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Old 02-13-08, 12:26 PM   #1
drb2003
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Cold setting a frame from 120 to 135 too much?

The frame to be considered for cold setting is the original IRO group buy frame. I would like to use an alfine 8 speed hub with it but cannot buy a new frame with the appropriate spacing. Using the Sheldon "Riding into the Sunset" Brown method, is it safe to cold set this frame 7.5 mm on each side? I only weigh 120 lbs. I plan to check the alignment as I go and verify dropouts aligned properly. I'm more or less asking if anyone has done it successfully and if there's a chance of it working.
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Old 02-13-08, 04:13 PM   #2
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Does the Alfine require 135mm? I cold-set a frame from 126 to 130 for a Nexus-8 hub. The anti-rotation washers are on the outside of the dropouts in that configuration. I'm assuming with a 120 that you must have track ends on it? That ought to work fine. If you have vertical dropouts you'll need a chain tensioner.

That said, as long as it is steel I bet you can do it. You're just going to have to make sure you keep the dropouts aligned and centered. I have the Park tools necessary to do that which made the job pretty easy. You can make up a frame alignment gauge out of wood. I know a guy who made one out of a hockey stick. A threaded rod and a few nuts and washers will work for the dropout alignment tool in a pinch. I used a 2x4 bungied to the seat stay and chain stay on the dropout side of the brake/fender mount as the lever point to make sure that I didn't break that weld.

The better the tubing the more it spring-like it is. That is to say the further you have to flex it before you hit its yield point. A hi-ten frame bends really easy. Chrome-Moly takes a lot of work so be really patient and only go a couple mm at a time.
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Old 02-13-08, 06:06 PM   #3
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I would wrap the brake and chain stay bridges very tightly with strapping tape if I were going to spread it that much.
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Old 02-13-08, 07:00 PM   #4
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I think it would be too much. That's more than 10% wider.
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Old 02-13-08, 08:20 PM   #5
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I ride a bike nearly every day that was originally 126mm, I cold set it to 135mm. No problems whatsoever. I've not done 120 to 135, so I dunno about that. FWIW, the frame I cold set from 126 to 135 is super sturdy 4130 steel. If I were to guess, I'd guess that there would be no problems, other than dropout alignment, if I were to cold set it another 6mm. Just a guess, though-
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Old 02-13-08, 11:11 PM   #6
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The frame to be considered for cold setting is the original IRO group buy frame. I would like to use an alfine 8 speed hub with it but cannot buy a new frame with the appropriate spacing. Using the Sheldon "Riding into the Sunset" Brown method, is it safe to cold set this frame 7.5 mm on each side? I only weigh 120 lbs. I plan to check the alignment as I go and verify dropouts aligned properly. I'm more or less asking if anyone has done it successfully and if there's a chance of it working.
I'm pretty sure that somewhere on his website Sheldon says that going up two "sizes" is ok, that is 120 to 130, 126 to 135.
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Old 02-14-08, 07:30 AM   #7
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Yes, Alfine is 135mm. I'm going to go for it...probably this weekend. The way I look at it, worst case scenario, I screw up a $150 frame, best case scenario, I get to use the Alfine. I'll let ya'll know if it was a success!
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Old 02-14-08, 07:55 AM   #8
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Yes, you can cold set a steel frame that much. Use the method on Sheldon's site and you should be OK. Depending on tubing, you might get away even without actually setting it! Just spread the frame and insert the wheel while still in the elastic region of the deformation. At least worth a try.

EDIT: best done with a buddy/wife/parent/subordinate or anyone else willing and able to help.
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Old 02-14-08, 08:08 AM   #9
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I think the big thing here is patience and going a little at a time, all the while making small adjustments to the overall side to side and the dropout alignment. I really don't think you'll have much of a problem, although there are some things to look out for. As mentioned before, you want to be very aware of the stresses it is going to put on the seatstay and brake bridges. However, because they are TIG welded, they will probably hold up much better than if they had been brazed. The other issue to watch for is kinking of the tubes, if you've done it before, you know that you have to move the tube farther to overcome it's natural elasticity. If it's possible, you may want to try and rig a curved surface to bend around as it will distribute the stresses over a far greater surface than if using the the end of the tube (the the bottom bracket area) as the fulcrum point for the bend. Much the same way I used to rake fork blades.
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Old 02-14-08, 08:31 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by wroomwroomoops View Post
Depending on tubing, you might get away even without actually setting it! Just spread the frame and insert the wheel while still in the elastic region of the deformation. At least worth a try.
If I had a frame that was spaced at 120mm and I could wrestle a 135mm hub into it, I wouldn't ride it. The reason being, the stays would have to have the consistency of something close to a wet noodle to spread it that far by hand. And even then, the dropouts would be out of alignment, and the frame would likely be, too, because each side of the rear triangle is not going to flex apart equally.

Nope, if you're going to put a 135mm hub into a frame that's spaced at 120mm, you're going to have to cold set it, bending one side at a time to insure proper alignment when you're done, and re-align the dropouts-

Last edited by well biked; 02-14-08 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 02-14-08, 08:58 AM   #11
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If you don't cold set this frame, and merely "squeeze" the wheel in while flexing it, you're going to run into the problem of easy road service. It is hard work to flex the frame and get the wheel in, and it might even be a two person job in reality. If you have to change a flat you'll need the wheel off. Getting it back on may be next to impossible.
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Old 02-14-08, 09:05 AM   #12
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I'm pretty sure that somewhere on his website Sheldon says that going up two "sizes" is ok, that is 120 to 130, 126 to 135.
If that's true, (edit: s)he could cold set it to 130 and then just spread (not set) it to fit 135. I believe Sheldon also says that if you are only going up one size (130->135) then it's usually just easier to spread the stays each time, and perfectly acceptable.

Last edited by anti.team; 02-14-08 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 02-14-08, 09:21 AM   #13
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I'm a she and I had no intention of forcing a 135 into the 120 spaced frame. Cold setting has always been the plan, just wanted to know what I'm up against! I appreciate the advice and will use several of your suggestions when I go for it!
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Old 02-14-08, 01:34 PM   #14
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If you don't cold set this frame, and merely "squeeze" the wheel in while flexing it, you're going to run into the problem of easy road service. It is hard work to flex the frame and get the wheel in, and it might even be a two person job in reality. If you have to change a flat you'll need the wheel off. Getting it back on may be next to impossible.
That's a good point. Yes, it definitely could be a two person's job going 120mm --> 135mm.

What we're missing out on, here, is the actual story behind all this: an IRO (Mark V?) being used with the Shimano Alfine 8 speed hub! That's a very interesting beast, and definitely pics-worthy once it's done. The Mark V doesn't have much clearance, I think, for wider tyres, so this will be the skinniest tyre yet to see an Alfine hub, I guess.
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Old 02-14-08, 02:00 PM   #15
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That's a good point. Yes, it definitely could be a two person's job going 120mm --> 135mm.

What we're missing out on, here, is the actual story behind all this: an IRO (Mark V?) being used with the Shimano Alfine 8 speed hub! That's a very interesting beast, and definitely pics-worthy once it's done. The Mark V doesn't have much clearance, I think, for wider tyres, so this will be the skinniest tyre yet to see an Alfine hub, I guess.
650b tire size is the missing piece to your puzzle. I have the bike currently built up as a 650b fixed. I'm running 32mm tires right now with room to spare. I'm also changing the fork to a kogswell konversion fork to lower the trail for front loading and for porteur rack mounting. I'll post pics if it turns out alright.
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Old 02-14-08, 03:52 PM   #16
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650b tire size is the missing piece to your puzzle. I have the bike currently built up as a 650b fixed. I'm running 32mm tires right now with room to spare. I'm also changing the fork to a kogswell konversion fork to lower the trail for front loading and for porteur rack mounting. I'll post pics if it turns out alright.
That's just awesome. Are you going to build the wheel yourself? What rim?
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Old 02-14-08, 09:27 PM   #17
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Oh, and for your lever, the longer the better. You might want to use a 5-foot or longer section of cast-iron pipe. A broom handle isn't going to get the job done and if it is too short, you won't be able to work carefully enough. I used a 4.5 foot wooden handle that was 1.75 inches in diameter It flexed a lot and I had to apply a lot of force -- more than I was comfortable with! Next time I will go to the hardware store for a piece of pipe.
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Old 02-15-08, 01:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by drb2003 View Post
The frame to be considered for cold setting is the original IRO group buy frame. I would like to use an alfine 8 speed hub with it but cannot buy a new frame with the appropriate spacing. Using the Sheldon "Riding into the Sunset" Brown method, is it safe to cold set this frame 7.5 mm on each side? I only weigh 120 lbs. I plan to check the alignment as I go and verify dropouts aligned properly. I'm more or less asking if anyone has done it successfully and if there's a chance of it working.
Is the bike steel? Probably is if the rear distance is 120mm. Take or send it to a bike builder and have them do it. you probably have a bridge between the chainstays and a brake bridge for long reach brakes. The builder will use a tool that will help align the stays properly. Also, they will be able to"feel" the metal while bending to understand if the cold set is able to get to the 135 point. When you cold set something you can feel the response of the metal and tell how far to go. 15mm is a lot but depending on the frame design maybe ok. Contact some steel bike builders and ask.
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Old 02-15-08, 08:49 AM   #19
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Interesting project! I have an original IRO group buy frame, too, and have thought about doing this at some point in the future. Be sure to let us know how it goes.
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Old 02-15-08, 10:32 AM   #20
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If that's true, (edit: s)he could cold set it to 130 and then just spread (not set) it to fit 135. I believe Sheldon also says that if you are only going up one size (130->135) then it's usually just easier to spread the stays each time, and perfectly acceptable.
+1.
I'd plan to undershoot the 135 just slightly. If you get it aligned perfectly on both sides and it still is only ~131-ish, I'd leave it. I have done this a few times. It is scary sometimes how far you have to bend it just to get a change at all. During cold set sessions I have had >145 dimensions occur that I had to start bending back. It can be tricky to get it aligned perfectly on both sides but it is very doable. (I used a 2x4 for the bend procedure and would recommend wood over pipes for obvious scratch reasons. I used a graphite golf shaft as part of my alignment tools. It also helps to have a perfectly centered and true wheel already on a 135 hub to eyeball results.)
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Old 02-15-08, 10:35 AM   #21
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AND whatever alignment rig you decide on ---try it out on the frame BEFORE you bend it so you have experience on how it works and what it look like.
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Old 02-15-08, 10:41 AM   #22
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I read an article from Reynolds about their steels. It indicated that the "old" steels, such as Reynolds 531, had good tolerance for "cold settings". But, the lighter "heat treated" steel tubing can NOT be safely cold set, because the heat treatments make the steel "brittle", like aluminum, and cold setting increases the chances of a frame failure.

This became a problem when Reynolds first began selling the "heat treated" tubing. Many frame builders were in the habit of "correcting" alignment errors after building a frame by realigning the frame. The modern steels require getting the frame alignment precisely correct during the building process as realignment will weaken the frames.

So, frame builders had a new goal: perfect frame alignment from the get-go.

What type of steel tubing was used to build your frame?
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Old 02-15-08, 11:51 AM   #23
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I would wrap the brake and chain stay bridges very tightly with strapping tape if I were going to spread it that much.
Must be strapping tape as any other type of tape will stretch too much, or you could use carpenter's clamps with wood pieces shaped to match the stays
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Old 02-15-08, 02:26 PM   #24
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I read an article from Reynolds about their steels. It indicated that the "old" steels, such as Reynolds 531, had good tolerance for "cold settings". But, the lighter "heat treated" steel tubing can NOT be safely cold set, because the heat treatments make the steel "brittle", like aluminum, and cold setting increases the chances of a frame failure.

This became a problem when Reynolds first began selling the "heat treated" tubing. Many frame builders were in the habit of "correcting" alignment errors after building a frame by realigning the frame. The modern steels require getting the frame alignment precisely correct during the building process as realignment will weaken the frames.

So, frame builders had a new goal: perfect frame alignment from the get-go.

What type of steel tubing was used to build your frame?

It's an IRO Mark V. Normal 4130 CroMo.
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Old 05-11-12, 11:51 AM   #25
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Did you go 120mm to 135mm???

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650b tire size is the missing piece to your puzzle. I have the bike currently built up as a 650b fixed. I'm running 32mm tires right now with room to spare. I'm also changing the fork to a kogswell konversion fork to lower the trail for front loading and for porteur rack mounting. I'll post pics if it turns out alright.
I've got a 1972 Schwinn Sports Tourer Chromoldenubeum steel frame (however you spell it) currently spreading the rear (no comments please!) using pipe clamps in reverse. Have clamps on seat stays and bottom stays to relieve stress when expanding .... Had it spread up to 160mm apart with the reverserd bar clamps for about 6 hours ... sprang back to 128mm ... have not done anymore spreading YET , since havn't pulled the trigger on 130mm hub or 135mm hub ... Don't care about all the freakin' speeds they have today, just looking to get a new wheelset re: All the sppes today ... ... what? NYC to Fairbanks via Detroit and LA on 5 speed cog isn't good enough? I laugh at all these "improvements" while the chains get weaker. I never even thought of a chain breaking, just throw some 3in1 oil or WD40 on it ... doesn't squeeak? You're good to go... but I digress .... So did the original (girl) poster ever complete her project ? And where are the photos?? LOL ... Yea I'm still riding the Brooks saddle (2nd one since new) ... maybe that's made me crotchety ?? .. Or is the knees getting achy and I'm looking to get a double crankset (0/34 or 48/34) with 165mm cranks.

OK another qt. If going with the 135mm hub how is that going to affect the chainline and BB spindle length ?? Current setup is 54/40 gears NERVAR BB 68mm x 116mm spindle ... Think I may need to get another BB with longer spindle since the rear hub would be 5mm (for 130mm) or 7.5mm (for 135mm) further out than the original 120mm hub???

Thanks!
Will
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