Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NJ, NYC, LI
Bikes: 1940s Fothergill, 1959 Allegro Special, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1974 Fuji "the Ace", 1976 Holdsworth 650b conversion rando bike, 1983 Trek 720 tourer, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...
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One drawback of horizontal dropouts is that if the QR or axle bolts aren't tight enough, the torque of pedaling can pull the right side of the axle forward, so the tire hits the frame on the left side. It is thus possible to ride a bike with vertical dropouts even if the rear wheel isn't properly installed. By some twisted logic, perhaps, this is intended as a safety feature.
But I don't know if that's the reason for them.