Skewer Shootout

 May 6, 2013 article & images by Nick Salazar

Tune U20

Tune U20
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. S3
44 grams/pair, $78 S3

If you wanna go aero, and don't want to spend a fortune, there's only one choice: the 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.

Tune Skyline
18 grams/pair, $115

Tune Skyline

The Tune Skyline skewers have been featured before on, 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.

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, 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 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,, 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 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,, 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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