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  1. #1
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    frame alignment - DIY or LBS?

    My '76 fuji track frame failed the "string" test by ~5mm - gap is 33mm right, and 28mm left. The bike rides okay, but when I look down at the front tire when tracking straight ahead, the back half of the tire isn't completely hidden by the down tube. I can see that I have to steer slightly (5mm?) left to keep the bike straight. Is this something I can mostly fix ala sheldon brown's "2x4" frame alignment method? Or should I give in and pay $$$ to the LBS? My front fork is straight and both wheels are dished correctly...
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  2. #2
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Cold-setting a rear w/ a 2x4 isn't that difficult. You didn't mention if the dropout spacing itself, but assuming it's the original (not spread), then you'll simply have to be patient and work one side at a time. I'd move the off side 1mm or so, then work on moving the other side to follow it. 5mm isn't that much, it should come with a little patience and thoughtful application of force.

  3. #3
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    thanks, I just re-read sheldon's method - it doesn't look too difficult but I will have to be careful. Rear spacing is 120mm. My plan is to move each side ~2mm and check spacing.
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  4. #4
    Broom Wagon Fodder reverborama's Avatar
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    I went out and bought the Park tools for this and although they are expensive, I've cold set and realigned enough frames that I think it was worth it. You can certainly make your own without too much trouble, though.

    Before you get all bendy on the frame, do the math.

    1. Determine how far off you are from the correct spacing
    2. Determine how far to move each side
    3. Cold set it

    1 is pretty easy. If the spacing should be 120 and it's 123 you are off by 3 mm.
    2 Requires string or a gauge. If the dropouts centered 5 mm to the left of center then you need to move the left side in 4mm and the right side out 1mm.

    So rather than just going from 123 to 120 and then trying to center it, which will usually involve more bending, just figure it out in advance and bend it once.

    Hex wrenches make great measuring devices.

    I strap a 2x4 to the rear triangle as a pivot to keep from putting too much stress on the brake and chainstay cross pieces.

    And when you are done, don't forget to realign the dropouts!

  5. #5
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    okay... I went out and measured the spacing, the rear fork ends are 115mm apart. My rear hub spacing is 120mm. Using a string, the left rear side measures 28mm left of center (@seat tube), the right side is 33mm. So, if I increase (cold set) the left side 5mm, I will have ~120 spacing, and a ~33mm string gap both left and right of center, correct?
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  6. #6
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by norskagent View Post
    okay... I went out and measured the spacing, the rear fork ends are 115mm apart. My rear hub spacing is 120mm. Using a string, the left rear side measures 28mm left of center (@seat tube), the right side is 33mm. So, if I increase (cold set) the left side 5mm, I will have ~120 spacing, and a ~33mm string gap both left and right of center, correct?
    Yes. I would not hesitate to attempt this myself.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
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  7. #7
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Don't forget that a 5mm difference in string measurement actually represents only 2.5mm misalignment!

  8. #8
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    But I need to cold set only the left side, the full 5mm outward, correct? Then, my rear spacing will increase from 115 to 120, and the left string gap will increase from 128 to 133, matching the right string gap at 133. Please stop me if that isn't right!
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  9. #9
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    I did it, using a long peice of lumber - it's not that bad. Now my rear spacing is 120, and I got ~32-33 on each side using the string. I didn't re-align the dropouts, I figured the clamping to the hub would "align" them. I test rode it slowly and it tracks much straighter. Probably not perfect but it's better than it was. Tomorrow I will be able to tell more/better on my commute to work and back.
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  10. #10
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Clamping to the hub does align the dropouts, but it puts bending pressure on the axle. If the alignment is very bad, it can cause the axle to bend or even break. Check your dropout alignment.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  11. #11
    N+1 redxj's Avatar
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    The tire not being hidden by the downtube could indicate your fork is slightly bent as well.

  12. #12
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    I had the front fork alignment tweaked and trued w/ an alignment tool at my lbs several months ago. I will have the dropouts checked though, easy enough.
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bam42685's Avatar
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    How do you align the dropouts? I used the article on Sheldon's site and it just says "there is no good home tool." This could spin into a new thread as I have several rear triangle questions and pictures.

  14. #14
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    I had a geared road bike dropouts aligned at my lbs, they used a simple tool and bent them straight pretty quick. Not sure if it's the same with track dropouts but I will find out soon.
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  15. #15
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    well after this mornings commute I could tell it's still ~slightly~ off but way better than it was. I don't plan on tweaking it further though, it is barely noticable. It seems that njs rear spacing is 110mm, possibly the reason my bike was spaced ~115mm, after being ridden for years w/ a 120mm spaced hub?
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  16. #16
    Senior Member Iowegian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bam42685 View Post
    How do you align the dropouts? I used the article on Sheldon's site and it just says "there is no good home tool." This could spin into a new thread as I have several rear triangle questions and pictures.

    http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=40

  17. #17
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by norskagent View Post
    well after this mornings commute I could tell it's still ~slightly~ off but way better than it was. I don't plan on tweaking it further though, it is barely noticable. It seems that njs rear spacing is 110mm, possibly the reason my bike was spaced ~115mm, after being ridden for years w/ a 120mm spaced hub?
    There are some many variables that come into play, wheel dish, fork alignent both lateraly and front to back as well as single single leg invlovement, fork end alignment with good blade alignment, rear triangle, rear dropout and it s possible to have the entire front triangle twisted.

    IIRC modern pro track riders have bikes that naturaly track to the left to aid in turning.

    Hows your wheel dish?
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  18. #18
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    My bike tracks to the right, must be a rare, "reverse" track model! Wheel dish is very close, I built them and used a campy dishing tool front and rear. I checked the string thing again, it's about 2mm off now. So many variables as you said - I'm going to just ride it now.
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

  19. #19
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reverborama View Post
    ...
    So rather than just going from 123 to 120 and then trying to center it, which will usually involve more bending, just figure it out in advance and bend it once.

    Good tip. Better than my crude approach.


    Quote Originally Posted by reverborama View Post
    Hex wrenches make great measuring devices.
    Can you explain this, or maybe post a pic? Do you mean using the end of the wrench for small distance measurements?

  20. #20
    Senior Member miamijim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peripatetic View Post
    Can you explain this, or maybe post a pic? Do you mean using the end of the wrench for small distance measurements?
    Slide a 3, 4, 5mm or whatever size allen key between the string and frame. Its and easy way to measure 1mm increments.
    WWW.CYCLESPEUGEOT.COM 2005 Pinarello Dogma; 1991 Paramount PDG 70 Mtb; 1976? AD Vent Noir; 1989 LeMond Maillot Juane F&F; 1993? Basso GAP F&F; 1989 Terry Symmetry; 2003 Trek 4700 Mtb; 1983 Vitus 979

  21. #21
    car dodger norskagent's Avatar
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    I wasn't skilled enough to bend once, I spread the frame (left side mostly) in 3 or 4 small increments - I was afraid of overbending so I worked up to my final result without going over.
    1989 Schwinn Paramount OS
    1980 Mclean/Silk Hope Sport Touring
    1983 Bianchi pista
    1976 Fuji Feather track
    1979 raleigh track
    "I've consulted my sources and I'm pretty sure your derailleur does not exist"

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