2016 front axle standards for mountain bike will be 15x110

Alongside the changes coming to rear wheels with the new Boost 148 standard, two new options will be offered up front in 2016: 15×110 for mountain bikes and 12×100 for road and cyclocross.

Starting with the new MTB standard, the goal here is much simpler. Where Boost 148 allows for a wide array of geometry and suspension benefits on top of the stiffer wheel platform, the front has just two missions: : Stiffer wheels and better tire clearance.

The current hub standard for mountain bikes is 100mm wide, so going to 110mm is a bigger overall change than the 6mm change in the rear. Presumably, that’ll benefit front wheel stiffness even more.

“15×110 can be taken almost as a parallel to the 148, it’s like Boost Front,” says Mike Gann, Niner’s COO. “If people are paranoid about wheel deflection and wheel stiffness, it’s going to make a larger format wheel (read: 29ers) feel different. And it seems like it’s really going to be pursued by a good chunk of the industry.”

The change also opens up tire clearance by about 0.4 inches. That’s the difference between shoehorning a 2.5 or almost a full 3.0 tire in the fork. That 3.0 figure, coincidentally, seems to be the poster boy for the upcoming “plus” sized wave of bikes, made much more possible thanks to these new axle standards…

2016 front axle standards for mountain bike will be 15x110

Black shows current 100mm spacing, Red shows what 110mm will add.

Wheel stiffness will increase thanks to the wider hub base allowing for wider flange spacing, which increases the spoke angle triangulation with the rim. The graphic above shows just how much more room there’ll be by adding 10mm (click to enlarge for a better approximation of what 10mm looks like).

Norco’s marketing manager Chris Cook says “15×110 will make stiffer wheels and the see the rider benefit from improved control and handling. This is in consideration to be applied on a new hardtail model. Current spec for full suspension bikes is still 15×100.”

And Industry Nine, who already has 148 rear hubs on the market, says “We do have intentions to have 15×110 when the industry as a whole is ready to release those forks.”

We reached out to several major suspension manufacturers since you’ll need a new fork to fit the wider wheel, but none were ready to comment on the record. From our conversations with a lot of other folks, though, we’d say springtime should have plenty of announcements.

Rockshox RS-1 inverted suspension fork review and actual weights

At this point, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a nod to SRAM for quietly introducing the 110mm width to XC-level forks with the new RS-1 fork. Sure, 20mm thru axles have used 110mm spacing for years. And sure, it needs their special 27mm “Torque Tube” internal axle, but it’s almost as if they knew what was coming (and yes, that’s tongue in cheek…they absolutely knew what was coming). Considering everyone will be remaking their hubs to fit the new 15×110 standard, perhaps some will take the opportunity to build in compatibility with the RS-1 and increase wheel options usable with this inverted super fork. DT Swiss and American Classic already have RS-1 hubs in the works or on the market.

For what it’s worth, American Classic’s Bill Shook told us they’re going to make a separate 15×110 hub (that’s in testing now) rather than make end caps to work with the RS-1 version because the RS-1 hub is so overbuilt to handle the additional stresses. Their 15×110 will be based on current designs.

12mm Thru Axle for Road

2016-Front-Axle-Standards-12mm-thru-front-road

12mm thru axles will split the difference between current 15mm and 9mm QR.

Perhaps less exciting, and certainly less controversial, is the likelihood of 12mm thru axles for road and cyclocross applications. There’s simply no denying the increased stiffness and potentially quicker wheel changes afforded by thru axles. And theoretically they’re a safer, more secure option for use with disc brakes, too. But unlike so many road standards that were borrowed by mountain bikes, the current 15mm front thru axle used on road bikes came from the dirt. As such, it’s quite possibly overbuilt for road bikes. It’s also quite possible some brands are simply looking for a way to spin a marketing web about how their new 12mm thru axle is optimized for road.

Niner, who has both a gravel and cyclocross bike now, gave us a pretty straightforward look into what brands are thinking on this one:

“Ah yes, 12mm thru – this one has the most internal debate,” says Gann. “If you ask the hardcore racer and more road inspired customer, there are concerns about wheel change speed or having a new frame that’s not compatible with existing high end wheels. That said, there are improvements to be had in fork stiffness over a QR.

“The benefit to the 12×100 standard is that there is no change, except for the axle diameter. This means even if companies have already established a 15×100 carbon road or cross fork, they can easily change it over, as most of those forks have the axle hole as an alloy insert or post-machining process, so it is quite easy just to make that hole 12mm in diameter instead of 15mm for future production.”

“The front seems to be just half way between QR and 15, which may have compromises off either, but it seems like the road players just want to have their own thing. And it may be an aesthetic thing, where some folks have a real spindly, svelte looking fork ending in this big thru axle, so a 12mm one might make it look better. And the stiffness thing is there. To put it bluntly, we gotta look at everything that’s coming down the pipeline, but we only seriously contemplate the ones that have a real performance gain and are the right tech for the application, or whether it’s just marketing spin. That said, we’re pretty close to having 100% of our bikes running 15mm thru axles on the front and we don’t have any complaints. Plus, I don’t think bike shops are screaming for more standards.”

Keeping in mind that Niner is much more off-road oriented, brands with an actual road line are already committing to it. Some of our (anonymous) sources say two dominant California-based bike brands will be hitting 12×100 front axles HARD for 2016.

Norco’s Cook said there’s always the possibility of incorporating these new standards into future products, and they’re assessing 12mm thru axles for a new road platform, adding “12×100 is the lightest of the thru axle systems, making it ideal for performance oriented road bikes.”

How much lighter is it? Don’t expect much savings over a 15mm thru axle. As diameters decrease, wall thicknesses must usually increase to maintain the same strength. We’re likely looking at just a few grams. So, maybe it’s mostly about aesthetics, but combined with Shimano’s new flat-mount caliper standard, that could make for some pretty lithe forks.

The nice thing about this new standard is that a huge percentage of modern wheels will already work with it. For most, it’s just a switch of the end caps to go from QR or 15mm thru axle to 12mm. I9’s Jacob McGahey says they haven’t seen a whole lot of demand for them yet, but they’ll offer 12mm end caps when they’re needed.

So, ready for some new wheels and forks?

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Andy
Andy
7 years ago

I can’t wait to see how many axle ‘standards’ we get to see in 2017! 15×110 is out, 17×124 is in for forks! You heard it here first!

zoso
zoso
7 years ago

Yes it was mentioned, but PFFFFTTTTT! Why did we ever get away from 20mm axles? Lame.
The new norm is to change standards every year apparently.

k
k
7 years ago

less profitability for everyone, and higher prices. the best of both worlds!

Slow down the product cycles, everybody. We are operating on razor thin margins as it is, and destroying previous stock like this doesn’t help.

fISHO
fISHO
7 years ago

I guess the cycling industry did not learn from the BB debacle. Or…did they? That they could just come up with more better more things to MAKE MORE MONEY that really does not make the ride more better…

TBone
TBone
7 years ago

Honestly, reading this and the previous Boost article is just making me hate this industry more and more. Coming up with (deleted) new ‘standards’ every 5 minutes is not helping anyone. Why can’t they do something useful like bring carbon or top level suspension tech to the masses with good value, excellent riding bikes. Then we might sell a few instead of punters laughing at the ever spiralling price tags for (deleted) improvements…

ifbikes
ifbikes
7 years ago

I’m not sure how many of these new “standards” will come to fruition, but I really hope that they don’t. The Boost rear end for 29ers is probably inevitable, but the front end ones are really stupid. People like being able to have cross compatible parts. I use to swap wheels between my road and cx bike, now its my mountain and cx bike. That’s easy and encourages me to buy more parts that are cross compatible, like wheels. I’m not going to buy two sets of wheels for every bike, I would have three sets between two bikes though. Companies are all about more, more, more stiffness. But when it’s stiff enough, it doesn’t need to be stiffer. People like nice things, but most cyclists are realistic and utilitarian.

bart
bart
7 years ago

This all hurts my brain.

Jim
Jim
7 years ago

Don’t believe this for a second – making an axel wider can only make it less stiff and heavier. Nice try marketeers, but I shan’t buy this product. Instead I’ll spend my money on some enduro flavoured snake oil. Mmm.

Kris
Kris
7 years ago

So basically we have 29ers and their flimsy wheels to thank for all this.

Igor
Igor
7 years ago

Noway! I’ll wait for 113,5×17,2 standart.

AbelF
AbelF
7 years ago

Now that they ran out of wheel sizes, they are in after the hubs.

chsad
chsad
7 years ago

Guess I will not be buying wheels in 2015. Thanks industry for lampooning your local bike shops!

Chiseled Cheeto
Chiseled Cheeto
7 years ago

Gasp! The conspiracy to make bikes work better! How dare they improve upon current designs!

Boover
Boover
7 years ago

Crap like this makes me buy less bikes and components. I don’t want to spend money on outdated components for my current bikes, and I keep waiting to buy new bikes that are totally “up-to-date” and then new standards keep popping up. Oh well, it’s easier on the wallet to keep riding what I’ve got.

FB Canada
7 years ago

Just blame Fat Bikes for all of this.

Fattylocks
Fattylocks
7 years ago

“Why did we ever get away from 20mm axles?” Don’t worry zoso 20mm will come back around, oh wait , something close to it more likely say 21mm

Luiggi
Luiggi
7 years ago

Solution is simple: Just drop all the flexy, noodly, stupid 29ers and there won’t be any need for new and stupid standards.

Maddogeco
Maddogeco
7 years ago

As far as road bike standards go the UCI need to hurry up and legalize disk brakes so we can can in one movement not all these little steps.
Basicly I’d rather wait another year the get a aero road bike with thru Alxes and disk brakes rather than spending a lot of cash that is the ultimate compromise.

Ilya
Ilya
7 years ago

Oh man, the worst moment to buy QR road disc fork and wheelset. I hope chinese manufacturers will introduce flat mount 12mm axle forks with inner cable routing after several years.

thesteve4761
thesteve4761
7 years ago

15×110 for RS-1 is not the same as 15×110 “Front Boost”

Sevo
Sevo
7 years ago

All those against these new standards please let us know where you got your engineering degree from. 🙂

Boost makes sense. I have a feeling those bitchin’ about boost would also bitch about the cost of carbon rims for their rigs as well.

Change is inevitable. Change is good. Things changes aren’t being made for marketing, they’re being made for good.

Luiggi
Luiggi
7 years ago

@Sevo: Nah, changes are driven for the sake of market segmentation and programmed obsolescence. Those two combined allow the industry to convince people like you of the need to progress and start screaming “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!” while looking at the monitor. Enrolling into a Darwinian battle between these so-called “standards” is going to leave a lot of people with just-baked-and-already-unsupported frames/forks/whatever.

Graeme Smith
Graeme Smith
7 years ago

Jim, we’re not trying to make the axle itself stiffer. Rather we’re trying to space the flanges out more and widening the axle/dropouts gives the room for this. Most of the lateral deflection when you push sideways at the rim is from the spokes deflecting rather than the hub flanges moving. 15×110 is a valid idea from an engineering standpoint.

Of course introducing MORE standards is problematic for a lot of reasons. Going back to a 20mmx110 seems a better idea to me.

Greg
Greg
7 years ago

Again and again. The net effect that this has on me is that I buy less stuff. There will be a new ‘standard’ next year, so I don’t pull the trigger and realize that my existing bike meets my needs. I always gravitate towards whatever is the most widely adopted standard, so I’m not spending tons of money for replacement parts – threaded bottom brackets, non-crazy headsets, etc.

It’s fascinating how the industry creates these “middle” standards to satisfy our seeming desire to find the middle. 29er was too extreme, so let’s do 27.5. 20mm front thru axles were too much beyond QR, so let’s do 15mm. Now for road disc, that 15mm is too much (but QR not enough) so let’s do 12mm. 1.5″ straight is too much, so let’s taper. What percentage of bike consumers actually understand this crap? What percentage of manufacturers will actually support these fleeting standards in ten years?

The real bummer is when it costs people riding time and enjoyment. I’ve seen so many cases where folks buy a new bike and have a problem – and can’t get back on the road or trail for weeks because they need a special-order part (and none of their buddies have the same wheel/axle/BB/seatpost/whatever to lend them).

MBRBen
MBRBen
7 years ago

Sevo – I don’t like boost or other options to get a better chainline going. I’d rather crosschain and grind the hell out of my 32 – 42 on my 1x setup and buy more drivetrain bits, then complain about them wearing out quickly.

Paul
Paul
7 years ago

This is complete and utter Bull.

We had a really good axle standard that did the job just fine, it was 20mm and it worked.

Unfortunately, we’ve had a plethora of new standards foisted upon us in the last few years (tapered steerers vs 1.5″, 142+ vs 142 x 12, Boost 148 etc) that are completely unnecessary, unwanted and only serve to make existing frames, hubs, forks etc obsolete through the force of marketing alone, not engineering progress.

I’ve boycotted Giant products because of their ridiculous Overdrive 2 standard and I intend to boycott any manufacturer who adopts this and Boost 148.

JoeP
JoeP
7 years ago

I don’t know about everyone else but my 2013 Suntour Durolux are pretty stiff with a 20mm axle and have tremendous clearance….oh yeah their 26 inch and already have the least amount of deflection. 36mm Stanchions and I am all set.

James S
James S
7 years ago

Hey Sevo, I do happen to have an engineering degree. And I can tell you that what most people don’t realize is that every design is a compromise. There is no perfect design for all criteria. For instance, if you increase strength, you usually increase weight (or cost). Compatibility is a valid criteria, especially when these so-called improvements result in very minimal gains. I have two 29er hard tail singlespeeds. One has a 25.4mm handlebar, non-tapered fork, and front QR. The other has a tapered fork, 31.8mm handlebar, and 20mm thru-axle. Can I tell the difference? Yes, I can. Does it matter? Not really. The burlier bike tracks a little better but it’s a tiny difference and the old school bike is plenty fast and fun to ride.

And to all the 29er haters – I run 36 spokes on my 29er wheels and they are plenty stiff enough. I don’t need any new axle standards.

scentofreason
scentofreason
7 years ago

Just got all my bikes on the current standard, so I’m soooo excited it’s all obsolete in less than a year. (deleted)

Stanley d'Ard
Stanley d'Ard
7 years ago

One of the best things to happen in the industry recently is the convergence of MTB and road standards. This gives consumers much wider choice (I have a few MTB parts on my road bikes), and allows all sorts of unconventional bikes to be built. But this increases competition and thus reduces profits, so lets introduce some new standards to split the market up again!

@Sevo I too have an engineering degree, not that it makes what I say more right than if a non-engineer said it.

JCL
JCL
7 years ago

The front wheel stiffness issue is a non issue. The amount amount of force and mass on the front wheel is never more than half the rear. Current 29″ front wheels are more than stiff enough.

The rear Boost 148 standard is easily shot down by looking at one bike, the Enduro 29. That bike already has too short a rear centre so room to play with there, 6mm plus between the 30T chainring and the chainstay and as far as I’m aware, no tire clearance issues.

All of the ‘problems’ Boost 148 is trying to address can be overcome with proper engineering.

Heffe
Heffe
7 years ago

On the one hand improved functionality is nice, and on the other constantly changing standards so that everyone’s equipment is constantly, and very expensively outdated really rubs me the wrong way.

Mattbyke
Mattbyke
7 years ago

Man!! I had so much fun on my 100/135 old school hubs,I hadn’t noticed how flexy and dangerous my bike was!

Ilikeicedtea
Ilikeicedtea
7 years ago

Calm down, folks. If you feel you need to have the latest and greatest equipment, then you might need to get on board with the newest standards. That said, a new standard doesn’t change the way your current equipment work, at all. If you’re buying a new bike in 2016, maybe it’ll have the new standard, or maybe it won’t. So what? Are we participating in a fashion show out in the woods, or are we riding mountain bikes?

assd
assd
7 years ago

Newest yes but greatest?
It makes new bikes more expensive and old bike parts less available thus also more expensive.
Lose lose for consumers and even if you have a good bike already. Hence why it pisses ppl off.

Magnus Big L
Magnus Big L
7 years ago

Agree on Boovers comment to 100%.

michael
michael
7 years ago

the new standard will not make hub flanges any wider, because the hub manufacturers will make them with interchangeable end caps to fit 100 or 110.

That’s what they already do for the 20×110. The 20×110 does not have wide spaced flanges, so the end caps can be swapped for 15×100 end cap.

ACMI
ACMI
7 years ago

I just bought a new wheel set for one of my bikes. One of the reasons I pulled the trigger was because the set included 9mm, 15mm and 20mm end caps for the front, and 9mm, 10mm, and 142×12 adaptors for the rear. Now they tell me that they will try to make it obsolete within a couple of years? Up your, bike industry.

ACMI
ACMI
7 years ago

Up yours. 😉

thesteve4761
thesteve4761
7 years ago

@michael- No they won’t. Hubs flanges will get wider. For example, there is no “endcap” fix to make a 20×110 hub fit in an RS-1 fork. Also, the brake spacing is different.

John
John
7 years ago

Keep twiddling with hub “standards” and watch the money get sucked right out of the bike industry. Nobody wants to buy into the wrong “standard”, so they’ll wind up not buying anything, and ride whatever they currently have while waiting for the bike industry to pull their collective heads out of their butts. Glad I don’t depend on selling bikes to put food on the table. Makes me feel bad for the guys who do.

michael
michael
7 years ago

@thesteve4761 look up Chris King, DT Swiss, Industry 9, Sram, Stan’s, ….. they all use they use the same hubshell with end caps for either 20×110 or 15×100

They don’t have a 20×110 specific hubshell with wider flanges.
And I doubt they will make a 15×110 specific hubshell with wider flanges either.
They will most likely just make 15×110 end caps for the hubs they already make.

Antipodean_G
7 years ago

F me. Seriously….?!

So here we are designing our first few frame to be made this year. I like designing things to last, that age with class and you can keep on using for a good long while – I personally hate fad or ‘flash in the pan’. All these pointless shifts and changes make doing this increasingly difficult.

At least from our point of view, the front is less of an issue for ‘us’, we just have to worry about the rear and BB, and it’s got to the point that we’ll be letting the customer decide as I’ve given up guessing if what’s in now will still be in six months time.

thesteve4761
thesteve4761
7 years ago

@Michael- You are correct for 20×110 to 15×100, but that situation will not carry over for anything 15×110.

They will make specific hubshells for 15×110. Again, for example, there is no endcap solution that converts a 20×110 hub to 15×110 for the RS-1 fork, from either Sram or DT (the only two companies with 15×110 hubs currently available).

Steve
Steve
7 years ago

The issue is that bike manufactures stop making parts that mate to the old standard. You can look at 20×110 front hubs/forks and 26″ wheels. Fox and others killed 20×110 so SRAM/RS wouldn’t be able to dominate the fork market. There still are 20×110 options out there (mostly from RS), but not every model comes 20×110. Likewise with 26″, you can still get 26″ hoops, but there are a lot of new rims I ooh and ah at, that I don’t buy because they only come in 27.5″ and 29″ flavors. I don’t have anything against 27.5″ or 29″, just that I have a whole collection of tires/tube – who uses tubes? – and bike frames that I can swap wheels between and play with.

In the end vote with your pocket book. If these new standards don’t sell, the industry will respond and keep making the “old” standards.

Frippolini
Frippolini
7 years ago

Once again, the overall trend seem to be that every year or two a new standard will be released. Anyone that had the idea of their bike being cross compatible for a long period of time needs to understand that this contracts what seems to be the bike industry’s evolutionary process, where good slowly gets better through technological innovation.
Sure, this is infuriating, especially when the benefit of a new standard obsoletes currently good equipment by pushing for something that is marginally better. Some of the new ideas are good, some of it seems to be purely marketing ploys to drive revenue.
I believe this: buy your bike, forget about upgrading it, and instead exchange the entire bike when you want something new or can’t find necessary spare parts. Anyone still managing to find Klein’s oversized headset bearings … time for a new bike.
Relax, go with the evolutionary flow, and ride your bike happily. 🙂 If you are not comfortable jumping on the bandwagon of new standards (who knows what will be next year, drivetrain on left side and disc brakes on right side?), stay with what you know until the point in time where you need to change your entire bike and get to enjoy all the evolutionary steps in one single upgrade. Cheers. 🙂

Dr. Sartorious
Dr. Sartorious
7 years ago

Wow, a lot of bored engineers in the bike industry trying to make a name for themselves. Come up with some arbitrary bullsh1t, then walk over to the marketing department so they can put a nice coat of paint on the turd, come up with some cockamamie technical justifications for their “new and improved” contrivances, then throw the entire turd stew on unsuspecting customers who just want a bike, not a Tesla.

And somewhere in the back of a bike company somewhere, there’s that one M.E. trying to come up with a reason for why the circle is not the greatest shape for a bike wheel…

halfwheel
halfwheel
7 years ago

@ Frippolini: exactly, just upgrade more infrequently. More to the point, vote with your wallet and spend money elsewhere. No need for hate.

Another way to look at all these standards is that it requires the consumer to be MORE educated in insuring choosing an upgrade path is the right one for the type of intended riding.

Also agree that the flurry of standards encourages me to spend LESS on upgrades. Too bad for the bike industry. For example, I’m sticking with 15mm thru axle and 9mm. Any standards outside of that is not going to get my dime until they can prove themselves.

Bazz
Bazz
7 years ago

After the last article about the freakin”Boost” standard and now this rubbish I’ve decided what I’m going to do: I’ve just ordered a new Fatbike frame with a 197mm thru axel rear and I’m going to run a rigid 135 thru axel front fork and one of those Chinese 135mm thru axel suspension fat bike forks – they have Rock Shox compatible internals. I will then build a couple of sets of wheels on fat bike hubs: a set of 29ers and a set of 26×4″ fat bike wheels and later maybe 29 plus and 650b plus, they all fit this frame. I’m going to run 1×10 and these new standards folks can just take a flying leap.

Circular firingsquad
Circular firingsquad
7 years ago

The logic of this is self-defeating to those promoting it.

A manufacturer wants us to buy their new improved wheels but is decreasing the value of their potential customers parts making them harder to sell so they can afford (or just get rid of) their existing parts.

Some here say wtf, you don’t want them don’t buy them, but actually they are harming all of us by making our “old” bikes less valuable.

I understand “real” improvements, I love my 1X11, but anyone who tells you they can feel the difference between these & current wheels is either full of it..or is so fast they’re getting them for free.