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Which thru axle do I need?

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In the past few years, thru axles have established themselves as the predominant axle standard on Mountainbikes and are becoming more and more relevant on all the other bike types in the medium to high price range.

The thicker axle gives the bike a higher stiffness and precision steering and it allows an even faster installation and deinstallation of the wheel when compared to the classic QR-Skewers.  

They have a big drawback, which is driving everyone in the bike industry nuts, though. After having only two easily discernible axle standards for almost a century, the cycling world now has to handle a different axle type for almost every fork- and frame manufacturer. A few standards have been established also among thru axles, but it is still difficult to determine which axle you need for your bike, especially if you're not familiar with bike construction. On this page, you'll find a few tipps on how to find the correct security thru axle lock for your bike. Anyways, please don't hesitate to contact your local bike workshop in this matter. They should have the right tools and will certainly be happy to help you out. 

1. Measuring is the key

Due to all the different thru axle types on the market, it's always the easiest and safest to determine the original axle directly on your bike, before ordering the fitting lock. On common forks like the ones from FOX or Rock Shox, this is not absolutely necessary, as we have the exactly fitting axles in our shop with the specific denominations. Its on more exotic forks and frames or those without a brand name on them, were measuring becomes extremely important. 

The needed specifications are the following:

Steckachse ABC

a: diameter

b: total length

c: thread

The diameter (a) is the easiest point, as there are very few variations. Usually it is either 12 mm oder 15 mm, whereas the front wheels can have both sizes and rear wheels only the thinner 12mm axles. The total length (b) seems to be the most variable factor. Here you have to be aware that the total length of the axle does not necessarily have to be proportional to the installation width (for example 15x100 mm on the front or 12x142 mm rear), which is most commonly the only indication by the fork or frame manufacturers. The total length corresponds to the installation width plus the widths of the dropouts, as you can see here:

Klemmbreite

But it is the thread (c) of these new axles, which causes the biggest confusion among cyclists trying to replace their thru axles. There are axles with an 1.0 mm thread pitch, others with a 1.5 mm thread pitch and others with 1.75 mm thread pitch and there are other axles with no thread at all. Very few of us have a thread gauge at home and these differences are quite difficult to notice without an instrument. Unfortunately most of the bike manufacturers don't publish the specifics of the axles on their bikes, but sometimes you'll find the axle standard name in the specifications. These are the Threads of the most common standards:

Front: 

  • Maxle: M15 x 1.5
  • Maxle Road: M12 x 1.5
  • FOX: M14 x 1.5
  • Suntour: no thread
  • Manitou: no thread

Rear:

  • Maxle: M12 x 1.75
  • E-Thru: M12 x 1.5
  • X-12: M12 x 1.0

Since not many of us have a thread gauge at home, we prepared a handy helpsheet, with which you'll be able to identify the original axle on your bike. Find it here.  

2. Determination of the front axle

If you have a Rock Shox or FOX fork, a glance at the fork itself is usually enough:

On Suntour Forks, the own name of the fork does little help in determining the axle in it, so it is crucial to take the axle out and measure it. There are three variations of the Suntour Q-Loc system. When measuring the silver axle betweeen the lever and the expanding cone: 

On thinner road and cyclocross forks there seems to be a general standard regarding the thread pitch and length, so that there are only two variations of axles only discernible through the diameter: 

--> Anyways also here you should always measure the original axle before ordering, as there can always be exceptions, like for example 12mm front axle with M12 x 1.0 thread. 

3. Determination of the rear axle

The determination of the rear wheel becomes a bit more complicated, since every bike frame manufacturer, seems to be suppling their products with own axle models. The dimensions of the axles do not only vary from brand to brand but also between models of one brand. Therefore measuring the original axle on ones frame is here even more important and always a worthwile step. Even though there are so many different rear axles on the market, three standards have established themselves:

  • The "Maxle" type with M12x1.75 thread: Set 20 or 20B
  • The "E-THRU" type with M12x1.5 thread: Set 24 or 24B
  • The "X-12" type with M12x1.0 thread: available soon

Since not many of us have a thread gauge at home, we prepared a handy helpsheet, with which you'll be able to identify the original axle on your bike. Find it here.