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Thru-Axle Bikes - Check Axle Tightness

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Thru-Axle Bikes - Check Axle Tightness

Old 10-20-21, 12:00 AM
  #1  
rsbob 
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Thru-Axle Bikes - Check Axle Tightness

Today was a day to beat previous personal bests. As a result I hammered certain segments, climbs and descents. There is one descent which is 0.5 mile where I was keeping it at 40. After another few miles, went to load it on the bike rack and the back of the bike went clunk. WTF? No frame cracks and the the disc was still centered between the brakes. However when slaloming one gentle downhill at 25 (like skiing) the rear disc started to rub but it went away. So checking to see if the rear thru-axel was tight, it was finger loose. Couldnít tell by looking at it that the threads had backed out a bit, but when I pulled out the tightening lever, yikes!

This is my first bike with thru-axels and since I very rarely have flats-2500 miles this year with zero flats (tubeless plus I live in the country) no need to remove the back wheel. So periodically check the tightness of your thru-axels. I know I will from here on out.
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Last edited by rsbob; 10-20-21 at 12:07 AM. Reason: Added tubeless
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Old 10-20-21, 04:57 AM
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Yep. This has happened to a few guys I ride with and there was a discussion here a couple of years ago. Long story short, like cassettes, the proper torque is higher than "feels good to me." Hard to tell when so many of the axles have a lever attached, but properly tightened it won't be a continuing issue.
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Old 10-20-21, 06:13 AM
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If your thru-axles are bolt on, use a torque wrench and set to the specified torque; if your thru-axles have levers for hand tightening, tighten them up appropriately and occasionally glance at the lever to make sure it hasnít moved.

Iíve got almost 9000 miles on my thru-axle bike, and I donít think theyíve budged one bit.
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Old 10-20-21, 06:22 AM
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Mine was loose once as well. I knew something was up as my drivetrain was kind of loud. When I went to remove the rear wheel it was finger tight. My bike has a removable lever that goes between front and rear wheels so no lever to look at. I just give it a quick check before I ride now.
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Old 10-20-21, 06:29 AM
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If your rotors start kissing the pads more often, usually starting with cornering or out-of-the-saddle efforts, it can be an early indication that an axel has loosened a touch.
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Old 10-20-21, 07:08 AM
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New tech doesn't make basic safety checks of a machine that's supposed to support your weight at speed obsolete.
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Old 10-20-21, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
Yep. This has happened to a few guys I ride with and there was a discussion here a couple of years ago. Long story short, like cassettes, the proper torque is higher than "feels good to me." Hard to tell when so many of the axles have a lever attached, but properly tightened it won't be a continuing issue.
Oh so true on basically anything that moves or flies. Unfortunately in my case, (Bianchi Infinito) the tightening lever was integrated into the thru-Axels so there is no way to properly torque. SoÖ I will just have to be religious about checking. Live and learn, and hopefully not crash in the process.

Bet my timed segments would have been a bit faster if the wheel was properly tracking - just an old guy trying to justify mediocre performance.
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Old 10-20-21, 11:54 AM
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I figure it's kind of like QR levers - if you can't see the imprint on your hand, you're not giving it enough torque.

But I still check periodically.
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Old 10-20-21, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Oh so true on basically anything that moves or flies. Unfortunately in my case, (Bianchi Infinito) the tightening lever was integrated into the thru-Axels so there is no way to properly torque. So… I will just have to be religious about checking. Live and learn, and hopefully not crash in the process.

Bet my timed segments would have been a bit faster if the wheel was properly tracking - just an old guy trying to justify mediocre performance.
Check out the Robert Axle Project to replace those stock axles. Then you can torque them appropriately. I really like mine.
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Old 10-20-21, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
Today was a day to beat previous personal bests. As a result I hammered certain segments, climbs and descents. There is one descent which is 0.5 mile where I was keeping it at 40. After another few miles, went to load it on the bike rack and the back of the bike went clunk. WTF? No frame cracks and the the disc was still centered between the brakes. However when slaloming one gentle downhill at 25 (like skiing) the rear disc started to rub but it went away. So checking to see if the rear thru-axel was tight, it was finger loose. Couldn’t tell by looking at it that the threads had backed out a bit, but when I pulled out the tightening lever, yikes!

This is my first bike with thru-axels and since I very rarely have flats-2500 miles this year with zero flats (tubeless plus I live in the country) no need to remove the back wheel. So periodically check the tightness of your thru-axels. I know I will from here on out.
But I had the opposite problem when I got a flat near Golden Gardens Park. I could not loosen the rear (of course, where else get a flat) axle. I tried standing on it. I tried prying with a tire lever (bent) and I took my shoe off to pound with it. Nothing worked. Some guy pulled into the lot with what looked like a commercial pickup truck: "You have a hammer?" Better yet he had a heavy duty rubber mallet. It still took three good hits to loosen the damn thing. Since posting about that, someone mentioned one might be able to use a seat post (if hollow) as a lever extension.

But I'm not a bit more diligent about both tight and loose.

I had another flat last week. I was able to get the damn wheel off and even managed to the the tire off and back on (with lots of effort and appropriate grunts). But I'm having a hell of a time re-seating the wheel into the derailleur and disc brake "chamber" and I did release the clutch. I tried this and I tried that and I started again and again. Then miraculously if just fell into place. Seriously.

Mine also have an lever integrated with the axle - "nice" they want it to look retro like a quick-release lever. I did get some Roberts Axle but have not replaced the Specialized ones yet.

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Old 10-20-21, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by kahn View Post
But I had the opposite problem when I got a flat near Golden Gardens Park. I could not loosen the rear (of course, where else get a flat) axle. I tried standing on it. I tried prying with a tire lever (bent) and I took my shoe off to pound with it. Nothing worked. Some guy pulled into the lot with what looked like a commercial pickup truck: "You have a hammer?" Better yet he had a heavy duty rubber mallet. It still took three good hits to loosen the damn thing. Since posting about that, someone mentioned one might be able to use a seat post (if hollow) as a lever extension.

But I'm not a bit more diligent about both tight and loose.

I had another flat last week. I was able to get the damn wheel off and even managed to the the tire off and back on (with lots of effort and appropriate grunts). But I'm having a hell of a time re-seating the wheel into the derailleur and disc brake "chamber" and I did release the clutch. I tried this and I tried that and I started again and again. Then miraculously if just fell into place. Seriously.

Mine also have an lever integrated with the axle - "nice" they want it to look retro like a quick-release lever. I did get some Roberts Axle but have not replaced the Specialized ones yet.
Are your axel threads greased? What are you tightening them to - 40Nm?



Maneuvering the wheel back in to place will get much easier with practice, though the disc adds a little wrinkle to the process.

And yeah - use those Robert Axels! This reminds me that I should order a new, regular axel from RAP to replace the trainer axel that I've been using (no longer using a wheel-on trainer, so I can get the lighter axel).
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Old 10-21-21, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Are your axel threads greased? What are you tightening them to - 40Nm?



Maneuvering the wheel back in to place will get much easier with practice, though the disc adds a little wrinkle to the process.

And yeah - use those Robert Axels! This reminds me that I should order a new, regular axel from RAP to replace the trainer axel that I've been using (no longer using a wheel-on trainer, so I can get the lighter axel).
They are greased. I suspect that the shop tightened them and I had not checked - or maybe Specialized shipped it that way (unlikely). Mine have that faux lever like a quick release so you can't rate torque. But it and the front one are now hand maneuverable. (I really don't want to add a weighty mallet to my tool mix! )

I changed rear flats on other bikes before but this relatively new one is definitely more of a challenge. I'm waiting for the real rain to set in (probably this whole next week) and my mood to really mellow and I might try practicing in the comfort of my home.
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