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Is Rapid Axle Technology (R.A.T.) really worth the hype?

Product Review: Rapid Axle Technology or R.A.T. is a concept developed by Focus Bikes GMBH to replace both the thru axle and the quick release skewer axle options. We review the merits and flaws of this system. Also we investigate why it has not taken over the bike axle market.



First Impressions

Having researched the R.A.T. system it gave me the impression that these axles would be a very quick wheel removal solution but when I tried it was not the case.

I use Cervelo R.A.T thru axles on my road bike. I run tubular tyres, so touch wood, have not had any punctures to report to date (in two years!) where the axles had to be removed. As a result I'm not having to remove the axles on a regular basis and may not represent the masses when it comes to regular use of these axles!

Pros and Cons

On the positive side, in a thru-axle system, the dropouts have closed-off circular openings, rather than an open end. That means there’s no risk of the wheel falling out as you ride. The thru-axle passes through the dropout on one side of the wheel and screws into threads in the dropout on the other side.

As well as being more secure, you can exert more clamping force on a thru-axle for a more rigid interface between the wheel and the frame.

One result of that more rigid connection is that bike makers have been able to build frames lighter, helping to bring the weight of disc brake bikes down to a level comparable with rim brake bikes.

However on the negative side, when I removed the axle and inserted it back it was not turning to close. I found that the lever was not fixed tightly to the axle so I needed to use a hex (allen) key to tighten it. Also it took some adjusting to feel the bite of the lever. Again I had to unscrew the nut behind the washer a number of times before the bite occurred and the lever tighten closed. This took significantly more time than the other axle options on the market.

The Final Score

I have installed many bikes on smart trainers in the last 2 years and can say that the R.A.T. thru axle system has been the most challenging system to use behind the thru-axle and the qr skewer systems.

The very fact that companies like are offering replacement thru axles specifically for R.A.T. systems means alot in my opinion.

The system does look like a really quick system but my experience with it does not reflect this.

If you are running the R.A.T. system we would love to hear your opinion of it.

Leave a comment, and share your experience if you've used the product before.

Note that links above are provided for information only and are not paid content links for us.

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