Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Phoenix Project - Dura Ace 7800 Quick Release Skewers

Background on The Phoenix Project is available here and here.

Going out in search of great current production quick release skewers, the names that cropped up frequently were Mavic, KCMC, Campagnolo, and Dura Ace. Much to my surprise, I didn't find some small, unknown company making the best QR's known to man out of a titanium-diamond composite.

I ended up with these, Dura Ace 7800 models:

I selected the Dura Ace 7800 model on several scientific criteria. The first was the shiny, sleek, neo-classic form - I'm not a fan of the exposed cam look:

The second was that several people I know nothing about had Internet postings claiming that they were some of the best holding QR's ever.

And that was good enough for me.

Street Cred

Dura Ace has rarely made anything but the finest parts.  They always seem to manage to find the right mix of top performance, durability, weight, and good looks.

That is why, unlike a lot of other race gear, Dura Ace can and is often a suitable, albeit expensive, choice for all-rounder bikes.   Sure, Shimano has a full bag of snarky Microsoft-like oligopoly user lock-in tricks, but how wrong can you go with quick releases?

Gizmo Lust

In addtion to the closed cam design, I love QR lock nuts with this shape, especially when so nicely finished:

The levers feel great under hand and the action is silky smooth.  The feel of the cam locking is very positive and distinct.  This inspires a lot of confidence that these are very secure fittings that will not be inadvertently knocked or shaken open.



I can't think of anything controversial about these units.

Tweed Factor


Highly unlikely to find these on a Tweedies bike, although a few of their increasingly distant cousins, the iBOBs, may occasionally sport a set of these.

Phony Accent


Wow, three whiffs in a row for the Dura Ace 7800 QR's.  But these are pretty much honest and true Dura Ace.  Way back in the day, Dura Ace used to sometimes "borrow" from the established European manufacturers until they put them all out of business.  So they have to come up with their own look now.

Lily Gilding

These QR's are fabulously expensive.  However, they are clearly heads and shoulders above nearly all other QR's.  So there is clearly an element of getting what one pays for mitigating what is seemingly an obscene amount of money to spend on QR skewers.

Running Tally

$2025 USD

We bring forward $1910 from the Velocity Rims episode.  The Dura Ace 7800 Quick Release skewers were $115 USD from Universal Cycles

Organ Sales

$103 USD

$21 USD is also brought forward.  Since then, this seemingly non-descript Avocet Touring Saddle sold for $47:

That surprised me, until a little Googling revealed that these have a bit of a following among touring riders with whom Brooks and other leather saddles disagree.

Other sales include $19 USD for a Stronglight A9 Hinault headset.  Finally, a fairly nice Sachs Eco Duopar rear derailleur went for $16, which seemed a little low compared to other recent Ebay sales.

The Sausage Factory

I've finished building the wheels. One thing I do when finishing a wheel is to write down the spoke length(s) on the rim tape. That way, this number is always handy, right by the valve hole, in the event a spoke needs replacement:

Testing these fancy quick release skewers.  The wire hanging down is the remains of the derailleur cable routed through the chain stay.  I've left the section in the stay intact so as to aid with threading a new cable later on - this is a notoriously finicky task on these frames:

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