article & images by Nick Salazar
May 6, 2013
21 grams/pair, $230
Tune's skewers are simply amazing. So much so that they get TWO spots in this review. First up is the U20, the lightest quick-release skewer ever made. These bad boys tip the scales at a feathery 21 grams. Yes, that's for the PAIR of them.
How do they achieve such an unbelievable weight? By using a whole host of materials. The ultra-thin axle is made primarily of carbn fiber, with titanium end pieces that thread into aluminum end caps. The lever is also a multi-piece bit, with a carbon fiber handle to save that last gram or two. Given the light weight design, these are also very minimal from an aerodynamic perspective, and probably in a bit of a three-way tie with the next two skewers in the shootout for which one has the least frontal area.
The drawback with the U20 is that it requires a delicate installation. You have to be careful not to end up with too much torque going into the axle. Compressive forces are fine - it's rotational torque that you need to avoid, because it could splinter the carbon. A good mechanic will ensure that the axle never gets much torque to begin with, but it's something to keep in mind, so you don't end up with a $230 piece of carbon fiber mess on your hands.
44 grams/pair, $78
If you wanna go aero, and don't want to spend a fortune, there's only one choice: the View-Speed.com skewers. These are bolt-on skewers which tighten via a 5mm allen wrench. Once bolted on, they are positively minimal, and have been shaped with smooth hemispherical end caps to promote better airflow. The tiny design also lends itself to low weight; these are just 44g for the pair. But of course, the fact that they're bolt-ons means they aren't quite as convenient as a quick-release skewer, and will cost you a little bit of time in the event of a flat. View-Speed skewers are very popular in what you might call the 'underground aero' scene. Upon announcing that this shootout would be coming to TriRig, we got several comments from readers demanding we showcase these, some of their favorite bits of aero kit.
18 grams/pair, $115
The Tune Skyline skewers have been featured before on TriRig.com, as part of the Lighten Up series where we attempted to build an ultra-light yet still very aerodynamic bike. In that series, we selected them for their world's-lowest weight of just 18 grams. But they're a worthy addition to this article for their incredibly low frontal area. It's tough to say whether these, the View-Speed, or the Tune U20 skewers have the least frontal area when all bolted up.
Like the View-Speed skewers, these are bolt-ons. These don't work with a standard allen wrench, however. They require a special tool that's included when you purchase them. The nice part is that this tool weighs only 4 grams itself, so it's not much of a penalty to carry with you. But since the total system weight then becomes 22g, you might as well just go for Tune's U20 skewers and save yourself the trouble of the separate tool. Nevertheless, if you're looking for the lightest skewer on the planet, this is it.