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Old 09-14-09, 01:19 PM   #1
brad3104
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How to align rear wheel?

Im new to bikes but i thought u were supposed to have the the axels of the rear wheel at the top of the dropouts. In the vintage section i see so many bikes that have the axel at the very very very bottom of the drop outs almost like its only half way on. What is the reason for this and what am i missing?
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Old 09-14-09, 05:11 PM   #2
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Also when i put the axels all the way in the top of the dropouts...and secure the quick release...there is about .6cm clearance from the fork on the left side and about 1.2cm on the drive side. Is this normal? and what does this mean?
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Old 09-14-09, 05:45 PM   #3
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Also when i put the axels all the way in the top of the dropouts...and secure the quick release...there is about .6cm clearance from the fork on the left side and about 1.2cm on the drive side. Is this normal? and what does this mean?
Something isn't right.

Flip your wheel around and install it backwards in the fork. If it's now closer to the other side of the fork, your wheel needs to be redished. I wouldn't call that normal but it is more common than I think that it should be.

If it's still closer to the same side as before, your fork is bent.
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Old 09-14-09, 06:27 PM   #4
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Ill test that out when i get home from work. If it still stays closer to one side...does that mean for sure its the fork thats bent? or could it be the axel?

edit: and is there a reason for people putting the axels at the bottom of the dropouts? im still very curious about this.

Last edited by brad3104; 09-14-09 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 09-15-09, 08:51 AM   #5
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edit: and is there a reason for people putting the axels at the bottom of the dropouts? im still very curious about this.
Of course there's a reason why they do it. Most likely it's lack of attention to detail. On a vertical dropout bike my wheel axles are going to be bottomed in the dropout slot.
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Old 09-15-09, 09:14 AM   #6
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Once you're sure that the wheel is dished properly, try using the brake to center the wheel. Insert wheel, grab brake. Unless the brake itself is not centered (entirely possible), this should center the wheel.

Of course, with nuts (vs. QR) this isn't necessarily helpful...
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Old 09-15-09, 10:23 AM   #7
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If you are talking abut horizontal dropouts on the rear of the bike things are a little different. Some old bikes use an adaptor claw for the derailleur that bolts into the dropout so it takes up some space. The axle then sits quite a bit forward in the dropout.

Even without the adaptor claw, with horizontal dropouts you can tune your ride and responsiveness a little by moving the wheel forward or back to shorten or lengthen the wheelbase a little bit.
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Old 09-15-09, 05:38 PM   #8
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What i said might not have made sense...after i re read it. When my rear wheel is all the way in the top/back of the dropouts and the QR is secured...there is a .6 cm clearance from the front of the back tire to inside left fork. And on the right side there is a 1 or so cm clearance from the front of the back tire to the inside of the right fork.
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Old 09-15-09, 05:55 PM   #9
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What i said might not have made sense...after i re read it. When my rear wheel is all the way in the top/back of the dropouts and the QR is secured...there is a .6 cm clearance from the front of the back tire to inside left fork. And on the right side there is a 1 or so cm clearance from the front of the back tire to the inside of the right fork.
^This doesn't make much sense either. Front wheel = adjacent to fork. Rear wheel = adjacent to chainstays and seatstays.
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Old 09-15-09, 08:05 PM   #10
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And he's also using "top" and "bottom" when he probably means "front" and "back" (of horizontal rear dropouts).
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Old 09-15-09, 11:37 PM   #11
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Sorry i usually ride a bent and dont pay too much attention to the names lol. Let me try this again....

when the rear wheel is all the way in the back? of the dropouts and the QR is secured there is a .6cm clearance from the tire to the inside of the chainstay? on the left side....and a 1 or so cm clearance on the right side (drive side).
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Old 09-16-09, 01:44 AM   #12
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Not a big deal. Just move the left axle forward until the front of the wheel is centered between the chainstays.

If the wheel is centered between the stays but appears 'skewed' (out of alignment with the main triangle), then it is either mis-dished (unlikely) or the stays are out of alignment.
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Old 09-16-09, 08:47 AM   #13
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I believe the OP intends to say "Chain Stay" or "Seat Stay" instead of "Fork". Picture is worth a 1000....



I think the question is, where is the right location for the axle in the drop out? Why not all the way inserted or why near the opening? Because of ignorance, I place mine in line with the seat stay.
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Old 09-16-09, 09:22 AM   #14
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Horizontal dropouts have a certain amount of "play" by nature (left & right; up & down). You often have to hold the wheel centered while you tighten the QR skewer. You often can't just pull it back & tighten without paying attention to it. Notice the above picture has adjusting screws in the horizontal dropouts. They are designed to help the wheel get aligned properly. Not all frames have adjusting screws, or they may be set wrong.

Modern vertical dropouts have much less play and the rear wheel "should" just sit in the right (and only) spot so you can tighten the QR without fiddling.

Then there's the possibility of the wheel being the problem (broken axle, loose spokes, bad dishing etc ........) or frame alignment problem ..
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