If you’re looking to shave a few grams off your bike, or want to ditch those unsightly QR levers that you worry about damaging on tight trails, you might want to check out Robert Axle Project’s Lightning Bolt-On axles.

Early this spring I got a set of Lightning Bolt-On axles for my 2019 Trek Remedy, which was ideal for such a swap as both ends of the bike come stock with QR levers. I was curious to see how much weight I would save by removing my QR axles, and to see how much slimmer the bike would look without the levers at both wheels. Aside from aesthetics and weight savings, anyone who loses, breaks or damages a stock axle could look to R.A.P. simply for a replacement.

Robert Axle Project, Lightning Bolt-On axles, in packaging

To figure out which axles will fit your bike, visit Robert Axle Project online and go to their Axle Finder. Just answer a few easy questions from their drop-down menus and the finder will indicate which axle(s) you need. The most technical thing you’ll need to know is your bike’s hub spacing.

My bike required the LIG503 front axle (15mm diameter, 158mm length, 15×1.5 thread pitch) and the LIG610 rear (12mm diameter, 198mm length, 12×1.75 thread pitch). Not only does R.A.P.’s simple packaging make all that key info clear, but the length, thread pitch and torque specs are also printed on the axles themselves. The Lightning Bolt-On axles are made from machined aluminum.

If you’re picky about aesthetics and want your bike to look lean and mean, the Lightning Bolt-On axles are very low-profile.

Robert Axle Project, Lightning Bolt-On axles, QR Maxle on Lyrik
Here’s what my front end looked like with and without the Maxle QR lever…

Robert Axle Project, Lightning Bolt-On axles, rear QR on Trek Remedy
…and here’s the before and after on my rear axle.

The pictures here show my front and rear ends before and after the swaps, and I’m sure some of you will think my Remedy looks better without the QR levers… and some of you might not care!

Robert Axle Project Lightning Bolt-On axle, LIG503 actual weight

So how much weight did swapping both axles save me? The R.A.P. front axle weighs 51g, whereas the Rockshox Maxle I removed from my fork weighed 79g. The R.A.P. rear axle also weighs 51g, which nearly halves the weight of my stock 95g QR rear axle.

Robert Axle Project, Lightning Bolt-On axles, rear axle actual weight

In total, I saved 72g. On my 31lbs trail bike this is insignificant, but if you’re trimming down an XC race machine and looking to shave every gram, the Lightning Bolt-On axles are probably worth a look.

Robert Axle Project, Lightning Bolt-On axles, Steve Fisher in a tight spot, Pemberton, B.C.

Performance isn’t much of a factor with something as simple as an axle, but I’ll reassure you that mine fit my bike perfectly, have held tight, and haven’t suffered any kind of damage since I installed them. Not having QR levers does make me slightly less tentative about riding through tight rock passages like the one pictured above, but to be honest I’ve never broken a QR on the trail.

Robert Axle Project, Lightning Bolt-On axles, allen key

As for convenience, you are sacrificing some by ditching your QR’s. While riding these axles, I had to drive to the trailhead (I usually don’t have to, but due to Coronovirus-related closures, it’s far easier to drive for now). I typically throw my bike in my trunk, so I’ve been keeping an extra 6mm allen key in my car to get my front wheel on and off.

While I always ride with a multi-tool, and wouldn’t have issues removing a wheel on the trailside, the stock QR up front doesn’t require me to bring an extra allen key or dig one out of my bag every time the bike goes in and out of the car. If I have to drive to the trails for much longer, I’ll be putting my front QR back in.

Robert Axle Project, Lightning Bolt-On axle with Hexlox

If you live in a high-theft area or plan on travelling with your bike, you might want to know the Lightning Bolt-On axles can be purchased with Hexlox security systems pre-installed. You must request the Hexlox option while buying a new axle, so Robert Axle Project can press a magnetic sleeve inside. You’ll need one lock for each axle, and they cost $15-20 each on R.A.P.’s website (magnetic sleeve included).

Pricing varies by model, but for reference the LIG610 rear axle costs $48, and the LIG503 front sells for $42.

robertaxleproject.com

19 COMMENTS

  1. And for a little extra in the Bling Department, you can try the Chris King anodized version of these fine axles…

  2. The only thing frustrating me is that this needs to exist. QR should be the upgrade pick (like Presta, but I digress) that they sell for people with roof racks and/or race mechanics.

    My plea is simple: smarter defaults for paying customers. They all understand bolts (and Schrader valves).

  3. If you have “QR levers that you worry about damaging on tight trails”, you have bigger problems than your QR levers! A standard Fox or Rockshox 15mm QR barely protrudes past the fork legs. While the rear axle pictured in this post protrudes about twice as far as the DT version on my bike, it’s still way further inboard than the cranks are, or the derailleur on the other side of the bike. Arguably the QR lever protruding further actually protects the rear triangle from damage in a crash.

    As for the weight saving, 72 grams even on a weight weenie XC bike is completely insignificant. You would do better taking your scales into the bike shop and weighing tyres before you buy them as you’ll easily see variation accounting for 72 grams between different pairs of the same model of tyre.

    • People do weigh tires. And hard to fathom but sometimes you aren’t going in a straight line through rock gardens so a rock can hit your QR after missing your pedal. That a metal lever slamming into a carbon chain stay or fork leg is better than your wheel coming off the bike at high speed is an interesting theory. Bad takes…

      • I know people weigh tires, and obsess about grams in all areas…I just don’t think dropping a few grams on upgrading through axles something that sensible people should be gushing about as conveying any meaningful advantage away from the coffee shop.

        As for hitting skewers in rock gardens, meh, you just picked the line wrong, don’t blame your equipment. Plenty of rocky trails round these parts which have dented down tubes or taken teeth off chainrings of mine, and the occasional crank arm or pedal strike is simply routine. Catching a quick release on a rock or log is way, WAY down my list of things to worry about.

    • If you think 72 grams, 72 EASY to lose grams on a race bike is insignificant, then I guess we know who has never been in a World Cup pit.

      For me personally the weight difference is not a driving factor, but I do have damaged rear RWS levers on all my bikes from threading through, steep, tight and rocky terrain.

      • I’ve once crashed stop, due to my rear QR cathing a log on the trail, during an XC race. Was close behind the guy in front of me, who wavered past the log, I saw it too late, got the front wheel past it, but the rear QR caught the log and threw me off the bike. Never heard of it otherwise.

        This product is not really anything new though. I’ve been running Carbon-Ti and Shift Up axles on my bikes for at least 6-7 years. Used to do XCO racing (1-1.5h all out), and since a puncture leaves you out of the race no matter what, racers tend to go for the lightest option, ditching tubes, tools, spare bottles/bottle cages etc. So these definately have a market. These days I just use these axles, as I think they’re prettier (and lighter – weight weenie).

        • So you say you are “out of the race no matter what” if you puncture during a xc race?, I’ve still won a few xc races after I’ve punctured. You gotta have the “never give up attitude”

  4. The 1st thing I did on my Focus Mares was replace those crap RAT axles with these Robert Axle bolts. So much lighter, cleaner looking and easier to deal with.

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