Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Bikes: Rans Rockst (Retro rocket) Rans Enduro Sport (Retro racket) Catrike 559, Merin Bear Valley (beater bike).
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"80's model Miyata", that says "steel frame" to me.
Bending the derailleur hanger back is a fairly simple job but, as in all things, the devil is in the details.
If you can't bend it back by hand with the derailleur in place, see if you can clamp a big adjustable wrench around the derailleur and hanger together. If you remove the derailleur before attempting to straighten the hanger, you take the risk of ovalizing the derailleur hanger hole. I don't know how to fix that.
You want the hanger to be parallel to the bike's main frame. The more closely spaced your rear cogs, the more accurate the hanger alignment has to be. On a 5, 6 or 7 speed bike I can eyeball the alignment adequately. With 9 or 10 rear cogs, I use an alignment tool. If you're not confident doing it yourself, it should only be a $15.00 or $20.00 job at any average or better bike shop.