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How to remove rear wheel from road bike that has drop out screws.

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How to remove rear wheel from road bike that has drop out screws.

Old 07-22-22, 11:24 PM
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NewSlang22
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Question about removing rear wheel from road bike that has drop out screws.

Hello, I'm brand new to this forum and pretty new at cycling in general. I just bought a vintage-styled Bianchi (the Bianchi L'Eroica) and I wanted to take it to my local shop to have pedals put on as well as have a general tune up done but unfortunately the frame of the bike will not fit in my car unless I remove both the front and rear wheel. I have never removed the rear wheel of a bike frame that had adjustment screws on it before so I was wondering... Do I need to touch the adjustment screws at all to remove the wheel, or can I just remove the wheel and keep the adjustment screws intact? I appreciate any and all advice on the matter, thanks!

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Old 07-23-22, 05:20 AM
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If they are set so the wheel is centered in the frame no need to touch them. Kind of the reason they are there, to center the wheel in horizontal dropouts and allow quick wheel replacement.
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Old 07-23-22, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by NewSlang22 View Post
I just bought a vintage-styled Bianchi (the Bianchi L'Eroica) and I wanted to take it to my local shop to have pedals put on as well as have a general tune up done but unfortunately the frame of the bike will not fit in my car unless I remove both the front and rear wheel. I have never removed the rear wheel of a bike frame that had adjustment screws on it before so I was wondering...
I'll add that learning to do your own bike maintenance will save you money, time, and you won't have to take the wheels off to fit your bike in a car every time something needs attention. Mounting pedals is very easy and the money spent on a pedal wrench will be recovered in about two pedal changes. Other things, such as a tune-up, can be more complicated, but this is what this forum is for and you can find answers to just about any question you have about working on your bike and lots of tutorials on the net. Another advantage of knowing how to fix your bike is if you have a problem out on a ride and can fix it yourself.
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Old 07-23-22, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
...Another advantage of knowing how to fix your bike is if you have a problem out on a ride and can fix it yourself.
Or help someone else and rack up karmic points.
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Old 07-23-22, 12:11 PM
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There are also books at the library and books you can purchase to help. YouTube videos on most all subjects also help.
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Old 07-23-22, 01:57 PM
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Thank you for the replies! So I can safely take off the rear wheel without having to touch the adjustment screws at all? The reason I want to take it to a shop for a tune up is mainly because the rear center-pull break squeaks when using it. Perhaps later on I will find the time to research more on how to regularly maintain my bike but at the moment I just wanted to get my bike set up to be able to ride immediately.
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Old 07-23-22, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by NewSlang22 View Post
Thank you for the replies! So I can safely take off the rear wheel without having to touch the adjustment screws at all? The reason I want to take it to a shop for a tune up is mainly because the rear center-pull break squeaks when using it. Perhaps later on I will find the time to research more on how to regularly maintain my bike but at the moment I just wanted to get my bike set up to be able to ride immediately.
Adjustment screws are there to make sure the wheel fits in the frame the right way each time you remove it and replace it. Therefore by definition you don't change the screw adjustment because you want those screws in the same place every time. And your squeaking BRAKES might easily be fixed by running a Scotch Brite pad around the rim braking surface or roughing up the brake pads a little with some sandpaper.
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Old 07-23-22, 04:05 PM
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The only time I've seen such adjustment screws is on the old style more classic frames with forward facing horizontal dropouts. And since it's an old style classic frame you have I'd bet an E-beer that it's one of that style of dropout. I know that they have a slight downward angle but they are still referred to as "horizontal. The screws in those setups are partly about squaring up the wheel in the frame but also to adjust the chain wrap around the cogset for better shifting. This being the time frame before all the fancy angles and cut aways in the special shifting teeth. The sort with the screws are the types on the left hand side of the picture below. The upper right are more modern and the lowest right is for single speeds and track bikes.... mostly....

So yes, very much leave the screws alone if the shifting is good. And if you need to adjust the wheel tracking it's best to do most of it on the non drive side screw and only a slight adjustment of the other in the opposite direction so that the cogset retains it's position relative to the derailleur. On the other hand if the shifting is spotty then you can play with moving the wheel axle deeper for more wrap or forward for less to alter the shifting. If you're using current or even any cogsets and derailleurs from the last 20 to 25 years though then it'll likely be quite tolerant of the positioning. If the screws don't have locking nuts then add some. They should stay in place. I've even seen set screws on one frame I had. For that one I had to use blue Loctite since there was nothing to add a locking nut onto.

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Old 07-24-22, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by NewSlang22 View Post
Thank you for the replies! So I can safely take off the rear wheel without having to touch the adjustment screws at all? The reason I want to take it to a shop for a tune up is mainly because the rear center-pull break squeaks when using it. Perhaps later on I will find the time to research more on how to regularly maintain my bike but at the moment I just wanted to get my bike set up to be able to ride immediately.
Squealing brakes - remove wheel, clean rim brake surface with scotchbrite and alcohol, sand pads, adjust toe in

Regarding the screws and shifting. Yes, it also locates the rear cogs in respect to the derailleur, but unless you're at limits of RD capacity I find it usually doesn't have much effect and unless you understand all this best not to worry about it. I've never seen lock nuts on the dropout screws and the springs are sufficient to hold them. In fact more often they are rusted in place and can't be moved.
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Old 07-25-22, 05:12 AM
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@NewSlang22 - WRT toe-ink. You may or may not be able to make this adjustment. The critical factor is the brake caliper. If it is a casting, like Universal brakes, don't try to adjust by "bending" the caliper arm. It will break.
P1000591 on Flickr

he other option is to use pad holders that have adjustment for toe-in.
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Old 07-25-22, 06:48 PM
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Those set screws are there to help take up chain slack, in other words to set the chain tension. The tension should not be more or less than a half an inch when you push down on the chain in the center. Once you have the tension set correctly then you make sure the axle is aligned.

It took me a little while to find the CORRECT article on the internet that knew what they were talking about, because I can't explain how to set the screws without showing you, and I can't be there to do that. The internet had 2 pages of incorrect information as to what those screws were for. Without further ado please see:

Simple Ways to Adjust Horizontal Dropouts: 13 Steps (wikihow.com)
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Old 07-25-22, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
Those set screws are there to help take up chain slack, in other words to set the chain tension. The tension should not be more or less than a half an inch when you push down on the chain in the center. Once you have the tension set correctly then you make sure the axle is aligned.
How do you make this adjustment on a bike with vertical dropouts?
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Old 07-25-22, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
Those set screws are there to help take up chain slack, in other words to set the chain tension. The tension should not be more or less than a half an inch when you push down on the chain in the center. Once you have the tension set correctly then you make sure the axle is aligned.

It took me a little while to find the CORRECT article on the internet that knew what they were talking about, because I can't explain how to set the screws without showing you, and I can't be there to do that. The internet had 2 pages of incorrect information as to what those screws were for. Without further ado please see:

Simple Ways to Adjust Horizontal Dropouts: 13 Steps (wikihow.com)
This is a reflection on that article, not you, but that's article seems to have been written in a way to almost deliberately confuse the inexperienced. It shows (and links a reference to) a bolt on axle while talking about quick releases, and then shows a wheel with a full cassette (and disc brake?) but no derailer when talking about single speed/fixed gear bikes. It's also referring to track ends, not horizontal dropouts like the OP's bike, though in this case the screws behave in a similar manner, at least for alignment purposes.

The OP's bike is a typical multispeed w/rear derailer bike, so there is nothing they need to do to set chain tension. Just get the wheel centered up, tighten it, and proceed.

Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
How do you make this adjustment on a bike with vertical dropouts?
You don't. The upside of vertical dropouts is that if the frame was made properly to begin with you'll never need to mess with it. The downside is that it has to be done right from the start, and you can't run it as a fixie because there's no way to adequately tension the chain. Of course running fixed on a horizontal dropout isn't exactly ideal, but that isn't to say you can't/I haven't.
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Old 07-25-22, 08:30 PM
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Personally, I use the adjusters to make sure my cog set is as close to the jockey wheel as possible. I also prefer to let the derailleur cage spring do the job of tensioning the chain. But thatís just me.
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Old 07-25-22, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
Those set screws are there to help take up chain slack, in other words to set the chain tension. The tension should not be more or less than a half an inch when you push down on the chain in the center. Once you have the tension set correctly then you make sure the axle is aligned.
OP's bike
​​​​​​https://www.bianchi.com/bike/campagnolo-10sp-compact/

How exactly do the screws set the chain tension on this?
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Old 07-26-22, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
Those set screws are there to help take up chain slack, in other words to set the chain tension. The tension should not be more or less than a half an inch when you push down on the chain in the center. Once you have the tension set correctly then you make sure the axle is aligned.

It took me a little while to find the CORRECT article on the internet that knew what they were talking about, because I can't explain how to set the screws without showing you, and I can't be there to do that. The internet had 2 pages of incorrect information as to what those screws were for. Without further ado please see:

Simple Ways to Adjust Horizontal Dropouts: 13 Steps (wikihow.com)
This is an incredibly misleading article and itís unfortunate you posted it here, where the OP has a multi-speed bike, not a fixie. Even the article you linked to says the derailleur takes up chain tension. On derailleur equipped bikes thatís not what the screws are for.

Last edited by smd4; 07-26-22 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 07-26-22, 08:11 AM
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As others have noted, the wikihow article posted above applies only to single speed bikes and is not relevant for the OPís question.
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Old 07-26-22, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by NewSlang22 View Post
The reason I want to take it to a shop for a tune up is mainly because the rear center-pull break squeaks when using it. Perhaps later on I will find the time to research more on how to regularly maintain my bike but at the moment I just wanted to get my bike set up to be able to ride immediately.
Brake, not break.

If you add up all the time you spent on this thread, removing your wheels, loading your bike, driving to the shop, talking to the guy who hasn't worked on a center-pulls in a month, driving home, talking to the shop on the phone, getting gas, returning to the shop, asking for an explanation on the high cost, removing the wheels, loading the bike, driving home, unloading the bike, and replacing the wheels, you could have easily corrected the issue.

Your bicycle is a very simple machine that responds to very simple procedures that are easy to research, understand, and apply.
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Old 07-26-22, 09:33 AM
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Thank you for the replies! I was able to remove the back wheel just fine without having to adjust the screws. I appreciate all the advice given in this thread. I think I will just leave the screws in the position they are in for now (they appear to be set in the middle). Now I just have to find advice on what to do with all the rust inside this 5 year old frame lol ...
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Old 07-26-22, 10:48 AM
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Old 07-26-22, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
Those set screws are there to help take up chain slack, in other words to set the chain tension. The tension should not be more or less than a half an inch when you push down on the chain in the center. Once you have the tension set correctly then you make sure the axle is aligned.

It took me a little while to find the CORRECT article on the internet that knew what they were talking about, because I can't explain how to set the screws without showing you, and I can't be there to do that. The internet had 2 pages of incorrect information as to what those screws were for. Without further ado please see:

Simple Ways to Adjust Horizontal Dropouts: 13 Steps (wikihow.com)
You should stop posting advice since you obviously have now idea what kind of help the OP needs. His dropout screws are absolutely, definitely not for setting chain tension.
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Old 07-26-22, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
How do you make this adjustment on a bike with vertical dropouts?
Chain tension on a derailleur bike is automatically adjusted by the spring on the derailleur arm, so these bikes have a vertical dropout slot withno adjuster screws. The advantage of the vertical dropout slot is that high chain tension will not cause the wheel to slip forward. I have never seen a vertical dropout with an adjuster screw.
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Old 07-27-22, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
Chain tension on a derailleur bike is automatically adjusted by the spring on the derailleur arm, so these bikes have a vertical dropout slot withno adjuster screws. The advantage of the vertical dropout slot is that high chain tension will not cause the wheel to slip forward. I have never seen a vertical dropout with an adjuster screw.
Most recent derailleur-equipped bikes have vertical slots. However, prior to the 1980s that wasn't as common. In that era, high-end bikes often if not generally used horizontal dropouts with adjustment screws. Here are a couple of examples - note the integral derailleur hanger on each frame:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/264628969278

https://www.ebay.com/itm/255640698091

Horizontal dropouts with adjuster screws were used on some higher-end frames throughout the 1980s. I have a very nice late 1980s frame built that way - and it's definitely intended for use with a derailleur (it also has integral derailleur hanger).

Last edited by Hondo6; 07-27-22 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 07-27-22, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo6 View Post
Most recent derailleur-equipped bikes have vertical slots. However, prior to the 1980s that wasn't as common. In that era, high-end bikes often if not generally used horizontal dropouts with adjustment screws. Here are a couple of examples - note the integral derailleur hanger on each frame:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/264628969278

https://www.ebay.com/itm/255640698091

Horizontal dropouts with adjuster screws were used on some higher-end frames throughout the 1980s. I have a very nice late 1980s frame built that way - and it's definitely intended for use with a derailleur (it also has integral derailleur hanger).
right for horizontal, but the question was about vertical. I have a couple of 80's era bikes with horizontal dropouts with the screws and some without, but a person can adjust for the chain slack without the screws, it's just easier with them, and the skewers have to be strong enough to hold the hub in place without slipping.
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Old 07-27-22, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
right for horizontal, but the question was about vertical.
My question was facetious, since you seemed to suggest that the screws were used to adjust "chain tension" in derailleur-equipped bikes. I was trying to see how you thought such an adjustment could be made in a bike without such screws.

Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
I have a couple of 80's era bikes with horizontal dropouts with the screws and some without, but a person can adjust for the chain slack without the screws, it's just easier with them, and the skewers have to be strong enough to hold the hub in place without slipping.
It *sounds* like you believe the screws are used to adjust chain tension in derailleur equipped bikes. Are your 80's era bikes with horizontal dropouts actually fixies? Or do they have derailleurs?

And you seem a bit distrusting of quick release skewers. Used correctly, they won't slip.
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