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I am rebuilding a 1971 Raleigh International road frame into a single speed bike for college. I bought a set of track wheels with rear hub spacing 110mm. The rear dropout on the Raleigh is 120mm. Will I be able to cold set the frame, shrinking it 10mm to fit this rear wheel? The frame is Reynolds 531 tubing with a lugged steel construction.

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    10 inches no, 10mm yes (corrected this in you answer for you) Commented May 7, 2020 at 21:03
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    Does this answer your question? Can a (relative) beginner adjust spacing on a 501 cromo road frame? - 10mm is likey too far as the dropout won;t be parrallel. Adding spacers to the hub (may need a longer new axle) would be my preference.
    – mattnz
    Commented May 7, 2020 at 22:15
  • As a side note, the MTB Super Boost standard has 157mm wide rear hubs. 10 inches, or 254mm, would really be a lot of cold setting.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 0:58
  • Are you stuck on using the track wheels? They may not have very good rim braking tracks, leaving you at risk.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 1:22
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    @Criggie a track wheel presumably has fixed gear and does not need a rear brake.
    – ojs
    Commented May 19, 2020 at 13:35

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One solution might be to add a larger 5mm spacer on the axle, between the outside of the cone-nut and the inside of the locknut.

The risks here are that your axle may suffer from bending easier because its now supporting the bike's weight further out. Also, you'll probably need a longer axle too because the track wheels are unlikely to have much spare. Get the strongest axle you can, and I'd suspect a solid axle with nuts will be better than a hollow QR axle.

You could also do both, slightly compress the frame and have 2~3mm of spacers rather than the full 5mm a side, to minimise parallelism changes in the rear dropouts.

From https://www.sheldonbrown.com/cone-adjustment.html
Spacers are marked on this image of a replacement rear axle.

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    Great answer. And just fy James, make sure you get bicycle specific spacers; don't use washers from your local hardware store ;)
    – sam
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 2:39
  • @Sam Why not? I'd argue, because the spacer doesn't take any significant loads, a stack of steel washers will be just fine. In fact, when looking online you will find lots of axle spacers made of aluminium.
    – user430
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 9:50
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    I remember reading, that QR axles are more resistant against bending and breaking than solid axles because of the pre-tensioning. I'll try to find a source
    – user430
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 10:31
  • @user430 its possible - I was thinking more of touring bikes, but either way a strong axle makes sense when its cantilevering the load out more than normal.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 11:35

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