I am travelling with my road bike packed inside my car in the next days. While thinking about how I will fit it in my trunk, I remembered that a lot of people put some sort of spacer in their fork/frame dropouts to prevet any damage from forces that are compressing the fork/frame when no wheels are installed.

Although this is probably more important when traveling by plane, when the bike is packed up in a container and has to sustain the harsh handling that airport luggage undergoes, I was still curious about this.

So to the actual question: Do thru axles screwed into the fork/frame without the wheels offer the same protection as special spacers made for bike transportation or is it worth getting some special equipment for this?

1 Answer 1


No - does your through-axle have shoulders to stop the bike being compressed from the side? If it did, then the axle wouldn't go into its hole.

You're better off using a well-sized block of wood between the dropouts, and perhaps tying or taping it into place - mind out for tape adhesives on the paint/frame. Or put a stout box over the rear mech and dropouts.

  • 1
    Fair point, totally forgot that the axle has to go in from one side and therefore is not fixed in place on both sides May 20, 2020 at 10:51
  • 2
    Two wooden blocks of the correct length with a bored-through hole (prevents accidents with tape and paint) or alternatively two metal tubes in-lieu of the hubs. The rear one solves the problem with chain-grease. If you have disk brakes don't forget a block between the pads to prevent trouble.
    – Carel
    May 20, 2020 at 12:09
  • 2
    Not only does it not give protection, but you can snap your fork by tightening your TA without a wheel in the fork...
    – JakeD
    May 20, 2020 at 18:08

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