Thru-Axle vs Quick Release

Thru-Axle vs Quick Release

Do you think about the various types of thru-axle vs quick release ? If yes, then you know these are the two types of axle styles you can choose. Throughout the years, the top option was the quick-release axle. But these days, you can find a huge number of choices to consider with the thru-axle becoming more and more popular. 

The key difference between thru-axle and quick release is that the latter allows you to remove the axle effortlessly from the bike without using any tools. Further, a thru-axle is removable, which is inserted through a hole in one fork leg, through the hub, and bolted into the other fork leg.

In today’s post, we will dig deeper into the major differences between thru-axle and quick release. Two products we will compare are the DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle by DT Swiss and CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release Skewer. Now, without further ado, let’s get started!

At a Glance

The DT Swiss thru-axles features an attachment securing the wheel to the bike frame, securing the wheel amid the dropouts on the fork. You see, it’s intended for the bike frame or fork to offer security to the wheel on the hub amid a pair of dropouts. They also have a threaded side. Further, which threads directly through the forks, the thru-axle shaft passes through one side of it via the hub and to the other side of that fork.

Meanwhile, quick release, as the name suggests, signifies what this type of axle is. It implies that this kind of axle could be removed easily from the system without using any tool or device. Also, the quick-release axle is standard in many bikes.

Thru-Axle vs Quick Release
Thru-Axle vs Quick Release

They’re composed of a metal rod running through the hubs, which feature a quick-release lever. The rod is then inserted into the wheel’s hubs, a special nut is threaded on, and the lever is then closed to secure the came and closed the wheel to the fork.

What are the differences between thru-axle and quick release? 

Thru-axle is a part of an entire wheel attachment structure, securing the hub amid the dropouts in the fork and the frame. These dropouts often have holes instead of slots. You see, thru-axles itself is a thick, robust pin, which is threaded on one end. It inserts from the wheel’s side.

After you thread through one dropout and the hub, the DT Swiss Thru-Axle screws into the far dropout. That way, the wheels are bolted to the fork and the frame. Further, the DT Swiss secures in place along with a hex bolt or cam lever on end, which tensions the axle, so it does not come loose. Further, there aren’t any slots, so the axle should be removed totally to get rid of the wheel from the bike.

Apart from DT Swiss Thru-Axle, standard front thru-axles measure at least fifteen millimeters (15mm) in diameter while the rear measures twelve millimeters (12mm). Various lengths are accessible as well to fit various hub spacing.


Thru-Axle vs Quick Release


On the other hand, the CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release is one of the standard wheel attachments utilized on many bikes these days. They enable you to get rid of and change the wheels immediately and without using any tools. The best here is that you don’t even need to discard the axle from the hub. How amazing is that?

Keep in mind that the CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release is comprised of a small and think metal skewer, which runs through the hubs. That skewer is then held in place by an acorn nut on a single side and a quick release cam lever on the other side. Two tiny springs sit on either side of the hub too. 

Often, you will find a dropout on this quick release frame, and the fork features U-shaped slots. In addition, the wheel attaches to the bike by slotting the skewer itself into the U-shaped dropouts, relatively securing the acorn nut, and fastening the quick release lever closed.

There is a cam mechanism tensioning the axle and holding the wheel in place with friction. The quick release axle then remains in the hub if you remove the wheel. The CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release measures 9.4 millimeters on the front and close to 9.5mm on the rear, so they don’t fit in bike dropouts. Awesome, right?

Comparison for thru-axle vs quick release

We are now going to look at some of the major differences between thru-axle and quick release. Please remember that these guidelines are accurate, but there are many variations between the two. That’s why it is essential to check out reviews of various products to ensure you invest in the correct one.

Safety

Safety is one of the important features you need to keep in mind. The best thing about DT Swiss Thru-axles is that they are a lot safer than quick release, as they enhance safety by making it impossible for the front wheel to come out of the dropouts while you are moving. The dropouts cannot lift off the axles vertically as they have holes rather than a U-shaped slot. In short, the dropout surrounds the axle. Further, thru-axles screw into the dropout, creating a much more secure connection.

That design stops disc brakes from discharging the axle under huge braking force. They also make the for much robust and less likely to fail. The axles are unlikely to break as well, as they are stronger and thicker at the same time. Ultimately, the axles are less likely to come loose after being incorrectly tightened. All of those features enhance safety!

On the other hand, CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release is far more dangerous. Under specific scenarios, a wheel could come off. If it loosens over time, gets knocked loose, or is not secured enough, the U-shaped dropout could lift off of the axle. As you can visualize, that could lead to a horrible incident if it occurs while riding at a fast speed.

There has been a bit of litigation over quick-release axles in the past. Many accidents are caused by human fault, but cycling brands have recalled bikes in different situations. Thru-axles bind the wheels much securely and lessen the chance of wheel attachment caused by user error.

Winner: DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle

Innovativeness

Nowadays, many mid-range to the high-end road, mountain bikes, and touring come with DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle instead of quick release like the CYSKY Bike Axle Quick. If you prefer using the most modern and newest cycling equipment, then thru-axles are a good option for you. It’s anticipated that many manufacturers will shift to thru-axles over the next decade, even on lower-end bikes.

Quick release axles are an old cycling technology, which appears to be on its way out. In fact, a lot of bicycle manufacturers are moving toward thru-axles. Further, a lot of high-end bikes use the other, while those lower-end bikes come with a quick release.

Winner: DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle

Price

A quick release like the CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release Skewer costs next to nothing. You could possibly purchase a used one for a few bucks. A new set could be had for $10. Meanwhile, thru-axles are extremely costly for being just a basic part. They are basically just a huge bold that costs $30 to $60 or more.

Even though DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle are simple, they cost a lot more than quick release axles. That’s because of the newer technology they have and are considered to be higher-end at the same time.

Keep in mind that thru-axle forks and frames cost more than those made for quick-release, as they’re much time-consuming and complicated to create. The axle holes in the dropouts should be smoothly aligned and perfectly sized for the wheels to roll straight. There’s also a small margin for a mistake, and it takes more man-hours and precision to assemble the frame. That might be worth considering if you have a custom-built frame.

Frames along with a U-shaped dropout for quick release are a lot cheaper to make, as they enable more adjustability throughout manufacture. There’s also more margin for mistakes, and it takes less time to assemble.

Winner: CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release Skewer

Bending

Did you know that DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle do not bend or break under heavy stress? Other disciplines of cycling put a huge amount of stress on axles. That’s the case with downhill and free-ride mountain biking. Think quick release axles could bend or break during difficult landing after a drop or jump.

That issue is especially typical on bikes along with suspension forks. The legs compress unevenly and break or bend the axle. Take note that a bent axle could destroy a hub. When the axle breaks, the wheel could come off too.

Being three to four times thicker, DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle have a much higher tensile strength. They also do not break under a huge amount of stress. The added material substantially boosts the strength of the axle, enhancing safety, braking, and handling. That concern is the main reason why thru-axles were created in the first place.

On the contrary, downhill and jumping mountain biking put lots of stress on quick release axles. Skinny skewers can bend, and that can destroy a hub in the end. With sufficient force, the axle can break too. If that takes place, the wheel could come off completely or lodge in the fork and cause the rider to crash. As you can guess, that cannot happen with thru-axles.

Winner: DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle

Parts Availability

Quick release axles like the CYSKY Bike Axle have been the standard bike part for more than eight decades. Millions of bicycles use them across the globe. If your quick release axle bends or breaks or when the hub fails while you are biking through a remote area, expect to find a replacement in even the tiniest of villages.

That being said, quick release axles are still the ideal option for expedition bike touring and even bike packing. Looking for a replacement thru-axle would be impossible in most developing nations. They are a specialty part that is not accessible everywhere yet.

You see, the parts of a DT Swiss RWS Plug Rear Thru-axle are typical only on higher-end bikes. In much of the developing nations, high-end bikes and their components aren’t that common. Have you lost your thru-axle or need a new hub? Then expect that it may be challenging to look for a spare while wandering somewhere distant. Also, small-town bikes shops might not carry those products. That may oblige you to travel to the closest city or have parts shipped to your place. Thus, bike tourists decide to stick with quick release axles at that time to prevent inconvenience.

Winner: CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release

Compatibility

You can use any bike carrying rack with a quick release. Most racks secure the bike by locking the front dropouts to the rack’s mechanism. Those need u-shaped quick release dropouts. Meanwhile, you may also need to purchase a new rack when you purchase a thru-axle bike, as the dropout style is not compatible with the old one.

Adapters are accessible for some racks, but that’s another expense you need to keep in mind. Indeed, manufacturers made newer tracks for compatibility with thru-axles.

That means DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle is not compatible with some work stands and bike racks. Most racks secure the bike by slotting the front quick release dropout into the rack. You also discard the front wheel, put the u-shaped dropout over a pin, and secure it in place with a locking mechanism. That is typical on car rooftop bike racks.

These racks become obsolete with thru-axles, as they aren’t compatible because of the dropout’s circular design. When you bring your bike to one of those racks, you may need to purchase a new one.

Winner: CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release

Disc Brakes

Thru-axle like the DT Swiss stops disc brakes from discharging the wheels. If disc brakes came into massive use in mountain biking throughout the early 2000s, a safety concern with quick-release axles became more obvious. Cyclists discovered that massive braking force made by disc brakes could eject a quick release axle out of a U-shaped dropout.

You see, thru-axles totally resolve the disc brake wheel ejection concern altogether. The dropouts utilize holes rather than U-shaped slots, meaning the axle cannot pull out vertically. For that reason, thru-axles are a much better option for bikes with disc brakes.

On the other hand, quick release axles enable more flex in the bike’s front end, which harms handling. Remember that disc brakes could cause the fork arms to bend. Are you using a suspension fork? Then the arms could move independently from each other. That occurs as the fork arms aren’t strongly connected.

CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release does not offer much structural support for the bike’s front part, enabling the wheel to wander. That then leads to poor handling and tracking in some cases. Thus, the difference is typically minor or even unnoticeable.

Winner: DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle

Weight

There’s no doubt that quick release axles are much lighter compared to thru-axle. In case you didn’t know yet, a quick release axle weighs at least twenty grams less than a thru-axle. Can you believe that? What’s more, quick release frames are much lighter, too, as the dropouts have less material. You may have sixty to one hundred games by using CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release rather than the thru-axles.

You can find lightweight thru-axles accessible, which are made of carbon fiber, titanium, or aluminum. Those weigh nearly the same as a quick release skewer but cost a lot more. Further, thru-axle forks and frames are slightly bulkier, as it takes more material to wrap the dropouts totally around the axle. The added metal adds several grams to every dropout. The weight penalty is relatively minor that it would matter for those weight weenies out there or those who ride competitively.

Winner: CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release

Removal of Wheels

Quick release makes it easier and faster to discard the wheels. You only need to pull its lever and lift the dropouts off the wheel. How amazing is that? It only takes a matter of seconds to get the wheels off. That’s the reason why this device was invented in the first place.

After the wheels are off, you don’t need to think about losing the axle, as the quick release skewer remains in the tub. That’s an excellent feature, especially if you want to discard the wheel as often as possible for security reasons when locking up the bike. It’s also a good feature for bike racing, where each second counts.

Quite the reverse, removing a wheel with thru-axles takes a lot of time. For one, you need to unscrew the axle first and detach it from the bike. Further, removing the wheels take a few seconds longer with DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle than it does with CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release. There’s a likelihood of losing the axle as well while it is being removed, as it doesn’t remain in the hub.

That’s only a concern when you are racing. To fix this concern, most teams have started employing a spare bike rather than changing out wheels in the event of punctures. For those recreational riders, having to spend a few seconds here and there does not matter.

Winner: CYSKY Bike Axle Quick Release

Which Should You Pick?

You don’t need to use the same axle system on both bike wheels. For other riders, utilizing a rear quick release and a front-thru axle makes the most sense. That’s worth considering for many reasons.

For one, the cost. Do you want your frame custom-built? Then it’s a lot faster and cheaper to order with a front thru axle and a rear quick release. Further, the reason is that it’s more challenging for frame builders to keep thru-axle dropouts ranged, not to mention there’s less margin for mistake during manufacture. As stated earlier, the frame takes more time to create, adding to the overall cost. Front thru-axles, meanwhile, do not add any expense or time, as there are many thru-axle forks currently available on the market.

In addition, rear thru-axle offers little, if any advantage, to many riders. Front thru-axles are vital, as the pork is more prone to flex and weaker than seat and chainstays. The bike’s front steers as well, and the strength of DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle helps with that.

Ultimately, it offers longer chain status, as they utilize broader hub spacing than the other. The average rear dropout spacing for thru-axles is 142 millimeters. Combine that with 405-millimeter chainstays, and it may run at an extreme of an angle while you are using the outermost gears.

The Winner: DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-Axle

A few riders feel that Thru-axle is only a way for the industry to sell more components and bikes. There’s potentially some truth to that, but the benefits they provide are not that noticeable for those average recreational cyclists.

Further, DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle provides more advantages for mountain bike riders compared to those road riders. The main benefit that everyone could take advantage of is safety. Handling marginally enhances too.

It appears that DT Swiss RWS Plug in Rear Thru-axle is where everyone is headed. The technology is straightforward, simple to use, and robust at the same time. They are surely a step forward. If you are satisfied with your quick release bike, keep in mind that there’s no reason for you to go out and purchase a new one so you can have the other option.

Are you planning an upgrade anyway? Then there’s no doubt that thru-axles are the better option.

There you have it! This is where our thru-axle versus quick release post ends. Where do you stand on this argument? Feel free to share your thoughts with us by leaving your comments below.

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