Thru Axle vs Quick Release Axles – A [10 POINTS] comprehensive guide

Wondering what the difference is between a thru-axle and a quick release axle. The two most common axle designs are these solid and splined options.

For a long period of time, the only real choice for attaching wheels was a quick-release axle. But now, with the thru-rising axle’s profile, there are more possibilities than ever.

The fast release system eliminates the need for tools for removing the axle from the bike, which is a major advantage over the thru-axle. The thru-axle, meanwhile, is a detachable axle that goes from one fork leg through the hub and is secured by a screw in the opposite fork leg.

This article compares and contrasts Thru Axle vs Quick Release Axles.

Now, we should begin!

Introduction to Thru Axle vs Quick Release Axles

Thru-axles, what are they?

Thru-axles are affixed to the wheel and frame of a bicycle, preventing the wheel from coming off. It holds the wheel in place between the fork’s dropouts. The wheel is mounted on a hub between two dropouts on the frame or fork of the bicycle and this device is meant to keep the wheel in place.

A threaded side may be seen on the thru-axle. Which runs perpendicular to the forks, the hub on one side is drilled to accommodate the thru-axle shaft followed by going down the opposite path at that bifurcation.

Thru-axles, how they were created:

Tullio failed to foresee the ever-increasing requirements of downhill mountain bikers. Quick-release axles started becoming bent and broken during races.

Mountain bikes with disc brakes and suspension forks were particularly susceptible to quick release axle failure. Upon the suspension compressed and when braking, the fork legs did not move together. As a result, the brake rotors weren’t aligned properly, the car wasn’t tracking properly in turns, and one of the wheels came off.

With more and more riders experiencing axle failures while Downhill Mountain cycling, it became clear that a more durable axle design was required. Thru-axles were developed in the early 2000s.

The axle was beefed up to prevent it from bending or breaking under pressure. The wheel is no longer able to come loose from the dropouts since they now have holes. Thru-axles help mitigate fork tension caused by braking and unequal suspension loads by bolting the fork legs together. Having a more rigid front end enhances both handling and stability. It’s safer since the design is stronger.

Today, thru-axles are standard equipment for all serious mountain bikers, whereas quick-release axles have mostly been phased out. The technology is also slowly being adopted by road riders.


Dimensions for Through-Axles:

A through axle’s size is defined by three dimensions. There is typically a large disparity between the front and back. The following information is necessary for purchasing through axles that will fit your bike’s frame, fork, and hub.

Diameter through the Axle:

A typical diameter for a front through axle is 15 mm. In general, rear thru-axles are 12 mm in diameter. Currently, this is the norm. Use callipers to determine the exact size of the circle.

Because of the increased torsion force imposed by the steering, the front through axle is wider in diameter than the rear. Forks used to have through axles that measured 20 mm. Some downhill mountain bikers still utilize 20 mm front axles. Those looking to shed pounds on the road are making the transition to 12 mm front thru-axles.


Varied hub spacing requires different lengths of through axles. To signify size, manufacturers employ one of two length measurements:

You have a tolerance of roughly 2–3 mm when it comes to the length. It shouldn’t make much of a difference if the axle is a hair too short or long.

Quick-release axles, what are they?

With a name like “rapid release,” you can probably guess what this style of axle is. This implies that the axle may be taken out of the system without the need for any special tools. All except the cheapest motorcycles have quick-release axles.

A metal rod is threaded through the hubs, and the wheels come off with a flip of a lever. The wheel is fastened to the fork by inserting the rod into the hubs, screwing on the specific nut, and squeezing the lever shut.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of a thru-axle?

There are benefits and drawbacks to using a thru-axle, just like everything else. When it comes to employing a thru-axle, there are a few major pros and cons to consider. Here are the details:

Major Pros and cons of Thru Axle:

As with any technology, there are pros and downsides to employing a thru-axle. Here are the details:

Thru Axle vs Quick Release Axles


  • It’s more secure and safe.
  • Enhanced mobility.
  •  There will be less mechanical problems.
  • Performance enhancements have been made to the brakes.
  • It’s more secure and safer


  • They come at a high price.
  • They are heavier and have more of an impact.
  • Maintenance takes a lot of time.
  • To put it simply, they are costly

By securely fastening the wheels to the hubs, a thru-axle bicycle makes it extremely difficult for the wheel to fall out of the dropouts while riding, hence significantly increasing rider safety.

In contrast to the quick-release axle, stolen wheels are more difficult to remove from the dropouts.

  • Facilitated Control:

The thru-firmer axle’s front end makes for superior handling and stability, especially in tight turns.

  • Fewer Mechanical Faults:

Breaking axles, losing wheels, or having the rotors out of alignment are all things that may be avoided with a properly installed thru-axle.

  • Strengthened Capacity to Stop:

Disc brakes are used on the thru-axle to improve braking performance overall, but notably while turning. The total braking effectiveness is enhanced by the combination of less wobbling and proper rotor alignment.

The Drawbacks of a Thru-Axle:

It’s important to be aware of the drawbacks of thru-axles and the situations in which they wouldn’t be a good idea. Here are the details:

Thru-axles are more expensive to buy than quick-release axles since they are a more recent innovation in the industry. The frames and forks contribute to this since they need additional time and effort during production, which drives up the price.

  • Their weight is greater:

A thru-axle can range in weight from 55 to 80 grams, depending on the size you need. The skewers range in weight from 35 to 55 grams. Both the frame and the fork are constructed from solid, weighty materials.

The total item becomes heavy as a result of the addition of all these individual weights.

  • It Takes a Long Time to Fix Something:

Wheel repair requires unscrewing the thru-axle, which may be a time-consuming process. After the fix, you’ll need to tighten the axle screw by hand.

During such maintenance, the axle might get off. Repairing takes a long time and is tedious because of all the time it takes.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of Quick-release Axles?

There are benefits and drawbacks to employing a fast release, just as there are to everything else. One’s use of a rapid release comes with both benefits and drawbacks. Here are the details:

Pros and cons of Quick  Release Axle

Major Pros and cons of Quick Release Axle:

Using a quick-release axle has advantages, and there are many reasons why someone may want to. Here are the details:


  • Their price is lower.
  • Wheels are lighter.
  • Take the wheel off, and it will be much simpler.
  • I can count on them.


  • Sometimes they’re even riskier than the original.
  • They are readily manipulated and broken.
  • Become obsolete.
  • Rub of the brake rotors.
  • Compared to Others, They Are Less Expensive:

Quick-release axles are less expensive than thru-axles. This is because fixing them does not require any more components. A secondhand one may be had for what amounts to pennies on the dollar.

  • Lighter Wheels:

Quick-release wheels are often lighter than thru-axle wheels. It’s because the dropouts are so much lighter in content.

Quick-Release Axles Have Their Drawbacks:

Quick-release axles aren’t always the best solution, and there are some drawbacks to employing them. Here are the details:

  • They may provide a greater threat:

Accidents are more likely to occur while using rapid release in the event of a problem while riding. Typically, this occurs when the axle becomes loose over time, after taking an impact, or when it has not been tightened adequately. In certain cases, this can even cause the wheel to detach itself.

  • They are easily damaged or broken:

Quick-release axle bending, which can damage a hub over time, is a cause for worry.

  • Lost in Time:

Bicycle technology, like any other, is always evolving. That makes it harder to shop for wheels in the future. The quick-release system is antiquated.

  • Rotor Rubbing in the Brakes:

Most cases of brake rubbing may be traced back to quick-release axles due to the proximity of the brake pads and rotors. When the quick-release axles force the fork to bend, that’s when the rubbing starts to happen. The effect is diminished stopping ability.

Is this the Ending Era for Quick-Release Skewers?

When Italian cyclist Tullio Campagnolo (Link to Wikipedia) had to take off his wheel during races in 1927, he became upset. Each side of the wheel only had one sprocket back then, thus changing gears required a whole rotation. It was annoying to have to unbolt the wheel and reinstall it.

Wheel removal is now a breeze thanks to Tulio’s ingenious quick-release skewer system. For more than eighty years, this tool was without equal. Downhill Mountain biking, however, exposed a flaw in the QR skewer: it couldn’t handle the rigors of the sport’s most extreme courses.

Therefore, the innovators of the bicycle went back to work and developed the through axle.

Thru-axles cause a revolution in the market:

They realised the QR was bad when downhillers began losing wheels and snapping skewers. Instead of using u-shaped dropouts, they strengthened the axle and made dropouts with holes. Both the fork and the wheel hub must be drilled for the through axle to pass through. In this way, the wheel is extremely difficult to remove.

The strength and steadiness of the bike are substantially enhanced by the thicker axle that is directly attached into the frame. The result is a more stable front end with no brake friction. Moreover, a camming mechanism (such as the QR lever) can be added to your wheel to allow for its rapid removal.

How to Change Your Bike’s Quick Release to Thru Axles

In some instances, it is feasible to convert your beloved frame to accommodate through axles. There are a few approaches to take. It all boils down to replacing a few parts.

Changing to a through axle fork from a quick release fork is the quickest and most painless fix. You will also need a new front hub that accepts through axles. In most cases, a front through axle will have a 15 mm diameter.

Bikes with through axles are more secure and more efficient. There’s a good reason why the QR skewer is becoming increasingly rare on high-end mountain bikes used in competition.

Differences between a skewer and a thru-axle are discussed.

Bicycle wheels require skewers and thru-axles, both of which are crucial parts. Skewers and thru-axles are essential parts of every bike, from road racers to downhill bicycles and urban hybrids, as they secure the wheels and allow for simple removal.

Quick-release skewers are standard on most bicycles, and lighter materials like carbon and titanium can be used in their place to save weight.

A lot of people want to know what the main difference is between the traditional fast release skewer and the modern thru-axle. Now about 2010, thru-axles have been standard on mountain bikes, and they have since made their way onto road bikes. However, skewers are still commonly used on many bicycles. Find out what the distinction entails.


Tullio Campagnolo (yep, that “Campy”), an Italian bike racer, was disappointed in a race in 1927 when he tried to change gears. Because there was only one cog on each side of the hub, “changing gears” required removing the wheel, flipping it over, and then rethreading the wingnuts. You can imagine how exhausting this would be during a race.

The dedicated cyclist that he was, he came up with a solution: the rapid release skewer, which allowed him to swap the wheels in seconds. The “quick release” (QR) skewer was a small rod that threaded into an axle within the hub. The 5mm fast release skewer has now replaced all others as the standard for bicycles everywhere. Steel QR codes are 5mm thick.


There are many types of through axles, some of which are reduced profile and bolt on, while others use a cam-like lever. Unlike a skewer, which uses a camming mechanism to secure the wheel, a through axle screws straight into the frame of your bicycle.

If your bike’s “drop out” is a hole rather than a U-shape, then it has a through axle. Because the through axle is threaded into the frame, the wheel is still attached even if the lever at the end of the axle swings open. If you’ve been keeping up with the cycling news, you might know that there was recently a massive recall of bikes with front quick releases and disc brakes.

Is there a noticeable drop in efficiency?

YES. To improve handling and stability, through axles can be installed in either the front or back of a bicycle. For higher torque and reduced whip flex, this is especially useful on mountain bikes.

A skewer is only a thin rod, of say 5 mm in diameter. You have a through axle if the threaded part is 12 millimetres in diameter.

What do you mean by “eliminates brake rub?

“Eliminates brake rub” refers to a situation where the brake pads on a bicycle, particularly disc brakes, come into contact with the rotor or rim unintentionally, causing friction and a rubbing sound or sensation.

This is an undesirable condition as it can lead to decreased braking efficiency and additional wear on brake components.

When a bicycle is properly set up and adjusted, there should be enough clearance between the brake pads and the rotor or rim to allow the wheel to spin freely without any contact. However, factors like misalignment, loose bolts, or warped rotors can lead to brake rub.

When a component, such as a thru axle, is described as “eliminating brake rub,” it means that this component or design feature helps maintain the proper alignment and clearance between the brake pads and the rotor, preventing any unwanted contact and the associated issues.

Essentially, it ensures that the brakes do not rub against the rotor or rim, allowing for optimal braking performance and a smooth, noise-free ride.

Frequently asked Questions

Do all bikes experience brake rub at some point?

  • Brake rub can occur on any bike, but it’s more likely when components are misaligned or if the bike experiences mechanical issues. Regular maintenance and proper setup can help reduce the likelihood of brake rub.

What’s the difference between brake rub on rim brakes and disc brakes?

  • Brake rub on rim brakes occurs when the brake pads touch the rim of the wheel. In disc brakes, it happens when the brake pads make contact with the rotor. While the causes may be similar, the solutions can vary.

Are thru axles only beneficial for off-road or mountain biking, or do they offer advantages for road cycling as well?

  • Thru axles can benefit both off-road and road cycling. While they are commonly associated with the enhanced stability required for rugged terrain, some road bikes with disc brakes also use thru axles to improve stiffness and alignment.

Can I use spacers or adapters to convert my quick release axle bike to thru axles?

  • In some cases, you may be able to use spacers or adapters to convert a quick release bike to thru axles. However, this may not be feasible for all frames and forks, so it’s advisable to consult with a professional or the manufacturer.

Are there any specific brake maintenance tips to prevent brake rub in wet or muddy conditions?

  • In wet and muddy conditions, cleaning and degreasing the rotors and brake pads can help prevent brake rub. Additionally, check for any mud or debris buildup around the caliper and rotor area.

Is brake rub a concern for both mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes?

  • Brake rub can affect both mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes. The cause of the rubbing may vary, but the potential issues and solutions are similar for both brake types.

Can brake rub lead to accelerated wear and tear on my brake components or wheelset?

  • Yes, brake rub can cause increased wear on brake pads and rotors. In some cases, it can also affect the integrity of the wheelset, leading to rim or rotor damage.

Final verdict on Thru Axle vs Quick Release:

Finally, a thru-axle is more costly and safer to use than a quick release since it is fastened to the dropouts of the bike, making it more difficult to lose. The fast release, on the other hand, is less expensive and doesn’t require any tools to detach from the bicycle, but it becomes less secure with time.

For the time being, that’s all there is! It would make my day if you found this post explaining the benefits of the thru-axle over the quick release to be useful.

Conclusion on Thru Axle vs Quick Release

It has been the opinion of some cyclists that through axles are little more than a money-making gimmick. It’s possible that this is correct. The typical leisure rider won’t realize the benefits they provide.

The benefits of through axles are greatest for mountain bikers and diminish for road cyclists. The greatest benefit is that everyone is safer. The vehicle’s handling has also been tweaked for the better.

However, it appears that thru-axles are the future of transportation. It’s a solid, reliable, and user-friendly piece of technology. The use of thru-axles is a huge

improvement. It’s just not a huge jump. There’s no use in buying a whole new bike simply to have through axles if your current quick release bike is serving you well. Thru axles are the superior options if you intend to upgrade soon.

Mark Webster is bike enthusiast and researcher in bike industry from last 15 years. Mark had been working in different bike manufacturing companies for research and development of new models. Mark has mission to make bike design safest for bikers. The dream of Mark is to make bikes too mainstream that we can reduce global carbon emissions.

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