article & images by Nick Salazar
May 6, 2013
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
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.
78 grams/pair, $40
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.
46 grams/pair, $78
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.