All You Need to Know About Thru Axles

axle drawing

Using thru axles to secure wheels to frames and forks is the best possible method available. They are superior in concept, but the lack by the bicycle industry of a common standard has been a nightmare for some people. Thru axles can greatly increase the stiffness of the interface between the hub and the dropouts, also giving the hub a unique mounting position to improve the interface between caliper and rotor on bikes with disc brakes. Whether it comes down to the difference between front and rear standards, diameter and axle thread pitch, and a confusing list of dropout widths, there are many standards to sift through. Also unfortunate is the fact that there aren’t many places to find good answers to questions about compatibility. Most manufacturers of frames do not even post the standards that they currently are using. In the chance that you lose your stock axle or want to upgrade, this absence of information can be very frustrating. That is why we are taking the time to try to clarify a few issues.

A Common Misunderstanding: Firstly, understand that DT Swiss manufactures thru axles for just about every possible standard. Try not to expect that just because your current thru axle has a DT logo it uses this DT standard. There is a big possibility that it is some other standard chosen or developed by the manufacturer with a stock axle that DT Swiss simply manufactured.

The E-thru Mystery: “E-Thru”, a Shimano-developed standard, has several standards that use the E-Thru label. Use of internal or external threading, dropout thickness, and use of an external, replaceable nut are all used to determine if the axle fits your frame. For example, a basic E-Thru 142 axle also fits many E-Thru Boost 148 frames, while the standard E-Thru boost axle may be too long for many E-thru 142 frames because they require a shorter model. We strongly advise that you measure the actual length of your existing E-Thru axle when ordering a replacement. Don’t expect that because your frame has Boost 148 and uses E-Thru that it requires the E-Thru Boost 148 axle, as this may not be the case.

What About Sizing? There are 4 main characteristics to consider when deciding on the proper thru axle for your bicycle frame or fork:

  • Head Shape: Flat or conical (tapered)
  • Total Axle Length: The length of the axle, not including the bolt head.  
  • Thread pitch: Expressed as distance between threads in millimeters, this is the thread standard for axles.
  • Thread Length: The total length of the threaded part of an axle.
     

Other Helpful Tools:

  • Fits…A list of known forks or frames that are compatible. (usually not very extensive)
  • Also Important to observe: There can sometimes be very small variations within each standard. For the most part, the model within the standard listed should work for you with only a few small exceptions.

HardLite axles

Our axles are CNC-machined from high strength 7075 T6 aluminum, with multiple butting.
T6 temper 7075 has an ultimate tensile strength of 510–540 MPa (74,000–78,000 psi) and yield strength of at least 430–480 MPa (63,000–69,000 psi)
Our CNC machine can provide 0.02mm accuracy or less on each axle 
Anodizing is “hard” or “hardcoat” anodizing providing protection of mechanical parts, a visually appealing look, and a good tactile feel of each axle for a long time.
100% of our axles made in Lviv, Ukraine, so we control product quality during each step of the manufacturing process.

Characteristics

· CNC-machined from high strength 7075 T6 aluminum, with multiple butting

· Mounting 6 mm Hex key – usually the biggest Allen key in your pocket multi-tool

· “Hard” or “Hardcoat” industrial Anodizing

· Available colors: black, red, orange, green, blue, and purple

11 thoughts on “All You Need to Know About Thru Axles

  1. Mike Savvides says:

    Nice website, and from the looks of it, axles. I have a 2019 (SL6) Specialized Tarmac Pro Disc with 100 & 142mm (FR/RR) axles with a brass conical washer that slides on the axle to fit into the dropout receiver. Of your axles, which ones (100 and 142) would be the correct ones for my Tarmac? Mike/Seattle WA, USA

  2. Oliver Wade says:

    I have a trek FX 5 Sport carbon. It uses M12 axles 1.75 pitch. I noyiced you have the 142mm to fit the rear but I only see 118 in that size and pitch for the front. Do you offer in 100mm?

    • Joseph Kader says:

      Hello,

      At this time we have 2 axles that fit bikes with 12 x 100 hub spacing. They are either 125mm or 118mm long. We do not currently have any axles that have a total length of 100mm.

      – The HardLite Team

  3. gullo roberto says:

    190/5000
    GOOD MORNING, I WANTED TO KNOW WHICH THRU-AXLE ARE SUITABLE FOR MY CANNONDALE SUPERSIX H-M 2020.
    FITTED AS STANDARD
    FRONT 142 X 12MM / 165MM
    REAR 100 X 12MM / 119MM.

    • Joseph Kader says:

      Hello,
      We have a 12mm x 118mm (Road 12×118) axle that will work in the front and for the rear, we have a 12mm x 163mm axle (E-thru 12 x 163) that should work as well. However, they will only work if you also need a thread pitch of M12 x 1.5mm. Let us know if we can help in any other way.
      -The HardLite Team

    • Joseph Kader says:

      Hello,
      Probably for the rear you need our “ABP 12 x 142” axle. However, I can’t be sure unless you know the Total axle length you need and the correct thread pitch as well. These numbers can usually be found somewhere on the stock axles.

      -The HardLite Team

  4. Thomas says:

    Hello,

    I´ve a Focus Izalco Max Disc 9.7 AXS and want to replace the front and rear R.A.T. axles. On your website I can only find the rear axle. Do you also have the front axle?

    Thanks you

    • Joseph Kader says:

      Hello,
      We don’t yet have the front R.A.T. axles ready for purchase, but we are in the beginning stages of manufacturing them. Hopefully, they will be available soon.

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