Press & Media

Five Ingenious Hacks to Make Your Bike Ride Better

Several small companies are building niche parts and pieces that make our cycling gear cheaper and more versatile.

By: Aaron Gulley

Posted on Outside Online: March 3, 2017

One great thing about the bike industry is its low cost of entry for brands. If you have a solid idea and some manufacturing connections or savvy, it’s generally possible to get into the business. And nowadays, with all the oddball sizes and new “standards,” there’s tons of room for these smaller companies to create niche products that will increase versatility, cut costs, and stave off planned obsolescence. The big brands could take a few lessons from these small guys.


Robert Axle Project Thru-Axle for BOB (From $70)

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  Photo: Courtesy of Robert Axle Project

I nearly got rid of my BOB trailer, which I love for hauling and hunting, when I found that it wouldn’t work with a thru-axle (which you’ll find on every modern bike), and that BOB didn’t offer a fix. But then I found the Robert Axle Project, created by a couple in Bend, Oregon, who apparently had similar frustrations.

Combining a 7075 aluminum axle shaft with stainless steel end pieces that fit the BOB’s mounting parts, the axle is a simple, elegant piece of hardware that allows me to pull my trailer with whatever bike I want. Given all the different hub widths and thread patterns, it’s definitely worth buying direct from Robert Axle (using the handy drop-down menu).

The company also makes axles for Thule, Burly, Chariot, and other trailer brands, for wind trainers and cargo racks, and bolt-on solutions for bike security.


Wolf Tooth Boostinator ($25)

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  Photo: Courtesy of Jenson USA

The rapid rise of Boost hub spacing might be good for performance as it creates stiffer wheels and better clearance, but it has also made some older wheels incompatible with newer bikes. Thanks, however, to the Boostinator from Wolf Tooth, you don’t have to sell those old hoops to run them on your new whip.

These smart kits consist of a machined aluminum end cap and, on the rear kits, a rotor spacer, that allows hubs with smaller spacing to be used on new wider-set frames. It’s a simple installation, even if you have to re-true your wheel a bit, and $50 for the two kits, is a pretty small price to pay for the repurposing of those expensive wheels.


One Up 42T Sprocket + 16T ($80)

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  Photo: Courtesy of One Up Components

Everybody wants a 1×11 drivetrain these days, but the cost of retrofitting your trusty old steed, which can include upgrading everything from a rear cassette to cranks, shifters, and even wheels, has kept many people on their existing gear. One Up’s 42T hack gets people with 10-speed cassettes many of the benefits of a 1×11 drivetrain—minus all the headache and expense.

Here’s how it works: On most 11-36 cassettes, you simply nest this bigger 42T ring on the outside, then sub in the 16T sprocket for the existing 15T and 17T. Of course you don’t get quit as big a range as 1×11 (especially not the super wide Eagle options) and you give up one gear, but the quick change yields a 17 percent range increase for a pretty minimal investment. One Up also makes 50T hacks for Shimano 1×11 cassettes, as well as well as a 10T cluster for those willing to invest in a new free hub body. Smart stuff.


Bar Fly E-Box Spacer ($40)

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  Photo: Courtesy of Bar Fly

Though I love riding Shimano Di2, it’s always struck me as insane that the junction box (the charge port and brains of the whole damn thing) attaches to your stem with a rubber band or zip tie. It’s like putting coaster brakes on a Ducati. Regardless, I was thrilled when I found Bar Fly’s E-Box Spacer, which attaches the mount for the junction box to an anodized aluminum five-millimeter headset spacer. Genius! And for what it’s worth, Bar Fly makes all sorts of other excellent and elegant mounting solutions for GPS units, lights, cameras, fenders, and pretty much anything else you want to attach to your bike.


Paul Set N’ Forget Thru Axle ($70)

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  Photo: Courtesy of Paul Component Engineering

This thru-axle replacement definitely falls into the serious tech geek realm, but if you’ve ever been frustrated with the fiddliness of stock thru axles, it will be a godsend. On many standard setups, it’s tricky to get both the right tension on the axle as well as the right position for the lever. The Set N’ Forget replaces your stock axle with one in which the lever can be indexed in 12 positions. Once you install it and put the lever in the desired position, you simply screw the axle into place and the lever will line up where you want it to go every time. No more futzing around to get it just so or riding with the lever in a questionable spot.

Theft resistant thru axles from the Robert Axle Project and Hexlox may just save your wheels

Posted on Bike Rumor: December 30, 2016

The Robert Axle Project has a new light weight option if you’re looking for replacement thru axles. Called the Lightning Bolt-On, the axles aren’t meant to carry a trailer. Instead, they’re simply meant to offer a light weight option instead of the quick release axles that probably came stock. But the axles also have a little trick up their sleeve. Thanks to a partnership with Hexlox, the axles are compatible with the minuscule locking plugs. Combined with the tapered shape of the thru axle head, it should make the axle fairly theft resistant if you’re worried about losing your wheels…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Available for both front and rear axles in multiple sizes, the Lightning Bolt-On axles are a high quality aluminum axle with a simple bolt on head. Since the axles are made from aluminum, they will need a magnetic insert from Hexlox to use with their locks which is a little disc that fits inside the bolt head. At that point you can use a 6mm Hexlox to secure each axle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lightning Bolt-Ons will fit Fox and Rockshox forks as well as certain road and mountain bikes for both front and rear compatibility. Check out the site for their axle fitment selector for compatibility and pricing.

robertaxleproject.com

The Robert Axle Project makes it easier to find 12mm thru axle adapters for your needs

Bikerumor.com

March 2016

Sometimes with innovation there is a sacrifice with some associated items becoming obsolete. Thru-axles are a perfect example of that. They are a stronger and offer more precise wheel to frame interface and have become standard on almost all mountain bikes and now some road and cross bikes as well. However, with this came the challenge of mounting specific racks, trailers, and even using your bike on a trainer. The Robert Axle Project has been offering some simple solutions that lets you use your more modern bikes with formerly incompatible trailers, carriers and trainers for some time.

Read more…

Trail Building Tools – BOB Trailer & Robert Axle

We Ride Our Bikes Blog

January 2016

I worried that I was going to have to go buy a beater bike with an older QR rear axle just for trail building. So, I did some research and found the Robert Axle Project! After an email exchange with Chris at the Robert Axle Project, he assured me that they had the axle I needed to pull this trailer! Chris was great and quick to respond to my questions. It was nice to have such great customer service!

Read more…

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