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Thru Axle Dilemma

Old 10-15-23, 02:52 PM
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Thru Axle Dilemma

I have a Santa Cruz Stigmata 3 which comes with these RockShox Maxles:

[Front] Length: 125 mm | Thread Length: 12 mm | Thread Pitch: M12x1.5
[Rear] Length: 174 mm | Thread Length: 20 mm | Thread Pitch: M12x1.75

They have been working fine but the look is hardly sleek. I have (again) been unduly influenced inspired by Caliwild's thread on Robert Axle Project, but I do not carry tools when riding. And DT Swiss does not seem to make a RWS rear axle that fits my bike. So what to do?

Another question: Wolf Tooth axles has a captive washer that supposedly protects the outer surface of the drop out. Is this really necessary?
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Old 10-16-23, 09:05 AM
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can’t answer question on the addition of the washer on the wolf tooth axle - appears to be a good but I have not seen one in use

have RAP axles on two bikes - two on one bike and one on rear of a bike with a lefty fork - thr RAP axles appear to be high quality and work well

not sure how to respond to comment you don’t carry tools … ? … even with the axles with the axle levers you are basically limited to removal of the wheels - without tools (including tire levers) you would be unable to repair a flat tire or whatever - so the end result is sorta / kinda the same ?
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Old 10-16-23, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by t2p
not sure how to respond to comment you donít carry tools Ö ? Ö even with the axles with the axle levers you are basically limited to removal of the wheels - without tools (including tire levers) you would be unable to repair a flat tire or whatever - so the end result is sorta / kinda the same ?
I am in suburbia and do not ride far off the beaten path, so I am mainly concerned about removing the front wheel so that both my bike and I can be picked up by the support car (driven by my wife or dispatched by Uber XL).
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Old 10-16-23, 02:29 PM
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hmmm … you have team support and a domestique … envy ! lol

the DT RWS road skewer appears to be a tad short at 121 mm …
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Old 10-16-23, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by t2p
hmmm Ö you have team support and a domestique Ö envy ! lol
She is not my domestique; she is my soigneur.

Originally Posted by t2p
the DT RWS road skewer appears to be a tad short at 121 mm Ö
DT Swiss only makes one that fits the front; I am still SOL on the rear. However, if I can stand having mismatched axles, I suppose the front wheel is really the only one that needs to be removed to get picked up.
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Old 10-16-23, 05:00 PM
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I'm a little confused about the no tools criteria. Unfortunately for you, the industry is moving away from tool-free skewers. I think because of tubeless making flat fixing less frequent for most of us.

I suspect you could figure out a way to carry the correct size hex wrench without too much effort.
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Old 10-16-23, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I'm a little confused about the no tools criteria.
Yes, it is a bit of a strange hangup.

Originally Posted by unterhausen
Unfortunately for you, the industry is moving away from tool-free skewers.
Yes, it seems that Rockshox Maxle and DT Swiss are the only ones.

Originally Posted by unterhausen
I think because of tubeless making flat fixing less frequent for most of us.
This is what I am counting on. Even on my road bike with tubes I have only flatted twice. [Touch wood.]

Originally Posted by unterhausen
I suspect you could figure out a way to carry the correct size hex wrench without too much effort.
I have asked my nephew to design and 3D print a single hex key carrying sleeve that can be bolted to the third bottle cage mount under the down tube.
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Old 10-17-23, 04:05 PM
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I have found a couple of multi-tools which are acceptably light (i.e., ~ 50 g) but they are tiny (~ 2.5" long), so I wonder if that would give me sufficient leverage to overcome the 10-12 Nm installed torque and remove the thru axle.
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Old 10-17-23, 04:56 PM
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I think a small multi-tool would work fine
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Old 10-17-23, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
I think a small multi-tool would work fine
I ordered a Lezyne SV Pro 5:

Lezyne SV Pro Multi-Tool (biketiresdirect.com)

Yes, another shiny object. Now all I need is for my nephew to fashion a carrier for this tool that bolts onto the third bottle cage mount.
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Old 10-17-23, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
I ordered a Lezyne SV Pro 5:

Lezyne SV Pro Multi-Tool (biketiresdirect.com)

Yes, another shiny object. Now all I need is for my nephew to fashion a carrier for this tool that bolts onto the third bottle cage mount.
Just buy any of the countless under saddle wedge bags and store it there.
Tire levers, spare tube, chain quick link, tire plug for tubeless, and a basic multitool. Store it all, use it almost never, but know you won't have to call for help when you have what's needed to keep riding.


As for the axles, it's a side of the road repair- just tighten the axles until they feel secure and don't easily tighten further. That is more than acceptable and it won't damage the bike or axles. If you want to then tighten them to the documented torque setting once home, have at it.

The thru axles that came with my gravel frame require a hext bolt and have a washer to reduce the chance of binding when tightening. I just figured all axles came with that washer. Seems like a pretty simple and basic concept that would be universally used.
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Old 10-18-23, 07:47 AM
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I don't think I have been on a ride without the means to fix a flat in the last 50 years.
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Old 10-18-23, 12:40 PM
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Agree with carrying a small multi-tool and flat kit. I run tubeless, but still carry a small Lezyne Road Caddy saddle bag that fits a spare tube, C02 with head, a minimalist multi-tool (with 5 and 6 mm hex to remove the wheels), dynaplug racer and a couple of tire levers. This bag is super easy to move around to different bikes. I also started carrying a small manual hand pump that attaches to my bottle cage after I had a C02 failure a few months back.

I've never used a torque wrench on a thru-axle, and I have a carbon frame/fork. I'm not even sure what the spec is on my frame for this. Hand tight seems more than adequate.
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Old 10-19-23, 01:08 PM
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Thank you all for the tips re: thru axles. You all saved me from the expense of buying an intermediate torque wrench.

I know that my reluctance to carry a multi-tool and/or a spare tube seems whack to you all, but the infrequency at which they have been called for thus far (touch wood) informs my choice. Also, I cannot see fine detail super well when I am wearing my contact lenses for riding, so any repairs (including changing tubes) are best left for the comforts of home.
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Old 10-24-23, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Also, I cannot see fine detail super well when I am wearing my contact lenses for riding, so any repairs (including changing tubes) are best left for the comforts of home.
Reliance on torque wrenches is way over blown IMO. Using one at home is prudent, but when on the road is it really that hard to feel an appropriate torque for a thru axle? The range of 10-12 NM is pretty wide and even missing by a bit isn't the end of the world.

Maybe I am too cavalier about hitting torque by feel having twisted wrenches from the time I was a kid until my current advanced age. On the other hand I don't see wheel changes at pro races where the mechanics are taking much care about torque. You can say they aren't worried about ruining a bike because they get them for free, but they have to finish races. If a failure costs them a stage win that is a huge deal, way worse than a few k$ for a bike frame.

Get it close by feel and torque it when you get home.
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Old 10-24-23, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Reliance on torque wrenches is way over blown IMO. Using one at home is prudent, but when on the road is it really that hard to feel an appropriate torque for a thru axle? The range of 10-12 NM is pretty wide and even missing by a bit isn't the end of the world.
The issue is not whether I can adequately tighten the thru axles without a torque wrench on the road (or trail, since this is for my gravel bike) but whether I can use a tiny (~ 2.5" long) multi-tool to undo the thru axles which had been tightened to 10-12 Nm with a torque wrench at home. unterhausen thinks so despite never having seen my spindly arms.
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Old 10-24-23, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
The issue is not whether I can adequately tighten the thru axles without a torque wrench on the road (or trail, since this is for my gravel bike) but whether I can use a tiny (~ 2.5" long) multi-tool to undo the thru axles which had been tightened to 10-12 Nm with a torque wrench at home. unterhausen thinks so despite never having seen my spindly arms.
Ah, I misread.

If in doubt try it at home and if necessary carry a longer individual allen wrench instead of or in addition to a multitool.

Edit to say that the built in levers weren't any longer than a multi tool and folks managed with them. So the short multitool probaly won't be an issue. Stick to the lower end of the 10-12 nm range and it will be a little easier.

Last edited by staehpj1; 10-24-23 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 10-25-23, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
I have a Santa Cruz Stigmata 3 which comes with these RockShox Maxles:

[Front] Length: 125 mm | Thread Length: 12 mm | Thread Pitch: M12x1.5
[Rear] Length: 174 mm | Thread Length: 20 mm | Thread Pitch: M12x1.75

They have been working fine but the look is hardly sleek. I have (again) been unduly influenced inspired by Caliwild's thread on Robert Axle Project, but I do not carry tools when riding. And DT Swiss does not seem to make a RWS rear axle that fits my bike. So what to do?

Another question: Wolf Tooth axles has a captive washer that supposedly protects the outer surface of the drop out. Is this really necessary?
So, are you getting the Robert Axle Project ones?!
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Old 10-25-23, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Caliwild
So, are you getting the Robert Axle Project ones?!
Yes, I have got them. Following in your footsteps again. They look so much sleeker than the stock Maxles, although any weight savings is largely offset by the Lezyne SV 5 Pro multi-tool.
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Old 10-25-23, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
Yes, I have got them. Following in your footsteps again. They look so much sleeker than the stock Maxles, although any weight savings is largely offset by the Lezyne SV 5 Pro multi-tool.
Ha! But if the tool is on your body and not the bike, it doesn't count as bike weight! Yeah, so much cleaner looking... Nice!
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Old 10-25-23, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Caliwild
Ha! But if the tool is on your body and not the bike, it doesn't count as bike weight! Yeah, so much cleaner looking... Nice!
Still counts toward system weight! I will ask my nephew to 3D print me a multi-tool carrier that can be bolted to the third bottle cage mount. Lower CG, and not having to carry a hunk of metal near my spine or kidneys.

Last edited by SoSmellyAir; 10-25-23 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 10-28-23, 12:21 PM
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I canít speak to the quality but there are tools that will fit inside your hollow bottom bracket if you have a bike that is less than 15 years old or so.

Another option is inside the handlebar. Probably best on a flat bar, I canít say Iíve tried it.

Every tool company has some water bottle mount option. Explore them, youíll find something you like.

Plan D would be to tape/Velcro/zip tie a single 5mm Allen wrench to your chainstay, totally hidden but still there.

I canít imagine riding around the block without basic tools.
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Old 11-14-23, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by SoSmellyAir
I have found a couple of multi-tools which are acceptably light (i.e., ~ 50 g) but they are tiny (~ 2.5" long), so I wonder if that would give me sufficient leverage to overcome the 10-12 Nm installed torque and remove the thru axle.
The solution is really quite simple, all it will take is a single trip to your locally owned bike repair shop.
Iím sure they will not mind if you asked them to try various versions of smaller tools. Once you finish hand tightening the axel, check it with their torque tool to see how close you are. Choose a hand tool that comfortably allows you to the target torque. Just a few attempts will help you develop a very sense about using your new manual tool.

Good luck and as others have already mentioned, start carrying a minimal set of tools necessary to fix small problems on the road, unless you go only as far on your bicycle as you can walk back home with a flat tireÖ and do not mind doing it.

[Itís been at least a decade since I have had a flat on the road but I know the day I stop carrying a few things to make emergency repairs, is when it will happen again - thatís the thought I go with. 😉]
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Old 11-14-23, 12:51 PM
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SoSmellyAir If you hadn't seen these yet, you can now get Chris King versions/colors of the Robert Axle Project axles...

https://chrisking.com/products/king-thru-axle
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Old 11-14-23, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Caliwild
SoSmellyAir If you hadn't seen these yet, you can now get Chris King versions/colors of the Robert Axle Project axles...

https://chrisking.com/products/king-thru-axle
The violet would have been nice and fit my lavender Stigmata 3, but not available for the rear axle.
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