Shifting from QR skewer to thru-axle, there are many problems and issues you are going to face because of the non-compatible setup of the front and rear forks, non-compatible bike frame, noncompatible front, and rear hubs, and non-compatible end caps for both front and rear wheels, if you make all these parts of your bike compatible with the thru-axle then you have succeeded in upgrading your wheels from quick-release to thru-axle.
Thru axles are stiffer and harder and are recommended for mountain and gravel biking due to the larger diameter and width of these axles, on the other hand, quick release skewers are not harder when you compare them with the thru-axles, it is the reason these are specifically recommended for road biking.
Quick release skewers have their specific forks which are not compatible with the thru-axles, and thru axles also have their specific forks which are non-compatible with the QR skewers. the difference is present in the distance of the fork legs and also the clamp hole or drop out of the forks. it means QR skewer forks are not compatible and are not interchangeable with thru-axle forks.
There are boost and boost hubs, both have different values of distances between the drive side flange to the non-drive side, and the distance values are given below:
- 110 Boost
- 148 Boost
- 100 unboost
- 142 unboost
These are different values of hubs based on their different distances.
QR Skewers are thinner due to which the diameter of the internal hub of the QR is small but thru axles are thicker and their internal hub diameter is larger as compared to QR Skewers.
Difference In End Caps:
Thru axles end caps have a larger diameter and QR skewers have a smaller diameter of end caps, due to which these would not interchange their end caps with each other.
Adapters For Thru Axle Hub:
If you have a non-compatible fork that is compatible with the QR skewer, you can also use this fork for inserting thru axle hubs by using specific kinds of adapters to make these forks compatible with the thru-axle hub, but if you have a thru-axle fork and you are going to change thru axle hub into QR skewer hub, then it is impossible and non-compatible even these adapters would not work for this setup.
How Thru Axles Are Stiffer Than QR Skewers?
The greater width of thru-axles does not make them harder and stiffer, the greater diameter of the fork and greater hub holes and their specific frames would make a hard relationship with the drivetrain, when all these things combine with each other these will make a permanent relationship, it is the reason thru axles are mostly used for mountain and gravel biking.
But if you want to know about the comfort level usually on the terrains, then thru axles are hard and time-consuming for unmounting of the wheel while QR skewers are more easily unmounted and uninstalled in case of any puncture or flat on the rough, hard, and aggressive terrains.
Specific Length Of The Thru-Axles And Their Specific Spacing:
Thru axles have their specific lengths for both front and rear wheels and it is not possible to insert the front wheel thru-axle in the rear wheel as explained below:
front wheel thru axles are 15mm and the distance from the right end to the left end of the thru-axle is 100mm for the front wheels, but for rear wheels thru axles lengths are 12mm and the spacing from the left end cap to right end cap is 142mm of distance, based on these differences both front and rear wheel thru axles have their specific and their lengths and these are not swapped and interchangeable with each other.
Size Of Thru Axle And QR SKewer Hubs Which Are Convertible And Interchangeable:
There are specific hub sizes that are easily convertible and interchangeable by adding end caps on both of their ends ( drive and non-drive side), as given below:
9mm Qr skewer with 135mm spacing are easily convertible by adding their specific end caps( MAVIC Company) which are widely present through online stores or from mechanic stores.
12mm Thru axles with 135mm spacing are also convertible and interchangeable by adding end caps, especially for mountain biking.
How To Convert Non-Compatible Thru Axle Hubs Into Compatible QR SKewer?
As you know it is the modern world and almost there is a solution to each and every problem, even you can make things possible that were impossible before, there is an easy way of converting thru axle hub and wheels into QR skewer wheels without changing the thru axle hub and wheel, you can uninstall the current thru-axle and insert the QR skewer, after inserting you will notice both rights and left cap ends of the skewer are non-compatible with the fork and bike frame, for this purpose there are many brands of end caps which are alternatives of thru-axle end caps and these are easily installed on both sides of the skewers through which the thru-axle is directly converted into QR skewer without changing the wheel and hub of bike.
You just need to buy their specific end caps for QR skewers from online stores or any mechanic stores near your home by asking the exact diameter of the fork dropouts and the ends of the QR skewer, another major advantage is that this conversion is not just for rear wheels, you can also apply the same method of changing end caps on the front wheel, and within a few minutes, thru wheel will adapt into QR skewer wheel.
Front And Rear Convertible And Interchangeable Hubs:
Now it is the point which directly depends on the industry of these hubs and the manufacturers which are making these hubs, even we do not know about all the thousands of hubs that are manufactured day and night, we do not know about which hubs are convertible and interchangeable, and even their inner parts like end caps and the spacing are also compatible with the bike frames, these serious things and misunderstandings from the company and hub makers, itis hard to depend and rely on the hub about which people, mechanics, and those sites which have expressed reviews about their hub products for that time when you have own the product and you have experienced a convertible hub.
These things often confuse the riders and many mechanics have failed to convert the exact sized QR skewers into thru axle hubs, as a result, we are forced by the mechanics and wheel builders to buy another compatible bike frame, compatible hub, or new compatible wheels for this small upgrading.
Which Hubs Are Called Convertible Hubs?
These are those hubs that do not contain QR skewers and inner thru axles with them, which shows that these hubs are compatible with any size of thru-axle and QR skewers, and converting QR skewer to thru-axle on these hubs are easier and acceptable for all sizes, these contain different pairs of end caps for both thru-axles and QR skewers of any size.
Best Way To Make Hub Compatible For Converting Quick Release Skewer To thru Axle:
Those hubs which are not convertible and are not compatible with thru-axles, then you can find another compatible old used thru axle hub from the mechanic shop so that the internal spacing from the drive side to non-drive sides would be exactly the same as that of the previous hub and the flange holes of this hub would also be same as that of the previous hub, the internal diameter of the hub should be compatible with the thru-axle which you are going to upgrading from QR skewer to thru-axle, after finding a compatible hub, further you have to lace wheel by re-dishing the currently used wheel.
follow the pattern of wheel lacing and insert all the spokes within the new compatible thru axle hub flanges and within the rim, after re-dishing or wheel building your hub is changed and upgraded from the previous QR skewer hub.
Is It Possible To Change Fork Holes OR Bushings Of the Frame To Make It Compatible For Thru Axle Hubs?
In one way it is possible if you have all the drilling and welding machines and you are a skilled mechanic engineer for changing the shape and size of bushings of the forks if you are trained and you each and everything about the diameter of the bushings and the diameter of the thru-axle holes, but if you do not have all these machines and also your skills are weak for this upgradation, never do it, because almost a beginner would destroy and damage the bushings of their forks which become useless for both QR skewer and thru axles.
What Are The Major Problems You Will Face When Converting QR Skewer To Thru Axle Hub?
It IS common for the internal threads of the QR skewer not exactly match the thread diameter of the thru-axle hubs due to which the internal cup and cone bearings would also not match with the new thru-axle hub, for this purpose when you can find another compatible thru-axle, always check the diameter of the threads and the performance of the internal bearings of the hub.