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Without using manufacturer specific parts:

  • Can I use a wheel with a thru-axle hub on a standard quick release fork or frame dropouts (with an adapter)?

  • Can I use a wheel with a quick release hub on a thru-axle fork or frame dropouts (with an adapter)?

    We may also want to consider that there are also different thru axle sizes, commonly 12mm, 15mm and 20mm. I think the most common size of thru-axle currently is 15mm

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    Why would you want to do this? –  Vorac Feb 10 at 16:01
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    My mountain bike uses a quick release rigid fork and I will be shopping for parts at a bike part swap in a couple weeks. I may be looking for a suspension fork, and some may be thru axle, but want to use my current wheels on it. I might also decide to buy a used set of wheels, which may be thru axle, and wondered if I could use that on my current fork. I don't want to get stuck buying a fork that makes me buy a new wheelset or a wheelset that makes me buy another fork. However, If I can find a compatibility solution, then I might consider using some thru axle gear. –  Benzo Feb 10 at 16:23
        
    If I was buying new wheels, and building from scratch, I realize I can find hubs that will be adaptable, but one rear velocity ATB hub or chris king rear hub can cost more than I paid for my current wheelset and tires combined. –  Benzo Feb 10 at 16:26
        
    @Benzo I don't know your local second hand market at all, but I Think it's a pretty safe bet that the vast majority of wheels / forks will be standard QR stuff. Downhill riders have used through axles for a while, but on most other mountain bikes they are a new-ish addition. Stick to what you know will work, even if you get a wheelset that you think can be changed to another axle standard, I'm certain there will be differences in different years / models that will make this a real headache. –  alex Feb 11 at 0:48

    3 Answers 3

    Simply for your two points:

    • For a front wheel you can buy or machine a part that will allow you to run a smaller axle on the front than the hub is equipped with. This an adapter to run a 15mm TA hub in 9mm drop outs.

    9mm to 15mm adapter

    The rear is more difficult as hub sizes get wider with larger diameter thru axles. You couldn't make a 12x142 thru axle hub fit in a 10x135 QR dropout even if you shimmed the space at the end as the chain line would be off.

    • In terms of frame/ fork design, the design form for through axles offers no backwards compatibility with QR drop out design. I haven't seen and can find no evidence online of an adapter that allows you to run a 9mm hub in 15mm TA drop outs. That being said it could be possible to engineer something that created the required tension to hold the hub in place, but I wouldn't trust a home made solution.
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    I haven't seen Thru-Axle to QR wheel adapters available anywhere, can you provide a link to any product that does this? –  Benzo Feb 14 at 15:30
        
    I've only seen them on eBay ebay.com/itm/251073161488 –  DWGKNZ Feb 14 at 20:46

    Only with manufacturer-specific parts, and only with hubs that were designed to be adapted (e.g. you could probably adapt a 15mm bolt-thru hub to 9mm, but not the other way around).

    For example, Hope will sell you adaptors to let you use Pro 2 Evo hubs with these drop-outs:

    • Front QR
    • Front 9mm
    • Front 20mm
    • Front 15mm
    • Front Maverick fork
    • Rear QR
    • Rear 10mm Saint
    • Rear 12mm (135)
    • Rear 10mm Bolt in (135)
    • Syntace X12 142mm

    You might get lucky and find adaptors from one brand of hub will work in another, but in general that isn't the case.

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    I've never seem an adapter for either of these situations. I doubt one would fit.

    That said, a lot of manufacturers use the same hub body on their through axle and QR wheels and are more than happy to sell you the bits that are different.

    I had this problem when I got a pretty good deal on some wheels with a 15mm front hub. In the end, after a month or two of looking, I found somewhere with a non tapered 15mm fork in stock and bought that over rebuilding the hub.

    The best way, is to choose wheels that fit out of the box!

    PS I found this adapter for a 15mm QR on a roof rack, not sure I'd like to ride it...

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