Thru axle vs quick release

I’m going to buy a gravel bike. I have a choice of getting a thru axle or quick release. All of my other bikes are quick release and I have a 2 year old Kickr that is set up for quick release. What are the advantages and disadvantages to going with a thru axle? Is it difficult to use an adapter for the thru axle on the Kickr? The only bike that fits on the Kickr now is my road bike and I would like to use the gravel bike on the trainer. I keep my bikes a long time. Will getting the quick release be a mistake 10 years from now? Thanks.

If its a gravel bike it’s going to have disc brakes, thru-axle has been standard for over 10yrs for disc brakes to mechanically prevent wheel ejection from QR drop outs due to the force vector from disc brakes.

From an engineering perspective QR is totally adequate. You need a much bigger lever on a thru-axle skewer to apply the same clamping force as a traditional Shimano QR lever. But you know lawyers.


only thing i know if i recall correctly, one advantage of thru axle vs QR is that the tightening should be more repeatable (as you normally use same torque to tighten), and this ends up keeping better alignment between disc calipers and disc so lower probability of squealing or disc rubbing. but that’s The only thing i think of. other question is what would you prefer, are you going to use the gravel bike on the trainer and keep using you other bikes that have QR? then maybe your best option is indeed the QR. Hope this helps and you find a solution that suits your needs!

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I think you should optimize your gravel bike for riding gravel, which, IMO, means going with thru-axles. I personally really like the clean look of bolt-on thru-axles, and agree with @JC2020 that they are very repeatable in their positioning of the wheel in the dropout and the ability to get consistent torque.

If you’re only going to be using the gravel bike on the KICKR, then you can set the KICKR up for thru-axles one time and just take the bike on and off as often as you want. Thru-axles are quick to use, especially if you keep the right tool to hand.

You might also consider turning your road bike into a full-time trainer bike and use the gravel bike for both gravel and road riding, depending on the types of riding you want to do.

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My personal experience of a thru-axle adapter on my Kickr Snap was that I would have been able to put it on but not take it off again as it was such a tight fit. This was a problem for me as the bike my partner uses indoors is QR. So my advice would be: make sure wherever you buy the adapter has a good returns policy if you decide to go for thru-axle.

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts. Both bikes will be used both on the trainer and outside. I will check on the return policy before buying an adapter if I go that route.


I had both. The QR fork flexed so much that the disc would run on hard cornering and it was near impossible to get the disc positioned the same every time. Thru axles make it really easy to get the disc positioned the same and the forks are way more robust.

Thanks. This is really helpful. It sounds like what I should do is go with the thru axle and be really careful about the adaptor I get for the Kickr.