This blog doesn't bring you here to hear my opinions on nicknames, you come here to look for the glaring grammatical errors that surround my bike prose - and presumably you want to know something about bikes.
Today I'm going to explain how to spread dropouts on a steel frame. There is plenty of info out there that is written down, but not nearly as much with pictures, so hopefully what I do here will help someone else.
When I was doing my research on the NuVinci hub, I noticed that It was 135mm wide - and when I measured the frame I planned to install it in, the dropouts measured 130. I waited to get the hub before I made any changes to the frame, hoping that I could muscle the extra 2.5mm on each side.
|That's a big hub right there - but not as big as the old version.|
Since you are reading a post about cold setting a bicycle frame, I'm pretty sure you figured out that I am a noodle armed weakling and couldn't make it work. I needed to to widen the dropouts in order to install the wheel, and I decided to bring you along. Cold setting isn't particularly hard, you just have to be careful. This is the second time I've done it; the first time was to allow my Falcon to accept a modern Freehub rear wheel.
Before I go any further, I just want to say that if you follow these instructions, it is at your own risk. Do not try to set any frame other than steel, and to be honest, you probably shouldn't even do that based on my advice. If you choose to follow me it is at your own risk.
First, you will need a long piece of allthread. This is available at your local hardware store, along with the nuts and washers you will need. Buy four nuts and 4 washers. I like to use 4 because I feel like it helps to distribute the force to the dropouts evenly. The other nuts are so you can keep track of your washers.
This homemade tool can also double as a headset press if you buy a long enough piece of allthread.
You will also need a digital caliper or some other measuring device.
|This tool cost like $4.00|
Put the nuts and washers onto the allthread. Nuts first, then washers.
(It's the opposite way to press in a headset.)
Put into dropouts and snug the nuts against the washers. Finger tight only.
|Make a mark on the thread and the nut so you know how many rotations you have made|
Use two crescent wrenches to make sure you are making the turns equal.
Next step, turn. Make sure you turn each nut equally. Turn right side, then turn left. Repeat.
After about 5 equal turns on each side, I measure again. It often takes fewer turns that you think, so check often. For me, 2.5mm on each side took approximately 25 turns.
And that is really all it takes to cold set a steel bicycle frame. Careful measurement is important, because you don't want to go over the size you need and then go back - that is unnesscesary stress on the rear stays.
|Like a glove|
I don't think that cold setting a frame is a bad modification to make to an older bike. I feel like it's an easily reversible change, and generally we are only talking a few millimeters of change. There are many really nice older steel frames out there, and cold setting gives you the option to build the bike with a modern drivetrain.