Thru-axle replacements are not necessarily an everyday need for cyclists, but when you do need one, you may find it challenging to find the right one at your LBS. There are a ton of thru-axles floating around, but finding the right length and thread pitch for your frame can be a challenge.
The Oregon-based Robert Axle Project was started to provide thru-axle solutions that help consumers get the axles they need.
The Robert Axle Project makes the process straightforward. Tell the company—either via its website or a phone call—the model and year of your bike and whether you need a front or rear, and it will send you the proper alloy thru-axle.
In addition to “traditional” front and rear hex bolt thru-axles for bikes, the company offers thru-axles for kids’ trailers, cargo trailers and BOB trailers. And for those of us with rear wheel-driven indoor trainers, the company also makes a trainer-specific model to adapt your thru axle bike to traditional quick release skewer clamps. If wheel security for your bike is important, The Robert Axle Project also offers Hexlox lock attachments.
The Robert Axle Project sent Cyclocross Magazine two thru-axles for review: the rear Lightning and Trainer bolt-on models. We had both axles spec’d for a Van Dessel test bike.
The Lightning thru-axles are bolt-on models that accept a standard 6mm hex wrench. The $48 12mm diameter and 172mm long rear thru-axle we received weighed 38g, which is 60g less than the stock thru-axle with a lever on our Van Dessel and 5g less than the Van Dessel bolt-on model. The Lightning thru-axle fit our bike as advertised and stayed firmly attached during our off-road riding. In other words, it did its job.
Although direct-drive trainers are becoming more popular, many athletes still opt for wheel-on models that attach via a special skewer. The Trainer model is also a bolt-on thru-axle with ends that fit wheel-on trainers. The Trainer model costs $54 and weighs 73g.
We used the Trainer thru-axle to put our bike on our Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll trainer. One end of the trainer adapter screws in on the drive side, and both ends fit snugly in the trainer ports, providing a stable ride during our offseason training. It is worth noting that trainer companies such as Kurt also offer their own trainer-compatible thru-axles.
The Robert Axle Project’s thru-axles are a bit more expensive than many OEM options, but they are American made and light, so the price premium seems fair. Our test thru-axles were easy to order and install, and they worked as advertised.
The Robert Axle Project’s thru-axles are worth a look if you need a replacement for a lost or damaged axle, need to fit your bike to an indoor trainer, or for the ultra-prepared racer, want a spare for the pit toolbox. They’re also appealing to weight weenies looking to shed a few grams of weight. The Hexlox add-on lock also makes them an option if you often lock your bike up outside and are looking for extra wheel security.
The Robert Axle Project Thru-Axle Information
Price: Cyclocross/gravel: from $48; Trainer: from $54
Material: Lightweight alloy
Sizes: 12 and 15mm
Other Features: Compatible with Hexlox locks; available for several types of trailers
More Info: robertaxleproject.com
Andrew Yee and Zachary Schuster contributed to this report.
Photo Gallery: The Robert Axle Project Thru-Axles