At this point, it’s pretty safe to assume that the 15mm front axle standard is here to stay, at least for XC and AM bikes. While Fox and Marzocchi were on board from the beginning, other fork manufacturers like Manitou have been admittedly slow to adapt. However, this is somewhat understandable when you consider how fast “standards” are changing these days, and waiting may simply be insurance against moving to manufacture a product for what may become a dead idea in the near future.
Whatever the reasons were for the delay, Manitou is stepping it up and showed their hand when it comes to the future of axle standards. Keep in mind that what we were shown today is currently only in prototype form, but it is coming. The QR15 will for sure be shipping on the 2012 Marvel Pro and Expert models, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up before 2012.
Check out all the pics and breakdown on how the new QR15 works after the break!
So obviously this is a prototype and while the axle is pretty much set in stone, the casting is not correct. The actual casting will not have any pinch bolts and will have an updated look as well. One really nice touch to the design is that it retains the Hex Lock that Manitou through axles have always had, which means that Manitou can and will produce a retrofit axle to fit the 20mm forks and allow the use of a 15mm front wheel.
Here you can see the axle which is half way inserted into the hub. Currently the axle is utilizing a pin lock system which in layman’s terms means the axle is fairly complex, but in use it is about the simplest axle design I have seen. The first step to installation is to insert the axle, the final production models will have two arrows or marks to line up ensuring that you get it perfect. Once in the fork, a quarter turn clockwise will lock the axle in laterally finished with the classic act of closing the quick release. The gold dial you see on the skewer acts just as a quick release nut would, as turning it clockwise with the skewer open will increase the clamping force. It may sound complicated, but in person it is hands down the quickest QR through axle I have ever used.
Not shown, there are the usual slots on the fork for the hub to slide into, easing wheel installation. All and all, the entire system is extremely well thought out and really shows that Manitou is on the right track. It’s a shame that it’s not available now, but good things come to those who wait, right?