Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Got a derailleur alignment tool...

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Got a derailleur alignment tool...

Old 09-15-20, 07:05 AM
  #1  
crankholio
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 20 Posts
Got a derailleur alignment tool...

This has to be one of the best tools I've ever bought. Should have got one a long time ago.

I have this K2 Zed Sport frame with a non-replaceable derailleur hanger, and it was definitely out of alignment. Tool got it fixed with ease. Much easier than using a towel and channel locks with the derailleur still on the bike while trying to eyeball it.

Highly recommend getting one of these if you don't have one.

On a side note, every source I've found says my frame is aluminum, and I was afraid of bending an aluminum hanger (although not much choice when it's non-replaceable). But magnets stick to the frame. Go figure.
crankholio is offline  
Old 09-15-20, 07:09 AM
  #2  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 16,783

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Mongoose Tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder, Srewart 650B ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3651 Post(s)
Liked 2,603 Times in 1,631 Posts
I don't know why one would pay attention to what others say the frame is when you already know.

The DAG tool is stupid and a big lever. Do take care when using it. BTW I always have confirmed the der cage is straight WRT the middle cogs independent of what the DAG's indicator might suggest. Andy
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Likes For Andrew R Stewart:
Old 09-15-20, 08:34 AM
  #3  
crankholio
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 20 Posts
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I don't know why one would pay attention to what others say the frame is when you already know.

The DAG tool is stupid and a big lever. Do take care when using it. BTW I always have confirmed the der cage is straight WRT the middle cogs independent of what the DAG's indicator might suggest. Andy
I felt better about using it once I knew the frame was steel.

The tool taught me I have no talent to eyeball the derailleur alignment.
crankholio is offline  
Old 09-15-20, 09:02 AM
  #4  
Shimagnolo
Senior Member
 
Shimagnolo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Zang's Spur, CO
Posts: 9,054
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2953 Post(s)
Liked 4,267 Times in 2,158 Posts
I was having an issue with an RD once, so I bought the Park alignment tool. It *was* out of alignment, but the misalignment was 90 degrees off of where I thought it was.
Shimagnolo is offline  
Likes For Shimagnolo:
Old 09-15-20, 09:51 AM
  #5  
2_i 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 3,483

Bikes: Trek 730 (quad), 720 & 830, Bike Friday NWT, Brompton M27R & M6R, Dahon HAT060 & HT060, ...

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 743 Post(s)
Liked 276 Times in 206 Posts
We have a variety of wheel sizes on bikes in the household, down to 16". Not all alignment tools work with smaller wheel sizes and some will struggle with racks. This is is something to consider when choosing the tool.
2_i is offline  
Old 09-15-20, 10:43 AM
  #6  
woodcraft
Senior Member
 
woodcraft's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Nor Cal
Posts: 6,016
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1814 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 919 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I don't know why one would pay attention to what others say the frame is when you already know.

The DAG tool is stupid and a big lever. Do take care when using it. BTW I always have confirmed the der cage is straight WRT the middle cogs independent of what the DAG's indicator might suggest. Andy

Are you saying that you trust your eye over what the tool shows? That's an outlying position.
woodcraft is offline  
Old 09-15-20, 11:00 AM
  #7  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 11,021

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 115 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3705 Post(s)
Liked 2,546 Times in 1,666 Posts
I used a 12" crescent wrench (masking tape on the jaws) and a straight edge on the dropout forr my ti bike with a steel hanger. Tool had so much leverage that is was child's play. Tools I have on hand always anyway. So easy I'm never going to buy the real tool and nave to store it and have it take up space.

To do the bending, I leaned the bike against the workbench, sat on a low stool, put one foot on the stays at the dropout. Doing a fully controlled bend was a piece of cake.
79pmooney is offline  
Old 09-15-20, 11:38 AM
  #8  
kraftwerk 
my nice bike is at home
 
kraftwerk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY USA
Posts: 921

Bikes: 2011 BMC Race Machine / 2012 BMC Road Machine / Trek 2300 / '90's Merlin/ '70's Raleigh 20/ Ti-'swift' folder / Erickson w/S&S couplers

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 59 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 16 Posts
It's one of the tools I have been thinking about 9and needing) for awhile... if my brother lived closer, I would have borrowed it by now.
__________________
BMC Race Machine / BMC Team Machine / Rossin Record / 80's Pinarello Traviso / Merlin MTB / Raleigh "Folding 20" / Ti-Swift (!)
Erikson w/C&C couplers / Trek's: 2300, 1200, 990 / Jamis 'Sputnik'

kraftwerk is offline  
Old 09-15-20, 01:21 PM
  #9  
TiHabanero
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,906
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1476 Post(s)
Liked 942 Times in 496 Posts
The alignment tool is indispensable at the shop, and is used several times a day. Found that 10 speed is sensitive and 11 speed is very sensitive to hanger alignment. If one is able to align by sight my hat is off to them!
TiHabanero is offline  
Likes For TiHabanero:
Old 09-15-20, 01:25 PM
  #10  
BHG6
Senior Member
 
BHG6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 166

Bikes: BH G6, BMC Race Machine

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 67 Post(s)
Liked 194 Times in 71 Posts
Anyone who actively works on their own bikes should own a DAG along with a set of proper cable cutters and a torque wrench.....
BHG6 is offline  
Old 09-15-20, 03:27 PM
  #11  
JoeTBM 
Droid on a mission
 
JoeTBM's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Palm Coast, FL
Posts: 845

Bikes: Diamondback Wildwood Classic

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 266 Post(s)
Liked 193 Times in 137 Posts
Originally Posted by crankholio View Post
This has to be one of the best tools I've ever bought. Should have got one a long time ago.

I have this K2 Zed Sport frame with a non-replaceable derailleur hanger, and it was definitely out of alignment. Tool got it fixed with ease. Much easier than using a towel and channel locks with the derailleur still on the bike while trying to eyeball it.

Highly recommend getting one of these if you don't have one.

On a side note, every source I've found says my frame is aluminum, and I was afraid of bending an aluminum hanger (although not much choice when it's non-replaceable). But magnets stick to the frame. Go figure.
So which tool did you buy?
__________________
JoeTBM (The Bike Man) - I'm a black & white type of guy, the only gray in my life is the hair on my head
www.TheBikeMenOfFlaglerCounty.com




JoeTBM is offline  
Old 09-15-20, 07:26 PM
  #12  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 16,783

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Mongoose Tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder, Srewart 650B ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3651 Post(s)
Liked 2,603 Times in 1,631 Posts
Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
Are you saying that you trust your eye over what the tool shows? That's an outlying position.
No, I said I confirm the results with my eyes. This is coming from 45 years of doing this stuff, owned a Campy N tool since 1979... my eyes are well trained to see stuff many don't. But the point i didn't press was that an aligned hanger doesn't always result in a der cage that hangs coplanar to the cogs. Here's 3 reasons why that are not uncommon.

One is that the der mounting bolt (the "B" pivot) might not be machined axial and/or the various plates and clips not sit square. As one threads the mounting bolt into the hanger the hex wrench often is turning in a wobble path (using a T or Y wrench w/o a ball end makes this easier to see. At the point of complete install the bolt is at some slight off angle from the hanger's threads/face.

Two is that the cage pivot bolt can also be not made perfectly. Or the cage not mating with the bolt squarely.

Three is that the cage can be bent. This overlaps with example two to a degree. We see cages/pulleys that are planar to the cogs at one cage rotational set but shift into other combos so the cage is rotationally different and watch the pulleys loose that coplanarness to the cog set.

This is why I set the hanger to a point when the cage is at it's middle of the range of play out/take up it is as parallel to the cogs (generally the middle of the cog set) as possible. To average out any tolorances best possible.

I will certainly agree that in a LBS shop setting using DAG is a vast time saver and establishes a base line for fine tuning if that should be needed. But I will also disagree that it is a needed tool for the critical thinker at home. Not that having nice tools is wrong Andy.
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Old 09-15-20, 07:47 PM
  #13  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 3,725

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1927 Post(s)
Liked 2,840 Times in 1,453 Posts
The green one...Abbey HAG.

cxwrench is offline  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 09-15-20, 10:46 PM
  #14  
woodcraft
Senior Member
 
woodcraft's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Nor Cal
Posts: 6,016
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1814 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 919 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
No, I said I confirm the results with my eyes. This is coming from 45 years of doing this stuff, owned a Campy N tool since 1979... my eyes are well trained to see stuff many don't. But the point i didn't press was that an aligned hanger doesn't always result in a der cage that hangs coplanar to the cogs. Here's 3 reasons why that are not uncommon.

One is that the der mounting bolt (the "B" pivot) might not be machined axial and/or the various plates and clips not sit square. As one threads the mounting bolt into the hanger the hex wrench often is turning in a wobble path (using a T or Y wrench w/o a ball end makes this easier to see. At the point of complete install the bolt is at some slight off angle from the hanger's threads/face.

Two is that the cage pivot bolt can also be not made perfectly. Or the cage not mating with the bolt squarely.

Three is that the cage can be bent. This overlaps with example two to a degree. We see cages/pulleys that are planar to the cogs at one cage rotational set but shift into other combos so the cage is rotationally different and watch the pulleys loose that coplanarness to the cog set.

This is why I set the hanger to a point when the cage is at it's middle of the range of play out/take up it is as parallel to the cogs (generally the middle of the cog set) as possible. To average out any tolorances best possible.

I will certainly agree that in a LBS shop setting using DAG is a vast time saver and establishes a base line for fine tuning if that should be needed. But I will also disagree that it is a needed tool for the critical thinker at home. Not that having nice tools is wrong Andy.



Thanks for the detailed explanation. While the DAG won't win tool design awards, it is worth it as the OP says IMO.

Those critical thinkers continue to post questions about poor shifting, leading the the knee-jerk response: did you check the hanger alignment?
woodcraft is offline  
Old 09-15-20, 11:15 PM
  #15  
Cyclist0108
Occam's Rotor
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 7,248
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 2,329 Times in 1,162 Posts
I bought myself the Abbey HAG for a birthday present to myself at Sea Otter a couple of years ago. I got a free silicon pint glass from them to go with it.

It is a fine tool.

So is the HAG.
Cyclist0108 is offline  
Old 09-16-20, 05:33 AM
  #16  
Kapusta
Advanced Slacker
 
Kapusta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 5,759

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Surly Wednesday, Canfielld Tilt

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2567 Post(s)
Liked 2,260 Times in 1,277 Posts
Anyone who thinks they can eyeball whether a hangar is straight as well as a DAG is delusional.

And anyone who thinks they can eyeball whether a hangar is straight enough for 11 speed to work perfectly is also delusional.

Woodcraft in a post above makes a good point that there can be other causes of cage misalignment, but the first place I would always start is straightening the hangar with a DAG.

Last edited by Kapusta; 09-16-20 at 06:21 AM.
Kapusta is offline  
Likes For Kapusta:
Old 09-16-20, 07:16 AM
  #17  
Andrew R Stewart 
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 16,783

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Mongoose Tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder, Srewart 650B ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3651 Post(s)
Liked 2,603 Times in 1,631 Posts
Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Anyone who thinks they can eyeball whether a hangar is straight as well as a DAG is delusional.

And anyone who thinks they can eyeball whether a hangar is straight enough for 11 speed to work perfectly is also delusional.

Woodcraft in a post above makes a good point that there can be other causes of cage misalignment, but the first place I would always start is straightening the hangar with a DAG.

Call me crazy then. But on a good day I do a couple of hanger alignments, on a bad day more. Been this way for long before Abby or Park had their tools. I don't question the value of alignment tooling (having a hand scraped cast steel surface plate in my basement I'm pretty aware about precision tooling) just that they are not the der and it is the der that is the device that needs to be aligned. So any alignment tool is one degree of separation from the goal. To assume on the der being perfectly aligned flies in the face of what I deal with daily. Sure the nicer stuff is better and often so close to "perfection" that it's a waste off time to remove the der and re tweak the hanger alignment. But I see far too many Tourneys, Aceras and such that have cages not sitting coplalar even after the hanger tool is used. Hence my method. Andy
__________________
AndrewRStewart
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Old 09-16-20, 07:25 AM
  #18  
u235
Senior Member
 
u235's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,185
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 437 Post(s)
Liked 132 Times in 86 Posts
Great tool to have but it can be an expensive unitasker. I made one for a few $ and stuff I had laying around. It works but not perfect, not ideal for efficient daily use but works good enough to fix the things a bent hanger causes.

Last edited by u235; 09-16-20 at 07:46 AM.
u235 is offline  
Old 09-16-20, 07:36 AM
  #19  
blamester
Blamester
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1,005

Bikes: Peugeot teamline

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 249 Post(s)
Liked 106 Times in 89 Posts
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
No, I said I confirm the results with my eyes. This is coming from 45 years of doing this stuff, owned a Campy N tool since 1979... my eyes are well trained to see stuff many don't. But the point i didn't press was that an aligned hanger doesn't always result in a der cage that hangs coplanar to the cogs. Here's 3 reasons why that are not uncommon.

One is that the der mounting bolt (the "B" pivot) might not be machined axial and/or the various plates and clips not sit square. As one threads the mounting bolt into the hanger the hex wrench often is turning in a wobble path (using a T or Y wrench w/o a ball end makes this easier to see. At the point of complete install the bolt is at some slight off angle from the hanger's threads/face.

Two is that the cage pivot bolt can also be not made perfectly. Or the cage not mating with the bolt squarely.

Three is that the cage can be bent. This overlaps with example two to a degree. We see cages/pulleys that are planar to the cogs at one cage rotational set but shift into other combos so the cage is rotationally different and watch the pulleys loose that coplanarness to the cog set.

This is why I set the hanger to a point when the cage is at it's middle of the range of play out/take up it is as parallel to the cogs (generally the middle of the cog set) as possible. To average out any tolorances best possible.

I will certainly agree that in a LBS shop setting using DAG is a vast time saver and establishes a base line for fine tuning if that should be needed. But I will also disagree that it is a needed tool for the critical thinker at home. Not that having nice tools is wrong Andy.
I'm with you on that. Take your time, look at it good and do it slow.
First step know the material your dealing with.
blamester is offline  
Old 09-16-20, 07:45 AM
  #20  
Kapusta
Advanced Slacker
 
Kapusta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 5,759

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Surly Wednesday, Canfielld Tilt

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2567 Post(s)
Liked 2,260 Times in 1,277 Posts
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Call me crazy then. But on a good day I do a couple of hanger alignments, on a bad day more. Been this way for long before Abby or Park had their tools. I don't question the value of alignment tooling (having a hand scraped cast steel surface plate in my basement I'm pretty aware about precision tooling) just that they are not the der and it is the der that is the device that needs to be aligned. So any alignment tool is one degree of separation from the goal. To assume on the der being perfectly aligned flies in the face of what I deal with daily. Sure the nicer stuff is better and often so close to "perfection" that it's a waste off time to remove the der and re tweak the hanger alignment. But I see far too many Tourneys, Aceras and such that have cages not sitting coplalar even after the hanger tool is used. Hence my method. Andy
Are you telling me that when you see a cage out of alignment you start by straightening that BEFORE you check the alignment of the hangar?

If so, I’m not letting you anywhere near my bikes.

The idea of bending stuff on the RD before checking the hangar with a tool... wow.
Kapusta is offline  
Old 09-16-20, 07:59 AM
  #21  
Kapusta
Advanced Slacker
 
Kapusta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 5,759

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Surly Wednesday, Canfielld Tilt

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2567 Post(s)
Liked 2,260 Times in 1,277 Posts
People also need to realize that what is “close enough” 40 years ago, or even 20 years ago means something very different than today. Hangars have much lower tolerances than they used to for proper functioning. Two reasons:

1- Increases number of gears. Every time a gear gets added to the cassette, it either gets wider or the cog spacing gets narrower. Both of these things exacerbate issues if the alignment is off.

2- And since pretty much everything these days is indexed, you can’t compensate for these issues as you shift.
Kapusta is offline  
Old 09-16-20, 09:05 AM
  #22  
grizzly59
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 712
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 283 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 164 Posts
Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I don't know why one would pay attention to what others say the frame is when you already know.

The DAG tool is stupid and a big lever. Do take care when using it. BTW I always have confirmed the der cage is straight WRT the middle cogs independent of what the DAG's indicator might suggest. Andy
I’ll take Andy’s eyeballs over any tool.
grizzly59 is offline  
Old 09-16-20, 09:19 AM
  #23  
2old
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: socal
Posts: 3,647
Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 734 Post(s)
Liked 558 Times in 422 Posts
Andy is one of the main reasons this sub-forum provides valuable information for me. Nice to have succinct, real-world information.
2old is offline  
Likes For 2old:
Old 09-16-20, 09:58 AM
  #24  
2_i 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 3,483

Bikes: Trek 730 (quad), 720 & 830, Bike Friday NWT, Brompton M27R & M6R, Dahon HAT060 & HT060, ...

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 743 Post(s)
Liked 276 Times in 206 Posts
Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
The green one...Abbey HAG.
So to drive my point, HAG's design does not seem to allow it to work with 20" wheels and maybe even 24" could be a problem. In addition the tool moves so close to the wheels that it is likely to interfere with some rear racks. You may say that you do not deal with bikes that have such characteristics. Well, this type of tool is a long term investment, as you use it only once in a while, and by the 10th use you may find out that it does not work with the bike you need to fix.
2_i is offline  
Old 09-16-20, 10:17 AM
  #25  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 3,725

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1927 Post(s)
Liked 2,840 Times in 1,453 Posts
Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
So to drive my point, HAG's design does not seem to allow it to work with 20" wheels and maybe even 24" could be a problem. In addition the tool moves so close to the wheels that it is likely to interfere with some rear racks. You may say that you do not deal with bikes that have such characteristics. Well, this type of tool is a long term investment, as you use it only once in a while, and by the 10th use you may find out that it does not work with the bike you need to fix.
I use it minimum 5-6 times a day, every day. No, it doesn't work w/ small wheel bikes or racks but it works so well w/ every 'normal' bike that it still gets used a TON.
cxwrench is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.