Since I’ve decided to stick with 26er’s for a while, I decided it was worth it to switch the rear hub of my Ritchey Superlogic carbon wheelset from standard 135mm QR to the new 142x12mm thru-axle design by Syntace (aka X-12).
The cool thing about the Superlogic wheelset is that it uses de-badged DT 240s hubs, which can be converted to any axle design in use today. Unfortunately, mine is a 2009 model, so instead of just popping on new end caps, I had to swap out the whole axle in order to fit the 12mm thick thru-axle.
Interestingly, I couldn’t find any information on how to do this online. I had some ideas on how to do it, but I was surprised that there were no videos or other write-ups dealing specifically with the rear axle swap on these hubs.
Here’s how to do it:
- Remove the wheel, cassette and rotor (if centerlock).
- Firmly grasp the freehub body and pull hard. Wiggle it a bit as you pull if it doesn’t come loose. Be careful as you pull it, as there is a spring inside the freehub body that will likely fall out once the freehub body is removed. It may feel like the freehub body isn’t going to come out, but trust me, if you have a DT hub, it WILL come off! The freehub body is kept in place by the end cap which snaps into place, so that is what you are actually trying to break free.
- Once the freehub body is off, locate the spring and place somewhere safe. Now, remove the internal ratchet pieces from the hub, the axle spacer next to the hub bearing, and the hub spring. Take note of how these all fit back together. Basically, the smaller ends of the springs point inwards towards each other during reassembly.
- Now is a good time to clean off the parts you just pulled out.
- To get the axle out, insert a thin wooden dowel through the drive-side axle and use a hammer to tap out the end cap of the non-drive side.
- Now, place the wheel onto a padded surface drive-side up (I used my shop floor mat). Insert a stubby screw driver into the axle and use a hammer to tap the axle out. The stubby screwdriver protects the axle as you hit it with the hammer, rather than striking the axle directly. It will take some firm blows to free the bearing, but you will know right away once the bearing is free. Once it is free, lift up the wheel and the axle should come out with a few more light taps.
- With the axle out, remove the bearing and clean as necessary.
- Now, slide the bearing onto your new axle and put a little grease onto the sides of the bearing and also the hub to ease in pressing the bearing back into place.
- At this point, your axle is loosely inserted into the non-drive side. Re-assemble the freehub side. Use a light-weight oil on the ratchet parts. Chris King Ring lube is recommended, but I don’t have any of that, so I have heard you can use something like Finish Line Cross Country wet lube or even Tri-flow. The viscosity is important; too thick and your ratchet may not engage properly. I used some Tri-flow in mine. FWIW, the lighter the viscosity will also result in your freewheel clicking more loudly. Thicker stuff will muffle the sound a bit.
- Once the axle/hub is put back together loosely, assemble the wheel using the dropouts for your 142 setup and insert the thru-axle. Start tightening the axle, and you will see that the non-drive side bearing is being gently pressed into the hub shell. Tighten until you can’t tighten anymore.
- Install the dropouts onto your frame and put your cassette/rotor back onto your wheel. Install your wheel and tighten the thru-axle firmly. I had to re-adjust my rear caliper a bit due to some slight rubbing, but after that you are done!