Widening Rear Dropout Spacing

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Dave, Jan 22, 2003.

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  1. Dave

    Dave Guest

    Greetings All,

    I have a 12 year old bike frame made from Columbus SL tubing that I am upgrading from 7 speed to 9
    sped Ultegra components. Since my current rear dropout spacing is 126mm for the 7 speed hubs and the
    9 speed hubs are spaced at 130mm, my questions are:

    Do I need to have the rear dropouts widened to 130mm by a frame builder or is it OK to spread them
    the additional 4mm when inserting the rear wheel?

    If I didn't have them widened would there be a problem with the rear dropouts not being parallel and
    placing stress on the rear axle?

    Anyone have any idea how a frame shop would perform the widening and what damage could occur to
    either the painted finish of the bike(still quite good) or the integrity of the steel?

    Thanks in advance for any help in this matter.

    Dave
     
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  2. dbdev-<< I have a 12 year old bike frame made from Columbus SL tubing that I am upgrading from 7
    speed to 9

    << Do I need to have the rear dropouts widened to 130mm by a frame builder or is it OK to spread
    them the additional 4mm when inserting the rear wheel?

    Not necessarily a frame builder but a good wrench that has done this and knows how. By pulling
    the dropouts apart, you force the dropouts parallel with the skewer that 'may' fail a dropout at
    the seatstay. Easy operation, a good wrench will also properly align the dropouts and align the
    der hanger.

    Peter Chisholm Vecchio's Bicicletteria 1833 Pearl St. Boulder, CO, 80302
    (303)440-3535 http://www.vecchios.com "Ruote convenzionali costruite eccezionalmente bene"
     
  3. A shy person asked:

    > I have a 12 year old bike frame made from Columbus SL tubing that I am upgrading from 7 speed to 9
    > sped Ultegra components. Since my current rear dropout spacing is 126mm for the 7 speed hubs and
    > the 9 speed hubs are spaced at 130mm, my questions are:
    >
    > Do I need to have the rear dropouts widened to 130mm by a frame builder or is it OK to spread them
    > the additional 4mm when inserting the rear wheel?

    Could go either way for such a small difference, or you could do it yourself. I have an article
    about this at http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html

    > If I didn't have them widened would there be a problem with the rear dropouts not being parallel
    > and placing stress on the rear axle?

    Theoretically, but, again, for such a small difference it isn't a big deal. You're only looking at
    1/3 of a degree!

    > Anyone have any idea how a frame shop would perform the widening and what damage could occur to
    > either the painted finish of the bike(still quite good) or the integrity of the steel?

    You would have to be exceptionally clumsy to harm either.

    Sheldon "The Low-Priced Spread" Brown
    +-------------------------------------------------------------+
    | Give a man a fire, and he will stay warm for a day. | Set a man on fire, he stays warm for the
    | rest of his life. |
    +-------------------------------------------------------------+ Harris Cyclery, West Newton,
    Massachusetts Phone 617-244-9772 FAX 617-244-1041 http://harriscyclery.com Hard-to-find parts
    shipped Worldwide http://captainbike.com http://sheldonbrown.com
     
  4. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Dave wrote:
    > Do I need to have the rear dropouts widened to 130mm by a frame builder or is it OK to spread them
    > the additional 4mm when inserting the rear wheel?

    First, simply try springing the dropouts open to see if the 130 wheel goes
    in. This shouldn't do any harm.

    If cold setting is required, a good bike shop or frame builder should be able to do it without
    trouble, or you could DIY. See: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html

    I spread my 531 steel tourer from 126 to 133mm* by using a threaded rod (with nuts and washers
    inside the dropouts). Very easy job, but you need to keep checking the spacing - which you can only
    do by removing the rod to let stays spring back.
    * Ended up 3mm over what I intended, but wheel seems to be ok when skewer is closed.

    ~PB
     
  5. Mikeyankee

    Mikeyankee Guest

    I just took a nice old steel frame from 120 to 130 mm using Sheldon's procedure.

    Though I approached this task with some trepidation, the result was perfect. The key is to work
    slowly and methodically, measuring carefully and accurately as you go. Aligning my dropouts to
    parallel was actually harder than spreading the rear triangle. After reading the instructions for
    using the special Park tool, and seeing how that worked, I was able to improvise a tool that worked
    perfectly although it took longer.

    In your case you're looking at a much smaller angular and dimensional difference than I had to deal
    with. My hunch is that you can just ride with what you've got, spreading and realigning the dropouts
    only if you seek perfection.

    Mike Yankee

    (Address is munged to thwart spammers. To reply, delete everything after "com".)
     
  6. Mike Krueger

    Mike Krueger Guest

    << I have a 12 year old bike frame made from Columbus SL tubing that I am upgrading from 7 speed
    to 9 sped Ultegra components. Do I need to have the rear dropouts widened to 130mm by a frame
    builder or is it OK to spread them the additional 4mm when inserting the rear wheel? >> If I
    didn't have them widened would there be a problem with the rear dropouts not being parallel and
    placing stress on the rear axle? Anyone have any idea how a frame shop would perform the widening
    and what damage could occur to either the painted finish of the bike(still quite good) or the
    integrity of the steel? >>

    Cold-setting to 130mm will make it easier to insert and remove wheels, and allow the quick release
    to work correctly, which is especially important with horizontal dropouts. Doing it also guarantees
    proper support for the axle, and optimum rear derailleur alignment. I just had it done to my 12-year
    old SLX frame by my LBS. Whatever alignment jig the mechanic used to spread the rear dropouts
    necessitated pulling the cranks and removing the bottom bracket. However, he did it in just a few
    minutes for low cost, and there was no damage to the frame or the paint.
     
  7. Richard Chan

    Richard Chan Guest

    "Dave" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Greetings All,
    >
    > I have a 12 year old bike frame made from Columbus SL tubing that I am upgrading from 7 speed to 9
    > sped Ultegra components. Since my current rear dropout spacing is 126mm for the 7 speed hubs and
    > the 9 speed hubs are spaced at 130mm, my questions are:

    I am in the camp of "spread and insert". My De Rosa, Gios Torino Super Record (128mm natural),
    Viner, Merckx and a few others that I have sold all were done this way. No issues of any kind for
    me. I don't like any one cold setting my frames when alignment is good.
     
  8. "Dave" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Greetings All,
    >
    > I have a 12 year old bike frame made from Columbus SL tubing that I am upgrading from 7 speed to 9
    > sped Ultegra components. Since my current rear dropout spacing is 126mm for the 7 speed hubs and
    > the 9 speed hubs are spaced at 130mm, my questions are:
    >
    > Do I need to have the rear dropouts widened to 130mm by a frame builder or is it OK to spread them
    > the additional 4mm when inserting the rear wheel?
    >
    > If I didn't have them widened would there be a problem with the rear dropouts not being parallel
    > and placing stress on the rear axle?
    >
    > Anyone have any idea how a frame shop would perform the widening and what damage could occur to
    > either the painted finish of the bike(still quite good) or the integrity of the steel?
    >
    > Thanks in advance for any help in this matter.
    I've done exactly what you propose with a very fine Masi. I got screamed at on this newsgroup for
    being a dumb ass but it works just fine as many have attested.You will find others too if you search
    this group. I rarely write to this news group as I hate the conservatism. Have a good time with 9.mp
    >
    >
    > Dave
     
  9. "Dave" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Greetings All,
    >
    > I have a 12 year old bike frame made from Columbus SL tubing that I am upgrading from 7 speed to 9
    > sped Ultegra components. Since my current rear dropout spacing is 126mm for the 7 speed hubs and
    > the 9 speed hubs are spaced at 130mm, my questions are:
    >
    > Do I need to have the rear dropouts widened to 130mm by a frame builder or is it OK to spread them
    > the additional 4mm when inserting the rear wheel?
    >
    Yes, but not necessarily by a frame builder. A good shop wrench can do
    it.

    > If I didn't have them widened would there be a problem with the rear dropouts not being parallel
    > and placing stress on the rear axle?
    >
    Yes.

    > Anyone have any idea how a frame shop would perform the widening and what damage could occur to
    > either the painted finish of the bike(still quite good) or the integrity of the steel?
    >
    A good shop will use a tool specially designed for the task, with rubber coated bits that touch the
    frame. Each chainstay would be tugged outward 2mm (cold set), overall allignment would be checked,
    then the drop-outs would be re-alliged. If done corectly, no paint or chrome will be harmed in the
    making of your 130, and good old Columbo steel won't even know anything happend. It's really easier
    than you think, we do it all the time here in the Republic. --Jim
    > Thanks in advance for any help in this matter.
    >
    >
    > Dave
     
  10. Harris

    Harris Guest

    "Dave" wrote:

    > I have a 12 year old bike frame made from Columbus SL tubing that I am upgrading from 7 speed to 9
    > sped Ultegra components. Since my current rear dropout spacing is 126mm for the 7 speed hubs and
    > the 9 speed hubs are spaced at 130mm, my questions are:
    >
    > Do I need to have the rear dropouts widened to 130mm by a frame builder or is it OK to spread them
    > the additional 4mm when inserting the rear wheel?

    I've been through this with two bikes. On the first one, I removed the cranks/BB and everything else
    (except handlebars) from the frame and brought it to a small LBS that I trust and that has an
    alignment table. The owner spread the dropouts (126>>130mm), and aligned the dropouts and derailleur
    hanger. Cost: $15.

    For the second bike, I was in a hurry. I measured the original dropout spacing as about 127-128 mm.
    So I just stuck the 9 speed wheel in and have had no trouble.

    For a 12 year old bike, it's probably not a bad idea to have the alignment checked anyway. So if you
    know of a good shop that has the right tools, you might as well let them do it right. Spreading an
    SL frame from 126 to 130 mm is a very low risk operation.

    Art Harris
     
  11. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    "Dave" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Greetings All,
    >
    > I have a 12 year old bike frame made from Columbus SL tubing that I am upgrading from 7 speed to 9
    > sped Ultegra components. Since my current rear dropout spacing is 126mm for the 7 speed hubs and
    > the 9 speed hubs are spaced at 130mm, my questions are:
    >
    > Do I need to have the rear dropouts widened to 130mm by a frame builder or is it OK to spread them
    > the additional 4mm when inserting the rear wheel?
    >
    > If I didn't have them widened would there be a problem with the rear dropouts not being parallel
    > and placing stress on the rear axle?
    >
    > Anyone have any idea how a frame shop would perform the widening and what damage could occur to
    > either the painted finish of the bike(still quite good) or the integrity of the steel?

    Try it.

    If the effort to install the wheel in your frame isn't enough to hurt your fingers you might just
    do nothing.

    Jargon aside, we bend the rear end until is it straight behind the main tubes and of the appropriate
    width. Human muscle is enough and not much of that. No hydraulic tools or other extreme measures are
    required. This is quicker if the BB is out of the frame but can be done without removing anything
    beyond the rear wheel. Then we check that the ends are parallel so the skewer works properly. As in
    auto body work, bending metal is straightforward. Some folks like to make it sound mysterious by
    obfuscating with terms like "cold setting". We're talking about one spoke thickness of total
    variance per side. Not much. You have to work at it to make this appear complex.

    On another tangent you might want to ride over to your local frame service shop and watch an
    alignment check (2 minutes or less). We find bikes of your era are often out of alignment by more
    than the theoretical 126/130 difference so an alignment is not a bad idea anyway.
    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
  12. Bruce Lange

    Bruce Lange Guest

    Mike,

    Could you share how you made your tool?

    Has anybody else made something similar?

    -Bruce-

    "MikeYankee" <[email protected]> wrote in message

    > After reading the instructions for using the special Park tool, and seeing how that worked, I was
    > able to improvise a
    tool
    > that worked perfectly although it took longer.
     
  13. >From: "Pete Biggs"

    >I spread my 531 steel tourer from 126 to 133mm* by using a threaded rod (with nuts and washers
    >inside the dropouts). Very easy job, but you need to keep checking the spacing - which you can only
    >do by removing the rod to let stays spring back.
    > * Ended up 3mm over what I intended, but wheel seems to be ok when skewer is closed.
    >
    >~PB

    Some high quality touring frames (Rivendell for example) are set to 132.5 mm to allow the use of
    either road or mtb hubs. Sounds to me like you did the right thing by accident.

    George F. Johnson
     
  14. Bruce Lange

    Bruce Lange Guest

    Many thanks, Mike. This is very helpful!

    -Bruce-
     
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