When holding the hub in my hand, I notice some (lateral) play, is this normal?

The lateral play from is normal, and will also be gone once the hub is fixed in the frame with the thru-axle – it allows the bearings to ‘position’ themselves.

Tightening the thru axle secures the bearings and ensures they are seated/tensioned properly. This phenomenon can also be seen and is common in “singlespeed” hubs.

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