mavic speed release road bike thru axle system is secure like a thru axle but quick like a skewer

Brake rotors turning into saw blades of death aside, one of the real issues with converting the pro peloton over to disc brakes is the concurrent desire to use them with thru axles. The thru axles designed for mountain bikes work on the road, but they’re far too slow for the F1 pit stop speeds wanted in road side wheel changes.

We’ve seen some clever solutions that speed things up quite a bit, like those from Focus, Tune and NAILD, but the new Mavic Speed Release does it with similar speed but the added benefit of keeping the axle in the wheel and not requiring finely tuned positioning of the lever…

This video shows just how quickly you can remove a wheel. Here’s how it works:

The Speed Release system uses a thru axle with variable diameters and a spring loaded retention wedge. It might look familiar, Mavic has licensed the base design from SpeedRelease, a small group that showed the original and updated designs over the past few years but hadn’t seen commercial adoption. Mavic then refined and improved the design, most importantly by making it compatible with any hub. And thanks to their recent purchase of ENVE, will be the first to make it available at scale.

mavic speed release road bike thru axle system is secure like a thru axle but quick like a skewer

Speed Release works with any 12mm thru axle hub, so there are no proprietary wheels needed. It does, however, need a specific fork design with an open dropout on the right side. The trick here is that it’s not a normal open dropout…the opening is narrower than the center.

mavic speed release road bike thru axle system is secure like a thru axle but quick like a skewer

The axle is then thinner just inside of the part that carries the weight of the wheel. The thinner section lets it slide into the dropout, then it pops inward to fill the hole. At this point, it’s not threaded in, but the axle (and wheel) is sitting securely in the fork on both sides and, even if the axle somehow came unthreaded and loose while riding, the wheel can’t eject because you need to physically pull the axle out to the point where the thinner section is visible.

mavic speed release road bike thru axle system is secure like a thru axle but quick like a skewer

The axle remains in the wheel during wheel changes, held snugly inside the wheel’s axle thanks to a slightly expanding collet. That collet is on a sliding portion, which gives the axle tactile “steps” during wheel removal, so you don’t pull it out too far. There’s no harm if you do, and the axle comes out of the hub easily enough when you wanna change wheels at home, but during flat fixes or other mid-ride repairs, it won’t just fall out. For the pro peloton, chances are pretty good the axles will be preloaded into the spare wheels for the quickest possible change.

mavic speed release road bike thru axle system is secure like a thru axle but quick like a skewer

Rather than a cammed lever, it uses a simple ratcheting one with factory set torque, so it simply tightens down to about 5-6Nm then clicks so you can position it however you like.

Once installed, it looks like any other thru axle. It’s first iteration will show up on a new ENVE road fork (more on that in a separate post soon) in early 2017 and will include the axle. The standard is open for other bike and fork brands to license, too, and here’s hoping they do.

Mavic.com

50 COMMENTS

  1. Ingenious. The massively different dropouts used here, compared to other through-axle systems, are going to be rather disruptive, though.

    At least Mavic had the sense to put the through-axle lever on the drive side, for safety reasons. Any nods to tradition by putting the lever on the non-drive side on a disc-braked road bike are ill-advised, at best.

        • Obviously Dominic works in the bike industry and is trying to advise you against saving money. If you don’t have a dremel you can use a hacksaw to open up the lower leg of your fork.

          • I tell people not to buy things all the time.
            Having worked with, and knowing people who’ve worked with carbon, the consensus is: leave your fork alone. Forks are very highly loaded relative to the rest of the frame.

            Also the point about threading still stands. This uses a threaded left dropout, not all threads that look alike work together. And with Mavic being nominally French the odds of the thread being proprietary to this system go up.

            Don’t risk a broken dropout to be trendy.

  2. Wouldn’t the open side fork tab eventually get mangled from imprecise attempts to push the axle into its final locked position?

    That dual section of the axle near the handle is a stepped-up diameter change, and one can see the final bigger step hitting the fork tab edges if it isn’t absolutely perfect.

    In other words, I’d like to see how axle insertion works with a little weight on the front end of the bike (as might occur in the real world, rather than the sterility of a bike show).

  3. I think the key words here are “The standard is open for other bike and fork brands to license”…Do we really think the bike companies (Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, Ect, ect) are going to pay a royalty to a competing company for a fork design? Think again.
    Until MAVIC open up the tech to be open for anyone to use…this will be a Mavic-Enve marriage and stay that way

    • Hi RC Speed – we’ve license the Speed Release technology and have evolved it with patents / products of our own. So, the technical design is available for anyone to license but the evolution of the technology is from Mavic. So a fork brand, such as Ritchey, could offer a fork with the correct drop-out spec (if they choose to license it) and then you could use the Mavic thru-axle (or one from Ritchey if they chose to license it from us) to achieve the final benefits of the full system. It sounds complicated, but in the end it isn’t any different than many other industry standards that exist today.

      In terms of brands licensing technology from competitors…it happens quite often. One example is the FSR suspension technology from Specialized.

      Hope that is helpful.

      • Damn! I was about to order a Cannondale Super Six Evo disc, which has a standard TA fork. Now I have to wait till Cannondale adopt this brilliant Mavic TA.

        • Is my sarcasm detector broken ?

          There is no reason you would have to wait if you were happy with the decision to order a super six disc. It’s not like my 2 disc braked bikes with good old QR skewers stopped working when brands started to sell bikes with TA. They still ride as well.

          Plus at the rate the industry is moving you will never order a new bike as there will always be an upcoming new format / technology.

          Think less, ride more.

      • Chad, Bobby from RockyMounts. How easy does the thru axle come out if some one wants to mount this bike on a fork mounted rack, do they just get a bike mount where you leave the front wheel on?

      • Hi Chad,
        Thanks for the reply,
        What I was hinting at was MAVIC opening up the fork tech for anyone to use “without” paying for the license.
        Yes I know this type of arrangement occurs but as the volume of the TA forks will grow, I cant see the Bigs…and smalls…who have their own fork designs cough up taxes to a competitor when that $$$ could be staying in their own pocket.
        Either way, wish the best on this, good luck!

      • For frame fitment that’s (deleted).
        Why would I as a frame/fork designer pay someone so I can have a dropout design when there are perfectly good dropouts I can spec for free?
        BB standards are free, headtube standards are free, seatpost standards are free, and rear dropouts are free.

        This isn’t UST

  4. Huh, I’ve always found that thru-axles on my mtb (at least the tools free ones) are much faster than a QR. Trying to get the QR past the lawyer tabs and then having to re-find the perfect tension everytime is a pita.

    I guess the pros probably file off the lawyer tabs and remove the springs from the QR, which would make it faster.

    • You can’t have a true quick release with lawyer tabs, they would have to filed off. I have never had a quick release open up, even with poorly designed quick releases. If a person can’t adjust a quick release properly, they should not be riding. I have not tried it, but I would bet that if a quick release was loose, the lawyer tabs would not keep a wheel from coming off the fork when braking. The springs are to keep the skewer centered so they make the wheel wasy to install.

  5. I’m loving the torque setting built into the lever head… Is it just me, or is this a technology that could/should be built into all TA’s?

  6. Doesn’t require proprietary wheels… Just a proprietary fork! What has this world come to? Also, great video, installing a disc brake wheel without a brake caliper greatly represents what it is actually like to install a disc brake wheel. (deleted).

    • I’d rather a proprietary fork than proprietary wheels. The former is less likely to require a change for any real reason other than tire clearance. Wheels, otoh, offer vastly different performance characteristics.

    • I didn’t notice they don’t have a front caliper installed, good eye, Zeb! No wonder whelk changes are so fast! Worse still, that fork in the video lacks threads to install a caliper, probably since that would draw people’s eye to the missing caliper. Nice slight of hand, ENVE!

  7. It might end up being ENVE only, but it’s really not a problem for most riders. Just like the other TA standards, you should just consider the TA part of the frameset. All these different TA standards still work with the same wheels as long as the axle diameter and length is the same. Of course, it matters for neutral support and racing.

  8. who cares about pro-peloton issues?? they don’t even pay for their bikes, we do. Regular TA is so much better than this, and way lighter.

  9. ugh Focus totally solved this already and their RAT system is far less complicated, doesn’t require a weird fork standard and is considerably faster than even conventional rim brake q/rs because you don’t have to remember to open the brake q/r too.

  10. Fail. Its not a thru axle anymore with this system. Why cant the bike industry get together regularly like the electronic industry guys and work together on standards?

  11. Thru axles are not fast? hmmm have to disagree. watch any world cup MTB mech during a pit and you’ll see this is a solution in need of a problem. @yanickthemechanic from Scott-Odlo Team regularly hits 12-14 seconds on tire changes with thru axle. thats pretty fast.

  12. Focus RAT is same as Manitou’s Hexlock, best QR TA out there, and has been for years. Hopefully Manitou guys will take action against Focus, if Focus didn’t licence out this from Manitou.

  13. This looks like half a thru axle to me, or am I missing something? And aside from Tour pros, who exactly is benefitting from shaving 5 seconds off a wheel change?

    • Nobody. But considering Mavic are the ones providing neutral support in the Tour (and other races), they have every reason to try to shave these 5 seconds off a wheel change.

      There’s no denying (pro) teams have complained about the “slow wheel changes”, as a reason not to adopt disc brakes. Are these complaints justified? I actually don’t think so. Are other solutions possible? Yes. Will Mavic’s solution be accepted by (all) (pro) teams/manufacturers? Who knows. But at least they’re trying to address the issue, with what honestly is a very elegant solution.

    • As a Focus dealer I agree and the 2017 refinements are even better. A lot slimmer and it lost some of the adjustment that really wasn’t needed. Got lighter too.

  14. I agree, this is maybe only a second faster which is still too slow. Also, nobody is going to adopt this in the peloton. Great design for regular folks but there’s no way they’re going to leave the present thru-axle design unless it’s mandated by the UCI.

  15. As gringo pointed out… There’s nothing wrong with the current thru axle system.. All this fear mongering about the pro peloton not being able to do fast wheel changes.. I’ll just leave this right here.

    • Sure, that’s fast FOR a thru axle change. That’s a very slow change with a QR. Stages are won and lost by less and typically, you’re looking at time gaps that would give you the same time or a loss within a matter of feet.

  16. i wonder how much load the brake torsion puts on the front tab of the dropout. “not any more than a 9mm QR dropout” i know, but like, i would rather have a closed eyelet i think.

  17. Not a thru-axle anymore, unfortunately. But, at the same time makes the hub and axle into an integrated unit (less likely to fall off and get lost). I like that.

  18. not a thru axle, hub is not following UCI reg (very strange), not working on the rear so still no front to back axle system.. to many points that don’t fix the real issues. Please stop and think.. We must have standards that work for all this includes people from all walks of life.. We need safe reliable systems.

  19. The whole point is to be safe and have a proper thru-axle that needs removing prior to the wheel being removed. This is a cowboy solution to a problem that doesn’t exist and introduces new issues. (deleted)

    • It doesn’t. In a post above Mavic said they licensed the technology and refined it. One guess who they licensed it from?…

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