Skewer Shootout
article & images by Nick Salazar
May 6, 2013  hits 239,562

The collection of skewers here is fairly representative of the spectrum of different options across the market.

The skewer market has exploded in recent years. Weight weenies have come to embrace the aftermarket skewer as an easy place to shed grams off of a stock bike, and with good reason. It's a cheap and easy spot to take weight off your ride, and even the lightest of them still function perfectly well for the road rider. But triathletes have an additional factor to consider, which is the aerodynamic performance of the various products. There are ultra-light options, ultra-aero options, and some good in-between options that offer some kind of balance. We'll walk you through the strengths and weaknesses of them all.

We're going to go from one side of the spectrum to the other, beginning with the type of skewer most familiar to the average rider, and end up on the more exotic side of the market. So we begin with our benchmark, the very large-and-in-charge Shimano Dura-Ace skewer.


Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
128 grams/pair, $75

Shimano Dura-Ace 9000

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. It's a bulky skewer with a wide, flappy lever. And at 128g, it's far and away the heaviest skewer in this review. In fact, the last FOUR PAIRS of skewers in the review have a combined weight equal to these boat anchors.

Nevertheless, they work perfectly well, and there's nothing to complain about here in terms of function.


Zipp Steel
78 grams/pair, $40

Zipp Steel

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 at 55g, but still a few grams heavier than the KCNC skewers. Nevertheless, these are really good and it's nice to see Zipp pay attention to the little details.


KCNC Titanium
46 grams/pair, $78

KCNC Titanium

This is perhaps the most popular aftermarket skewer on the planet, and with good reason. The KCNC Titanium Road Skewers represent a near-perfect balance of low weight, low profile, excellent functionality, and reasonable price. If you know you want to spend some money on skewers but aren't sure which direction to go, you've got a really safe bet in the KCNC skewers. I still use mine all the time, and they've frequently been my go-to skewers for racing, show bikes, and even just everyday riding.

These also represent the turning point in our shootout. From here on out, everything has something extra special to offer, but also represents a bit of a compromise. The feint of heart would do well to go no further, but then you'd miss out on some of the cooler stuff the market has to offer.

Hit the jump for the remaining three skewers in the shootout.


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.

Related Articles
To put the finishing touches on our Lighten Up build, we sourced some of the most exotic parts in the world of cycling from THM and Tune.
Introducing Styx, our take on the ultimate aero skewer. Save weight, drag, and hassle. Check it all out in the TriRig Store.
When so-called percussive massagers came on the market, I wondered what made them special compared to a modified jigsaw. Here's our in-depth look at three such devices.
Here's a thorough survey of the top bikes in the industry, and all their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Too many athletes settle for sub-par pump performance. Today, we delve deep into this oft-ignored subject, comparing the best pump heads.