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  1. #1
    Senior Member Unagidon's Avatar
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    Spreading a frame from 126mm to 130mm - tools required?

    Looking to spread a steel frame from 126mm to 130mm to accomodate 10 speed equipment. I've read the Sheldon Brown 2x4 way, and I've been to a bike shop who says they would use a frame jig. My fav LBS, however, says 4mm is so little that he would just spread it by muscle.

    Question: is it true spreading by muscle is just fine, or should more care be taken in using a jig?
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  2. #2
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    I have done it without issues using the 2 x 4 method to take an old frame from 120 to 126. I would not hesitate to suggest using that method unless the frame was of high monetary or sentimental value - then I might let a pro do it on a jig.

  3. #3
    Senior Member longbeachgary's Avatar
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    My Masi is 126 and it easliy accepted a 130 without tools or hassle.

  4. #4
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    The 4 mm difference can be accomodated with only a little force and, in fact, many frames from the end of the 7-speed/beginning of the 8-speed era were built at 128 mm to use both.

    I've successfully cold set frames from 126 to 130 mm using a long all-thread rod and a couple of washers and nuts.

  5. #5
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    If your going from 126 to 130 you don't need to cold set it at all, you can easily stretch the dropouts when you install the wheel. As you remove and install the wheel more, the frame will slowly set itself.
    Problem solved

  6. #6
    cab horn
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    On bikes that aren't worth much, do it by hand. Or just jam the wheel in.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Unagidon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I can't say my bike is worth a lot - a 1991 Miyata 914 - but I love it! So I just want it treat it properly
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    Just spread it by hand and put the wheel on. No need to do anything else. UNLESS it is aluminum, in which case I wouldn't even try. But a 1991 Miyata isn't.

  9. #9
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    My Falcon is steel and I have to use just the slightest bit of force to get a modern wheel into the drops. Basically instead of sliding in, I have to push the wheel into the drops. I would try a modern wheel for fit prior to trying to spread the frame.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    If your going from 126 to 130 you don't need to cold set it at all, you can easily stretch the dropouts when you install the wheel.
    Right

    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    As you remove and install the wheel more, the frame will slowly set itself.
    Problem solved
    No, that's not correct. Steel (or aluminum, Ti, etc.) does not "take a set" or cold flow or do anything else at normal temperatures. If it's a struggle now, it will be the same struggle 50 years from now.

    If metal did "relax" under stress, your car would be sitting on the suspension stops by now as the springs would have "relaxed".

  11. #11
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    No, that's not correct. Steel (or aluminum, Ti, etc.) does not "take a set" or cold flow or do anything else at normal temperatures. If it's a struggle now, it will be the same struggle 50 years from now.

    I agree. As someone who has cold set a few frames, I can tell you that you have to flex the tubes way beyond the target spread to get them to permanently bend ("set") the little bit that you're trying for-

  12. #12
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Every time you spread the dropouts to mount your rear wheel, you are spreading the tubes beyond the target spread. It's a very slow process, but it saves the need to actually cold set, and the risk (Albeit minor ) of frame damage as a result.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Unagidon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    Every time you spread the dropouts to mount your rear wheel, you are spreading the tubes beyond the target spread. It's a very slow process, but it saves the need to actually cold set, and the risk (Albeit minor ) of frame damage as a result.
    Hi Fuzz,

    I'm confused about your statement. Are you recommending that:
    1) there's no need to have LBS do an official "spread" via frame jig because there's a very low likelihood of frame damage
    or...
    2) not going through a cold set, although unlikely, can result in frame damage?

    Bottom line is that one of the LBS will do a spread on a jig for $25. They are not my favorite LBS because the owner has a very strange temperament, but if that's the right thing to do on my bike, then I'll go there. My favorite LBS, great owner, good mechanic, suggests that it's not necessary. So that is my dilemma. To spend the $25 at "less favourite" bike shop, or just get the work done at my favourite bike shop...

    Thanks.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    Every time you spread the dropouts to mount your rear wheel, you are spreading the tubes beyond the target spread. It's a very slow process, but it saves the need to actually cold set, and the risk (Albeit minor ) of frame damage as a result.
    Again, that's not correct. Unless you spread the stays beyond their yield point, which is what true cold setting does, staying within their elastic limit does not cause any relaxation of the stress needed to spread them the next time.

    The only frame damage that could occur is if the stress is sufficiently large and repeated often enough to cause fatigue failure. For even Al frames that will never happen in anyone's lifetime.

  15. #15
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Again, that's not correct.
    +1

    The frame either permanently bends, or it doesn't, depending on how far you flex it apart. There's no "in-between" state.
    Last edited by well biked; 11-06-08 at 10:46 AM.

  16. #16
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    The only frame damage that could occur is if the stress is sufficiently large and repeated often enough to cause fatigue failure. .
    I should of specified, frame damage can occur when cold setting a frame. you must certainly agree that there is enough force involved to bend a tube beyond it's yield point in those circumstances. I've seen a brake bridge pop off because of a cold set, which is why for my 126 spaced bicycle, I just spread the dropouts when I insert the wheel.

    Maybe it doesn't actually get easier, maybe I just get stronger...

  17. #17
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Or you have developed correct technigue, which makes any task easier.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorider View Post
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    I should of specified, frame damage can occur when cold setting a frame. you must certainly agree that there is enough force involved to bend a tube beyond it's yield point in those circumstances. I've seen a brake bridge pop off because of a cold set, which is why for my 126 spaced bicycle, I just spread the dropouts when I insert the wheel.

    Maybe it doesn't actually get easier, maybe I just get stronger...
    I certainly agree that cold setting done improperly or to the wrong frame material can cause permanant damage. That's one reason most of us are reluctant to recommend extreme changes, say cold setting a 120 mm frame to 130 or 135 mm.

    Yep, either you get stronger, develop a better technique or accept the struggle as normal.

  19. #19
    god Judge_Posner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    I certainly agree that cold setting done improperly or to the wrong frame material can cause permanent damage. That's one reason most of us are reluctant to recommend extreme changes, say cold setting a 120 mm frame to 130 or 135 mm.
    I'm thinking of respacing my steel frame (surly steamroller with 120mm dropouts) to accept an internally geared rear hub (132.5mm). Has anyone done a cold set with such a large gap? Successfully? Unsuccessfully? I don't want to ruin my frame.

  20. #20
    Senior Member johnknappcc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judge_Posner View Post
    I'm thinking of respacing my steel frame (surly steamroller with 120mm dropouts) to accept an internally geared rear hub (132.5mm). Has anyone done a cold set with such a large gap? Successfully? Unsuccessfully? I don't want to ruin my frame.
    I run 130mm in my dropouts originally spaced to 121.5 (old touring bike, previously a 5 speed freewheel). It works fine, I didn't coldset, there is very little force required to get the wheel back in the dropouts. I'm don't think I would go to 135 though.

    I run a 9speed cassette in the back, soon to be 10. No issues.

  21. #21
    Collector of Useless Info
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judge_Posner View Post
    I'm thinking of respacing my steel frame (surly steamroller with 120mm dropouts) to accept an internally geared rear hub (132.5mm). Has anyone done a cold set with such a large gap? Successfully? Unsuccessfully? I don't want to ruin my frame.
    I cold-set my Raleigh 20 from 116 to 135 to take an IGH with a drum brake. It was an extreme case since the stays are so short (20" wheels). No damage, but I wasn't too worried anyway. The biggest problem was straightening the dropouts after such a large angle change. Just follow the Sheldon Brown method and go slow- the worst thing you can do is have to bend it back!

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