price. The Z6 has recently been updated with the addition of a coating on the brass cam to reduce noise and make operation smoother. A friendly shape handle, but like the original ti version it’s on the shorter side so does require more hand strength when opening and closing.
Kcnc Titanium Road
KCNC Titanium Specs Weight 40 grams Price $72 Cam Travel 1.73mm Rod Material Titanium Rod Length 158 rear, 124 front Colors Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red, Silver
Thoughts: This is one of the best selling lightweight skewers of all time. It mixes the traits very well and for this year has received several updates. Like the Z6 this one also includes the coating on the brass plate to quiet and smooth out operation. More importantly the handle has been lengthened by 5mm which we feel makes a lot of difference. That was our only real complaint with the original and now it’s even better. Secure clamping, easy function and easy on the hand. Weight, performance and price considered this has to be one of the best on the market.
Kcnc Groove Road
KCNC Groove Specs Weight 35 grams Price $95 Cam Travel 1.73mm Rod Material machined titanium Rod Length 158 rear, 124 front Colors Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Red, Silver
Thoughts: This is a lightened version of the Kcnc Ti road. It is identical to the Ti road but with two changes. The main change is that the titanium shaft is machined out on 4 sides which shaves 5 grams of weight. The other is that the logos are changed to gold. Overall this is just as good a skewer as the standard ti but with less weight and an increase in price.
New Ultimate Road
New Ultimate Specs Weight 40 grams Price $100 Cam Travel 1.75mm Rod Material Titanium rear, Aluminum front Rod Length 156 rear, 125 front Colors Black, Red, White
Thoughts: The New Ultimate also has a mixed shaft, titanium rear and aluminum front. Similar design with a ball and brass socket cam to Kcnc and Far and Near. The New Ultimate has one of the nicest looking shapes on the handle, but at the same time one of the least friendly on hand. The skewer works well and is reliable, but in my opinion it’s real strength is in how it looks. It’s especially nice that it is available in white which is something hard to find in skewers.
Shimano Dura Ace 9000
Dura Ace 9000 Specs Weight 127 grams Price $150 Cam Travel 2.06mm Rod Material Steel Rod Length 166 rear, 130 front Colors Silver
Thoughts: The 9000 skewer is big, heavy and expensive, but it works like nothing else. At 2 to 3 times the weight of all the other skewers in the review this one seems a bit out of place. It’s here to show differences from mainstream to more unique brands. Shimano does not design skewers to be light, they design them to be functional. With that in mind it’s a total success. It’s handle is the easiest of all on the hand making it the most comfortable to use. Clamping strength on the Dura Ace skewer is unmatched by virtually anything in the market which is why many trials riders choose them to hold their wheels in place. If weight, price and aesthetics are of no concern and the only thing that matters is performance this is a good choice.
Soul Kozak Road Titanium
Soul Kozak Titanium Specs Weight 42 grams Price $100 Cam Travel 2.7mm Rod Material Titanium Rod Length 163 rear, 128 front Colors Black
Thoughts: The Soul Kozak skewer has a large cam movement of of 2.7mm, the most of the test making it quicker to operate with lawyer tabs. It has a nicely butted titanium shaft and a good looking handle. However this is the only skewer in the review that requires manual alignment of the cam pieces and has too shallow of a cam plate (plastic insert) and a nut that is awkward to adjust. It’s a great looking skewer with secure clamping force, but it does take longer than others to operate.
Tune DC14 Road
Tune DC14 Specs Weight 34 grams Price $135 Cam Travel 1.08mm Rod Material Titanium rear, Aluminum front Rod Length 157 rear, 127 front Colors Black, Blue, Gold, Green (2 shades)
Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Silver
Thoughts: When this skewer first came out I remember looking at it and thinking, “wow that tiny little carbon handle is going to snap if someone over tightens it.” I’m glad to say that here we are a couple years later and we’ve never seen or heard of a broken one. This skewer is my favorite in terms of look. A ton of different colors with a minimalist looking carbon handle means it looks good on any bike. The thin handle seems as though it should be harder to open and close, but the length makes it perfectly functional. It’s easy on the hand, has a nut that grips well and clamps securely. It uses a butted titanium rear and a butted aluminum front shaft.
Tune U20 Specs Weight 21 grams Price $230 Cam Travel 1.08mm Rod Material Carbon Fiber. Rod Length 160 rear, 122 front Colors Black, Blue, Gold, Green (2 shades)
Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Silver
Thoughts: When weight is the bottom line, this is really the only choice. At 22 grams there is no other quick release skewer equal in weight that I am aware of. Like all the other skewers in the review there is no weight limit on them even given their light weight nature. These are truly show pieces and deserving of being seen outside of a hub where they can be appreciated, but that also comes at a hefty price.December 19, 2012 at 10:25 pm #93562Adam
Are the weights and prices listed for just one, or a pair?December 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm #93563Keymaster
December 20, 2012 at 2:37 am #93564Xris
Picked up the Tune U20 skewers in February. They’ve gone through a few 200km+ rides and I’ve never ever once felt like they were in any jeopardy of failure. Definitely recommended for those looking for the ultimate in needless spending.December 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm #93565Pete
Looks like Tune is getting ready to break the 20g barrier.
All they need is a longer carbon section, and trim the alloy.December 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm #93566Kevin
Where can you buy the Kcnc Groove Road? Thank you!January 3, 2013 at 1:17 am #93567Tom
I bought the KCNC Ti skewers last year and returned them. I’ve owned at least a dozen lightweight skewers, and compared to all the others I’ve used, I thought they couldn’t be tightened enough unless you twisted the levers after closing them. When the lever was just closed normally, it could be loosened (unscrewed) if you just bumped it slightly. This seemed unsafe to me. However, I would be interested to try the new version with the extra coating.
I’m a big fan of the regular Far & Near skewers (not the carbon lever, which is only 2g lighter). Though very similar to the KCNCs in appearance and design, they seem to be much more secure, at about the same weight & price. I receive a pair branded as MadFiber with a set of those wheels. However, they use a natural brass colored piece in the cam which is not quite as good-looking as the color-matched KCNC mechanism.
The Zipp QR is not listed here but that is also an extremely well designed, good looking, fairly light, possibly aero, reasonably priced skewer.February 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm #93568Dan
I purchased a set of the KCNC ti skewers, and they are nice, except for one thing–if you tighten them past perpendicular, they loosen.
So, if you tighten to 90 degrees, but then go a bit further, or if it gets tapped while you’re riding, your skewer loosens, and not unsubstantially. I’m looking for something perhaps more secure now…April 14, 2013 at 12:45 am #93569Gordon Oakley
I have the enves on my bike. I need to really get them tight to avoid a very annoying screeching sound when riding up any decent gradient. Anyone else with a similar experience?