Creo Through Axles

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
So here’s a little general heads up from this morning… I was riding along and just happened to look down at the front wheel and noted that the handle part of the through axle was pointing a different direction than it was yesterday. Stopped right away and discovered the damn thing had backed itself out to the point where it was quite loose. The front wheel hasn‘t been off the bike since the LBS put it together in April. Checked the rear wheel, that one is fine. Apparently someone didn’t tighten it enough initially, and I wonder how long it’s been loose?

Of course ten minutes later I hit 35 mph on a nice downhill, thinking how much fun that might have been if I hadn’t spotted the axle.

But another fine morning, in a super active bicycling area nearby our house… it seems like everyone in town has a bike and they were all out yesterday and today. In 90 degree temps!
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
So here’s a little general heads up from this morning… I was riding along and just happened to look down at the front wheel and noted that the handle part of the through axle was pointing a different direction than it was yesterday. Stopped right away and discovered the damn thing had backed itself out to the point where it was quite loose. The front wheel hasn‘t been off the bike since the LBS put it together in April. Checked the rear wheel, that one is fine. Apparently someone didn’t tighten it enough initially, and I wonder how long it’s been loose?

Of course ten minutes later I hit 35 mph on a nice downhill, thinking how much fun that might have been if I hadn’t spotted the axle.

But another fine morning, in a super active bicycling area nearby our house… it seems like everyone in town has a bike and they were all out yesterday and today. In 90 degree temps!

i don’t really like the design of the stock through axles with those quick release handles. no way really to torque them to spec (which is quite high.)

replaced mine with much lighter ones from the robert axle project, weight savings, reduced theft risk on the wheels, reliable torque.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
i don’t really like the design of the stock through axles with those quick release handles. no way really to torque them to spec (which is quite high.)

replaced mine with much lighter ones from the robert axle project, weight savings, reduced theft risk on the wheels, reliable torque.
Mark, I strongly object to what you have said. Good MTBs/e-MTBs have their thru-axles equipped with quick release handles and the wheel out/in is normal in the MTB world (transport to the trail). Next, your 15 Nm on a very short axle circumference can be easily achieved with a handle (formerly mine Giant Trance E+ regularly undergoes this practice). The quick release handle thru-axles are insanely expensive. While I do agree Robert Axle Project axles are excellent, you could put some trust in Specialized. You even do not need 15 Nm. I tighten my axles at 10 and ride happily.

Not that you need to agree with me.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Mark, I strongly object to what you have said. Good MTBs/e-MTBs have their thru-axles equipped with quick release handles and the wheel out/in is normal in the MTB world (transport to the trail). Next, your 15 Nm on a very short axle circumference can be easily achieved with a handle (formerly mine Giant Trance E+ regularly undergoes this practice). The quick release handle thru-axles are insanely expensive. While I do agree Robert Axle Project axles are excellent, you could put some trust in Specialized. You even do not need 15 Nm. I tighten my axles at 10 and ride happily.

Not that you need to agree with me.
i’m not saying it can’t be achieved on a short handle - but that there is no way to definitively know (other than by feel!) what it has been torqued to.

the torque applied to the through axle also moves the rotor slightly relative to the caliper. i’ve found brake rubbing is more likely with wheel changes if the torque is not precise.

i think a failure here is likely exceedingly rare, but as the OP noted, such a failure would be catastrophic! it is not coincidence that specialize outfits the higher end / more sporting bikes with traditional through axles with hex heads!

also note that these things coming loose isn’t totally unheard of, even in the MTB world of shorter rides and driving to the trails:


enough to make me want to to use a torque wrench!!!
 
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Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
i’m not saying it can’t be achieved on a short handle - but that there is no way to definitively know (other than by feel!) what it has been torqued to.

the torque applied to the through axle also moves the rotor slightly relative to the caliper. i’ve found brake rubbing is more likely with wheel changes if the torque is not precise.

i think a failure here is likely exceedingly rare, but as the OP noted, such a failure would be catastrophic! it is not coincidence that specialize outfits the higher end / more sporting bikes with traditional through axles with hex heads!
You are just a demanding person and you have all my respect.
Just to say something though I need to mention it is not the fact Specialized equip the high end e-bikes with traditional thru-axles. If you name a Vado SL 4.0 or any Vado from 4.0 up "high end e-bikes" then I will laugh :)
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
You are just a demanding person and you have all my respect.
Just to say something though I need to mention it is not the fact Specialized equip the high end e-bikes with traditional thru-axles. If you name a Vado SL 4.0 or any Vado from 4.0 up "high end e-bikes" then I will laugh :)

to some extent, all specialized bikes are high-end :)

but i’m referring to the expert/pro/s-works levels which all or most seem to come with traditional hex head axles?
 

kahn

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
northWET washington
i’m not saying it can’t be achieved on a short handle - but that there is no way to definitively know (other than by feel!) what it has been torqued to.

the torque applied to the through axle also moves the rotor slightly relative to the caliper. i’ve found brake rubbing is more likely with wheel changes if the torque is not precise.

i think a failure here is likely exceedingly rare, but as the OP noted, such a failure would be catastrophic! it is not coincidence that specialize outfits the higher end / more sporting bikes with traditional through axles with hex heads!

also note that these things coming loose isn’t totally unheard of, even in the MTB world of shorter rides and driving to the trails:


enough to make me want to to use a torque wrench!!!
WAIT!!! What was the list price for your CREO??? My "cheap" aluminum was just about 6 GRAND. Even if mine was not high end, surely yours should be!

But I do know that on my Creo that I could NOT unscrew the levered-through-axle. I have no idea what it was torqued to but it needed a hammer to loosen it so it could be unscrewed. Can the recommended torque be hand tightened and loosened?
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
WAIT!!! What was the list price for your CREO??? My "cheap" aluminum was just about 6 GRAND. Even if mine was not high end, surely yours should be!

But I do know that on my Creo that I could NOT unscrew the levered-through-axle. I have no idea what it was torqued to but it needed a hammer to loosen it so it could be unscrewed. Can the recommended torque be hand tightened and loosened?
that may be the result of inappropriate lubricate, or inappropriate torque… the downside of the inappropriate business end of these axles goes both ways!

15NM is 11 pounds at a distance of one foot, or around 65 pounds at the end of the little lever arm. should not require a hammer!
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
that may be the result of inappropriate lubricate, or inappropriate torque… the downside of the inappropriate business end of these axles goes both ways!

15NM is 11 pounds at a distance of one foot, or around 65 pounds at the end of the little lever arm. should not require a hammer!
Mark, the typical 100-dollar quick-release thru-axle works on the principle you do a very few rotations until the axle lever gets to it's final position, and then you do the tightening movement by turning the lever 180 degrees. There is a small cam in the lever, and that cam does all the squeezing work! Not the rotation! And that's why a good quick-release thru-axle is expensive!
Come on, Specialized seems to economise by providing cheaper traditional thru-axles!
I do agree a traditional axle is more lightweight, and it makes the wheel harder to steal but do not say the quick-release thru-axle is a wrong thing! Quite the opposite! Again, I cannot imagine an MTB without the lever on the axle and all the hassle related to removing the wheel for the transport. It was so easy on my Trance E+ whenever I had to drive to the trail! And it still is when we travel with my brother who currently owns the Trance.

I was removing the wheel on my Vado frequently until I learned I could transport the e-bike inside my big car without doing anything. Meanwhile, the hex socket got damaged, and the axle turned out to be hardly useful. And yes, I had to replace it with a Robert Axle Project one as Specialized ceased making these non-standard axles!
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Mark, the typical 100-dollar quick-release thru-axle works on the principle you do a very few rotations until the axle lever gets to it's final position, and then you do the tightening movement by turning the lever 180 degrees. There is a small cam in the lever, and that cam does all the squeezing work! Not the rotation! And that's why a good quick-release thru-axle is expensive!
Come on, Specialized seems to economise by providing cheaper traditional thru-axles!
I do agree a traditional axle is more lightweight, and it makes the wheel harder to steal but do not say the quick-release thru-axle is a wrong thing! Quite the opposite! Again, I cannot imagine an MTB without the lever on the axle and all the hassle related to removing the wheel for the transport. It was so easy on my Trance E+ whenever I had to drive to the trail! And it still is when we travel with my brother who currently owns the Trance.

I was removing the wheel on my Vado frequently until I learned I could transport the e-bike inside my big car without doing anything. Meanwhile, the hex socket got damaged, and the axle turned out to be hardly useful. And yes, I had to replace it with a Robert Axle Project one as Specialized ceased making these non-standard axles!
stefan, are there really through-axles (not skewers!) with the cam mechanism? that seems like it would absolutely defeat one of the main purposes of the through axle, which is precise disk brake alignment. personally i’ve only seen 1) skewers with the cam mechanism 2) through axles with the handles and 3) through axles with the hex head.

most all my friends ride serious FS MTBs, wheel removal is pretty rare, they typically use those racks attached to trailer hitches which don’t require anything removed. must be local preferences.
 

YoGe

Member
I had a similar experience. I bought my Creo back to the dealer after about 50 miles to get a few things tuned up and the first thing he said to me was "your front wheel is loose". And he was right. Now, I remember tightening the axle, but obviously not enough. So what's the rule of thumb? How tight do I need to tighten this until it's secure? And since this is done by hand, by feel alone, how do I know when I've got it right?
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I had a similar experience. I bought my Creo back to the dealer after about 50 miles to get a few things tuned up and the first thing he said to me was "your front wheel is loose". And he was right. Now, I remember tightening the axle, but obviously not enough. So what's the rule of thumb? How tight do I need to tighten this until it's secure? And since this is done by hand, by feel alone, how do I know when I've got it right?
the torque spec is 15NM. not a rule of thumb, a specification ;) if you have a small torque wrench with a similar length handle to the axle (or just hold it in the same place) you could set it to 15NM and torque down a few bolts to get a feel for it.

it’s all very subjective, but i use a small torque wrench with approximately an 8” lever arm on my through axles (which don’t have the stupid handle) and i’d say it’s actually a lot of force. much more than i’d have “guessed.”

also make sure to apply appropriate grease to the threads.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
Mark,
It works very well with the cam. The lever is always turned to the same position (it cannot be done otherwise), and you always lock the lever in the same position. For 11,500 km ridden on the Trance, there was not a single rotor misalignment situation. The axles for the Trance come from FOX, which is the name in the industry. The thru-axle with the lever is in fact a precision mechanism.

Now just think of an MTBer who's on the trail and needs to remove one of the wheels quickly for the tyre repair.

I don't know what actually axle was used on the Creo but I would be the last to say Specialized didn't know their business. (It is futile to make you convinced though).

P.S. It is very important to mention the virtue of the thru-axle is not the axle itself but how the hub bearings "sit" in the fork/frame. The squeezing the fork by the axle is only the secondary thing (so the wheel wouldn't wobble). I managed to ride for 20 km with the axle just tightened with my fingers on my Vado SL before I realized what I did.

The torque spec only refers to traditional thru-axles. It is the squeezing force of the axle that keeps the wheel in the position, and it is irrelevant how that force was achieved.
 
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YoGe

Member
the torque spec is 15NM. not a rule of thumb, a specification ;) if you have a small torque wrench with a similar length handle to the axle (or just hold it in the same place) you could set it to 15NM and torque down a few bolts to get a feel for it.
I'm surprised to hear this. The axles on the Creo are billed as "quick release". Meaning they're supposed to come off by hand and remount by hand. I'd do this in any number of situations; a field repair of a flat, or taking the wheel off to pop the bike into the back of my SUV and then inserting the wheel when I get to the trailhead. The hubs have quick release levers which are meant to be loosened and re-tightened by hand. (As far as I understand.) Isn't a precise torque specification at odds with the whole notion of Quick Release?
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
Isn't a precise torque specification at odds with the whole notion of Quick Release?
The sole function of the thru-axle is to squeeze two opposing elements of the frameset with given force as the hub bearings (which reside in precisely made insets in the fork/rear triangle of the frame) are secured against wobbling.

The squeezing force can be achieved by:
  • Turning the axle with a hex wrench to given torque specification, OR
  • Engaging the Quick Release lever, which is equipped with a cam that does the work.
The thru-axle does not do any other action, and it does not act as a real wheel axle.
@mschwett seems to have misunderstood the concept and got fixated on the "torque". Indeed, if you try to torque the axle with the QR lever, it is not correct. The QR lever is to be engaged.

That's it.

1656309371212.png

A FOX QR thru-axle is twice as expensive as a traditional one.

The guy presenting a non-cam lever thru-axle and discussing it. It looks that even tightening by hand is sufficient. The QR thru-axles are equipped with a cam
 
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mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
The sole function of the thru-axle is to squeeze two opposing elements of the frameset with given force as the hub bearings (which reside in precisely made insets in the fork/rear triangle of the frame) are secured against wobbling.

The squeezing force can be achieved by:
  • Turning the axle with a hex wrench to given torque specification, OR
  • Engaging the Quick Release lever, which is equipped with a cam that does the work.
The thru-axle does not do any other action, and it does not act as a real wheel axle.
@mschwett seems to have misunderstood the concept and got fixated on the "torque". Indeed, if you try to torque the axle with the QR lever, it is not correct. The QR lever is to be engaged.

That's it.

View attachment 127342
A FOX QR thru-axle is twice as expensive as a traditional one.

are there specialized bikes with that type of through axle? (with a cam.) i haven’t personally seen one, but perhaps they exist. the reason for their omission is certainly not cost given that $10000+ specialized bikes don’t use them!

to the original point, 15NM is absolutely the torque spec, regardless of the shape of the handle/head for these passive non-cam through axles. personally i think the lever head should also have a 6mm socket so it can be torqued correctly when at home or in the shop, but still removed easily if one finds that of value. i’m sure there’s a reason they’re not like that, but i have no idea what it is ;)

DE328F98-0E87-42E1-85A8-CBAC3C60D413.jpeg
 

YoGe

Member
My Creo does not have a cam. It's different than any Quick Release I've ever had. I'm wondering whether it is in fact a true QR or whether it is simply a bolt with a lever that allows it to be manipulated without an Allen wrench. Hmm...

Wouldn't the rotation of the axle at least work in favor of tightening the axle if it wasn't torqued to the required setting?
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
My Creo does not have a cam. It's different than any Quick Release I've ever had. I'm wondering whether it is in fact a true QR or whether it is simply a bolt with a lever that allows it to be manipulated without an Allen wrench. Hmm...

Wouldn't the rotation of the axle at least work in favor of tightening the axle if it wasn't torqued to the required setting?

it is just a bolt with a lever. no cam action = should be torqued correctly.
 

YoGe

Member
it is just a bolt with a lever. no cam action = should be torqued correctly.
Yes, absolutely. So what is Specialized thinking. We all have torque sensors built into our thumbs? I'll have to pay more attention to that. Not what I expected. I've ridden QR for decades and it's always been the cam action which creates the clamp. This is different. Not sure why.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
City
Mazovia, Poland
Did you watch the video guys? The guy is specifically showing a thru-axle with a simple lever. See how good it works for him and he is not concerned with the 15 Nm spec at all. And he is specifically naming the use of the thru-axle on a road bike. Only much of torque is needed as to squeeze the fork/frame to secure the hub in the insets ("drop-outs"). And as much as the bolt does not unscrew itself while riding.

MTBs use the cam-based QR thru-axles because it is very fast to secure the wheel, and it is much precise. Far greater forces act on an MTB than on a road bike!