Have acquired a cheap old Peugeot road bike from ebay; nice cromo frame, but it needs a new rear wheel and unfortunately I didn't check the dropout size before buying.

It has an OLD of ~120mm, but I am finding it very hard to source any new or second hand wheels that would fit that, and most of those that do seem designed for fixed sprockets. There are plenty of seemingly 'cheap and cheerful' wheels with 135mm hubs that would otherwise be perfect.

Sheldon Brown's article on frame cold-setting makes it sound easy, but I'm worried it'll be hard to adjust each side to be exactly 7.5mm further out and keep the wheel central, even using the string method.

Has anyone got practical experience of this? In addition, will there be any other effects on the running of the bike I've missed?

  • 2
    I would look for wheels with 130mm hubs - these are still quite readily available.
    – DanS
    Aug 16, 2012 at 14:36
  • Velo Orange sells 126mm spaced freewheel hubs and complete wheels (which are of reasonable quality and price). It isn't much of a stretch to fit a 126mm hub in a 120mm frame (though, sealed bearings are less forgiving than loose bearings in terms of dropout alignment. With some patience and a large adjustable wrench you can fit everything pretty spot on).
    – WTHarper
    Aug 16, 2012 at 23:40

3 Answers 3


If you're going to be respacing, I'd suggest an alternative method from sheldon's 2x4 method. Use a threaded rod with washers and nuts. It's far more controlled and easier to keep your frame aligned, plus you can keep it in the stand as you work.

See here

If you need to adjust the dropout alignment, you can adjust thusly

  • 1
    That's pretty slick. It might work even slicker with a turnbuckle or expander of some fashion in the middle, so you could use two pieces of threaded rod, meeting in the middle. The hardware has got to be out there somewhere... Aug 17, 2012 at 0:31
  • 3
    I have done this twice with great success both times. One note is that you need to spread it about 20% wider than the desired width, because once you back the nuts off it will spring back a bit.
    – Matt Adams
    Aug 17, 2012 at 13:25
  • 1
    I just successfully respaced my 1991 Bridgestone RB-T from 126mm to 135mm. I ended up having to bend out the stays to ~185mm (~37% wider than 135mm.) I made sure to bring out to the correct distance a bit at a time so as to not over do it, but it worked quite well.
    – WTHarper
    Nov 29, 2012 at 0:07
  • WT Harper and Matt Adams you have given me the input I need to cold set my 531DB Holdsworth touring frame to 130mm. I already jacked it open to 160mm and it sprung right back to 126. I just need to be a bit more courageous! Fingers crossed.
    – Henry S
    Aug 22, 2021 at 9:59

Sheldon Brown has another article on dropout spacing which you may want to read.

The rear dropouts on road bikes are typically 120mm, 126mm, and 130mm.

135mm is usually found on mountain bikes. If you're planning to use MTB wheels on a road frame, you'll have other concerns besides spreading the dropouts.

So far as I understand it, the rule of thumb says that going up one "size" when it comes to older steel road frames is OK. In other words, go ahead and use 126mm hubs on a steel frame with 120mm dropouts, but maybe not 130mm hubs. Most steel frames have a little flex, which permit the rear dropouts to be spread a few millimeters in order to accept a newer (wider) hub, but going from 120mm to 130mm may cause problems with the dropouts coming out of alignment. Your mileage may vary.

There are other possible solutions. A recent thread on BF mentions off-center rims.

  • I have done the all thread bolt mentioned with good success. I found the 2x4 method worrisome that i would offset one side more than the other.
    – Matt Adams
    Aug 17, 2012 at 4:03
  • Brilliant thanks. I think I was getting 130/135mm confused. Sounds like I might be unwise to try going a whole centimetre; I'll see if I can get some with 126mm hubs maybe.
    – Mark d
    Aug 17, 2012 at 9:32
  • 1
    Actually, you may be able to stretch your spacing by a whole centimeter-try to visualize 5mm per each stay...it really isn't a huge amount of movement. Perhaps start by going from 120mm to 126mm. If it seemed easy and everything is square, maybe the extra 4mm won't kill you. (The abundance of 130mm road hubs is worth the thought!)
    – WTHarper
    Aug 18, 2012 at 13:35

Another possibility: Change the width of the hub. Many hubs have spacers that can be removed so you can convert them to 126 mm or even less. You would have to change/shorten the axle though. I have done that often enough, it is less obtrusive than bending the dropouts.

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