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Big Gulps, Alright!
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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.

FRONT WHEELS

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.
20mm+fork.jpg
X9+20mm+hub.jpg


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.
15mm+front.jpg


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 “open dropout.” 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.
XT+QR.jpg


REAR WHEELS

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.
142+rear+axle.jpg


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 This is not very common on new bikes, as it’s been replaced by 142.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.
XT+Rear+QR.jpg

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.
DT+RWS.jpg

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.
Bolt+through.jpg


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 aren’t 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.
Bolt+on+hub.jpg
 

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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?
 

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unrooted
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Nice!

Can you explain the difference between the following 142x12's:

Shimano
Syntace
Rock Shox Maxle
Banshee
Transition
Etc., Etc.
 

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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?

Thanks!


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?
 

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Trail Tire TV on blogger
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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?

Thanks!
hope hubs are all interchangeable .. many others are now too..
 

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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.
 

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transmitter~receiver
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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?
Thru axles are frame specific, not hub specific. So yes, you can put the Fulcrum wheels into a frame that has a Shimano axle.

Can you explain the difference between the following 142x12's:

Shimano
Syntace X-12
Rock Shox Maxle
Specialized 142+
Etc., Etc.
Added Spesh's system and deleted the entries that are just bike companies and not different 142x12 fitments. :arf:
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.
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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Never trust a fart
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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.
 

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Is it possible to put a standard 10mm QR Shimano rear cassette hub into the 15X150 dropouts of the Bluto fork? I want to run a regular rear hub in there that will also be used elsewhere, to save having to build up multiple wheels and buy new hubs. Is there an adapter?
 

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Is it possible to put a standard 10mm QR Shimano rear cassette hub into the 15X150 dropouts of the Bluto fork? I want to run a regular rear hub in there that will also be used elsewhere, to save having to build up multiple wheels and buy new hubs. Is there an adapter?
Probably not. The rear hub is 135mm wide and the fork is 150mm wide. I know someone who ran a spare rear hub at the front of his fatbike so it would be an interchangable spare. The idea is good but you need a hub of the right width.

Try asking the question in the fat bike section or forums you might get more complete answers there.
 

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This thread might also mention mtb 9mm solid bolt-on front axles under FRONT AXLES,.

In the Dirt Jump world--particularly with the lower/middle range bikes--there are bikes that come with 9mm solid bolt on axle.

They are sometimes mistakenly called 3/8" because in BMX, 3/8" is used. But 3/8" is actually 9.5mm, and the hardware is not compatible.

A rear solid axle is 10mm. So front and rear axle nuts are not cross-compatible.

A 3/8" bolt-on axle front BMX hub: (I couldn't find a good picture of a 9mm bolt on solid axle mtb hub)
 
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