Alternative solutions

Increasing the size of the hub/fork contact surface via modified hub end caps and fork lowers is an intriguing idea. The ROBOTS agree that single crown fork stiffness for aggressive riders is an issue that needs delving into.

A third solution to add stiffness would be be to create an oversized axle. I know new standards are almost universally hated, but hear me out: a 33% increase in diameter over the existing 15mm standard would create an axle with a diameter of roughly 19.9mm, and would yield huge dividends in stiffness. And once you were creating a new axle standard, you could add even greater stiffness by removing the admittedly handy quick release lever and instead secure the axle against rotation in the lowers with bolts that cinch the axle tight. Some might gripe, but the ROBOTS believe most humans using a 180mm fork are not in time sensitive flat change situations. In most gravity events a flat tire means the end of your run anyway.

This is a early stage rendering of what such an axle standard could look like:

24 thoughts on “Alternative solutions

  1. lol, if only there was an existing axle standard closer to 19.9mm than our current 15mm ones. Imagine the hassle that would save!

  2. fuck undoing 5 bolts each time you want to take the front wheel off and load your bike in the back of a 2001 honda accord.

    good thing about torque caps is that your old shitty wheel still works in there…

  3. Chazz, you ain't gonna need to worry about that 2006 style front axel set up anymore. I predict by this time next year, you'll be sponsored by Team Walmart/Mongoose and be rocking a pimped out, dual crown hardtail at ALL your races in 2016.

  4. “fuck undoing 5 bolts each time you want to take the front wheel off and load your bike in the back of a 2001 honda accord.

    good thing about torque caps is that your old shitty wheel still works in there…” -dcamp

    My old perfectly good 20mm wheel won't fit in there. And BTW, if we want the “advantage” of the “Torque caps”' added stiffness we have to buy a SRAM torque cap hub and build a new wheel, thus rendering the new gimmick not worthwhile even if we had our 15x100mm “old wheels from 2014”. Is it that hard to make shorter Boxxers lowers with the 20mm axle and put them on a longer stanchioned Pike crown-streerer assembly + damper ? The Marzocchi 66 an 888 shared the same lowers (except for the QR/bolts) with different travel and it worked. But I get it, SRAM wants to make more and more proprietary stuff that works as a kit. More parts to switch = more money for corporations, this is how it works. This was not made for the customers, this was made to get money in the business.

    You work for TREK don't you ? The company that asked SRAM to make BOOST 148 hubs instead of using 150mm and making it wider already. I had already ruled out Specialized for their corporate practices, now SRAM and Trek joined the blacklist for future purchases with their damn axle shit. (And shitty warranty service at SRAM.)

    By the way, I have 150×12 axle and a 68mm BB on my Socom running a 1×10 drivetrain without any issues with chainline or q factor. Race Face has me covered with adjustable chainline cranks. I guess you're just waiting another 2 years to release BOOST 153 ? Fuck this. I'm not against change for better products (like dampers, tires, etc), I am against change for change. There was no stiffness (and weight now with torque caps) to switch from 20×110 to 15×110. As for the flanges width, they could have widened the flanges on a 20×110 hub and we could live in a better world.

    End of rant.

  5. Anon just above this anon- I have the same question about the 20×110 hub. Why the fuck aren't we just making wider flanges and narrower end caps?

  6. I have a 20mm axle with one pinch bolt and the axle itself. Takes exactly 4.19 seconds to take it off. Ok, I actually know the time but that's probably somewhat accurate.

    Hey anyone notice how bar diameters, rims, downtubes, etc have been increasing because of “extra stiffness”? Why is this logic not applied to axles? A 20mm axle is stiffer and lighter than a 15mm axle. Have the marketing departments or product manager dorks not noticed this?

  7. @anonymous- I used to work for Trek, now work for SRAM. Muahahaha

    Seriously- When I was at Trek I suggested that Boost 148 actually be Boost 157 (you know- because the hubs already existed) but was ignored.

    I meant that your old 15mm hub still works fine in a Torque Cap fork. To gain the stiffness advantage you'll need a new wheel yes. In the eyes of an OEM- no big deal- they have to put a new wheel on the bike regardless.

    We are designing stuff for OEMs as they buy 95% of the new forks. Aftermarket is a drop in the bucket.

  8. @dcamp

    I understand the modern corporate reasoning behind the new longer-travel Pike, as this mentality affects every product on the market now. But it really sucks for people who build up custom built bikes and want to keep them a long time while upgrading parts from time to time. Unfortunately, I feel that this age is gone. For me at least, because I financially can'T keep up with this circus.

    Do you remember the feeling of getting your bike dialed after switching a few components and finally getting it “just right” ? Sometimes it takes a year or two, and then, heaven is found with this really awesome build.

    Let's say you have a park bike with a 180mm Totem, a 66, or a Fox 36 with a 20mm axle, and then you feel like buying a new '16 Lyric, but you discover that you have to get a new wheel, which adds another 300$ (for an average custom built wheel). And you can't keep your old wheel to have different tires because it won't fit in your new fork. That's 350$ extra added on the 1100$ cdn price tag (if not more). So for me, it's either get something from a brand that makes the axle size I want, or just keeping my old fork one more season and see what new standard will be popping up next year.

    I've been waiting to buy a new fork for 2 seasons now, and quite happy of my decision as my old fork still works well with proper maintenance. Would have I bought a 15x100mm Pike, it would now be an axle size that nobody wants to buy anymore. No thanks. Thanks to 27.5, my awesomely-built 26″ bike is not worth anything on the used market anyway, so I'll just ride it to the ground.

    Seeing how the market evolves, we should be back on 20x110mm and 157×12 axles on every type of bike in a few seasons. With those wide hubs we could just put adapter caps to fit whatever axle companies bring in. I'm probably dreaming because that sounds too simple.

    Anyway, have a great stay at Sram. I'm glad to be on the other side of the desk.

  9. I get it… new standards do hurt people like you who build bikes from the frame up and keep them around for a long time. Unfortunately the market is mostly people buying new complete bikes.

    The good thing is that plenty of other options exist to meet your fork needs. Vote with your money- if enough people do that companies will take notice and make more product to fill demand.

  10. You mean the 20mm thru axle one RS designed 10 years ago and was on all their forks until FOX / Shimano / Trek / Specialized / Easton etc all cried about bearing weights for 15mm thru wheels so they could post lighter weights and differentiate 20mm wheels vs 15mm wheels for warranty costs?

    If you want to talk the Rain-man level of future proofing that Fox did, that's one thing but don't try to say Sram blows because of 15mm. That one is FOX through and through. SRAM was just reacting to bullshit pressure from OEMS which until very recently was 75% of their yearly income.

    Worked there, listened to the arguments. Money talks.

  11. I spoke to someone at Fox recently and made a comment that the 36 could easily be set-up for the boost standard with just a reducer and he acted as if i were speaking Mandarin.

  12. Vote with your money- if enough people do that companies will take notice and make more product to fill demand.

    oh yeah, an Economics lesson from an enginerd. exactly what surreality needs! thanks Camper van Junkhousen.

    in Econ102, will you tell us how individual buyers leverage against mass OEM buyers to get what they want by spending how they want (voting with their dollars)? you'd be the first Econo-enginerd to solve that problem!

  13. Shit- deleted my comment-

    Boost moves the rotor outboard 5mm- can't do that with a reducer.

    I don't know how econ works. But I'm guessing if xfusion started selling a whole bunch of 20mm single crown forks, RS would follow suit and make some.

  14. Do you joeys even understand the strength of the OEM market? It's 5 to 1 against aftermarket if not stronger. NO ONE CARES about aftermarket. It's a god damn after thought.

    20mm is dead for now. who cares. fuck off and ride motos for a year. you don't even know what hub axle goes into a 2011 CRF250

  15. I seriously don't understand the hate of pinch bolt axle clamps. All this talk of wanting stiffer axles, yet people can't be bothered to pull out a multi tool. I'd rather have a pinch bolt 15mm axle than a 20mm quick release style that doesn't actually clamp the axle.

  16. 20mm allows stiffer and lighter forks. Pinchbolts allow a further increase in stiffness, while not using pinchbolts allows less weight without sacrificing compatibility.

    Fox's new 36 axle design is brilliant in that it keeps everyone happy for the most part, those who understand and appreciate stiffness can run real wheels, and the 15mm plebs can run their old wheelset until marketing catches up and tells them that 20mm is stiffer again – at which point they can still use their old fork and just get a new wheel.

    I do agree with “Shut Up” in saying you can't blame RS for this – they released one of the lightest 20mm solutions available before this 15mm bullshit trend fueled by Shimano and Fox took over.

    But Fox's combination 36 solution is by far the best since it keeps almost everyone happy – can we just have the same system on all heavy-use forks? This new Lyrik is certainly a candidate for it, the current axle effort is pathetic.

  17. Anyone still making the “shoulda used 150/157 hubs, not 148 is probably willfully stupid and is a climate change denier.

    If you don't understand why 148 is being used at this point, kill yourself.

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