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How important is thru-axle?

stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
edited October 2014 in Road buying advice
I'm on the hunt for a new winter bike and struggling to find something that ticks my main criteria. Looking for (I) Alu or ti frame with a carbon fork, (II) disc brakes and a thru-axle, (iii) mounts for full mudguards.

Lots of options if I drop a thru-axle as a requirement. I can find bikes with thru-axle (focus mares) but not the mudguard mounts.

Am I missing a good option? And am I going overboard by wanting thru-axle, should I just drop that and go for normal QR?
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Posts

  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,441
    Marketing managed to convince you about the need of a through axle...

    If you like to jump down 3 foot drops, then yes, you probably need a through axle
  • FransJacquesFransJacques Posts: 2,148
    do NOT let thru axle steer you away from a good bike you really like. it's not that important.

    this will be the new disc brake debate. you don't need discs on cross nor commuting bikes but people LOVE to convince themselves they do
    When a cyclist has a disagreement with a car; it's not who's right, it's who's left.
  • blinddrewblinddrew Posts: 317
    Been mountain biking without a through axle for years, they do stiffen up the front end but really not necessary on a commuter / winter bike.
    Music, beer, sport, repeat...
  • bendertherobotbendertherobot Posts: 11,684
    do NOT let thru axle steer you away from a good bike you really like. it's not that important.

    this will be the new disc brake debate. you don't need discs on cross nor commuting bikes but people LOVE to convince themselves they do

    In the busy rush hour, in the pouring rain, descending from Rhydlafar to Radyr Roundabout in Cardiff I can guarantee you that discs are needed.

    Thru axles, definitely not.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
    https://twitter.com/roubaixcc
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  • majormantramajormantra Posts: 2,094
    They are far from essential, but given the option I would definitely choose them. Mainly for the consistency of alignment.

    Some of the new systems like Focus' RAT are actually as fast or faster to do up than a QR.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    In the busy rush hour, in the pouring rain, descending from Rhydlafar to Radyr Roundabout in Cardiff I can guarantee you that discs are needed.

    In contrast, in the busy rush hour, in the pouring rain I can guarantee you that discs are not necessarily needed. I've ridden many miles in the busy rush hour and pouring rain without discs - therefore, they are not necessarily needed......

    And neither are through axles. They aren't needed on MTBs either.......
    Faster than a tent.......
  • bendertherobotbendertherobot Posts: 11,684
    Rolf F wrote:
    In the busy rush hour, in the pouring rain, descending from Rhydlafar to Radyr Roundabout in Cardiff I can guarantee you that discs are needed.

    In contrast, in the busy rush hour, in the pouring rain I can guarantee you that discs are not necessarily needed. I've ridden many miles in the busy rush hour and pouring rain without discs - therefore, they are not necessarily needed......

    And neither are through axles. They aren't needed on MTBs either.......

    Well, on the second point, I've already said that much.

    On the first, you appear to have omitted my reference to descent. A rather nasty one terminating in a poorly surfaced roundabout. I concede that it's doable with rim brakes and that, as a result, arguably necessary is, in itself, arguable. But, yesterday morning, when the road had become a river, I was pretty happy to have them.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,441
    But, yesterday morning, when the road had become a river, I was pretty happy to have them.

    censored , don't beat around the bush and say it how it is... my wheels saved your life and that's a fact! 8)
  • bendertherobotbendertherobot Posts: 11,684
    But, yesterday morning, when the road had become a river, I was pretty happy to have them.

    censored , don't beat around the bush and say it how it is... my wheels saved your life and that's a fact! 8)

    This! :D

    They are still absolutely true btw. Almost 2 years old now.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
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  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Rolf F wrote:
    In the busy rush hour, in the pouring rain, descending from Rhydlafar to Radyr Roundabout in Cardiff I can guarantee you that discs are needed.

    In contrast, in the busy rush hour, in the pouring rain I can guarantee you that discs are not necessarily needed. I've ridden many miles in the busy rush hour and pouring rain without discs - therefore, they are not necessarily needed......

    And neither are through axles. They aren't needed on MTBs either.......

    Well, on the second point, I've already said that much.

    On the first, you appear to have omitted my reference to descent. A rather nasty one terminating in a poorly surfaced roundabout. I concede that it's doable with rim brakes and that, as a result, arguably necessary is, in itself, arguable. But, yesterday morning, when the road had become a river, I was pretty happy to have them.

    Ahhh, well, that omission was deliberate! I can't claim any knowledge of the descent from Rhydlafar to Radyr Roundabout in Cardiff (I can't even pronounce the first place!) so for all I know, you not only need disc brakes but a parachute as well!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • bendertherobotbendertherobot Posts: 11,684
    I wouldn't go that far. You just need wheels built by ugo. With discs ;)
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,441
    I don't know that descent either, but I like to think of myself as the Italian that has cycled the most in Wales... :mrgreen:
  • bendertherobotbendertherobot Posts: 11,684
    I'd love to be the Welsh man that has cycled the most in Italy :(
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
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  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    As there not many road options or even CX bikes with thr axles is all a moot anyway. With stiff rigid forks in general thru axles are not needed. My new 29er with a rigid fork is getting old fashioned Q/R hubs.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Purpose of thru axles is to stiffen suspension forks . No need on ridgid forks.
    disc brakes are not essential, about the same in the dry but much better in the wet with winter tyres.
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    Ok, thanks all, that helps, I'll be less fussy on thru-axle which gives me a lot more choice.

    Re getting discs, I've ridden through a fair amount of winters without them as well. Soaking wet rims have never caused me not to stop but have caused me a few moments of wondering whether I was going to. Given that I'm buying a bike to use on the wet days, and discs are so prevalent now they don't compromise choice, for winter bikes seems odd not to go discs now if you're buying from scratch.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    For winter use I would prefer disc's due to the more reliable stopping in the wet. Especially for heavier riders or if you are riding where you may need to brake suddenly.
  • Kajjal wrote:
    For winter use I would prefer disc's due to the more reliable stopping in the wet. Especially for heavier riders or if you are riding where you may need to brake suddenly.

    My titanium plated upper jaw/lower nose and screwed together metacarpals agree. The rim brakes (cantilever?) on my Tricross Singlecross 2009 failed to get me from ~20-0mph in ~5 metres on the morning of the pre-Xmas weather warning day ;)
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Kajjal wrote:
    For winter use I would prefer disc's due to the more reliable stopping in the wet. Especially for heavier riders or if you are riding where you may need to brake suddenly.

    My titanium plated upper jaw/lower nose and screwed together metacarpals agree. The rim brakes (cantilever?) on my Tricross Singlecross 2009 failed to get me from ~20-0mph in ~5 metres on the morning of the pre-Xmas weather warning day ;)

    :shock:
  • bikingjohnbikingjohn Posts: 202
    I don't like my alu rims being consumed during wet descend. So... Yes, disc brake please.
    2015 Trek Domane 4.5 Disc
    http://chup.info/c/tag/trek/
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    Kajjal wrote:
    For winter use I would prefer disc's due to the more reliable stopping in the wet. Especially for heavier riders or if you are riding where you may need to brake suddenly.

    My titanium plated upper jaw/lower nose and screwed together metacarpals agree. The rim brakes (cantilever?) on my Tricross Singlecross 2009 failed to get me from ~20-0mph in ~5 metres on the morning of the pre-Xmas weather warning day ;)

    Ouch.....
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,441
    bikingjohn wrote:
    I don't like my alu rims being consumed during wet descend. So... Yes, disc brake please.

    Exactly... if you have more sense than money, you are bound to buy cheap rims, that won't make you weep like a willow when they go... while with discs, you can flog 250 pounds for a pair of rims only, knowing they should last a lot longer, hopefully... not to speak about the all important all black look

    tubeless_zpsc7a6e3f1.jpg
  • bendertherobotbendertherobot Posts: 11,684
    My guards are still on. I may take them off for a week or so.......


    BF010690-1E41-41DD-B0C4-859EB2E4DDC0_zpsu16zztle.jpg
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
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    Facebook? No. Just say no.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Don't forget, in year's time we'll have a new through-axle size of 24mm which will render all previous sizes redundant and force you to junk all your kit. Me, I'm sticking with QR's for now. There's no need for them on a rigid fork IMO.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    this will be the new disc brake debate. you don't need discs on cross nor commuting bikes but people LOVE to convince themselves they do
    Once you have tried good discs on steep hill in the pouring rain it is not too hard to convince yourself you need them = or at least want them.

    As for thru-axle? Not critical. Certainly less important than discs.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • Isn't one of the (supposed) advantages of thru-axel that the wheel goes back into the same position every time?
  • Mechanism wrote:
    Isn't one of the (supposed) advantages of thru-axel that the wheel goes back into the same position every time?

    Supposedly. Never noticed to be a problem with QR to be honest. The axle spacers and dropouts don't change position when you take the wheels out, so long as you reseat them correctly when you put them back in why should they move?
  • I'll be honest. I find it easiest to stick the bike upside down to change wheels. When I put the wheel back in the disc does rub on occasion.

    Until I turn the bike back over, pull the brake, spin the wheel and all is good again.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
    https://twitter.com/roubaixcc
    Facebook? No. Just say no.
  • I'm (obviously to those that know me) a +1 for discs. Ever since, descending the steep hill near home in the rain on a single track road, I was faced with my impending mortality by a tractor armed with seemingly infinite impaling devices coming up the hill in the opposite direction. Even though he stopped and I'd bent the brake levers into the shape of my white knuckled fingers, the Salmon pads seemed to be on holiday. I've never been happier to ride into a ditch. Yes, I've convinced myself I need discs (at least in Scotland if not in Amsterdam :wink: ) on my commute!! And it was sooo much more fun descending The Alpe with them too 8)

    ETA - no thru axle and never felt the need
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • veronese68veronese68 Posts: 24,660 Lives Here
    I thought, possibly wrongly, that one supposed advantages of the thru axle on a rigid fork was to do with the disc brake trying to twist the axle out of he drop out with a normal QR. Saying that I've ever experienced this, but I think it is wise to use a good quality QR with disc brakes.
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