Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter
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The horizontal dropout was originally for adjusting chain length, but not for derailleur bikes. They go back to the days before the invention of the derailleur when single speed bikes and internal gear hubs needed a slot for chain adjustment. The forward pointing slot was an improvement over the rear open (track) dropout for road and sped up wheel changes. When derailleurs were added, they were originally mounted with a bolted on hanger that fit the right dropout. (this is a shortened history of the evolution, which included a few side trips and unique designs that didn't last).
Whether for derailleur or non-derailleur slotted dropouts mean manual centering of the rim between the chainstays with every wheel change. The addition of micro-adjusters eliminates that step ensuring hat the wheel is correctly located every time. Later on horizontal dropouts were first shortened then done away with in favor of the vertical ones in use today for derailleur bikes. One drawback is that this makes changing a frame over to SS use more complicated.
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