Knolly goes all in with new rear axle width "standard"

Canadian MTB company to build all new bikes with 157Trail

Knolly Bikes has announced it's building all of its frames with 12x157mm rear axle spacing, which it's calling '157Trail'. 

Before the pitchfork-wielding masses come out, it's worth noting this is not a completely new rear axle standard. Pivot's Switchblade uses a 157mm "SuperBoost" rear axle. Long before that, 157x12mm rear axles were used on freeride and downhill bikes, although the flange spacing of these 157mm hubs was narrower.

Knolly CEO Noel Buckley explains the decision by saying: "We only incorporate design changes when there are legitimate benefits to the ride experience. If the current wave of 1x drivetrain technology existed, the wider spacing revolution would have skipped right over 148mm and landed on 157mm."

157Trail rear spacing allows all sorts of big, wide tires
157Trail rear spacing allows all sorts of big, wide tires

Knolly 157Trail highlights

  • Fits wide rims and wide tires 
  • Front derailleur compatible
  • 12mm axle compatible with existing and upcoming freehubs and cassettes
  • ISCG-05 chainguide compatible
  • 26t-36t chainring sizes
  • Fits up to 29 x 2.6in and 27.5 x 3.2in tires

Q-factor isn't a mile wide

Knolly states that its frames can run most cranks, including those with the narrowest Q-factor of 168mm. The trick is flipping the chainring so the ring pushes the chain line out an additional 6.5mm to 57.5mm.

Stiffness and tire clearance

Stiffness is claimed to increase significantly
Stiffness is claimed to increase significantly

Knolly claims the move to 157mm rear axle spacing results in a nearly threefold increase in lateral wheel stiffness. 

Mega tire clearance, up to 3.2in for 27.5in wheels and 2.6in for 29in wheels, is another claimed benefit. 

Heel clearance

The blue shows the previous 142mm spacing, the gray is the new 157mm rear end
The blue shows the previous 142mm spacing, the gray is the new 157mm rear end

This one hits home for any rider with big feet; there's a reason a lot of chainstays have the paint rubbed off. Knolly contends that its new 157Trail rear end is narrower than some 148 Boost rear ends. 

A lot stays the same

Knolly claims that its chainstay length will stay the same, as will its use of threaded 73mm bottom brackets. Chainrings up to 36t can be run, front derailleurs can be fitted, and any ISCG-05 chainguide is fair game.

The first bikes to implement the 157Trail rear axle spacing will be the Fugitive 120mm and 135mm travel 29ers. 

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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