What part could be considered the simplest and most insignificant part of a bike?  Twice recently during tune-ups I found this little part causing big problems, and just today I again found it causing problems during an on-road flat repair at the Ashland Triathlon.

Yes, I’m referring to the quick release skewer spring.   Its function is to assist the quick release lever open and keep the skewer centered.  The typical problem is I find the springs installed backwards, and once found both springs on the same side of the skewer.

As you can see in the picture, the spring has a conical shape with one side smaller than the other.  It is critical that the small side be facing towards the bicycle.  When it is not, the spring can go over the hub axle and prevent the wheel from fully engaging into the frame.  Sometimes this is obvious and other times you may think the wheel is fully on the bike when it isn’t.  Generally in this case it results in the wheel being slightly off-center which can cause shifting problems and brake rubbing.

So before you head out, check that those skewer springs are facing the correct direction and avoid big headaches from a small part.