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This is a 90's aluminium frame with 130mm spacing between dropouts which originally had a 7 speed cassette. 2 years ago I changed the rear wheel for a standard 135mm and put a 9 speed drivetrain. I removed a left side bolt to reduce the OLD, it is about 131/132 mm so the frame does not stretch much. The wheel is a bit off centred due but the bike drives very well regardless. A couple of weeks back I noticed my quick release was not tight enough and the wheel was moving a bit. I tightened and kept riding.

First issue: I took the wheel out today and saw that the dropouts were marked by the axle nuts. The marks are deeper on the chain side, where it pulls. Also the present marks make me wonder if the axle nuts are too small in diameter and if I should add washers or a larger nut to bite on more dropout surface.

Second issue: More importantly the inside of the dropouts are marked and on the derailleur side there is a chunk of metal gone which means that when the QR is not in place and tightening, the wheel can move back and forth in the dropout.

See this video to see axle moving in the dropout at 1 minute.

Questions:

  • Can I ride this bike? I can't think of any risk, the dropouts are chunky and the QR grip tights. but still asking for safety
  • Can I do anything to prevent the wear on the sides of the dropouts? Washers? Larger axle nut to bite onto more dropout surface so that it does not sink into the aluminium?
  • What should I do about the inside of the dropouts? Tempted to do either do nothing or add some araldite where the metal is missing and filing the marks from the axle thread?

All photos here:

enter image description here https://ibb.co/V2qfmTy

enter image description here https://ibb.co/JqLhCS3

enter image description here https://ibb.co/kGq3Ygm

enter image description here https://ibb.co/qmwJDFy

enter image description here https://ibb.co/8D7FYzj

enter image description here https://ibb.co/FDD3tQH

enter image description here https://ibb.co/prHdG0g

enter image description here https://ibb.co/4VDvDFt

enter image description here https://ibb.co/GFW4Kpt

enter image description here https://ibb.co/gg7Z5Gw

Thanks a ton, the bike is very dear to me.

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  • 1
    Aside - second-last photo shows a loose bolt on your parcel rack stay.
    – Criggie
    Apr 30 at 0:47
  • 2
    Thanks Criggie, this was unscrewed on purpose to ensure the rack was not pushing in anyway on the chainstay while analysing the situation.
    – tweedi
    Apr 30 at 9:00
  • The last two photos gave me a hint, but I see MattNZ had already has an answer for what we are seeing 👇 Apr 30 at 22:32

4 Answers 4

8

Looks likely the main problem you have is caused by the left side axle protruding too far, meaning the QR would not have clamped the dropout. You need to center the axle.

The other answers go into the detail you needed to consider once this fix is applied.

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    This was my first thought too, looks like the axle is short on one side and long on the other. Someone has repacked the bearings, and not taken care in dis/reassembly. Until this is ruled out the other answers are redundant. Apr 30 at 22:28
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  • Running a 135mm hub in a 130mm aluminum frame is the bad kind of hack even it seems to be functional. It will always cause additional stress to the bearings and will always cause additional dropout fatigue. Drive side dropouts are one of the places on almost any bike most likely to fail from fatigue eventually with use and this added stress only makes it worse. It is true that in some cases a custom built wheel is the only way of avoiding this problem when a replacement wheel is needed, and this bike might be one of them if it wants a hybrid width rim but a 130mm hub (although now that wide road rims are in vogue, you might be able to find something off the shelf). This point more relates to your wish to keep this bike going, but the fact that the dropouts are being forced to run misaligned by the hub does only make the other problems worse. This is a good example of the sort of aluminum frame that has very big, stiff, plate-like dropouts that simply don't want to be smooshed back to being parallel when the hub between them is splaying them apart. That is only going to reduce the friction developed between the locknuts and the dropouts, although how much it's contributing to your issues is hard to say.
  • Problems with enlargement or wallowing of the dropout slots as seen here usually originate with a bad and/or under-tightened QR skewer. The kind of external QR pictured is just the sort that can easily do it. I would recommend replacing it with a good quality internal one such as any Shimano. Get a mountain one if you're staying with the 135 hub or a road if you switch to a 130 one. Good internal skewers can be trusted to prevent slipping forward, as seen on any horizontal dropout bike. External ones often have issues with this - not always, but misaligned dropouts make it worse, and your dropouts are by definition misaligned. Again, you're introducing a chaotic element by running the 135 hub and there's not a guaranteed solution until that changes.

To put it in perspective, I've seen a couple different situations where someone's carbon frame got the dropouts wallowed out because of an under-tightened external cam skewer, causing the wheel to be able to get cocked sideways in the frame under load, and the problem was able to be solved by just putting a Shimano one on. In such cases there is still the choice of either having to center the wheel by eye during wheel changes or rebuilding the dropout with something so the vertical dropouts auto-center it as intended. You can do that with any reasonably tough material, like globbing on some epoxy and knocking it back down with sandpaper and dropout alignment tools to remake the slot. It doesn't need to be strongly load-bearing if the QR is doing its job. In your case this would all work out in presumably the same way if the hub spacing was correct, but in my mind the 135-ness mated with aluminum dropouts of that sort creates an element of uncertainty.

If you were going to go shopping for a practical prebuilt 130 wheel with a rim in the width category this bike probably wants, the category that does exist are clydesdale type road wheels, i.e. something with a road hub and a rim that's usually more classified touring/cross. This category is still usually a mid-priced road wheel, so not cheap per se, but still less than custom. This category has always been somewhat fringe and you might not have a lot of luck finding one now that disc gets all the attention, but it does exist. The shop I work at for example has one or two around with Tiagra or 105 hubs and Velocity Atlas rims.

5

None of this seems like the problem to me. The surface gouges seem normal. If the wheel is sturdy when the QRs are properly tightened, you're good to roll provided the wheel is properly aligned.

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  • Look at the axle protrusion on each side Apr 30 at 22:32
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To minimise the stretch on the frame, I'd pull the rear hub apart and look for spacers to take out to effectively narrow the OLD.

You don't use the brake rotor mount because you have rim brakes. I'd be tempted to grind the whole mount off and that would place the outermost nuts closer together. You may not shave the full 5mm to return to 130 OLD, but it would be an improvement.

As for the intends on the dropouts, they look fairly normal. Your dropouts are thick and are therefore probably aluminium not steel, which is a softer metal than the QR and will be reformed easier under pressure. If it bothers you, a light grind will help flatten the ridging but it will come back quickly.

I'd suggest checking the dropout's alignment too - I bet they're splayed apart a little because of the wider wheel.

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