I just bought an RSD Sherrif II fat bike and it has a carbon fork with a thru-axle. It appears to be a non-quick release axle - no lever of any kind, so I need an allen key to remove it.

I have a few questions:

  1. From some quick reading about removing/installing thru axle wheels, literally all the guides I see are describing quick release variants of the thru axle. Does it mean anything that mine is not quick release? Does that indicate poor quality/ cheapness? Or is it just that fat bike axels are rarer due to their width and not many quick release variants exist?
  2. If I remove and install it with a normal allen key, how concerned do I need to be about the torque rating (80-120 in lbs)? Can I just put it in to finger tight plus a half turn or something like that? Or should I buy a torque wrench for this? I don't want my wheel popping off (too loose), but I also don't want to crush my carbon fork (too tight). Maybe there's a metal internal sleeve to prevent the latter. I just removed it and checked the tightness before doing so, and I would call it on the tighter end of what you could do with a standard allen key.
  3. Can I replace this with a quick release axle? If so, what are the measurements that matter in picking a replacement? The specs for this bike say 150mm fork spacing, but the axle itself has three numbers: L=198mm, TL=9mm, TP=M15x1.5.

enter image description here

Here is the axle mounted in the fork: enter image description here

  • 1
    A fat tire is not really expected to have a field repair. The printed rating is "in lbs" not "lbs". Changing to quick release will change nothing about the fork. Purchase a torque wrench or estimate for yourself. At 6 in you would divide by 6. Basically for a normal hand and a 6 in wrench like tight but not as hard as you could possible go.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 2:52
  • Thanks for the feedback. I've updated the units in my question.
    – SSilk
    Commented Mar 19, 2017 at 3:28
  • In any case, it is not just you. My Surly Wednesday comes with both axles being tooled, not with quick-release skewers. And those axles are Surly branded. I do not object — they are very fine by me. Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 19:47

2 Answers 2


It's a Maxle Stealth. They are a little cheaper and are also a weight savings thing. They're not super common but there's nothing wrong with them. They've also not been around very long, just less than two years as of now.

As I understand it, on the Rockshox forks that Maxles are more typically found on, the Maxle Stealth versions are fully cross-compatible in all cases with the quick-release Maxle Lites and Maxle Ultimates that share the same dimensions. So for example, the axle you have mainly exists in the world to be retrofitted unto RS Bluto forks with the Maxle Lite that has all the same dimensions. So it's probably physically compatible, but you should probably double check with the manufacturer before doing it that there are no hidden gotchas.

(Edit: One such gotcha could have to do with any pronounced recesses or grooves on the fork that the shoulder of the Maxle Stealth sinks into that a lever might interfere with. Just hypothesizing.)

For the torque, it's really a pretty wide range they give you, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. On the tight but not strenuous or aggressive end of what you could do with a standard allen wrench is a good way to think about it.

  • Thanks for the suggestions. I added a picture of the axle mounted in the fork. The face it brings up against appears to be totally flat so I can't see it interfering with a lever.
    – SSilk
    Commented Mar 20, 2017 at 14:54

I just bought a Norco fluid HT 2+ and thats got the same Maxle Stealth. I was a bit puzzled so rang the shop. It does need an Allen key so not a true no tools quick release which is a bit of a pain but other than that its lighter.......probably about the weight of the Allen key you have to carry !

  • 1
    You should have a multitool in your Every Ride Carry, and the tool should have all sizes you could need. One minor advantage is the smooth aesthetics of the hex-tool fastener - it looks a lot cleaner and there's less to grab grass or whatever you're riding through. Also its likely to be more water-resistant. Welcome to SE - do have a browse through the tour to see how things work around here.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 0:31
  • 9 Nm to 13 Nm seems a little too much for most multi tools. That calls for a proper hex key.
    – gschenk
    Commented Jan 4, 2019 at 22:19

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