Axle standards explained
I did a quick write up on axle standards so more posters can understand how they work and what they would need if they plan on changing their fork or wheels. There are more standards out there than just the ones I've listed, but this will cover the most common ones. I also didn't cover road bike spacing because that adds unnecessary complexity.
On wheels you can't change the axle type your fork uses without replacing the lowers, or replacing the fork altogether. On rear wheels, you need to make sure your frame and wheels are compatible. Many hubs are convertible to different axle types using various adapters.
Maybe this thread will get stickied so more posters see it.
20mm Thru Axle: Unlike traditional hubs, in a 20mm thru axle hub the 20mm diameter axle is actually part of the fork. It typically slides through one fork leg, through the hub and into the other fork leg. Width on a 20mm hub is 110mm.
15mm Thru Axle: A 15mm thru axle hub is almost identical to a 20mm hub except the axle is 15mm diameter and the width is narrower at 100mm.
9mm QR: A traditional front hub uses a 9mm diameter hollow axle with a 5mm diameter quick release skewer. Forks that accept this type of hub are called ďopen dropout.Ē The axle is part of the hub The axle slots into the fork dropout from the bottom and the quick release is used to clamp it in place. Spacing is 100mm.
142 x 12: 142 x 12 thru axles are all the rage now. Spacing on these is 142mm wide with an axle diameter of 12mm. They essentially operate the same as front thru axles, on the rear of the bike. Thru axles make the bike stiffer which reduces lateral flex and results in better tracking especially through corners and at speed.
135 x 12: Before 142mm width hubs became the norm, some manufacturers used the 12mm thru axle with a 135mm width. This is not very common on new bikes, as itís been replaced by 142. You can read about the reason for the change here: Syntace
135 x 10: The long time standard for rear hubs was 135mm width with a 10mm diameter hollow axle and a 5mm quick release. Again, the axle is part of the hub. This works on frames with open dropouts only. Many bikes sold still use frames with open dropouts.
In order to stiffen open dropout bikes, some hub makers have introduced hubs with 135mm spacing, but with a removable 10mm axle that combines the skewer and axle into one unit. The DT Swiss RWS skewer is a prime example.
On a similar note, some hub manufacturers offer axle conversion kits that replace the stock axle with one that uses bolts instead of a quick release, like Easton Havoc wheels, or Chris King fun bolts.
150 x 12, 157x12 Most downhill bikes use wider hub spacing for a stronger wheel build. 150mm width with a 12mm axle is most common. Many newer DH bikes use 157mm spacing with a 12mm axle. The difference is akin to 135 vs. 142.
Bolt on: Bolt on axles are found on many department store bikes, but arenít very common on mountain bikes. A bolt on axle replaces the hollow axle in a traditional-style hub with a longer, solid axle and uses nuts on either end to clamp it in the dropouts. Spacing remains 100mm on front hubs and 135mm on rear ones.
nice, simple explanations.
There is only one standard, the open dropout. The rest are fitments.
Great info -- thanks!
Could you also post some info on upgrades available to those of us with standard QR frames -- 9mm thru bolt or something like that?
I wonder, if you will allow a nooooob question here .
I have a Fulcrum Red Power 29 XL wheels, the rear one is Syntace 12x142mm standard. Will the shimano 12mm axle/dropouts work with it?
Can you explain the difference between the following 142x12's:
Rock Shox Maxle
195 lbs-6'4" Banshee Prime XL
Ride Mammoth, Tahoe & Vegas
PLEASE GIVE ME NEGATIVE REP!
Yes Please! I want to upgrade my front hub to a 9mm thru axle. I would like the new hub to have the ability to go to 20mm in the future (when I replace my front fork). What are my options? Brands? Price is always a strong consiration so are there any brands that are reasobale?
Originally Posted by DennisF
hope hubs are all interchangeable .. many others are now too..
Originally Posted by dfrink
Thanks Thom. Sorry, it won't let me rep you more
At SE Bike Expo I demo'd a set of Stan's Crest wheels. The rep seemed very knowledgeable. He said that Stan's hubs can use 9mm/front 10mm/rear thru bolt.
He also said that I could replace the lowers on my Fox Trek G2 fork to use 15mm thru axle. There is nothing Trek-specific about the lowers. I think the lowers are about $150, and you get new bushings and seals, so by the time I decide to do anything wheel-wise, it may be a worthwhile expenditure. I didn't ask about 20mm. I think that would be overkill for the XC riding I do.
Mods, can this be made into a sticky?
Definitely should be a sticky!! v useful
Axle standards explained
Thru axles are frame specific, not hub specific. So yes, you can put the Fulcrum wheels into a frame that has a Shimano axle.
Originally Posted by NazZaR
Added Spesh's system and deleted the entries that are just bike companies and not different 142x12 fitments.
Originally Posted by unrooted
I do think it's worth noting that 142x12 is not a standard in that the various axle offerings are not interchangeable between frames.
However, with the exception of the Spesh 142+ the hubs are all interchangeable.
Also, does anyone know of a 142 frame that does not come with an axle? I don't.
Like almost any other part on the bike, you need to know a thing or two before you try swapping parts like axles.
Last edited by meltingfeather; 08-27-2014 at 05:43 PM.
The add one more thing to the confusion, on has to remember that there is different thread pitches (ex. coarse, medium, fine threads) for 142X12 thru axles. Each company has their own thread pitch they like to use.
Great, simple explanations of the basics. Agreed this should be a sticky. Lots of info on our website too, to help figure out how to attach racks, trailers and trainers to some of these new axle sizes.
Great post, love the visuals. Might be good to substitute approximate years instead of "new" and "now".
Funny that one bike is 142x12R/QRF and the other is QRR/15F.
2012 Specialized Camber Comp
2014 Kona Taro
2014 Giant Trance 27.5 1
2015 Gravity Monster
Just to add on the 142+ info. Wheels spec'd for 142+ do not work in a 142 spaced frame, but 142 spec'd wheels work in the 142+ frames.
So a wheel from a Specialized Epic with a 142+ hub will not work in a Cannondale Scalpel, but it will the other way around.
Thanks for the info! Im currently doing a wheel build and this had me confused.
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