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Old 12-13-07, 10:31 AM   #1
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Problem w/bikes w/horizontal dropouts

I now have two bike with horizontal dropouts and both choose to slip a bit causing the rear wheel to cock to one side.
One of the frames is a Battaglin and the other a Contini. (spelling could be a bit off)
Have I tried to tighten the system down, Yes. I have in fact really put a lot of pressure on the hubs and am using steel skewers. Both frames are set for 132mm and the hubs are slipping in what seems to be fine. But when I am done with riding, I find the right side of the hub has pulled forward sending the wheel off center to the left by the power of the crank pull.
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Old 12-13-07, 10:36 AM   #2
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I now have two bike with horizontal dropouts and both choose to slip a bit causing the rear wheel to cock to one side.
One of the frames is a Battaglin and the other a Contini. (spelling could be a bit off)
Have I tried to tighten the system down, Yes. I have in fact really put a lot of pressure on the hubs and am using steel skewers. Both frames are set for 132mm and the hubs are slipping in what seems to be fine. But when I am done with riding, I find the right side of the hub has pulled forward sending the wheel off center to the left by the power of the crank pull.
i had the same problem with my merckx ex pro, which had 6/4 titanium dropouts. i had to use an 8-speed DA (steel) QR and i really had to tighten it down.

it was a real pain.

ed rader
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Old 12-13-07, 10:44 AM   #3
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One other thing that you might check is the dropout alignment to be sure they are parallel. Better than average bike shops have a tool for doing this.
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Old 12-13-07, 10:44 AM   #4
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i had the same problem with my merckx ex pro, which had 6/4 titanium dropouts. i had to use an 8-speed DA (steel) QR and i really had to tighten it down.
it was a real pain.ed rader

One of the things I am a bit concerned about in doing that is the pressure on the bearings . We are really loading the system with the pressure necessary to stop this movement. I sure would like a better way
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Old 12-13-07, 10:56 AM   #5
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Are you sure the axles aren't too long (which would cause the QRs to bottom out on them before locking up properly)?
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Old 12-13-07, 10:57 AM   #6
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You could switch to a solid axle.
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Old 12-13-07, 11:06 AM   #7
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Are you sure the axles aren't too long (which would cause the QRs to bottom out on them before locking up properly)?
Yea, I'm sure about that one.
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Old 12-13-07, 11:08 AM   #8
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You could switch to a solid axle.
That is an idea. However, I sure would hate to do this. I keep figuring that at somtime in the past when a lot of these bikes were floating around, that they must have faced this problem and solved it some way.
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Old 12-13-07, 11:10 AM   #9
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One other thing that you might check is the dropout alignment to be sure they are parallel. Better than average bike shops have a tool for doing this.
I will think about this more to understand it fully. I can say absolutely that the wheel ends up cocked to one side and can end up rubbing on one stay so I know it is moving and should not.
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Old 12-13-07, 11:12 AM   #10
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You could also swap out your axle spacers/nuts at the end to something more aggresively textured.
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Old 12-13-07, 11:22 AM   #11
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You could also swap out your axle spacers/nuts at the end to something more aggresively textured.
Yes. File some indents in the nuts so they will grip the frame better. Sort of nerl the outside contact surfaces to the frame.
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Old 12-13-07, 11:24 AM   #12
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Hay, some of you old guys out there. What did you do back when?
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Old 12-13-07, 11:40 AM   #13
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One of the things I am a bit concerned about in doing that is the pressure on the bearings . We are really loading the system with the pressure necessary to stop this movement. I sure would like a better way
the best way is to buy a different frame. believe me i loved my merkcx but if i had known about the dropouts i would have bought a different frame.

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Old 12-13-07, 11:48 AM   #14
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Hay, some of you old guys out there. What did you do back when?
Hey, I resemble that remark!

Seriously, if you check with the folks in the FG & Track forums, the consensous is that horizontal dropouts & QR's do not mix well. Use good QR's and clean the faces of the dropouts.
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Old 12-13-07, 01:20 PM   #15
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An "old guy" here. Well, I just started racing masters so not that old lol. "Vertical" dropouts really didn't exist when I started and the lack of wheelbase adjustment was considered a "drawback". QRs and horizontal dropouts mix fine when the dropout is strong and stiff and the QR is harder than the dropout.

So the 6-4 dropouts were terrible because the dropouts were harder than most skewers - hence all the movement.

Also, a lot of FG/SS (faux) framesets come with unfaced carbon or aluminum dropouts - they're too soft to resist axle movement so the wheel moves in the dropout. A true track frame will come with steel inserts on the dropouts to prevent this movement.

Few ideas, all of them already addressed:
1. Aggressively textured locknut on axle. Nicer hubs had these.
2. A full steel head on the skewer, but you have that. No wimpy plastic cap on a shriveled up metal head.
3. Check alignment of dropout, fore-aft, left-right, and up-down. If the dropout is opening its mouth (i.e. the bottom bit is pointing lower than it should) then you'll have less clamp surface.
4. Clean and check dropout (no grease/lub, no paint if possible).
5. Make sure drop out faces are actually smooth - if you've already worn a "channel" for the axle to move in then you're not going to fix it until you have an evenly faced dropout. Usually if there is a groove there we converted to a solid axle and tighted the * out of everything.
(Note - when you adjust QR hubs you should adjust them just a hair loose so when you clamp the QR with its 50k psi force the hub is now "properly adjusted")
6. Parallel dropouts and ones that don't flex when you tighten the skewer. One of the reasons department store bikes are so bad is they use soft steel in dropouts. When you tighten them the dropouts bend inward from the clamping forces of the axle nut.

not that old,
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Old 12-13-07, 02:18 PM   #16
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Hay, some of you old guys out there. What did you do back when?
Funny you should ask...

Way back when I had a "husky" kid who had this problem come into the shop. He had a P.K. Ripper, a BMX bike and one of the first with an aluminum frame (and, of course, horizontal dropouts). Interstingly enough, it also had QR releases (on a BMX; I know ).

Because of his weight the rear wheel would shift like yours; the soft Al would distort and the axle would lose it's grip.

What we did was switch him back to a solid axle (he had had it converted at some point) and used these big toothed washers from Wald. Here is their site: http://www.waldllc.com/CATALOG.pdf

What you need is part # 318 at the bottom of page 23.

Granted, this was a less-than-elegant repair, but it worked.

Good luck!
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Old 12-13-07, 02:28 PM   #17
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carpediemracing, good info from an old guy.

Hey, you run into a rear hub that would look compatable with my Nuke Proof carbon front (i have had nothing but problems with the rear) I would be interested.
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Old 12-13-07, 03:25 PM   #18
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So the 6-4 dropouts were terrible because the dropouts were harder than most skewers - hence all the movement.
My mountain bike has this problem sometimes even with vertical dropouts- it's 3-2.5 ti, but I have to really crank the quick release down or it will shift under heavy load. Solid axles aren't an option with the hubs I'm running (mavic crossmax)
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Old 12-13-07, 03:56 PM   #19
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I now have two bike with horizontal dropouts and both choose to slip a bit causing the rear wheel to cock to one side.
One of the frames is a Battaglin and the other a Contini. (spelling could be a bit off)
Have I tried to tighten the system down, Yes. I have in fact really put a lot of pressure on the hubs and am using steel skewers. Both frames are set for 132mm and the hubs are slipping in what seems to be fine. But when I am done with riding, I find the right side of the hub has pulled forward sending the wheel off center to the left by the power of the crank pull.
A couple of things come to my mind. One, you say the frame spacing is 132mm (?), so assuming you're using 130mm OLD hubs, there's going to be a tendency for play there. Also, what brand of QR are you using? Shimano's are best, their design allows you to clamp with more force than other QR's (except for maybe Campy). So if you're not using Shimano or Campy QR's, I would recommend that.
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Old 12-13-07, 04:26 PM   #20
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A couple of things come to my mind. One, you say the frame spacing is 132mm (?), so assuming you're using 130mm OLD hubs, there's going to be a tendency for play there. Also, what brand of QR are you using? Shimano's are best, their design allows you to clamp with more force than other QR's (except for maybe Campy). So if you're not using Shimano or Campy QR's, I would recommend that.
You made me think of something else: Are the QRs steel or alloy? Not the skewers, the ends, where the gripping takes place.

Steel will bite better; if they are alloy and do not have steel facings (the part with the teeth) they will not hold as well.

Just a thought.
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Old 12-13-07, 04:37 PM   #21
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I have an older LeMond that had a slipping problem. I solved it with a simple combination of things already mentioned:

Steel QR with heavy serrations on both the locknut and the QR ends.
Tighten it HARD!

Important: You must adjust for a bit more bearing play in your unloaded hub; the bearings in your hub should just meet their mating surface when you tighten the QR fully. That way the hub bearings are not under pressure and will rotate freely, but without play when tightened.
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Old 12-13-07, 05:32 PM   #22
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Most motorcycles address this problem with adjusters that work in tension from the rear of their "dropouts". This looks like a difficult item to duplicate for a bicycle unless you are really handy. A less elegant solution might be to fill the space in the dropout slot in front of the axle with some incompressible substance. Perhaps a length of sawed off bolt or similar material.
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Old 12-13-07, 06:40 PM   #23
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Pulling rear wheel over

It is strange that some bikes are worse than others. I have wondered if the ends aren't perfectly parallel it could cause this problem as the hub locknuts/quick release skewer wouldn't grip as well. I wonder if the finish ie paint or chrome makes a difference. I'm a fan of vertical drop-outs but you need to have faith in the builder.
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Old 12-13-07, 06:48 PM   #24
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What brand rear wheel (and more importantly skewer) are you using? Some of them are really crap, and don't work well with horizontal dropouts. I was having the same problem so I went out and bought a good Shimano QR skewer and it solved the problem immediately. The internal cam makes a big difference and the acorn had better serration/grip.
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Old 12-13-07, 07:16 PM   #25
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What brand rear wheel (and more importantly skewer) are you using? Some of them are really crap, and don't work well with horizontal dropouts. I was having the same problem so I went out and bought a good Shimano QR skewer and it solved the problem immediately. The internal cam makes a big difference and the acorn had better serration/grip.
You asked the same question I was going to. The OP said he was using a "steel skewer" but that may just mean the rod is steel and it has an external cam. If that's the case, a Shimano or Campy internal cam skewer should solve the problem.

I used Shimano skewers on several bikes with horizontal dropouts and they NEVER slipped.

The Merckx EX Pro mentioned earlier was, IIRC, actually made by Litespeed. They used 6/4 for their dropouts for a while but switched to CP4 or similar Ti in the mid-90's for the reasons we are discussing here. The dropouts were so hard that even internal cam skewers had trouble getting a secure bite unless run very tight. The boutique external cam types were hopeless.
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