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GMBN Tech Essentials Ep.1 | Wheel Axles

GMBN Tech Essentials Ep.1 | Wheel Axles

– This is the GMBN Tech Essentials Series, our easy to follow guide to maintaining and setting up your bike. With a bit of basic
understanding, just a few tools, you can all be looking
after your bikes at home. Which basically means, in the long run it is gonna save you money. For this particular video we’re looking at the quick release axles out there. There’s quite a lot and
it can be quite confusing. However, they’re very easy to use. And I’m gonna show you how to
do it correctly and safely. (techno music) So at first, what exactly
is a bolt through axle? So, these days they’re often referred to as a quick release through axle. So, this is more like a
conventional quick release. Once upon a time they were
everywhere on mountain bikes, but as the technology has developed, they’re quite rare these days, although you do still see them. Now, the quick release
through axle is essentially a very beefed up version of this. The reason for this is
bikes now have suspension, quite often front and rear on them. And these actually form part
of the structure of the frame to keep everything in check,
everything nice and stiff. And ultimately, they’re a lot stronger. Now, there are various different sizes and styles of quick release axles, also known as through
axles, on the market. Now, it does depend on
the type of bike you have. So just for example,
just assuming your bike has suspension forks on
there, it’s gonna have one of two main standards up front. It’ll either be boost or non-boost. Boost means it’s 110 millimeters
space in between them. Non-boost is 100
millimeters, nice and simple. Typically, front wheel axles
tend to be 15 millimeters, although you do still see
some 20 millimeter options. And these are also
common in downhill bikes, just because they’re a bit beefier. Outback is a little bit different. Axle size tends to be 12 millimeter, and there are a few different widths of the back ends of bikes. Once upon a time all mountain
bikes were 135 millimeters. And whilst you do still see this, it’s far more common for them
to be 142 millimeters now. There’s also boost,
which is 148 millimeters. And there’s a slightly newer size that’s been referred to as super boost, and that is 157 millimeters. Now, downhill bikes tend
to have 150 millimeters and it’s quite an exclusive size for them, but it’s no stranger to
see the odd downhill bike having a 148 boost on
there, and sometimes 157. So, they don’t kind of
fall into the same camp as conventional mountain bikes. So, in particular with the rear ones, it can be quite confusing. So, why are there all
these different sizes? Originally, they were
135 millimeters because that was the width of
the standard rear hubs. Now, as cassettes got bigger
and you had more gears on a bike, the hub needed
to start getting wider to accommodate all of that and still maintain a nice, strong wheel. If you think about the
rear hub of the wheel, it has to have the cassette on there and it has to have the nice
bracing angle for those spokes in order to build a
tension and strong wheel. Now, with respect to hub sizing and how it’s changed over the years, those traditional 135s, like I said, they were superseded by the 142 size. And that’s still a very
common size on mountain bikes. But 148 is becoming increasingly popular. And you’ll see this on
most new mountain bikes. In particular, ones running a
one by transmission on there. Now, the reason for that is to get ultimately a better chain line and also to allow enough tire clearance for the design of the bike. And when I’m talkin’ about chain line, it’s essentially being able
to line up the center line with the front chaining with the center of the rear cassette. So, that means the chain
has to do the least amount of work to get across all of the gears. Obviously to do that, things need to be spaced out slightly at the back end, so you have that 148 millimeter size. So now, as you can see here
on this particular bike, so this has a boost 148
millimeter rear end. It’s got a one by 11
transmission on there. Now, as you can see, there’s
loads of tire clearance. This is a nice big 2.3 tire on the back. I can stick my hand
down the sides of here, so you got all the clearance
you need for mount. Nice amount clearance
for the chain link there against the frame, and of
course, a really good chain line. So, of course, I’ve just
explained the 148 to you, so why is there the need
for more axle standards? Well, quite simply, for more stiffness and more strength on
the back end of a bike. Now, what I’m talkin’ about here is like enduro racing focused bikes
with gravity styled bikes. Now, the wider you can get
the back end of the back, the further the spoke bracing angle can be and the stiffer and stronger the back end of the bike can actually be. But of course, for normal mountain bikes, virtually everything
you’ll see will be 148. And don’t worry, that is here to stay. Now, there’s a lot of different style quick release through axles
available on the market. But I’m holding here three of the most common ones
you’ll see on most bikes. So, first up there’s the Rockshox Maxle. Now, you see this in front
and rear orientations to fit on your forks or on the frame. There’s the Fox QR15 system, which you see mostly on forks but you do see this on frames, as well. Very simple system. And then there’s the DT system, as well, which you see on both forks and frames. And you also see a lot
of manufacturers adopt to this exact system
under different names. Now, there are many
other options out there, and they all tend to work
on very similar principles. There’s the sin-tay system. Of course, there’s the system used by Cane Creek on their own ones. I think that’s called the D-LOC system. But they all fundamentally
work on the same principles as these, both the Rockshox
Maxle, and the Fox QR15, also known as the Shimano QR15 because they were
developed in conjunction. They both work on the similar principle of a cam-operated lever. They’re slightly different in the way that you can adjust them,
which I’ll show you later. And then this DT system,
which simply screws into the frame or into the fork, and then you can adjust the position of the actual lever afterwards to orientate it in a suitable position. Now, whilst they’re all
fairly self-explanatory, and they’re all very easy to use, it’s also equally easy to
not use them correctly. And what I mean by that
is a few different things that are quite common to happen, and you might have had one
of these happen with you. So, you might find you’re
over-tightening them, which means using all your
body weight on those levers to tighten them into
the frame or the fork, end up with a red mark on
your hand from the lever. You never really wanna
be over tightening these. You simply don’t need to do it. And all you can end up doing is damaging at the end of the day. The next option is under tightening them. So, you’re not sufficiently
tightening them into the fork or frame. Now, you don’t need to be
a genius to work out this. It could be very dangerous. If they’re not tight, they
can work their way loose. And the absolute worse case could happen, the axle could slide out, which would mean you’d lose
the wheel off the bike. So, it’s really important
from a safety point of view to make sure they’re done up properly onto the bike as they’re
supposed to be done. Now, the final one is
actually making sure the lever is orientated in the right
position in the first place. Now, as I’m going to explain to you with these different axles
how they go into the bike, if you tighten this one in, for example, and it’s tight here, you’ll
find you actually want the lever to be in line with the fork really. You don’t want it to be
sticking out the front. So, when it’s actually sufficiently tight, you can adjust the end of
the actual lever itself to sit in the correct position. What you don’t wanna be doing is having to over tighten it to get
it into that position, or under tighten it and
it doesn’t go far enough. So, it’s not actually screwed in enough, even if the lever is
in the ideal position. I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s a safety orientated product. It’s dead simple to use. So, this is how you use the main three. So, the QR15 system, often
known as the Fox QR15 or the Shimano QR15, very simple. There’s a lever with a cam, the axle, and it’s got a threaded bit on the end. Then, of course, there is
the threaded captive nut that’s part of the fork
there that this screws into. Now, this does have the
facility to allow you to change the orientation
of where the lever locks, just to make sure it’s
in the correct place. Nice, simple system to use. Simply slide the axle into place, and then when you find
it hits those threads at the back, tighten up. Now, you don’t tighten it all the way. So, an easy way to do
this is to go all the way until it’s tight and then come
back a full half turn there. And then you need to be
tightening the actual lever there so it sits in front of the fork. Now, what you’re looking for is a gap of between one and 20
millimeters daylight here between the actual lever itself
and the front of the fork. What you don’t want is
for it to be tightened against the fork, for
example, in which case the cam will never allow
you to tighten it fully, and it could just come undone. You don’t want that to
happen for obvious reasons. And if, for example,
yours is tightening up in the wrong orientation,
you can actually change this on the other side by actually
moving a captive nut. Now, that is very easy to do. All you need to do is loosen the 2 1/2 millimeter
Allen key bolt just here, and that gives you access
to that captive nut. To actually move it around, you need to loosen off the actual
quick release lever itself, and then you can put the nut
in the correct orientation so the lever closes against the fork leg like we just showed you. So, there you go, nice and simple. So, that nut has actually got
indents all the way around it and it’s got numbers on there
so we can get it just right, but you can remember that in case you actually don’t remove it in the future. So, just a quick recap on QR15. What you’re looking for is the lever to be sufficiently tight. There’s a resistance when
you undo it and a resistance when you tighten it, but nothing too much. You don’t wanna have a mark in your hand when you’re pushing it closed. And likewise, you don’t want this to be loose so it could come open. The lever itself needs to sit
between one and 20 millimeters away from the fork leg when
it’s in the correct orientation. And if it’s not tightening at this point, you can actually change the orientation by moving the nut around
that’s on the other side. Nice and simple. (light orchestral music) This axle is the Maxle. So, this is the Rockshox system. You’ll see this on loads of bikes. This is the same system on
the front and on the rear. Exactly the same system applies. You slide the axle straight
through until it locates with the threads which
are on the opposite side. You simply tighten up that
axle till you get to the end, come back off a turn and then tighten it. Nice and simple. As with the QR15 system, there
should be a good resistance, but it shouldn’t be like crazy tight, and neither should it be loose. Common sense dictates
how tight it should be. Now, for the lever
position, it’s not quite as crucial as it is with a QR15. The only position you
should really not have it in is against the fork
leg for the same reason. It’s not gonna tighten
properly because of the cam, and of course, if you
do crash or something, it could well cause
some damage to the fork, and the quick release, or both. What I would say is for
common sense reasons, you don’t wanna have your Maxle when it’s tightened facing forwards. If you hit some shrubberies,
some overgrown bushes and stuff on your travels,
that could flip it open, which of course, you might not notice, and it might rattle its
way out in actual riding. Of course, that’s not gonna end well. So, common sense dictates
where you tighten it up. Like the QR15, you can
change the orientation of the lever when it’s actually tight. But unlike the QR15,
where you simply loosen it and you would adjust it, the threaded nut that sits into the fork. On this system, the adjustment
is on the actual axle itself. So, you have to remove the axle. When you got the axle in hand, you can see there’s some markings here, where the whole line
gets correlated to them. And to actually change
the position of the lever in relation to the axle, you
push it in and locate that. As you can see here, I’m
just gonna change position by moving that in. And that changes the orientation of the axle, and you tighten it up. Okay, so now we’re gonna take
a look at the DT style system. So, this is a front one
which is a 50 millimeters and this is a rear one which is a 12. So, I’m gonna show you
how to install that. They’re both exactly the same in the way that they operate, very simple system. So, you simply line up
the wheel into the frame as you would with any bike. And you simply slide the axle through until it grips into the threads on the drive side and tighten the lever. It’s as simple as that. You’ll get to a point where
it feels nice and tight. Then you’ll find that the lever is not in a good orientation. Now, on this system you can
literally pull the lever up and you can adjust it to get it out of harm’s way in a nice position. Now, some people do like to
put them up against the frame. Some people like to put
them in different positions. What you don’t want to do
is have it in a position like this where you could
accidentally hit this with your ankle and undo it. Of course, the whole point of these is that they stay tight on the bike. And you also just get
conventional bolt through axles that use a single Allen
key to tighten them in. You get Rockshox Maxle
Stealth is one of the options which looks like this one
here, but all fairly similar. What you will find on all of them, though, is a torque setting on there. Now, that’s the recommended tightness that you should tighten these to. Now, I’m fully aware that
not everyone has access to a torque wrench, so
you need to use a bit of common sense here to see
how tight you need it to be. I would say like this
is loose at the moment and that’s where it catches. A good bit of tightness and
that will be sufficient. But it is something you
should definitely monitor, because they don’t have
the cam system that you get with the levers to make sure that you can visibly
see that they’re tight. These ones could come loose, so it is worth checkin’
them from time to time. Now, if you do have
access to a torque wrench, this particular one says
between nine and 13 UTImeters. So, I would set the UTImeter setting on the actual torque wrench there. So, this one offset at 11 as
you can see on the scale there. And now, you don’t really wanna be tightening up everything
with a torque wrench. It’s basically just to check
it to the correct torque. So, you would still tighten it by hand until you think it’s about right. Remove your Allen key. Put the correct size bit in. In this case, it’s a six millimeter in there, and then tighten it. There you go. And that’s the point where it’s tellin’ me I’ve tightened it sufficiently. Now, one important thing just to say about torque settings
are they are recommended. It’s not essential, you can tighten it without having to have a torque wrench. It’s just an advisory. And because it’s a safety item, I have to recommend that
you do use one of these, but it’s not an absolute necessity. As long as you monitor it and you make sure it’s sufficiently
tight, you will be safe. So, there we go, we’ve taken a look at the most common ones out
there, the DT, the QR15, and the two offerings from Rockshox. Now, there are many
other ones on the market, but they all fundamentally
rely on the same principles. So, you don’t want to
be over tightening them. You don’t want to under tighten them for any risk of them coming loose. You don’t want the lever
to be fouling on the frame or the fork, ’cause it could damage those in the event of a collision or accident. And of course, it will
never tightened sufficiently in the first place. The final thing to check is
the orientation of the lever, so it can’t accidentally be opened by shrubbery or anything
else when you’re riding, or in the rear axle case,
you can’t accidentally loosen this with your foot, nice and simple. Now, there’s gonna be a whole bunch more Essentials Videos
following this very one, so I hope you’ve enjoyed it. And if there are any
Essential Videos you wanna see in a series, let us know
in those comments below. In the meantime, if you
wanna understand a bit about bike setup in regards
to how it affects your riding, the climbing, your saddle
discomfort, hand pain, any of that sort of stuff,
check that video out. It’s a good one and it’ll explain a lot of the basic bike setup for you. As always, click on the round globe to subscribe to GMBN Tech. And if there’s anyone
out there that you know that needs some help with their bikes, make sure you share it around a bit. And of course, if you
found this video helpful, give us a thumbs up.

63 comments on “GMBN Tech Essentials Ep.1 | Wheel Axles

  1. I have suntour XCM forks on my 2018 Voodoo Minustor with a bolt thru axle where the bolt head has rounded off. Can i buy a QR bolt thru or will it have to be the same one i have?

  2. Doddy, great vid. I think proper suspension setup is a good topic. It's a big topic but one I think is often misunderstood by the average joe rider and some average joe shop mechanics as well. Thanks!

  3. How about a video on building a simple home bike work space. Most, if not all, of the shops I've seen online seem to be set up exclusively with Park tools and a peg board with specialized tool hangers. Additionally, I'd be interested in suggestions related to tool placements. Something along the lines of chain whip is best located near the rear wheel and a brake bleed kit can live in a drawer nearby because it is only used once in awhile sort of thing.

  4. FOCUS has a pretty unique thru axle that doesn't act like the rest. It has tabs on the far end and only rotates 1/4 turn to open and close and then has a cam lever to keep it tight. Works really well and is quite fast to change:

  5. HI Doddy, nice vid. Do these differents axles are compatible with other brands forks. I prefer the DT axle and i'm wondering if I can use it on a Fox fork. Thanks.

  6. Hey Doddy, you should definitely advise people to periodically grease their through axles, on both the thread AND, very importantly, the main body of the axle. I had TWO brand new bikes and after 11 months (first puncture) both rear axles had become seized to the point where they COULD NOT be removed from either bike. With one of them the thread would undo but the main body of the axle was totally seized / bonded to the axle! The bikes were out of action for 6 weeks and in both cases the rear wheel had to be cut off with a metal cutter! Fortunately the repair was covered by warranty but they did try and say it was all my fault! I now remove and re-grease the axles every other week!! Please share this information as I was really sad for 6 weeks! #askgmbntech

  7. thanks Doddy, brilliant, apparently not me, since I thought Neil's race at ard rock enduro he had maybe installed a skewer wrong. it must of been a dt style. this channel and presenters are the best…

  8. As usual great video Doddy. I see Trek are using a 141 hub is this a proprietary hub spacing and thus a proprietary axel length?

  9. most Rockshox forks I've seen have had Maxle Lite which I was surprised you didn't feature, has the metal shroud used to thread/unthread that's easily bent

  10. This series is brilliant. Full bike geek and totally enjoyable to both know the history and proper maintenance of the parts. Doddy is a great teacher. 👏

  11. When I sit on my bike, my front wheel moves to the left. And also I feel like something is moving inside my fork(Fox Evolution 32 100mm) when I rock the bike back and forth. My local mechanic says that that is all normal and it is happening because the QR can't keep everything tighted up. I don't believe him because I feel like something is wrong with my bike when I am riding it. Any suggestions on how can I fix these problems? Cheers!

  12. Could you do a video on how to install and setup dual crown forks. Ie adjusting the crown heights and how it affects head angle ect

  13. For the people that might be looking to upgrade or replace their through axles, it's worth mentioning that many through axles have different thread patterns or thread pitch and this is sometimes not shown on some retailers websites. I've seen guys buy the correct size axle but with the wrong thread pattern/pitch and have ended up either damaging the thread on the axle and not being able to return it, or worse still damaged the thread on their bike frame!

  14. Great vid, I'd like to maybe see a video like this about rim and tyre widths – I often see guys writing posts asking what width tyres they can fit on their rims, i.e how wide can they go etc etc.

  15. I replace all axles with non-QR ones from OneUp components. They have torque indicators and there's zero scope for ambiguity.

  16. I see you know your stuff but when it comes to new Rides of this type of stuff they may get lost or confused about what you are talking about. But from what I can see you are doing well besides that hope you consider what I said as constructive criticism over inssalt cause it's not a insalt at all it's just a way to get more people interested in the sport. Thanks

  17. Great video!… I've recently upgraded to my first full suspension bike and would love to see a video on how to maintain the front and rear suspension components

  18. I'm still trying to figure out why it was necessary for him to hold that rim and fork assembly for the whole video instead of clamping it in a bike work stand collar.

  19. I have a 1996 Raleigh M-30FS mountain bike 🚵‍♀️. I am thinking of upgrading the rear suspension from coil spring to air shocks. It only has one inch of travel. What Company makes an air shock with a one inch suspension? How much does it cost?

  20. I have a fully rigid mountain bike at this point – a (steel) Soma B Side v3 with a (rigid) carbon fork. I’m thinking of adding a suspension fork and am torn with whether or not I should upgrade my wheels: they are currently bolt-through quick release. Thoughts?

  21. Is there any way to make a new, mid-range bike through axle compatible?
    I appreciate that you'd probably need new forks for the front, but what about the rear? Is there some sort of adaptor to allow through axle fitting to a regular old style quick release bolt at the back, or does the frame have to be specifically designed for through axles at the rear?

  22. Excellent video, a friend of my bought a Rockshork Judy fork and it came with a MAXLE without quick release, we've tried to release with a alen key but it's impossible, i'm wondering if you might know which tool we can use for this purpose, thanks great channel!

  23. its great and all but if u have this on both ur forks and frame and screw up the threads ur done essentially and just replace the whole thing unlike the skewers which is already reliable and only have like miniscule movements on the wheel and relatively cheap to replace..

  24. Common sense for tightening has nothing to do with it. experience dictates how it should feel.
    You are born knowing not to bump your head. No one is born knowing how far to tighten a a bolt.

  25. Well to complicate things, it's an abberation really, some brands have their own thread length and thread pitch on thru axles.

  26. Just got a new bike and it doesn't have levers and is just the torque screw. Goodness! Now it's stuck as well. What a bloody mess!

  27. If I buy a NukeProof with a conventional through axle that needs a Allen Key (hex wrench), I can replace it with a Maxle so I can use the flip lever to tighten it on. Is this correct?

  28. My Scott Scale 990 has a different standard and it really sucks that the 141mm skewers are a rare find. I'm worried that I won't be able to find a replacement in case it breaks.

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