Boost Spacing Shouldn’t Matter

Give us BOOST adapters!

Words by Andrew Major.
December 19th, 2016

Good Business?

Support your products. Support your customers. Make money. Maybe it’s just that I learned from the best* but it seems really simple to me. And if it is as simple as I think why is no hub manufacturer doing it? Boost spacing shouldn’t matter.

This started as a rant directed at Chris King. They of the 5-year hub warranty. They of the legendary made-in-house bearings. They of the complete selection of replacement parts and completely re-buildable internals. But it’s absolutely applicable to any company making high performance hubsets that are meant for years of shredding with proper maintenance.

Boost Spacing

Wolf Tooth’s Boostinator kit adapts 142/100 hubs, from numerous brands, to 148/110. It’s simple, lengthen the disc-side hub axle and add a rotor spacer. Photo: Fergs

Boost Spacing Shouldn’t Matter

Wolf Tooth has demonstrated how easy it is to adapt any regular – 142×12 / 100×15 / etc – hub with side spacers for use in a frame with Boost spacing. Yes, their system forfeits the stiffness gains from Boost but for any rider who’s perfectly happy with the stiffness of their current wheel who gives a hoot?

Wolftooth increases the length of the disc-brake side of the axle 6mm in the rear and 10mm in the front. Then a spacer is inserted behind the brake rotor, with some extra long rotor bolts, and BANG. A DT Swiss, Industry Nine, Hope, or White Industries standard hub works in a Boost frame.


Chris King 110mm x 20mm hub. Adapter available for 100 x 15mm. An adapter could easily be available for 110 x 15mm but isn’t. Photo: Morgan Taylor

Of course, this means any of those companies could easily offer their own Boost adapters for their current 135/142 rear and 100/110 front hubs. Any company with a similar hub system could as well – Stan’s, Mavic, SRAM, Trek, Roval, Giant. The list goes on.

Chris King

I’ve got a 1-1/8 Chris King headset in my commuter bike. One of my buddies just pressed his into his son’s runbike – even his road rig runs a tapered head tube. Parts designed, and marketed, for a lifetime of mountain bike use and then retired from active duty due to ever changing standards.

I’m not blaming Chris King, or any other component manufacturer, for ‘progress.’ However, when they’re selling legacy products I believe it behooves them to adapt to changing standards when possible. And with Boost it isn’t just possible, it’s easy.

Boost NSMB AndrewM 1b

A tonne of axle options are available for Chris King hubs. Unfortunately none of them turn 135/142 hubs into Boost 148 hubs.

Have a QR Chris King hub or a 20mm Chris King hub? They make a 15mm axle kit for either. 135mm QR rear hub? I can buy an axle to make it 135×12, 142×12, or Bolt-on. Their axle kits are expensive – made in Portland, OR – but they are WAY less expensive than swapping out wheels.

The coming obsolescence of my well-maintained decade-old King hubset comes down to a one centimeter longer front axle, a 6mm longer rear axle, and a couple of rotor spacers.

All I Want For Christmas

I have a couple of friends with ENVE carbon hoops laced to King hubs. Non-Boost. Their bikes are a couple of years old now and the intention was always to move the investment-level wheels on to the next rig. But now it seems everything worth talking about has Boost spacing.

Intense Primer - first impressions - 3/4 front

There are a couple of 29’er wheelsets that would be better suited to local terrain than the narrow DT Swiss M1700 package on the Intense Primer test bike. It’s a damn shame. With a simple adapter kit from Chris King or Industry Nine (Center Lock) I could swap in these non-boost wheels to determine how much the narrow rims affect performance with the current tires.

Fine, adapting current wheels to Boost negates the stiffness benefit of the wider spoke-flange spacing but really, if the wheels are stiff enough now who gives a sh*t?

At the risk of costing the good folks at Wolf Tooth a few sales, how is it that every hub manufacturer isn’t selling Boostinator kits for their product?

Center Lock

Oh ho! Don’t forget about Center Lock. Ever more popular. Short of specifically designed rotors sitting outboard of the current standardized Center Lock position, there definitely isn’t an easy way to space rotors outboard considering how the lock ring functions.

Boost Spacing

Making a Center Lock adapter that would offset the rotor and still function with the lockring may not be possible. Offset Center Lock rotors may not be practical. But it would be easy enough to make brake adapters to offset brake calipers as part of a Boost adapter kit.

I spent an unreasonable amount of time staring at the Industry Nine hubs on Reynolds wheels I’m testing. And then…

It’s easy. Make brake adapters that space the calipers inboard. Done.

Re-Dish or Re-Lace?

It’s been pointed out to me that not every wheel will have adequate spoke length to re-dish it sideways to accommodate the Boost adapter spacing. Absolutely true and an omission on my part.

I do think this is definitely a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good.

In most cases it won’t be an issue. In the worst case scenario, replacing 64 spokes and then having wheels re-laced by a quality wheel builder is still a relatively minor investment compared to the cost of flipping non-Boost wheels and replacing them with the same level of product. Especially if we’re talking carbon rims.

Boost Spacing

How sweet would it be to throw down for a new Slayer frame and move over current high-end wheels to cut the cost of your new custom build?


It’s a given that almost every frame or bike available for 2017 uses Boost spacing. There are tons of high-end wheelsets, and hubsets, in circulation using previous hub spacing standards.

Are there enough riders swapping frames, or bikes, with an older set of wheels to warrant making spacers, axle, and even brake adapters?

Is the lack of Boost adapters limiting bike, frame, and wheel sales while potential customers wait to see what’s next?

I think so; Wolf Tooth agrees. What about you?

Do you have some wheels that you’d move to your next bike if they could be boosted?

  • sospeedy
    • DrewM

      There’s a profound difference in the way Apple (and other phones) and Chris King (and other high end bike parts) market their products as regards life expectancy and small parts availability.

      One of the things I love about bikes is they generally aren’t disposable.

      • ZigaK


      • DrewM


        You are cheeky…

  • Raymond Epstein

    Plus one on Wolf Tooth. They have some very clever well made products. While I haven’t seen the Renthal chainring, the Wolf Tooth drop stop ring is very beefy compared to everything else I’ve come across.

    • reformed roadie

      Their i-spec dropper remote is da bomb.

  • Vik Banerjee

    Yup. I have all Hope hubs and I plan to Boostinate them when the time comes. I haven’t come close to wearing out one of those hubs and I don’t plan to get rid of them any time soon.

    Sadly they can’t be converted to Super Boost, Boosty Boost Plus or Boost Mega Max so one day they’ll only be good on my older bikes…ya I keep bikes for 8yrs+…what they hell is wrong with me! 😉

  • Fahzure

    Tell me about all of the advantages of King hubs: special tools; special grease; frequent maintenance intervals; expensive….

    • AntonBordman

      Wanna try and use your mountain hubs on your road disc bike? No way is King, the self proclaimed leader of interchangeability, going to even let you buy one of their hundred plus dollar axle kits. Nope. Gotta buy a whole new hubset.

      • DrewM

        You can do it with a mountain bike cassette, Wolf Tooth Tanpan, and a Shimano Clutch derailleur.

        The smallest XT/XTR 11-spd cassette that I know of is 11-40t which may not be ideal jumps but I don’t think it’s terrible if you’re building a custom from scratch.

        It’s 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-27-31-35-40

        I know it’s a lot more complicated than just buying a freehub body but I’m looking at a similar re-use of a 142×12 and 100×15 hubset (because it’s not Boost compatible) and that’s currently my preferred solution.

  • Rob Gretchen

    When Boost was first introduced Hope had an adapter kit in the works to convert their hubs… I saw a spy shot and then it just vanished into thin air. Better to sell more hubs than adopt current ones I guess?

    • DrewM

      It’s always about how companies come at things. adopting the current ones is closer to a guaranteed sale that someone back in the market for hubs?

      I’m more likely to buy a product I think is better supported. Maybe I’m in the minority?

    • Marc Lindarets

      We’ve got ’em- see above 😉

  • JT

    Considering how many companies source their hubs from KT/Chosen/Formula, I feel it would make sense to pursue adapter kits for those hubs. No doubt King/DT/I9 can handle making their own kits, but there are a lot more people out there running something from the previous three than the latter. Strength wise, I think you’d still get a Boost in stiffness (heh!) using an offfset non-Boost hub since you’d still be getting rid of some of the dish in a wheel. But I hands down agree with the spirit of this post.

    • DrewM

      Didn’t consider it from the perspective. The cheaper the wheels the more prohibitive the cost of adapters/re-dish vs. a new wheel?

      But there are a lot of them.

      • JT

        Agreed, but someone riding that wheelset likely got into them because the pricing is fairly inexpensive in the first place. If they’re a cost conscious consumer, an adapter kit will still end being cheaper than a new hub, spokes and rebuild or a new wheelset. I consider myself somewhat in that Camp Frugality mindset. There are an awful lot of Sun-Ringle/Stan’s/Easton wheelsets in the world.

      • DrewM

        Great point. Stan’s hubs are OE on a lot of bikes.

        It’s not how I came at it but I agree absolutely.

    • Marc Lindarets

      You’d be amazed at how many variants those OE hub makers crank out. Where a hub lends itself to a Boostinator and the demand is there we’re game. While we know that there is a lot of need out there, but where the numbers of any one model are too small (the OEMs) or a kit would be prohibitively expensive (King) we unfortunately have to give them a miss.

      • JT

        Understand that entirely. Having read through the big book of Taiwan from Interbike, it’s a baffling number to say the least. Doesn’t mean a guy can’t dream, right? Thanks for chiming in. Always a good sign when a company sticks their neck out on the forums/comments. It can be a brutal environment to get into.

  • reformed roadie

    Can someone explain why someone hasn’t made a boost adapter for non-QR Fox 36 forks? Even if it requires to size up to a 203 rotor and use an offset brake mount, the dropouts are already spaced 110mm wide.

  • Bogey

    Making a centerlock kit wouldn’t be tough either. Machine an offset adapter for a 6 hole rotor and then a longer lockring. Done!

    • DrewM

      Ah! Good point, I was thinking the current adapter style wouldn’t work because of the lock ring but there is clearance if it was longer.


  • Merwinn

    Article of the year, IMO. And here I was thinking if I wanted a new frame, I needed to find one that was going to fit my 29er-hooped 12×142 Pro 4’s… slim pickings. I was originally dreading the cash outlay for new wheels built up with Hope’s… no longer!

  • Jason Wolfe

    Good article Andrew, couldn’t agree more. Get on it CK.

    • DrewM

      Thank you Jason!

      P.S. are you the original Jason Wolfe or the other one?


      • jason

        The other 🤘🏻. I am the original 😀. Good to meet you other Jason Wolfe.

      • Cam McRae

        No way! An e-meeting of Wolfes!

      • jason

        Not just the Wolves, but Jason Wolfe’s who MTB on the shore.

    • jason

      Another option on the rear is pedal washers two on one side one on the other.

  • awesterner

    So somebody with say, an Industry Nine Nobl wheelset (with a built in rim offset), can boostinate the hubs for extra-crazy-even-higher-spoke-angle-stiffness? 😎

    • DrewM

      As long as it’s 6-bolt… or you can machine your own offset brake adapters.

  • Kenneth Perras

    i don’t like to give my competitors positive plugs, but the big S have boost adapter kits as well.

    • Kenneth Perras

      These *might* be compatible with DT Swiss hubs as well. I haven’t checked if Specialized uses DT end caps as well as the star ratchets. Some one with this wheelset could probably confirm.

      FWIW boost certainly alleviates some frame design constraints so I’m on-board with it but I also completely agree that retrofit kits (a completely separate issue) are a fantastic idea. No sense throwing out perfectly good wheels or hubs.

    • DrewM

      Good find; thanks Ken

  • Hey there

    The article states:

    Wolftooth increases the length of the disc-brake side of the axle 6mm in the rear and 10mm in the front. Then a spacer is inserted behind the brake rotor, with some extra long rotor bolts

    That is not the case for the front hub.

    For the front, an extended end cap, and extra 10mm, is used on the DRIVE (not disc) side to offset the hub TOWARDS the disc side. So no rotor spacer is needed. You soimply need to re-dish the wheel.

    That is why “Boostinating” the front is such a realistic and relatively easy option.

    It is also why Hope offers their Boost adapter for only front hubs:

    • DrewM

      Thanks Hey There! Good catch.

    • DrewM

      Thanks for sharing re. Hopetech.

      With their in-house manufacturing I’m surprised they would not offer offset rotors or brake adapters.

      • jonathan_kingstone

        DrewM: I believe Hope is concerned about the extra long rotor bolts needed for the 6mm spacer being sheered off.

        On the other hand, if you go to the WolfTooth site they’ve written quite a bit about the testing they put into their rear Boostinator rotor bolts

      • DrewM

        Hi J_K, yes that’s the case – Hey There shared their tweet.

        I have emailed them for more info. They easily have the capability to make offfset rotors (alloy bases) or adapters instead of using longer bolts. They obviously see demand as they’re making a kit for the front?

        I’ll see what they say if/when I hear back.

  • Poo Stance

    Where is local companies like North Shore Billet or BlackSpire to machine offset calliper adaptors?

    • DrewM

      Caliper adapters OR offset Center Lock adapters only make sense if companies are offering axle kits to convert hub spacing.

      At that point for a few mm (rear adapter – front as noted by ‘Hey There’ doesn’t need one just a wheel dish) I can definitely see NSB, Hope, etc making brake adapters.

      • Poo Stance

        Neko Mullany had a frankenbike check on pb a while back. Explained how he used parts on hand (axle end caps) to turn his regular wheel sets into Boost ones.

        So Boost 110 conversion would be: axle, end caps and a re-dish?

        Do 36RC2 20/15mm and 36RC2 Boost have a caliper mount to opposite leg distance that is the same? (I have no idea of what to call this)

        My issue with Boost 110 is or would be the inability to pull a front wheel off an Enduro bike and put it on a DH and visa versa.

        Shit just scrolled down and reread what was written.

  • ZigaK

    Good Business?
    Make love to your your customers. Hard. Make money. Don’t look back.

  • Art S

    I have a set of Boostinators on my DT 350 wheelset and they work great. No issues