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Cold Setting

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Cold Setting

Old 08-26-20, 05:45 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by Rizaa View Post
Hi, can you please elaborate more on this? Thanks
There's a recent thread, either here in C&V or over in the Mechanics section, showcasing alternative methods people use to center their rims. Stacks of books with sockets/spacers, home-made centering gauges, etc.
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Old 08-26-20, 07:11 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
Rizaa, let me give you a bit more information on steel frame alignment and cold setting. I'm a framebuilder and painter that has aligned hundreds of frames in my long career. I would be surprised if your frame is perfectly aligned. My experience has shown that the majority of steel frame leave the factory or shop somewhat out of true. The exceptions would be some Japanese frames and expensive custom frames. And if a frame is well used something in its history makes it worse. The heat involved in brazing or tig welding pulls the tubes in the direction of wherever the heat is applied. It is the skill of the builder that everything ends up in plane and the dropouts equidistant from that plane. Usually this involves many little cold sets during the build. Because it requires extra time and effort to get it spot on, most frames are usually not. It is a myth that cold setting hurts a frame. For example forks are bent a lot to get its curve.

Properly aligning a frame is not a simple task and requires special tools. Professional builders will have some kind of big accurate surface plate as a foundation to check alignment. This piece of equipment would be very rare in an ordinary bicycle shop. The process starts by taping and facing the bottom bracket shell. Then the frame is attached to the surface plate and each tube is checked to see that it is parallel to the table. It is especially important that the seat tube be 90ļ to the threads in the BB shell because if it is not, that can put can twist the flats of your pedals putting a strain on your knees. Next the dropouts are checked and adjusted so their inside surface is equidistant from the center of the frame. There are a variety of tools that can check that. Then dropout alignment tools are used to bend the faces parallel to each other and a rear derailleur hanger tool makes sure the derailleur hanger is square with a wheel. After all that adjustment the entire frame should be checked to make sure everything is still right. I don't know any of my colleagues that charge as little as $30 to do a full alignment.

As others have already mentioned, I commonly spread 120 5 speed spacing to 126 6 speed spacing back in the early 80's. When 130 became the standard for 8 speeds (and more) than I was often asked to spread 126 to 130. You would have to look very close to notice any tiny amount of bend in the stays.
Listen to Doug. He knows what he's talking about. The rest of us are just hacks.

But seriously Rizaa , Doug's description is what it would take you to get a perfectly straight bike and I think he deliberately stayed away from the conversation about home cold setting since there is no way to guarantee it would get to a framebuilder's level of alignment. You can get pretty close with doing it at home and come away with a safe and fun bike.

It seems that you are concerned with attempting it. Is it because you want the bike perfect, are scared of damage, or just would rather not attempt this type of work? 1 and 3 are reasonable preferences. Follow Sheldon's guide and you don't need to worry about 2.
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Old 08-26-20, 07:23 PM
  #53  
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I would remove a 1mm spacer from each side of the hub and slide it right in.
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Old 08-26-20, 07:39 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by busdriver1959 View Post
Do any of your bikes have curved fork blades? If so, you should probably pitch them to the curb. Those fork blades came from the supplier as straight blades and were bent (cold set) to their current shape.
Of course they do. But they weren't cold set with makeshift tools, imprecise measurements and brute force on my garage floor.

Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
How about 120mm to 135mm? Has that been done successfully?
Of course it has. If the "mechanic" gets the hub in the frame it's a success. Meanwhile the pros like Doug go though a lot of effort to get it right. That's why I said I wouldn't do it, or want a bike it was done to. It's ok with me if others are satisfied with their results.
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Old 08-26-20, 07:48 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by rjhammett View Post
I would remove a 1mm spacer from each side of the hub and slide it right in.
The best option wrt. wheel dish and rim centering, certainly. It would move the cassette/freewheel 1mm toward the stays, so clearance might be an issue. Definitely worth a dry run, anyway.
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Old 08-26-20, 07:53 PM
  #56  
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I'm not offering this as advice--these other guys know more than me--and I'm talking about gut feelings rather than data, but I'll be damned if I don't feel somehow invested in this debate.

​​​​​​​I find I have a strong bias toward the "squeeze it in" school. I feel that a 130mm hub should work fine in a 126mm frame, and that the only compelling reason to cold set is if you care about ease of sliding the wheel in--which often isn't that much of a problem. I don't even feel convinced by arguments about parallel dropouts, as the QR and chain forces seem like they'd flex the stays rather than put the dropouts out of plane.
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Old 08-26-20, 08:27 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
You don't need an "expert" to center a rim. You don't even need a rim-centering gauge. Chainline is an issue no matter what option you choose, since you're employing more cogs than what the bike had originally.
So I agree with you. But if one doesn't know how to go about centering a rim or where to read up on it and to absorb the lessons, at that moment one does not have the needed expertise. If one has the inherent skill to try it and learn from the effort and mistakes and get through it with some success, one has learned a few things.

"Expert" is a relative term. I'm not a professional wheel builder, but when I get a new-to-me wheel I check if it is true, is dished and has even tension tension and I work methodically to improve some of the problems I find. Am I a real expert? Not compared to a person in Doug Fattic's class. Do I have some expertise? Yes.

Is it enough that folks are motivated to pay me for my golden words? Not so far!

What about for cold-setting? I have several frames that have been cold-set, done by local professionals, cep for the one done by Ron Boi. I don't have his skills and knowledge, he's up there with Doug Fattic. I can take a set of H-wrenches and check my dropout alignment, and to use a string test to check rear-triangle matching, and I can use a derailleur alignment gauge. Expert? No. Able to work capably in a limited capacity on frames? Yes.
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Old 08-26-20, 08:29 PM
  #58  
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Back in the late 70ís or early 80ís (I donít remember exactly) the New England Cycling Academy (commonly known by its anacronym NECA) came out with a system to align cleats on shoes. They originally developed a system to convert body measurements in a bicycle position. The problem they discovered with their cleat system was that so many steel frames were so badly out of alignment that they couldnít properly position cleats. The reason cleat position was important (especially in the era before floating cleats) was that improper cleat placement could develop knee problems. And so can out of alignment frames. That lead NECA to come out with a frame alignment system they sold to bicycle stores along with their other goodies. This expensive system lost popularity as steel as a frame material declined. There must be some of these NECA alignment systems gathering dust in bicycle stores somewhere. It is also possible that some bicycle store has an owner that was/is interested in building frames and has the kind of equipment that can properly align frames. It is unlikely that a typical store even has a Park Frame Alignment Gage (a long straight edge with an adjustable pointer) with dropout alignment cups. As has already been mentioned that is the minimum it would take (along with a dropout hanger tool) to properly spread a rear triangle. Along with someone in the store that knows how to use them. Although better shops might.

The best approach is to try and find a framebuilder close by. They will have both the knowledge and experience to do the best job. A variation of a solution already mentioned is to use a 7 speed Shimano freewheel or freehub with a Campy 8 speed shifter system. They both have the same cog spacing.

Here is a picture of one of my alignment tables. I have 2 (this is a cast iron one I brought back from England after learning to build frames there) and an aluminum one so I can teach 2 students how to build frames in the same class. The surface gage in the foreground is for checking main triangle tube alignment. The black tool by the dropouts checks that they are equidistant to the plane of the frame. And the Campy ďHĒ tools (partly hidden behind the black tool) assist in bending dropouts parallel to each other. By the way H tools got their name because in old Campy catalogs, Campy tools were identified by a letter instead of number and their dropout alignment cups just happened to fall on the page between tools G and I. The frame is one Iím making for a nephew. Because this is a frame in progress, the head tube has not been cut to length yet.

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Old 08-26-20, 08:37 PM
  #59  
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I have a Tange Infinity frame that I coldset back in 2001 because I wanted to put Veloce 9-speed groupset on it. I realigned the dropouts at the same time. It's still riding fine.

I have a Tange 5 frame that I had converted to a touring bike also with 9-cogs in the rear. Before I coldset that frame I was riding it with the 130mm hub forced into the 126mm dropouts. That stopped after flatting one very hot day. The wheel came out without too much problem, the new tube was put inand the tire pumped up. Then came the fun part of trying to get that wheel back into the dropouts. Fortunately at that time the bike had aero brake levers on it and thus I was able to turn the bike over. I ended up having to lean on the wheel with my upper body and push hard whilst trying to spread the frame enough fopr the wheel to go in. It finally did. I'll never squeeze a 130mm wheel into 126mm dropouts without coldsetiting the frame first.

Cheers
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Old 08-26-20, 08:37 PM
  #60  
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Doug Fattic is correct. To align a frame properly a well equipped framebuilder with a surface table or equivalent and other special tools is required.

However, a well equipped bike shop that knows what they are doing is good enough for most purposes for realigning your rear stays a couple mm. If, for example, your seat tube and head tube are already cattywampus, they aren't going to get any better, but in general the resulting alignment should be as good as before. It is important to realign the dropouts and the hanger. Misaligned dropouts can potentially cause broken axles, broken dropouts, and broken chainstays. Misaligned hangers mean the rear derailleur will never shift as well as it could.

Anyhow, if a bike is really super expensive, and/or the bike is not tracking well or doesn't ride no hands, it may be worth taking to a framebuilder. For a simple 126 to 130 conversion, IMHO a good bike shop with the right tools can do it well enough. The main problem may be that a good bike shop with people that have steel frame experience has become increasingly rare.
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Old 08-27-20, 09:54 AM
  #61  
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A natural question for a bike enthusiast to ask is how important is frame alignment and/or what difference does it make? Of course this kind of discussion falls more into the area of attitude and opinion instead of empirical evidence. What I can say is that some modern day shifting problems are related to rear derailleur misalignment. And some knee issues can be traced back to a leaning seat tube that results in pedal platforms being twisted. But how does alignment effect performance and handling is a difficult question to answer because the evidence is antidotal.

I can also tell you from years of reconditioning frames that many frames are out of alignment and it is not uncommon for them to be badly out of alignment. During the classic era in Europe, some builders had really modest equipment and were required to make them quickly in order to make any money. I can also say that I have ridden many of those bikes before and after I have worked on them. I have also asked some of my customers if they could tell any difference. And of course the results are mixed. Not surprisingly sometimes they would say they could tell a real difference and sometimes they couldn’t.

I believe it does make some difference but not a dramatic difference.For me it is not an important question because I have always had the right tools and whether repainting a frame or making a new one, I can get it right.By the way there is no such thing as perfect alignment because tubes all have issues of some kind.It is normal for them to be curved 1/16” or more.Most production frames were considered within tolerance if they were out less than 3mms.Most custom build hold to a standard of less than 1 mm.
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Old 08-27-20, 10:23 AM
  #62  
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I have a seat of the pants test before measuring things.
There is a nice straight descent near my house, ride a section no hands. If the bike drifts and or shimmys ( pretty often upon purchase)
I then check the system. there are so many variables, and riders are very adaptive to out of whack bikes.
Rear triangles off to one side are up there.
Wheels that are not in-line are probably the most common.
Then forks.
Fortunately twists in the frame are not common. I avoid frames that have endured a frontal impact, almost always a bit of twist.
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Old 08-27-20, 04:07 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Snipped
I avoid frames that have endured a frontal impact, almost always a bit of twist.
I have a very nice red Bianchi that was given to me because it had hit a stopped car. There is a slight bend in the toptube and in the downtube at the headtube.

I put wheels on the bike and tried riding it in a parking lot. Interestingly enough it's very easy to ride the bike with no hands on the handlebar and the rear wheel tracks the front wheel perfectly. I determined that by riding through some standing water and then looking at the tire track after.

I liked the ride and feel of that bike so much that I've restored it with Suntour Cyclone components.
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Old 08-27-20, 08:02 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@tiger1964, you can make dropout alignment tools with common materials. I haven't done it, but you can find someone to tell you how. The same is true of a derailleur hanger alignment tool. I just bought the Park tools, and I don't regret it.
I just saw a bunch of videos on these different alignment tools especially explained by RJ bike guy on YouTube. I know I've made or fabricated certain tools for say rear trailing up bushings for my older M3 which worked out quite well.
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Old 08-27-20, 08:06 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
There's a recent thread, either here in C&V or over in the Mechanics section, showcasing alternative methods people use to center their rims. Stacks of books with sockets/spacers, home-made centering gauges, etc.
I'll check those readings out. Thanks for the heads up. Just trued both my wheels today. Tried to take my wheels in but they're booked out for 3 weeks. took quite a bit of effort and time but patience is the key to get it close enough I guess.
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Old 08-27-20, 08:09 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Good to hear, and sorry to hijack the OP's topic. I may follow up with you on details. I'm thinking I might need to locate an affordable drop-out aligner tools, to figure out how to fabricate.

One of the 4 bikes I am embarking on, all concurrent, is a 1974 Falcon, seems like a nice frame. My daydream is outfit it with nice period components, but an Alfine hub (hence 135mm).
No need for apologies. I believe these threads are to help each other out from knowledgeable members here. I do have to say I think I've learnt a lot in just a few days from member guidance then trying to read separate articles or threads.
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Old 08-27-20, 08:30 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
Listen to Doug. He knows what he's talking about. The rest of us are just hacks.

But seriously Rizaa , Doug's description is what it would take you to get a perfectly straight bike and I think he deliberately stayed away from the conversation about home cold setting since there is no way to guarantee it would get to a framebuilder's level of alignment. You can get pretty close with doing it at home and come away with a safe and fun bike.

It seems that you are concerned with attempting it. Is it because you want the bike perfect, are scared of damage, or just would rather not attempt this type of work? 1 and 3 are reasonable preferences. Follow Sheldon's guide and you don't need to worry about 2.
Hi tricky, its actually option one and two that concerns me. The reason that I am not trying it myself is because I don't have the specific tools. From a financial standpoint, It makes more sense to give it to someone who has them and can actually get it right if I am not performing this tasking a bunch of times. If I had the tools, I'd say that I am very competent and would take my time to get it right even if it takes time. Option Two is because I'd have to leave the frame over at bike shop rather than seeing the bikeshop perform the task in front of me due to their backlog. I am planning on taking this to the shop on Saturday who has requested to inspect the frame before moving forward. I have watched RJ the bike guys video on YouTube and feel that it might be a more precise way to go rather than the 2x4 if the shop doesn't seem competent enough. Whats your thought here? Thanks
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Old 08-27-20, 08:34 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by rjhammett View Post
I would remove a 1mm spacer from each side of the hub and slide it right in.
I've thought about doing that as well and one of the reasons for mentioning that in the thread but like its mentioned that a 1mm spacer on the drive side would bring the cassette closer to the right which may impact shifting performance?
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Old 08-27-20, 08:46 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
So I agree with you. But if one doesn't know how to go about centering a rim or where to read up on it and to absorb the lessons, at that moment one does not have the needed expertise. If one has the inherent skill to try it and learn from the effort and mistakes and get through it with some success, one has learned a few things.

"Expert" is a relative term. I'm not a professional wheel builder, but when I get a new-to-me wheel I check if it is true, is dished and has even tension tension and I work methodically to improve some of the problems I find. Am I a real expert? Not compared to a person in Doug Fattic's class. Do I have some expertise? Yes.

Is it enough that folks are motivated to pay me for my golden words? Not so far!

What about for cold-setting? I have several frames that have been cold-set, done by local professionals, cep for the one done by Ron Boi. I don't have his skills and knowledge, he's up there with Doug Fattic. I can take a set of H-wrenches and check my dropout alignment, and to use a string test to check rear-triangle matching, and I can use a derailleur alignment gauge. Expert? No. Able to work capably in a limited capacity on frames? Yes.
This description here is exactly what I would describe myself as well but am open to trying new things if need be. Doug Fattic seems to be very knowledgable and an expert. knowledge gained from decades of experience.
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Old 08-27-20, 08:49 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Doug Fattic is correct. To align a frame properly a well equipped framebuilder with a surface table or equivalent and other special tools is required.

However, a well equipped bike shop that knows what they are doing is good enough for most purposes for realigning your rear stays a couple mm. If, for example, your seat tube and head tube are already cattywampus, they aren't going to get any better, but in general the resulting alignment should be as good as before. It is important to realign the dropouts and the hanger. Misaligned dropouts can potentially cause broken axles, broken dropouts, and broken chainstays. Misaligned hangers mean the rear derailleur will never shift as well as it could.

Anyhow, if a bike is really super expensive, and/or the bike is not tracking well or doesn't ride no hands, it may be worth taking to a framebuilder. For a simple 126 to 130 conversion, IMHO a good bike shop with the right tools can do it well enough. The main problem may be that a good bike shop with people that have steel frame experience has become increasingly rare.
I agree with what you said. This skill seems to be very limited and out of 5 shops that I've called, only two are willing while one has tools and the other one probably will try to eye ball it.
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Old 08-27-20, 09:25 PM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by Rizaa View Post
This description here is exactly what I would describe myself as well but am open to trying new things if need be. Doug Fattic seems to be very knowledgable and an expert. knowledge gained from decades of experience.
That's all good! I like to try new things, as well. If I was going to try to fully align one of my frames, I'd go get a Paterek manual or similar, and start reading. I would prefer not to experiment with a $3000 frame, as you can imagine! Luckily I have an old Super Course lying in a corner of the basement ...
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Old 08-27-20, 10:19 PM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
A natural question for a bike enthusiast to ask is how important is frame alignment and/or what difference does it make? Of course this kind of discussion falls more into the area of attitude and opinion instead of empirical evidence. What I can say is that some modern day shifting problems are related to rear derailleur misalignment. And some knee issues can be traced back to a leaning seat tube that results in pedal platforms being twisted. But how does alignment effect performance and handling is a difficult question to answer because the evidence is antidotal.

I can also tell you from years of reconditioning frames that many frames are out of alignment and it is not uncommon for them to be badly out of alignment. During the classic era in Europe, some builders had really modest equipment and were required to make them quickly in order to make any money. I can also say that I have ridden many of those bikes before and after I have worked on them. I have also asked some of my customers if they could tell any difference. And of course the results are mixed. Not surprisingly sometimes they would say they could tell a real difference and sometimes they couldn’t.

I believe it does make some difference but not a dramatic difference.For me it is not an important question because I have always had the right tools and whether repainting a frame or making a new one, I can get it right.By the way there is no such thing as perfect alignment because tubes all have issues of some kind.It is normal for them to be curved 1/16” or more.Most production frames were considered within tolerance if they were out less than 3mms.Most custom build hold to a standard of less than 1 mm.
Doug Fattic , Thank you Sir for providing an in depth information from your experience. I really appreciate you and the members taking time to provide knowledge to us new members. I know like me before joining the forum, these kinds of threads are a gold mine for helping fix or build our setup.

Last edited by Rizaa; 08-27-20 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 08-27-20, 10:24 PM
  #73  
Rizaa
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
I have a seat of the pants test before measuring things.
There is a nice straight descent near my house, ride a section no hands. If the bike drifts and or shimmys ( pretty often upon purchase)
I then check the system. there are so many variables, and riders are very adaptive to out of whack bikes.
Rear triangles off to one side are up there.
Wheels that are not in-line are probably the most common.
Then forks.
Fortunately twists in the frame are not common. I avoid frames that have endured a frontal impact, almost always a bit of twist.
I agree. There are many variables that play into the placebo effect.
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Old 08-27-20, 10:45 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
That's all good! I like to try new things, as well. If I was going to try to fully align one of my frames, I'd go get a Paterek manual or similar, and start reading. I would prefer not to experiment with a $3000 frame, as you can imagine! Luckily I have an old Super Course lying in a corner of the basement ...

Thank you for that update. I'll see if I can find a soft copy. I may try it on my wife's bike .
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Old 08-28-20, 06:03 AM
  #75  
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[QUOTE=AlmostTrick;21662951]Of course they do. But they weren't cold set with makeshift tools, imprecise measurements and brute force on my garage floor.

Actually, I bend mine on a form I made myself out of maple, using two old fork blades stuffed inside each other for extra leverage. I typically do this in the attic, not the garage. Only because thatís where the bender is stored.
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