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US company CNC-machines lightweight thru-axles for disc-equipped road bikes

Want to shed a few grammes from your disc-equipped road bike? US firm The Robert Axle Project has sent us news of its Lightning thru-axle which it reckons can save a bit of weight over the standard thru-axles that come on modern road bikes, good news if you thought your thru-axles were too heavy and holding you back from unleashing your full potential.

The company specialises in thru-axles for mountain bikes but says it has seen a lot of interest in recent years from road cyclists wanting to upgrade disc-equipped road bikes, of which there are now many to choose from. 

lightning .jpg

It has developed the Lightning Bolt-On Axle to be a lighter weight and lower profile alternative to the, and we’re quoting the company here, “ugly and bulky thru-axle levers on your bike.”

It claims a 15mm thru-axle weighs 53g while a 12mm rear thru-axle is as light as 40g. We’ve never actually felt inclined to weigh a thru-axle before, but we’re off to do that right now.

The thru-axles are CNC-machined in Bend, Oregon from 7075 aluminium and hard anodised. The company saves weight from the thru-axle by removing unnecessary material from the centre.

Instead of a lever on the end of the thru-axle, the Lightning Bolt-On Axle uses a 6mm Allen bolt so you’ll need to make sure you have a mini-tool on your person or bike in case of a wheel change out in the wild. The benefit though is a more aerodynamic design according to the company. 

"I was surprised to see many of the new disc-brake equipped road bikes are stocked with bulky thru-axles that are heavy and not aerodynamic in the very least,” says Chris Kratsch, President of Robert Axle Project. 

“So we created a lighter, lower profile alternative. This literally came about after going for a mountain bike ride with a buddy who kept bashing his rear axle handle into rocks. His thru axle was completely beat up from the wear and tear and not only looked terrible, but was starting to come loose. Not something you want to happen on a remote mountain bike ride. We've done our research and we're trying to fit as many bikes as possible, which we've added to our Fitment Selector on our website.”

It offers a range of options to cater for many different thru-axles currently on the market, with a Fitment Selector to making choosing the right one easy.

The Lightning Bolt-On Axles cost from £33.99 and are available direct from https://robertaxleproject.com or via www.sjscycles.co.uk in the UK. 

There has long been a market for lightweight, often titanium spindle, replacement quick release skewers on road and mountain bikes over the years, with weight weenies keen to lose weight from every part of the bike. But this is the first time we've heard of the same for disc road bikes. Do you own a disc-equipped road bike and will you be looking to try and shed a few morsels of weight?

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

9 comments

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pockstone [136 posts] 5 months ago
4 likes

So it's not the panniers, or the wind, or the cheap stock wheelset, or the binding brakes,or the jelly legs, or the lardy gut holding me back from unleashing my full potential. Thank God for that. I knew there must be a more rational explanation!

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bechdan [126 posts] 5 months ago
2 likes

 good news if you thought your thru-axles were too heavy and holding you back from unleashing your full potential.

i can almost picture the smile on your face as you wrote this nonsense, still you're getting paid to do it whether you believe in it or not. 

What another load of marketing BS by a bike company

 

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kitsunegari [306 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

£34. They damn well better fit the wheels themselves for that too.

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G-bitch [327 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

Of far more interest.... are the thru-axle turbo adaptors and trailer hitch adaptors for thru-axle. Nice that someone is one step ahead on these things, hope they benefit by getting OEM supply work.

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RobD [531 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

If you don't usually carry a multitool and then carry one because of these would you surely not be increasing the overall weight by a lot more than this saving?

Some people will buy anything to 'make them go faster'

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3mkru73 [56 posts] 5 months ago
1 like

Aesthetically, my current thru-axles are ugly as hell and the lever on the front one lines up horribly with the fork. I'd be genuinely interested in these if they were a little less expensive. 

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hawkinspeter [1029 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I've already had a look at these as I've been wanting to improve the security of the wheels. I've got some Hexlox inserts that go into a 6mm hex head. However, I got baffled trying to figure out which to get to replace some Shimano thru-axles (apparently the threads are slightly different between different TA systems).

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arnolds [9 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I ordered one form dt swiss, not for weight or to go faster. But for the fact that the lever can be separated from the TA. I think there are two kind levers: ugly levers and less ugly levers . So this is a  good solution.

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joules1975 [480 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
pockstone wrote:

So it's not the panniers, or the wind, or the cheap stock wheelset, or the binding brakes,or the jelly legs, or the lardy gut holding me back from unleashing my full potential. Thank God for that. I knew there must be a more rational explanation!

As with many things (the lazer aeroshell being another example), get past the marketing crap and you realise the product is actually quite a good idea.

In my case, the front TA on by road bike us really ugly, and I've been looking for something like this for a while as a replacement (Rockshox and Fox also make them, but they won't fit my bike). Could't give a shit about any tiny potential performance gain, I just want to sort the one thing on my bike I don't like.

PS. On the the lazer aeroshell thing, all too often I see people go on about the potential aero benefits - couldn't give a sh!t about that, as far more important is that the aeroshell keeps winter air, rain and bugs out!