Robert Axle Project axle review

Thru axles for every bike and situation

Components
Lighten Rear

The Robert Axle Project Lightning Bolt-ons are sleek and classy.

What is it

As many of you are already aware, the cycling world has transitioned to thru-axles and there’s no going back. But thru axles are not without their issues. Maybe you can’t fit your cross bike to the trainer anymore, or you can’t pull your kids in the trailer. Or, the kit that came on your bike is too heavy for the weight weenie inside and your looking to shave grams. Well, the people at The Robert Axle project have you covered.

Tested here is the Lightning Bolt-On axle as well as a kid trailer axle, which was installed on a Trek Top Fuel.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to find correct style
  • Covers all styles
  • Safe
Cons
  • So many options can be confusing
Mtbr’s Take

In 2013, when Chris and Katy Brice bought new carbon mountain bikes, they realized right away that their BOB Trailer was not going to fit. As an avid trail builder in Oregon, Chris couldn’t haul a chainsaw or tools without a BOB Trailer. So he drew up the first rendition of the BOB Trailer Axle, and asked a friend to machine it. (Payment was a six-pack of beer.)

Chris and Katy also contacted BOB Trailer several times about this issue, but never got a response. They saw an opening and product that many trail riders and mountain bikers need and decided to fill it. “We couldn’t name the company anything related to BOB Trailers, due to trademark issues, thus The Robert Axle Project was born,” explained Chris, tongue firmly planted in his cheek.

The Robert Axle Project makes much more than the BOB Trailer Axle, creating solutions for nearly every thru-axle problem. And if they don’t, call and it’s likely they can have one made for you.

Lighten Fork

Looking to lighten up your fork and look awesome? The Robert Axle Project has you covered.

Most recently The Robert Axle Project released Lightning Bolt-On Axles and are filling in proprietary axles for specific bike brands, such as FOCUS, Marin and Surly, which all have unique axles.

The idea for the Lightning Bolt-On Axles came to Chris after going on a 25-mile mountain bike ride with a friend whose thru axle kept coming loose. He decided to make a low profile, lightweight, more durable thru-axle.

Rear LBA Weight

Shave off some grams and craft a sleek looking rear end for you boost bike.

The Lightning Bolt-On weights 54g for the front and 48g for the rear. Install is easy with a 5mm Allen and no torque spec. Mtbr received one for a FOX Step Cast fork as well, shaving 20g from the stock QR.

After riding many miles on dirt and road, I’ve only touched the axle to change a single flat. Super tight tolerance keeps them in place and rattle free. While I like the black color, it would be nice to see other options available in the future. Machined to tight standards and designed, built, and quality tested in the USA, I felt fresh rocking these around my local trails.

I must also mention this piece made my indoor riding on my Cycleop Hammer much easier. As the standard axle for the Trek Top Fuel has a lever and makes it near impossible to attach to the Hammer without damaging the outside of the unit. It’s cool to note that all Robert Axle Project axles are compatible with Hexlox security systems as well. Don’t worry fat bike friends the fat bike bolt-on axle are now available and shipping.

Kids Trailer

Quite possibly the coolest and easiest add-on to make a thru-axle work with pulling a kid trailer.

Mtbr also tested the Kid Trailer Axle. I’ve struggled before, getting my son’s trailer dialed in with having to bring a road bike on the crushed limestone bike paths. The Kid Trailer Axle is a welcome solution to this problem. The Robert Axle Kid Axle has a stainless steel threaded stud to attach the hitch supplied by your trailer manufacturer. This design keeps all pieces in place and easy to install. My trailer is a Burley and I’ve had zero problems fitting or installing. After miles of dirt and limestone, the axle was still as tight as it installed and my cargo was safe. I can genuinely say I was excited to ride the bike I felt most comfortable on while pulling the trailer.

Going from bike to bike can be hard and impractical, never knowing if you have tolls and tubes for each. This solution is classy, functional, and well worth the asking price.

Kids Trailer Long

Cleverly designed and handcrafted in the USA: The Robert Axle Project.

Rating: 5 out of 5 5 Flamin' Chili Peppers
Price: $58 (Kids Trailer); $48 (Front Lightning Bolt-on); $42 (Rear Lightning Bolt-on)
More info: robertaxleproject.com

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)

About the author: Jordan Villella

Jordan comes from the steep streets of Pittsburgh PA, where he learned to dodge cars and rip single track. He has been involved in nearly every aspect of the cycling industry: from turning wrenches, store design, clothing production and bike park creation. Jordan spends his free time racing cross country and cyclocross around North America, though he has been know to enduro every now and then. His love of cycling is only second to his love of his family and punk rock.


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  • Don says:

    Do they make one for an MRP Stage?

  • Matt says:

    I do not see how this product addresses the original problem of a thru axle backing out? (I do see this as a good product for security or a bike trailer, but not normal a Mtn concern)

    If anything I think this is a worse solution, because you need a tool to tighten and untighten. Also if it does start to back out you would not be able to look down and see if it is in the position you always place the lever arm. Am I missing something?

    • Alec says:

      Matt, I’ve had one of these for my rear for almost a year now that I bought because it was 1) cheaper and 2) less likely to break than the equivalent Maxle. I’ve broken 2 QR axles by overpowering the little lever and have had no issues with this one backing out or anything else. It does require a tool, but I always have one when I’m riding anyway.

  • Joseph says:

    I put Robert Axle Project Lightning Bolt on Thru Axles on my Turner RFX last year and couldn’t be happier with them. Clean look, secure (haven’t loosened up once) and saved a bunch of grams. I can’t see the complaint about not being able to tell if the axles are loose. Man, my bike has so many pivots and bolts (most bikes do) that #1 – safe operation means routinely checking fasteners and using proper torque & #2 – carrying tools to take care of any necessary trail side mechanicals!

  • Eric says:

    I’ve got two: one for my ‘cross bike(Norco Threshold) and one for my road bike (Canyon Endurace). Bought them so I could use the bikes on my Wahoo Kickr Snap trainer. Well worth the cheddar!

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