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File down Left rear dropout, or add metal tape to the Right dropout?

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File down Left rear dropout, or add metal tape to the Right dropout?

Old 10-03-20, 06:03 PM
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File down Left rear dropout, or add metal tape to the Right dropout?

The rear wheel leans to the left as you can see in the photo. The wheel itself is true, and other wheels result in the same problem. . Even if the problem is with the frame and fixing it is possible, such a job would probably be expensive. How many of you recommend filing away the Left rear drop out a little? I would prefer that to choose this option, because I think I would have to file away 2mm if not more of the aluminum. Therefore, how about if I add metal tape to the Right dropout? This would mean the quick release would be seated away from the center of that dropout by 2 to 3mm. I thought about buying a new frame, but not interested in spending the money at this time. The bike rides fine as is.

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Old 10-03-20, 06:59 PM
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I’d say don’t file it unless your cool with an uneven surface.
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Old 10-03-20, 07:00 PM
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What make and model of bike is it?
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Old 10-03-20, 07:41 PM
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If the bike "rides fine as is," why mess with it?

If it really bugs you, the better option is to put a thin washer on the qr skewer on the left side, on the inside of the dropout.
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Old 10-03-20, 09:56 PM
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Check the dish of the wheel.
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Old 10-03-20, 10:04 PM
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Your picture doesn't really say a whole lot. What kind of frame? Have you checked the wheel for dish and measured the frame for straight? Are you certain the wheel is sitting fully in the dropouts? There's several issues that you could have which may call for certain solutions. Is it off to the left at the chainstays?
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Old 10-04-20, 01:54 AM
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Yeah, the wheel might be vertical. Check the dropouts are equal distance from the centreline of the frame.
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Old 10-04-20, 06:49 AM
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Put the same wheel in the wrong way round (so with the drive side on the left). If it's still too far left then there's a problem with the frame. If it's now too far to the right then the wheel is under-dished.

If the wheel is under-dished add 1/4 turn of tension to the drive side all the way around and true it again.

If it is the frame you will only have to file a tiny bit off as the effect is greatly magnified. So this will be an easy fix. Take small steps and sneak up on it.

The problem is you may only be fixing a visual problem. It depends what the real error is. If the wheel is offset to one side but in a parallel plane to that of the front wheel then it will look too far left but it's better there than if you now tilt it as well to realign the top. You only want to tilt it if it's currently tilted and you're straightening it up.

It can be very hard to figure out what the problem is. Is it also too far left on the CS or only on the SS? If so then tilting may be the correct fix.

You may also have some luck if you investigate things with the help of a laser level box.
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Old 10-04-20, 06:55 AM
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Thank you for the thorough response. I will investigate further.
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Old 10-04-20, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by NachosGrande
The rear wheel leans to the left as you can see in the photo. The wheel itself is true, and other wheels result in the same problem. . Even if the problem is with the frame and fixing it is possible, such a job would probably be expensive. How many of you recommend filing away the Left rear drop out a little? I would prefer that to choose this option, because I think I would have to file away 2mm if not more of the aluminum. Therefore, how about if I add metal tape to the Right dropout? This would mean the quick release would be seated away from the center of that dropout by 2 to 3mm. I thought about buying a new frame, but not interested in spending the money at this time. The bike rides fine as is.

a few mm offset at the rim translates to a fraction of a mm at the dropout. Ballparking numbers here, If you want to shift your rim 2mm to the right, you’ll need to remove 2x(dropout width/dropout-to-rim distance) mm from the left dropout or add the equivalent thickness to the right dropout. The logic is that you’re essentially rotating the wheel around one dropout. I’d experiment with a couple of layered beercan shims in the right dropout first. A fastened-in wheel would keep them in place and you can check your shim thickness without doing anything irreversible to the frame
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Old 10-04-20, 09:54 AM
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I would also add that the difference is tiny and you can only see it because the tyre is so thick and nearly fills the space available. It's easier to see the difference when it's a larger proportion of the total gap.

And usually even if the rim is true the tyre is not very true. If you spin it around you will probably see that gap changing quite a bit.

So just be careful before breaking out the file as the frame is really basically fine!
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Old 10-04-20, 12:42 PM
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I had the same problem with my bike when it was new. The offset caused the bike to pull noticeably to one side. After much measuring and I may even have resorted to some prayer, I carefully used a round file on the dropout. I would file a bit and measure a bit until the wheel was centered. As mentioned above, the geometry is such that a fraction of a mm at the dropout translated to ,say, 3 or 4 times as much at the rim so if you elect to file, proceed very carefully and slowly.
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Old 10-04-20, 12:58 PM
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If you don't have anything abnormal feeling in your riding, then you may after you "fix" it.

There are too many reasons why it might be to one side more than the other. Some have been mentioned.

Just don't be looking at this while you ride. After the ride, clean the bike.... maybe, then put it out of sight and out of mind. Generally, I recommend only fixing issues that are causing problems or about to cause a problem. I can't think of any this is causing or about to cause.
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Old 10-04-20, 11:54 PM
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I had a similar problem on the fork of a Dahon bike.

First: make sure, really sure, that the problem isn't the wheel or any other thing.

If you're really sure the problem is the dropout na dthe dropout is made from metal instead of carbon, you can use a small file on the dropout (it's what I did on the mentioned Dahon). But DON'T FILE 2mm of it. The distance between the dropouts is less than the wheel diameter, so you'll be ok with a fraction of that. Go slow, really slow, and mount the wheel repeatedly to check how it's coming during the process.

If the dropout is made of carbon, I wouldn't dare to file it..
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Old 10-06-20, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
There are too many reasons why it might be to one side more than the other. Some have been mentioned.
I'm really curious what else you reckon it could be other than wheel out of dish and/or dropouts unequal height and/or dropouts unequal distance from centreline.
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Old 10-07-20, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo
I'm really curious what else you reckon it could be other than wheel out of dish and/or dropouts unequal height and/or dropouts unequal distance from centreline.
Axle/bearing/spacers assembled wrong or incorrect part somewhere in the mix.

Still.... even if it's wrong, is it creating any actual issues for riding? If not, then don't worry much about it. Fix if the actual cause is ever discovered.

I absolutely will not file on the dropouts unless I could prove to that they are out of whack by measuring in a manner that doesn't depend on assuming the wheel is correct.
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Old 10-07-20, 09:37 AM
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I am in complete agreement with everyone else that the either the wheel in total or the spacing or the dishing will be the issue.

I had this issue with a really cheap bike and asked on here about filing a drop out. IIRC, since a wheel set is usually cheaper and can be replaced whereas adding material back to a drop out will be more expensive Randy Jawa suggested instead I file the thread on the axle. About two passes with a file on the high side fixed that.

Last edited by WGB; 10-07-20 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 10-07-20, 10:59 AM
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I have run into situations where a wheel we built is dished perfect center but the frame just isn't centered. In those cases we have dished the wheel slightly to line up with the frame.

Also sometimes a correctly dished wheel can move under high pressure with the tire mounted. Never more than a mm or so but it can account for what you're seeing.

Have a good shop check it and then dish the wheel correctly under pressure to match your bike....or ride the sized tires it was all designed around - just sayin...
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Old 10-07-20, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
Axle/bearing/spacers assembled wrong or incorrect part somewhere in the mix.
I'd call that a subcategory of dish, but okay...

You can do some good stuff with spacing on a cup and cone axle (generally much less scope with cartridge); often there's a bit of spare space between the chain on top gear and the dropout you can swap for more NDS tension. Or you can squeeze a couple mm more OLD in a lot of frames without much trouble.
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Old 10-10-20, 12:54 PM
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Is this a new wheel? New frame? Old with new problem?

Are the dropouts painted? The difference could simply be a slight variation in paint thickness. Or maybe the paint chipped off on one side and now that side sits a little higher.

It looks like the front wheel? Try flipping it and see if the dish shifts to the other side.
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