Thru Axle Issues on Saris H3

I just got my first bike with a thru axle, and am having such a hard time getting it onto my H3, and even taking the rear wheel on and off. I have the Domane SL5 with the 105 groupset, and the rear derailleur is so tight, its hard to get it to move to get the chain fed onto or off the cassette. I’ve tried putting it in the small chainring and the smallest cog in the back, and even the large chainring and mid cassette, but still seems like it should be easier than it is. I’ve tried so many combinations, but they all suck.

Once I get the bike set, feeding the thru axle and tightening is easy, it’s just getting the bike to that point. I have the correct adapters installed on the trainer and don’t have any issues there.

This morning, I chipped the paint on the dropout area, which sucks because the bike is only a week old!

Any tips or tricks to make this process easier?

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Are you using your right hand to rotate the rear derailleur (specifically the top pulley) rearward as you aim the bike over the trainer axle mount?

You need to rotate the RD body backwards to get the pulley cleanly past the cassette cogs.

  1. I place my thumb at the rear of the RD (just behind the main pivot at the back,
  2. Then index and middle fingers on the top of the RD swing links,
  3. and pull the links down/back in the arc along the pivot at the thumb.

This “opens” things up to allow for easier passing of the RD down below the cassette. Once you have the RD down and the bike on the “hub” support, you can release the RD.

Please excuse the terrible pic, but it may help show what I describe above:


Thanks for the tips, I’ll give that a shot the next time I put it on the trainer.

My last bike had the Claris groupset, so the RD was much easier to move around. I would set my bike on the trainer, and it would just kind of fall into place.

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If you have a newer Shimano 105, with the Shadow design as pictured, they are a bit more tricky compared to the older non-Shadow design.

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Might be in the same boat here. Just got a new Domane SL5 last week and while riding this weekend, about 20 total miles on the bike, the rear thru axle worked its way completely loose to the point where the rear wheel was only being supported by one side of the axle. The threaded side was completely out. I struggled like crazy to get the axle back into the threads until I realized that the rear derailleur was just loose enough to be in the way.
Since this is a new bike, my thoughts go to it being either a bike issue or a build issue, neither of which is ok. I just keep wondering if there’s something else on the bike waiting to fail on my next ride.
Anyone else having issues with thru axles or Domanes? I’m still within my 30 day return window and I hate the idea of having to return the bike but I also don’t want to be suspicious of the bike every time I go out.
Any suggestions?

  • First question is whether or not the axle was properly installed & torqued. New bikes in particular, may or may not have been assembled fully properly.

  • Or, if you removed the axle for any reason, did you torque it properly.

  • Threaded connections like this can and do come loose from vibrations and such, if they have not been set to a proper torque for the application. Yes, there could be a “problem” since anything is possible, but a loosening of that axle is not an indication of a problem until your rule out the initial question of installation.

  • I have personally experienced loose axles on occasion, as well as seeing and hearing about them from others (Jonathan’s 1st lap at 24HOOP) that are simple install errors.

Thanks for the quick feedback. My initial thought also was that it was a build issue but to me, that calls into question the rest of the build up. What’s going to shake loose next? Luckily this one happened on a flat stretch when most of my rides are pretty hilly. I’m pretty handy with a toolkit but wouldn’t have thought I’d have to go behind the mechanic and re-torque every bolt on a new bike (but that could just be my own naivety). It’s just tough having trust issues this early into a new bike “relationship.” :grimacing:

  • The answer is “no one knows”.

  • The next step would be for you or a qualified tech to do a full screw check to the proper torque values for each fastener.

  • I don’t trust anyone, myself included. Factories are susceptible to improper installation of fasteners. I have had loose stuff, cross-threaded screws and things severely over-torqued. Point being that each and every fastener on a new bike should be checked.

  • Even if things are properly built the fresh, stuff can still wiggle loose. I’ve had simple stuff like water bottle screws up to axles work loose on initial rides. I do a set of short “shakedown” rides, with tools in hand, for each new bike I buy and build. Then I recheck each fastener after a couple those rides and often find stuff not as tight as I know I had it (via torque wrench in many cases).

  • So, I’d suggest a full recheck by your or whoever you trust. Nothing you want to take on faith at this point (if ever, sadly).

My thru axle has never come loose, just a super tight RD making it tough to get the rear wheel on/off.

If I were you, I would definitely invest in a decent torque wrench, and torque the rear axle each and every time you take it on or off. Personally, I bought a torque wrench and went through the whole bike and loosened and retorqued every bolt to spec. Just to give me that peace of mind.

If you still have any worries, I would definitely take it in to the shop you bought it at, and if they are a good shop, they will address your concerns or at least put you at ease that all is good.

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I’d start with that.

On my Synapse, first big ride outdoors, TA came loose right after the first rest stop. Yes, it’s disconcerting. I decided maybe I hadn’t tightened it properly when I put the wheel on at the start of the ride and proceeded. Since then (over 14,000 km/8,700 miles indoors and out, according to Strava) never had a problem.

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