Skewer Shootout
article & images by Nick Salazar
May 6, 2013  hits 143,527

Your bike probably came with bulky, heavy skewers. Upgrading to a more minimal, light weight skewer can save you grams of weight, as well as grams of drag.

One of my first aftermarket bike part purchases was a set of KCNC road skewers. That may seem like an unlikely starting place to begin upgrading parts on your bike. But it's the perfect gateway drug, if you will. A seemingly innocuous skewer upgrade can quickly turn into an unquenchable thirst for more and more bike parts, which I continue to indulge today. But back to the point skewers are actually a pretty popular upgrade. They're particularly popular with the weight weenie crowd, because they represent a good ratio of dollars-to-grams-saved. You can easily drop almost 100g of dead weight off your bike for a paltry $70 or so. It's low-hanging fruit for shaving grams off your bike.

But skewers have an additional role to play for those in the aero world. You see, many skewers (particularly OEM parts) are big and bulky. They stick out in the wind like a hitchhiker's thumb, and can easily rob you of a Watt or two. Aftermarket skewers have a lot to offer in terms of saving frontal area, not to mention weight. There are some interesting solutions out there, and I've never seen them reviewed from the triathlete's perspective.

In this article we're going to take a look at six different sets of skewers, each with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Yep, these are small parts and don't often get a lot of attention on triathlon websites. But I think this is a category worthy of attention. For all the fussing about I do about hiding cables from the wind, it makes perfect sense to worry about a bulky skewer as well. So, off we go.


Tags » shootout,  skewers,  tune,  viewspeed
  • The Tune Skyline is the lightest skewer you can find, and also very minimal from an aero standpoint. But it does require a special tool to install.
  • The Tune Skyline skewer is just 18g complete, and comes in a variety of colors. But it's hard to find, and has a pretty high price tag.
  • Perhaps the purest aero-geek skewer is the line from View-Speed.com, shown here. The bolt-on skewers have small, rounded end caps to maintain a nice aero profile. They're also pretty light at just 44g for the pair.
  • The View-Speed.com skewers are a great aero upgrade if you're willing to give up a quick release.
  • KCNC makes what is probably the most popular aftermarket skewer. It boasts a great balance of light weight (46g for the pair), ready availability, and reasonable cost ($78).
  • The KCNC skewers have a fairly low-profile quick-release mechanism, as well as a low-profile end cap on the other side. These come highly recommended for their excellent balance of features, ease-of-use, and price.
  • Another exceptionally high-end offering from Tune is the world's lightest quick-release U20 skewers. The pair of these things weighs an astonishing 21g, and the quick release mechanism works just fine.
  • The U20 skewers feature a very low-profile quick release, the same nearly-invisible end cap as the Skyline skewers, and the exotic blend of carbon fiber, titanium, and aluminum parts makes these skewers the lightest in the world with a quick release mechanism. They also carry the highest price tag of any skewer in this review, and will set you back more than $200 ... if you are lucky enough to find them.
  • Zipp makes some nice steel skewers that are usually included with their wheels. They have a nice low profile and smooth aero shaped levers.
  • At 78g, these aren't the lightest skewers in the review, but Zipp also makes a titanium version. The titanium is fairly light, but still a few grams heavier than the KCNC skewers. Nevertheless, these are really good skewers and it's nice to see Zipp pay attention to the little details.
  • The baseline for this shootout is the brand new Dura-Ace 9000 skewer, part of Shimano's new 11-speed flagship group. These are big, heavy, and probably not very aero. But they work really well, and provide a good basis for comparison against the other skewers in this review.
  • The Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 skewers come in at 128g for the pair. That's the same as the Skyline, View-Speed.com, U20, and KCNC skewer weights COMBINED.
  • The non-drive-side of all six skewers in this shootout.
  • It's easy to see why you might want to upgrade from your traditional Shimano-sized skewer (left). The Zipp, KCNC, and Tune U20 skewers (2nd, 3rd, and 4th from the left) all have a nice, small ball head. The View-Speed.com and Tune Skyline heads (5th and 6th from the left) are smaller still, offering the next level of aerodynamic speed at the cost of a convenient quick-release mechainsm.
  • The same difference across the non-drive-side ends of the skewers are seen again on the drive-side ends. From left to right: Tune Skyline, Tune U20, View-Speed.com, KCNC, Zipp, Shimano Dura-Ace. This is where the Tune skewers really shine. They have absolutely minimal heads. The View-Speed is basically the same, even if a tiny bit larger. And once again, KCNC appears as a very nice balance between size and usability.

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