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How to adjust horizontal dropouts

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

This is a guide to Single Speed Dropouts and Chain Tensioners.

About Chain Tensioning

On a geared bike the rear deraileur keeps the chain tight. On a single speed bike, as you know there is no rear derailuer so we need to find something to keep the chain from becoming loose and bouncing off when you pedal or go over bumps.

  • Single Speed Rear Dropouts
  • Customized Bottom Bracket
  • Chain Tensioner

Single Speed Rear Dropouts

Single Speed dropouts need to have a way to adjust the rear wheel horizontally (as opposed to vertically) so that the chain can have the appropriate amount of tension.

Horizontal Dropouts

In the image below you se how the rear wheel can be moved forward or back to adjust the chain tension to the correct amount.

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

Eccentric Bottom Bracket

An eccentric bottom bracket when rotate in the frame will create more or less tension on the chain.

Looking at the image below you can see how the hole for the cranks is off center, you can imagine the cranks moving forward or backward, thereby adjusting the tension of the chain.

I'd ride a bike with this conversion to the corner store if you paid me five bucks.

I'd ride a bike with this conversion to the corner store if you paid me five bucks.

Would you be using the $5 to buy something delicious?

I posted this on Velospace a few years back and we came to the conclusion it is a horrible idea.

I hope this gets alot of attention. I know little about bikes and I'm curious if this is safe or insane.

It's incredibly unsafe. A bit of torque will have this converter completely vertical in no time.

Realistically, it's not going to be as safe as a welded joint.

I took this from the manufacturers website

The ROADTOPISTA adaptor enables to fit a track rear wheel with a 120mm spacing onto a 130mm spacing road bike. Additionally, it reduces the seat angle, steering angle and it lifts the bottom bracket, making a road bike more similar to a track bike.

Instructions: Road to Track conversion.

1)Remove the rear wheel. Remove the rear derailleur and cables. You might need to remove the rear brake. Remove the road chain.

2)Remove the rear derailleur hanger. If it is not removable, you might need to cut it out.

3)As shown in the picture, bolt on the RoadtoPista (R2P) adaptors.

4)Put the rear track wheel in place and evaluate if it is required to file down (or cut) some parts of the vertical dropouts. This is the most delicate phase, where it is required how to adjust the vertical dropouts and bolt/washers in order to get a good match between the vertical dropout and the track adaptors. Evaluate how many washers are required to catch back the thickness that has been removed with the rear derailleur hanger. Evaluate if it is required to file down the nut washers as shown in the picture.

5) Prepare a little quantity of epoxy glue and put it on the face of the adaptor that will get in contact with the dropouts. Epoxy glue is used to impede the R2P to rotate under the force of the chain. Not all riders need to epoxy glue the R2P. Another way to avoid the R2P rotations is with the small hole on the side. You can either safe wire to it or thread it up , and put small screw on it.

6)Put in place the R2P adaptors according to the position identified on point 3.

7)Snug real tight the R2P (45 Nm, as max for M10 screws).

8)Put the rear track wheel in place and tension the chain. Snug the hub bolts in.

9)Wait 24 hrs for the glue to cure.

10)You are ready for the velodrome.

NOTE: The conversion needs adjustment and adaptation work that needs to be taken care by the final user. This adaptation work might be more or less invasive, and in certain cases it might not be reversible. Bicycle riding and racing is a dangerous activity. The vendor claims no responsibility for any damage or accident that might be generated by such activity. Customers are expected to check all parts for proper fit before installation on their own . This sale is final, no return.

TL;DR: Bolt this shit to the dropout. You might want to use epoxy or thread the tiny hole and screw something into it to keep it from pivoting

This article will discuss alignment of rear wheel dropouts and fork dropouts.

Getting Started

How to adjust horizontal dropoutsBent dropouts will stress axle through the hub locknuts.

The front and rear wheels fit inside frame axle dropouts. These dropouts should be aligned so the inside faces are parallel to one another and square to the axis of the hub axle. If a dropout is badly misaligned, it may make the wheel difficult to get in and out. Additionally, it will stress the axle when the quick-release is closed. The face of the hub locknut will try to align with the dropout face. A bent dropout will cause the axle to flex and in some cases bend and break. Typically, misaligned dropouts will not effect how a wheel centers in a frame, unless the dropout is extremely misaligned.

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

Important Alignment Note: There are some bicycle dropout designs that do not allow correction by bending, or cold-setting. Extremely thick dropouts typically cannot be bent. Other examples include most suspension forks, most titanium frames, and oversized dropouts for the 14mm “freestyle/bmx” axles.

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

When a dropout is bent for correction, the frame tubing does not bend. Additionaly, the dropout face does not bend. What is being bent is the narrow section between frame and dropout. If there is not a narrow section between the frame and dropout, it may not be repairable. Without this “neck”, you are attempting to bend the frame tube.

How to adjust horizontal dropoutsAn example of non-repairable bonded dropouts in a carbon fork

Additionally, dropouts that are bonded into the frame, such as on carbon fiber frames, may not be repairable. Consult with the manufacturer if in doubt. However, even if the bicycle design will not allow correction, it is useful knowledge to inspect dropout alignment.

Once dropouts are aligned, they tend to not require constant rechecking. When the hub is clamped in place, the system is quite strong. Even extreme riding and smashing the wheel is unlikely to bend the dropouts.

Procedure for Dropout Alignment

  1. Rear dropouts with centering screws: First, install dished wheel in frame, and pull axle to screws. Check that wheel is centered, adjust screws as necessary.
  2. For the rear, slide spacer to inside of dropouts. For front, slide wide spacer to outside of dropouts.
  1. Pull FFG-2 fully up into dropout. Hold threaded shaft and secure T-handle clockwise firmly against dropout. If tool begins to move, stop securing, tool is tight enough.
  2. Adjust bushings until there is a slight gap between them. Move threaded bushings side to side until gap is centered in dropouts.
  1. View FFG-2 from all directions for any offset between bushings. Error may also be felt by running a finger across the gap.

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

An example of parallel but offset dropouts. Move left side upward and right side downward

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

Early 1950’s Simplex dropout – long, horizontal, with eyelet.

Rear dropouts determine what derailleur options are available for a given frame. Rear dropout spacing also determines hub options, with derailleur equipped vintage bicycles having narrower spacing than their modern counterparts. And, the shape and style of the dropout are important as well: horizontal dropouts allow for wheel adjustment fore and aft, whereas vertical dropouts make rear wheel removal easier. Eyelets on the dropouts mean integrated fender and rack mounts, a definite plus.

Little attention is paid to this important feature of any vintage steel bicycle. Vintage dropouts include: old style Simplex dropouts (shown above – but often model specific), newer style Simplex dropouts, Huret drop outs (several styles), Campagnolo dropouts, Shimano and Suntour dropouts, and stamped or forged dropouts with no integrated derailleur hanger. Some vintage bicycles feature chainstays with integrated braze-ons or dropouts for Simplex, Cyclo, Huret and other rear derailleurs.

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

Chainstay braze-on for a Cyclo rear derailleur

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

1947 Simplex TDF with claw mount

Plain dropouts require a “claw” attachment for the rear derailleur or a braze-on or clamp for the chain stay. For vintage bicycles, plain dropouts without a hanger do not in any way indicate a lower end frame. Many nice upper end vintage steel frames did not have manufacturer specific brazed dropouts. So, do not be afraid of the “claw”. In fact, having plain dropouts on a vintage bicycle can be helpful, because derailleur options are automatically expanded, depending on the style of claw chosen.

How to adjust horizontal dropoutsHow to adjust horizontal dropouts

The above Daniel Rebour drawings depict two different styles of Huret dropouts. Huret rear derailleurs can be a bit (translate “a lot”!) more difficult to set up than Simplex derailleurs. By contrast, setting up Shimano, Suntour or Campagnolo derailleurs with their matching tabbed and threaded dropout at 7 o’clock seems almost too easy.

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

1972 Mercian Shimano dropout

After the early 1980’s or so, dropout hangers were not so much an issue, because dropouts on derailleur equipped bikes after this point in time featured standard Shimano/Campagnolo hangers which were adopted as the standard by other component manufacturers.

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

Sheldon Brown’s dropout chart

Sheldon Brown developed this helpful chart shown above, although it is missing some key information. He does not address the baffling array of hanger styles which existed in days of yore.

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

A Simplex early style dropout with tab on the non drive side.

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

Hangerless dropout, requiring a claw

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

Campagnolo semi-horizontal dropouts on a 1970’s Jack Taylor

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

Stamped plain dropouts on an early 1970’s Raleigh with a 531 frame

There is only one resource on the web that seems to have a comprehensive overview of dropout styles and rear derailleur compatibility issues. This helpful chart can be found at a site called The Headbadge. Velobase also has an extensive database of vintage style dropouts. These resources can help anyone restoring a vintage bicycle determine whether and how to change the existing rear derailleur, and how to determine compatibility options.

In addition, there are a few other web resources that can help you with derailleur and dropout considerations:

The Dancing Chain by Frank Berto is also an important resource – even more so because it is in book form. If you don’t want to explore vintage derailleurs and dropout styles, the information presented in Chapter 15 – “How Derailleurs Work” will be worth the cost of purchasing this book. The author’s discussion of derailleur composition, chain gap, pulley spacing, cage geometry, and spring loaded pivots is invaluable to an understanding of how derailleurs work.

I’ve had an issue with my Cervelo P3 SL (2005 model) that has been getting worse. The horizontal dropout screws that adjust the fore/aft position of the rear wheel appear to be stripped or not functioning.

Basically the wheel started rubbing against the curved part of the seat tube. I backed out the screws to position the wheel as far out from the frame as possible but the wheel still rubs. The main issue seems to be with the drive side screw – it just doesn’t back out as far as the other side. I can get it to a point that the wheel doesn’t rub while just pedaling easy, but as soon as I torque or put any effort into a pedal stroke, it rubs again. So either the screws are not holding, or are stripped.

Has anyone experienced this issue? If so, how did you remedy? I’m taking it to a bike shop today but thought a little insight from others might help.

I’ve had an issue with my Cervelo P3 SL (2005 model) that has been getting worse. The horizontal dropout screws that adjust the fore/aft position of the rear wheel appear to be stripped or not functioning.

Basically the wheel started rubbing against the curved part of the seat tube. I backed out the screws to position the wheel as far out from the frame as possible but the wheel still rubs. The main issue seems to be with the drive side screw – it just doesn’t back out as far as the other side. I can get it to a point that the wheel doesn’t rub while just pedaling easy, but as soon as I torque or put any effort into a pedal stroke, it rubs again. So either the screws are not holding, or are stripped.

Has anyone experienced this issue? If so, how did you remedy? I’m taking it to a bike shop today but thought a little insight from others might help.

What you have been experiencing is not all that uncommon. There are a few P2 and P3 owners that have experienced this. Yes, the skewer should be super tight and hold the wheel but the set screws are on the flimsy side. My advice is thus: remove them, clean the grease of ’em and add some blue locktite then reset them. If they are truly stripped then my advice is to take your frame to a great hardware store and acquire the perfect screws that will go up just a hair in size, re tap and replace with the new screw.

Ian
Ian Murray
http://www.TriathlonTrainingSeries.com
I like the pursuit of mastery
Twitter – @TriCoachIan

*tightens skewer furiously*

That’s what I did on my P3C; depending on where you want your wheel, the stock screws simply aren’t long enough to give a decent enough bite to overcome the play when they are backed out a ways. I went to my LHS and got a new set of stainless steel screws, added some blue Loctite, problem solved. That being said, the input above in regard to the skewer is correct. The set screw really isn’t intended to prevent the wheel from moving if your skewer isn’t tight enough to prevent it.

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How to adjust horizontal dropouts

Introduction- Eccentric Bottom Bracket vs. Sliding Dropouts

What Are Eccentric Bottom Brackets?

Now, as you read this, it may look like a straightforward thing to do. But, how do we use an EBB? Once installed, you need to loosen the bolts and look for the desired chain tension. When achieved, you just have to tighten them back again.

What Are Sliding Dropouts?

Adjusting a sliding dropout is quite different from EBB. You just need to change the drive and brake side until the wheel is straight. Check the tension is the desired one, and repeat the process until you are satisfied with the results.

Pros and Cons Of Eccentric Bottom Brackets

So, the main question here is: why do we have two completely different systems that provide chain tension? Let’s ride through this brief pros and cons, and check the main advantages and disadvantages of each device.

EBB’s don’t need you to straighten up the wheel. In other words, it won’t be altered while adjusting it, so there is one less thing to bear in mind. They also provide the possibility of moving it in either direction. Easy installation and use are also important benefits.

On the downside, this type of device is quite big, which makes it difficult if you need to add any other thing to your hub. Some bikers have also claimed to hear a creaky sound when riding in wet weather. In addition, frequent adjustment may wear it off, so it might need to be replaced earlier than expected if you tend to make changes to it.

This video shows the main features of an EBB and how to adjust your chain tension (Credits to First Components):

Pros and Cons of Sliding Dropouts

Yet, as you might imagine, some of EBB’s advantages translate into disadvantages of sliding dropouts.

Installation is not that simple, as you need to check that your wheel is straight. They are not as versatile as EBB’s, so the possibility of moving them is not present. Plus, over-torque may bring severe issues to your frame.

This video has done a great job in explaining the features of dropout systems (Credits to Cobra Framebuilding):

Conclusion – Eccentric Bottom Bracket vs. Sliding Dropouts

As you can see, both EBBs and Sliding Dropouts have their pros and cons, so make sure to consider both sides of the coin when making your decision.

If I convert vertical dropouts (as on picture) to horizontal dropouts as on youtube video by cutting and welding:

Will there be any challenges with the V-brakes ? If axle hole more or less will stay on same place, there shouldn’t be any problem ?

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

2 Answers 2

V-brake calipers have a radial (with respect to the wheel) adjustment range, so they can accommodate the wheel axle moving fore or aft a little.

What you need to do is make sure that the placement of the new dropouts does not place the wheel axle such that the brake track on the rim is outside the range of caliper adjustment.

You could do this with a simple cardboard template that marks the axle to brake track distance.

The "horizontal" dropouts that are usually used with rim brakes are not completely horizontal but slanted so that adjusting chain tension moves the rim along tangent where the brake pads make contact with rim. In the video preview picture, the front-facing dropout is aligned like this. With this kind of dropouts, there is no problem with fixed gear, but with totally horizontal track-style dropouts you will have to adjust the brakes every time you adjust chain tension.

Sliding Dropouts

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

There are two unique challenge when designing single speed frames with rear disc brakes:

(1) Chain Tensioning: An eccentric bottom bracket shell can be used but they are heavy and become hard to adjust when dirty. Another disadvantage with an eccentric is that it’s off-center approach changes frame geometry by lifting/lowering BB height (as well as head and seat angles) to get proper chain tension. Alternately a horizontal dropout with an axle adjustment screw can be used which is very common on BMX and track bikes.

(2) Disc Brake Caliper/Rotor Alignment: The ISO Disc Brake Standard requires that the (2) disc brake mounting holes are aligned to the rear axle’s centerline. These mounting holes are thus ‘fixed’ into proper position on standard hardtails with simple disc tabs. With horizontal dropouts, adjusting the rear axle to tension the chain causes the caliper to de-align and ultimately lose contact area to the rotor. not good. One solution: add slots to the ISO disc tab; this strategy is undesirable since the fixing bolts can slip under heavy braking loads.

Optimal Solution: Horizontal Sliding Dropouts

Sliding dropouts provide flexibility to the single speed frame design by allowing different ‘sliders’ to be mounted to the frame. The chain is tensioned by using a single bolt to push the axle rearward like BMX and track bikes. For disc brake applications, the ‘disc slider’ and rear axle move rearward at the same time in order to maintain proper caliper and rotor alignment while satisfying the ISO Disc Brake Standard.

For steel frames, sliding dropouts are readily available from Paragon and they work nicely. For aluminum frames, there are no ‘off the shelf” dropouts that fit the bill. So I decided to design my own dropout body machined from 7005 billet aluminum. The exploded view below shows the ‘disc slider’ in yellow and the ‘horizontal dropout body’ in dark gray. The parts mate together using (2) M6 button head screws and there is a brass wear guide shown in orange which prevents the frame from getting damaged when tightening the assembly. The ‘disc slider’ and rear axle are positioned using (1) M5 socket head cap screw and jam nut. this motion is what ultimately tensions the chain.

How to adjust horizontal dropouts

For simplicity, the ‘horizontal dropout body’ is identical on both left and right sides of the frame. The round hoods assemble easily to round or square stays with a 3/4" radius cut. Due to their modular nature, sliding dropouts from Ahrens Bicycles save time during the frame building process and offer the rider a solid, lightweight solution when running disc brakes!

Weight per Pair = 220 grams*

*Includes ISO Disc Slider, No Hanger on Drive Side, Wear Guides and Mounting Bolts

A dropout is a type of fork end that allows the rear wheel to be removed without first derailing the chain.

What does a dropout do on a bike?

A bicycle dropout (drop out, frame end, or fork end), is a slot in a frame or fork where the axle of the wheel is attached. On bicycles that do not have a derailleur or other chain tensioning device, rear horizontal dropouts allow adjustment of chain tension, and can accommodate a range of chain lengths or cog sizes.

How do I know what size my bike hub is?

Measure the rim width (W) and divide by two. This is the rim half-width. Measure the distance from the near sidewall to the center of the average spoke hole (L). Subtract this number from the rim half-width.

What is motor dropout spacing?

Dropout spacing is the measure of the space between the two supports on which your rear axle sits. The dropout spacing that is required for the Copenhagen Wheel to fit your bike depends on your Wheel.

What is rear dropout spacing?

Rear dropout spacing is the distance between the inner faces of the rear dropouts. Because this distance must match the Over-Lock-Nut distance of the hub, this value is actually entered in the Wheels dialog box, not in the dropouts dialog box.

What is a sliding dropout?

Sliding dropouts provide flexibility to the single speed frame design by allowing different ‘sliders’ to be mounted to the frame. The chain is tensioned by using a single bolt to push the axle rearward like BMX and track bikes. For steel frames, sliding dropouts are readily available from Paragon and they work nicely.

What are dropouts MTB?

A mountain bike dropout is a slot in the bicycle where the rear axle sits and allows the wheel to be removed without removing or derailing the chain. In casual lingo, the term also refers to the slots on the fork where the front axle is inserted.

Why are there horizontal dropouts?

A type of forkend that allows the rear wheel to be removed without derailing the chain first. They permit the wheel to be placed in various positions front to rear. Horizontal dropouts are necessary for bicycles which don’t have derailers, because the axle must be moveable to adjust the chain tension.

Do I need a torque arm on my ebike?

750 watts or above should almost always use a torque arm, even in the rear of the bike, even in steel. Generally speaking, 750 watts in rear steel dropouts will probably be fine, but it’s getting near the limit. That’s why we recommend 750 watts or above, using a torque arm.”Nov 21, 2020

What are modular dropouts?

A versatile system for building a versatile bike. Available as complete dropout sets and/or separate parts, you have options without buying parts you don’t need. Thru-axle now, horizontal or vertical later. The steel receivers (20mm where the stays attach) are the foundation of this system.

What are horizontal sliding dropouts?

Horizontal bicycle sliding dropout Traditional bicycle sliding dropouts are used on singlespeed, BMX, and track bikes. Without a derailleur, it is beneficial to tension the chain without having to remove links. Therefore it is essential to adjust and tighten your rear axle on any single speed set up before setting off.

How do you measure drop out?

For example, current OSEP publications (see, for example, US Department of Education, 2001) calculate the dropout rate by dividing the number of students aged 14 and older by the total number of students in the same age group who are known to have left school (i.e., graduated with a standard diploma, received a

How is rear dropout spacing measured?

This can easily be measured just by removing the wheel and holding a ruler up to the space where the wheel came out. The dropout spacing of a frame must match the overlocknut distance of the wheels that are to fit it.

What are BMX dropouts?

It is strong , rigid , light ; great for bmx. The dropouts are where your axles tighten against the metal.

What are adjustable dropouts?

Some dropouts accommodate the use of a fixed gear drivetrain, where moving the pedals backward will turn the rear wheel backward, and there is no coasting. This is the system used for Track bicycles, designed to be raced on a velodrome or bicycle track.

How do you measure bike fork width?

Width. The width of the fork, also called spacing, is measured colinear with the front wheel axle between the inside edges of the two fork ends. Most modern adult sized forks have 100 mm spacing. Downhill mountain bike forks designed for through axles have 110 mm spacing.

What is a torque arm on an electric bike?

Torque arms or torque plates, also known as anti-rotation brackets, are designed to prevent electric hub motor axles from trying to spin out of the fork dropouts. In the worst scenario, the motor wheel can work lose and come out of the dropouts, potentially causing an accident and physical injury.

What is BMX rear hub spacing?

Bmx rear hub spacing is 110mm. Front is 100mm.

What does a torque arm do on a bike?

Torque arms are used to prevent axle rotation in hub motors. When a hub motor is powered up running, for all the torque that the motor generates spinning a wheel forwards, there is an equal and opposite torque on the axle causing it to rotate backwards.

How do I know what size axle I need for my bike?

For a front thru-axle, this is measured from the inside to inside of your fork. For a rear thru-axle, this is measured from the inside to inside of your frame at the drop-outs. The O.L.D. measurement is listed for many thru-axles, but isn’t necessary if you know the overall length.

How do you align rear dropouts?

Procedure for Dropout Alignment Rear dropouts with centering screws: First, install dished wheel in frame, and pull axle to screws. Check that wheel is centered, adjust screws as necessary. For the rear, slide spacer to inside of dropouts. For front, slide wide spacer to outside of dropouts.

What is bike’s hub width?

Typical hub widths of modern thru axle bikes are as follows: 130mm. 135mm.