Just who or what is The Robert Axle Project?
Going all the way back to 1999, co-founders of The Robert Axle Project, Chris and Katy, purchased BOB trailers (a single-wheel trailer design) for a tour in Central America. BOB trailers connect to one’s bike using a special lengthened quick release based around the older 9mm axle standard. That’s all well and good until you want to use your BOB trailer with a modern thru-axle bike, whether it be road, mountain or gravel.
The mastermind of the Robert Axle Project operation, Chris, filled a small gap in the market for BOB trailer owners, with the release of the company’s first product; a thru-axle that enabled you to tow your BOB trailer with a 12mm equipped thru-axle bike. But, Chris’ idea fest for thru-axles didn’t end there. Chris saw a need for a ton of thru-axle solutions, ranging from kid’s trailers, cargo trailers, indoor trainer axles, lightweight bolt-on axles, security axles and cargo rack axles.
The Robert Axle Project – Lightweight Bolt-on Thru-Axles
Yours truly was interested in the company’s Lightweight bolt-on thru-axles / aka Lightning Bolt models. I’ve been a fan of bolt-on 9mm quick releases for years on my personal road bikes…. you know, the type that requires you to use an allen key to tighten or loosen. They’re svelte, lightweight and cut down about .00001% of aerodynamic drag. This is especially important for those blokes who have their quick release levers arse about face leading into the wind
Robert Axle Project’s take on a lightweight bolt-on thru-axle is similar to those older 9mm type quick releases, except they thread directly into the frame. Whenever I ride, I’m always toting around a toolkit with an allen key or two onboard, so there is no added inconvenience should you do the same.
Pictured above is a Robert Axle Project set of bolt-on thru-axles, compatible with the 3T Luteus II carbon fork and the rear end of a Lynskey PRO GR titanium gravel bike.
Using the 3T thru-axle quick release (a 15mm unit) as an example (pictured above), you can see 87 grams of weight are added to the bike. You can assume a similar amount of heft for a rear wheel quick release thru-axle.
Pictured above is the replacement Robert Axle Project front axle, which chops 40 grams of weight from the front wheel. Sure, you can argue about the weight of a 6mm allen key which is required to thread these into your bike, but my bicycle toolkit is by Spurcycle or Fix It Sticks… so it is pretty light.
Above is the rear Robert Axle Project axle, a scant 35 to 36 grams. Another nice weight saving.
Installation is a snap.
- Remove your old quick release thru-axle.
- Install your new TRAP axle into your bike, tighten down appropriately with a 6mm allen key for the examples I reviewed, then go ride.
Before anyone goes crazy giving me grief about torque specs and such, ask yourself… do you carry a torque wrench in your roadside fix-a-flat toolkit? Err… moving on. Assuming the RAP’s are tightened appropriately, there is no chance they will loosen off, unlike some lever type thru-axles I have seen.
The Riding Experience
There isn’t much to say here other than post installation, these goodies are set and forget. However, a review on Gravel Cyclist isn’t about riding about a parking lot looking pretty. I rode the Robert Axle Project replacement thru-axles at the 2018 Dirty Kanza 200 and 2018 Gravel Worlds.
The Robert Axle Project replacement thru-axles fared a lot better than I did at the 2018 Gravel Worlds (pictured above), but not once did they loosen and compromise their hold on my wheels. They were equally impressive at this year’s Dirty Kanza 200.
So, who are these replacement thru-axles for? Anyone who wants to drop a few ounces / grams of weight from their bike but without breaking the bank! In my humble opinion, they’re much safer than lever type quick release thru-axles as well. Additionally, nothing to catch on, and no chance of loosening.
Your biggest dilemma will be figuring out which thru-axles are suitable for your bike, but the Mastermind Chris has that sorted. Visit the Robert Axle Project website (link at the bottom) and use their handy Thru-Axle Finder, or send them an email.
Prices start at $US 42.00 for one axle.
|Robert Axle Project – Axles of all Kinds|
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