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  1. #1
    King of the molehills bcoppola's Avatar
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    DIY derailleur alignment & dropout alignment tools?

    Any plans out there for these specialized & pricey tools?
    '04 Giant OCR2|'87 Schwinn World Sport F/G conversion (6,129)|'92 Trek 820 MTB|'85 Schwinn Super LeTour
    "People who spend most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles." - Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman

  2. #2
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what you're asking, but .... I'm a big fan of the Park Tool DAG-1.

    Sadly/happily, there seems to be a DAG-2 out, now ... that actually looks like an upgrade with a lower price.

  3. #3
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcoppola View Post
    Any plans out there for these specialized & pricey tools?
    You can get away with threading in a 10x1 solid axle wheel into the back and eyeballing it. The more gears you have in the back, the less likely this will give an acceptable adjustment. Just buy the tool if you're bending hangers a lot.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  4. #4
    AEO
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    for derailer hangar... I just use a 10in adjustable wrench.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  5. #5
    cab horn
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    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    for derailer hangar... I just use a 10in adjustable wrench.
    That's a good way to deform the derailleur hanger threads.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    You can thread a rear wheel into the derailer hanger. You can see if the hanger is aligned, but you can't really use the wheel to bend the hanger.
    If you cut an axle in half, you might be able to bolt both pieces into the dropouts to see if they were parallel, but I've never tried that.

    em

  7. #7
    )) <> (( illwafer's Avatar
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    something you can try...

    if you can find a cheap derailleur (or if you have one), thread it in there and eyeball it. pull/push on it until it lines up. you'll probably bend the derailleur a little bit too, so you can swap in your good one and see how it looks.

    no one else will probably recommend this, but it's something cheap you can try.

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    I tried making one from an axle and piece of 1 inch square tubing. Big waste of time....I bought a Park tool and it has paid for itself many times

  9. #9
    Senior Member Torchy McFlux's Avatar
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    I'm not aware of any cheap or easy ways to make decently reliable and accurate tools like that. Sometimes, it really is best to take your bike/frame into a properly equipped shop and pay them a few bucks to have it checked/fixed properly. Makes more sense than dropping a couple hundred on tools that, for most people, rarely get used.

  10. #10
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    I can vouch for the Park Tool DAG-2 - recently released. It a breeze to use and bend the hanger into the proper position. Any decent shop should have something like this. But the DAG-2 is low enough in price to afford by individuals. Take a look:


    http://www.parktool.com/products/det...=48&item=DAG-2


    Last edited by Panthers007; 05-31-09 at 11:49 AM. Reason: Sp.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  11. #11
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Torchy McFlux View Post
    I'm not aware of any cheap or easy ways to make decently reliable and accurate tools like that. Sometimes, it really is best to take your bike/frame into a properly equipped shop and pay them a few bucks to have it checked/fixed properly. Makes more sense than dropping a couple hundred on tools that, for most people, rarely get used.
    Though I agree with the principle, the derailleur alignment tools, by Park, are in the $50 range.

    For me ... if it's $15 to have the LBS do it ... and I can see needing it two or more times ... I'd rather buy the tool.

    Lot of cyclists in my subdivision. Lots of opportunities for me to use the DAG, now

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    Quote Originally Posted by illwafer View Post
    something you can try...

    if you can find a cheap derailleur (or if you have one), thread it in there and eyeball it. pull/push on it until it lines up. you'll probably bend the derailleur a little bit too, so you can swap in your good one and see how it looks.

    no one else will probably recommend this, but it's something cheap you can try.
    You might be able to use a derailer as a lever to bend the hanger, but it's you can't tell when it's correctly aligned. The spec is that the difference between the alignment tool and the rim at the top and bottom needs to be 4mm or less. that means the position of the lower wheel of the derailer needs to be accurate to about 1 mm, but there's no reference to measure to.

    em

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502 View Post
    Though I agree with the principle, the derailleur alignment tools, by Park, are in the $50 range.

    For me ... if it's $15 to have the LBS do it ... and I can see needing it two or more times ... I'd rather buy the tool.

    Lot of cyclists in my subdivision. Lots of opportunities for me to use the DAG, now
    I always like to make my own work arounds for specialized tools.. A spare wheel works fine to measure alignment, and a lot of times I find that the alignment doesn't need to be adjusted. The Park tool is easier to use, but it's not necassary at all.

    em

  14. #14
    use your best eye kenhill3's Avatar
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    OP-

    If you just don't want to pay a shop, I really don't know any decent work-around or DIY for derailleur hanger or dropout alignment.

    If you ride MTB a fair amount (and I mean offroad), the Park DAG is the only way to go. I have one and it has certainly paid for itself in correcting the almost guaranteed occasional misalignment of the hanger for the inevitable crashes.

    Dropout alignment is a much rarer need. If you really just love having specialized tools, then go ahead and treat yourself. I have rarely needed one and just pay the shop to do it.
    "I tell you, We are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." - Kurt Vonnegut jr.

  15. #15
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddy m View Post
    I always like to make my own work arounds for specialized tools.. A spare wheel works fine to measure alignment, and a lot of times I find that the alignment doesn't need to be adjusted. The Park tool is easier to use, but it's not necassary at all.
    Meh.

    To me, that's like the torque wrench argument: some people really do have a good feel. Many of those people, though, are off by 20+%.

    Some people probably DO have a great eye for alignment, but ... if I were guessing ... it's few, and ... of the ones who THINK it's them ... many of them are probably wrong, too

  16. #16
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502 View Post
    Some people probably DO have a great eye for alignment, but ... if I were guessing ... it's few, and ... of the ones who THINK it's them ... many of them are probably wrong, too
    The number of cogs on the cassette makes a big difference. Eyeballing derailleur hanger alignment on a 7-speed is a piece of cake. 9-speeds and 10-speeds are considerably more picky about having perfect derailleur hanger alignment.

  17. #17
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    ^

    Excellent point.

  18. #18
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502 View Post
    Meh.

    To me, that's like the torque wrench argument: some people really do have a good feel. Many of those people, though, are off by 20+%.

    Some people probably DO have a great eye for alignment, but ... if I were guessing ... it's few, and ... of the ones who THINK it's them ... many of them are probably wrong, too
    As a lifelong finish carpenter, my eyeball is calibrated to a very fine degree...and I still use the DAG-1.

    I'll have to check into the DAG-2. Looks like they've fixed a couple minor issues.
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  19. #19
    use your best eye kenhill3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    As a lifelong finish carpenter, my eyeball is calibrated to a very fine degree...and I still use the DAG-1.

    I'll have to check into the DAG-2. Looks like they've fixed a couple minor issues.
    Finish carp here, too.

    Sometimes looks can be deceiving, esp. on a bike with with lots of bits and surfaces out there in space- don't forget poss. error in parrallax view.

    DAG is accurate, reliable and makes no guesses. It also makes it A LOT easier for me!
    "I tell you, We are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you any different." - Kurt Vonnegut jr.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502 View Post
    Meh.

    To me, that's like the torque wrench argument: some people really do have a good feel. Many of those people, though, are off by 20+%.

    Some people probably DO have a great eye for alignment, but ... if I were guessing ... it's few, and ... of the ones who THINK it's them ... many of them are probably wrong, too
    No one can "eyeball" derailer alignment. The hanger is just too small for that. OTOH I can easily measure the alignment using an ordinary wheel threaded into the hanger. The only inaccuracy is caused by whatever small amount the spokes of the 2 wheels are not paralllel, and even that can be measured if you think you need to. If I need to adjust the hanger, it's a little harder to do with a wheel, but it's still possible. If I had to do that job more than once in a while, I might buy a WAG1, but so far I haven't needed one.
    This thread is like every other tool question here. It pretty quickly divides into those who think you shouldn't do anything until you get the exact Park tool (including a workstand), and those who have reasonable work arounds to avoid buying costly tools that will rarely be used.

    em

  21. #21
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddy m View Post
    This thread is like every other tool question here. It pretty quickly divides into those who think you shouldn't do anything until you get the exact Park tool (including a workstand), and those who have reasonable work arounds to avoid buying costly tools that will rarely be used.
    And I would split THAT hair, too

    I don't think the ends of the argument are as far apart as you imply.

    Example: I have a $650 Lupine Edison headlamp. I think it's probably 20% better than any other HID lamp on the market.

    I KNOW it costs a FEW HUNDRED dollars more, though.

    That sets out the needed info for people to make a VALUE judgment -- a very personal thing.

    Der alignment, IMHO, really IS like the torque wrench argument:

    Method................Accuracy...........Relative Costs
    Feel....................+/-35%..............1
    Torque wrench......+/-25%..............1-1/2
    Turn-of-the-nut....+/-15%..............3
    PLI washers..........+/-10%..............7
    Bolt elongation.......+/-3-5%............15
    Strain gauges..........+/-1%.............20

    My point was similar: a DAG-1/DAG-2 tool is < $50, and will get you pretty much dead-nuts on with your der alignment.

    What we NOW need, and what you're now trying to provide, is the relative accuracy of the extra-wheel/other method.

    My point is that it's likely to be only about as accurate as the "feel" method, above.

    It would be interesting to get a number of people to first do the alignment your way, and then stick the DAGs on them to see how close the former came.

  22. #22
    my brain hurts! fosmith's Avatar
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    hands and eyes. the cheapest.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by neil0502 View Post
    And I would split THAT hair, too

    I don't think the ends of the argument are as far apart as you imply.

    Example: I have a $650 Lupine Edison headlamp. I think it's probably 20% better than any other HID lamp on the market.

    I KNOW it costs a FEW HUNDRED dollars more, though.

    That sets out the needed info for people to make a VALUE judgment -- a very personal thing.

    Der alignment, IMHO, really IS like the torque wrench argument:

    Method................Accuracy...........Relative Costs
    Feel....................+/-35%..............1
    Torque wrench......+/-25%..............1-1/2
    Turn-of-the-nut....+/-15%..............3
    PLI washers..........+/-10%..............7
    Bolt elongation.......+/-3-5%............15
    Strain gauges..........+/-1%.............20

    My point was similar: a DAG-1/DAG-2 tool is < $50, and will get you pretty much dead-nuts on with your der alignment.

    What we NOW need, and what you're now trying to provide, is the relative accuracy of the extra-wheel/other method.

    My point is that it's likely to be only about as accurate as the "feel" method, above.

    It would be interesting to get a number of people to first do the alignment your way, and then stick the DAGs on them to see how close the former came.
    It's a pretty simple measurement problem, and AFAIK the spec is that there can be a 4 mm difference top to bottom or front to back. I can easily measure that using another wheel as the reference, and it doesn't even need to be a straight wheel. The weak part of that method is that it's difficult to use the wheel as a lever to straighten the hanger.
    The OP was was looking for a way to avoid buying tools, and I showed him one.

    em

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    Seems like it might be up to you to go and build one, then put your instructions up for the rest of us.

    Sounds doable in theory, measure the threads on derailer hanger, find matching long shoulder bolt at hardware store.
    For the lever you'll need something solid, how about a portion of steel tube cut from an old frame? Carefully drill as perpedicular as possible a hole thru the tube for the bolt to fit through.
    Then you'll need some sort of reference point at the opposite end for measureing against your rim. If all the wheels you're using this on are the same size it may not even need to slide along the arm; just find a reasonable point to drill a hole, then maybe stick a metal rod through it.
    Secure it with something adjustable like an elastic band, or if you want to be complicated drill another hole in the arm perpedicular to it and thread a machine bolt thru so it applies friction to hold the rod in position.

  25. #25
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddy m View Post
    The OP was was looking for a way to avoid buying tools, and I showed him one.
    Which I think is totally cool, btw.

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