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Dropout Screws Spring Location -- Where and Why?

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Dropout Screws Spring Location -- Where and Why?

Old 09-23-20, 06:11 AM
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Dropout Screws Spring Location -- Where and Why?

I've noticed that the great majority of the time, for old dropouts with adjustment screws, the springs go on the inside of the dropout.

Why is that?
I've read somewhere that those spring are there to take up any slack. However, that doesn't seem to make sense since you'll be pulling the wheel into the screws. If those springs really were used to take up any slack in the threads of the screw, wouldn't it be more logical for the spring to be on the outside on the dropout?

My theory has been those screws are used to ensure the screws don't shift that easily when the axle is out of the dropout, kind of like nylon inserts in nuts (I've actually seen dropout screws that do away with the spring and put a plastic insert in the dropout). That still cannot explain why it seems customary to install them on the inside of the dropout, though.

What are those springs actually for, where should I put them, and why should I put them there? Will my bike buck me off if I do it wrong?

Last edited by TH1813254617; 09-23-20 at 06:12 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 09-23-20, 07:18 AM
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They are just to hold the adjustment of the screws when the wheel is not in the dropouts. I've always seen them on the inside - looks better and they are more protected. Many dropout screws don't have a flat surface for the spring to bear against on the end towards the outside & would interfere with your grip when adjusting. I don't think there's anything more to it then that.
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Old 09-23-20, 07:37 AM
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Springs also surround derailleur limit screws for the same reason. They look better inside the drop.
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Old 09-23-20, 07:51 AM
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I have one bike where I needed to move the wheel farther back, to accommodate a 28t freewheel. No room for the spring, so put it on the outside, works fine, don’t really notice it.
Tim
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Old 09-23-20, 08:43 AM
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At the rear, outside end of the screw is a knurled nut that is supposed to be on tight enough that it won’t just screw off when you turn it gently c-cl to adjust wheel centring. But there are no wrench flats, so it’s not all that tight. If there was a spring under it, it would want to push the nut off as you rode along, and then the spring itself would follow. The nuts do sometimes fall off all by themselves but at least the spring is saved.

”We’ve always done it that way,” is another reason, sure.

Last edited by conspiratemus1; 09-23-20 at 09:06 AM.
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Old 09-23-20, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
At the rear, outside end of the screw is a knurled nut that is supposed to be on tight enough that it won’t just screw off when you turn it gently c-cl to adjust wheel centring. But there are no wrench flats, so it’s not all that tight. If there was a spring under it, it would want to push the nut off as you rode along, and then the spring itself would follow. The nuts do sometimes fall off all by themselves but at least the spring is saved.

”We’ve always done in that way,” is another reason, sure.
Thats what Loctite is for, been 3 years since I put the springs in the back.
Tim

Last edited by tkamd73; 09-23-20 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 09-23-20, 09:09 AM
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.
...mostly lately I don't even use springs on dropout screws. If I'm really worried about them moving around in use on a particular bike, I just double nut them on the outside. This seems to work well enough, unless you plan on repositioning them in flight.
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Old 09-23-20, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
. . . repositioning them in flight.
Thatís a long reach from the saddle...
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Old 09-23-20, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by tkamd73 View Post
Thats what Loctite is for, been 3 years since I put the springs in the back.
Tim
Believe it or not, theadlocker was one of those great American products that was not available in Canada before the first free-trade agreement in 1988. Before that we used congealed maple syrup and for that reason the FTA was bitterly opposed by maple syrup producers in Quebec who feared the loss of this lucrative tariff-protected market.
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Old 09-23-20, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
Believe it or not, theadlocker was one of those great American products that was not available in Canada before the first free-trade agreement in 1988. Before that we used congealed maple syrup and for that reason the FTA was bitterly opposed by maple syrup producers in Quebec who feared the loss of this lucrative tariff-protected market.
Thatís super interesting, thanks.
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Old 09-23-20, 10:16 AM
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Jeez, congealed maple syrup makes Rivendell-y beeswax seem....I dunno....high tech?

On the one hand, if you're desperate for sustenance, you can lick your dropout screws. On the other hand, in the summertime do you get ants crawling all over your dropouts?

"THAT'S how you get ants!"

Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
Believe it or not, theadlocker was one of those great American products that was not available in Canada before the first free-trade agreement in 1988. Before that we used congealed maple syrup and for that reason the FTA was bitterly opposed by maple syrup producers in Quebec who feared the loss of this lucrative tariff-protected market.
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Old 09-23-20, 10:27 AM
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Horizontal dropouts are the appendix of bicycles. Adjustable screws are almost always set and forget. There used to be a reason for them, perhaps, and they tend to go bad on many frames. I'm always shocked when a frame comes into the Atelier without bent or frozen adjuster screws.

One of the benefits sometimes stated for horizontal dropouts is that one can vary the effective chainstay length between rides. Does anybody actually do this?
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Old 09-23-20, 10:28 AM
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The upper-end Fujis back in the day were double-nutted, which made perfect sense to me, and then I didn't see any need for the spring. Unless I want a totally period-correct build, I've been using stainless hardware, with a 2.5mm-socket screw, a regular old nut, and a domed crown nut at the end. I'd rather have a milled ring i/o nut against the dropout, like the Fujis had, which are much easier to adjust by hand. But couldn't find a modern supplier. Probably just couldn't figure out the right search term for McMaster-Carr.

The stainless 2.5mm-socket screws are mega-handy not only because they won't rust, but also because driving them into the dropout with a hex wrench means my screwdriver won't be constantly slipping off the end of the screw like it does with regular slotted screws. You can also get them in several different lengths, and tailor them to any particular bike. I don't like too much screw sticking out the back, so I usually use the shortest screw that will give me the adjusting range I want for a particular dropout/frame.

Don't have any inside-slot photos handy, but on the outside of the drop they look like this:







Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...mostly lately I don't even use springs on dropout screws. If I'm really worried about them moving around in use on a particular bike, I just double nut them on the outside. This seems to work well enough, unless you plan on repositioning them in flight.
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Old 09-23-20, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
One of the benefits sometimes stated for horizontal dropouts is that one can vary the effective chainstay length between rides. Does anybody actually do this?
An absolutely moronic old wives tale. As if ANYONE could tell the difference in maybe a few mm difference in length!! And pity the thousands of vertical drop out riders who are totally denied even the most meager possibility of modding the length! The Horror! ! ! !

At any rate a properly built frame needs no adjusters to center the wheel. The Colnago and the two Masi that live with me have no need for adjusters and do not have them. The ride does not suffer for the lack.
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Old 09-23-20, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
. . .

One of the benefits sometimes stated for horizontal dropouts is that one can vary the effective chainstay length between rides. Does anybody actually do this?
I picked up that myth as a young person, too. The real reasons are two:
- if the builder didnít get the frame perfectly straight, you could adjust the dropout screws to centre the wheel.
- derailers without B-screws needed to have the wheel just so in the dropouts in order to shift properly. I still have to do this with my Nuovo Record which I use just for looks, especially for 13-tooth sprockets.

Modern vertical dropouts require faith that frame is straight and leave the B-tension to the B-screw. Progress x 2.
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Old 09-23-20, 11:46 AM
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Between OCD, tradition and aesthetics, I want the screws to be,

Clean

Straight

Fully functional

With spring present and on the inside

And chrome cap tight and Loctited

Other than that I don't really care very much at all since they're mostly just for looks.
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Old 09-23-20, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
Jeez, congealed maple syrup makes Rivendell-y beeswax seem....I dunno....high tech?". . .
Beeswax (in North America at least) actually is a high-tech product in that it required ocean-capable ships, the apex of Enlightenment-era industrial prowess, to bring honey bees to the New World. Our native bees donít make honey, or wax combs.* So when you see a bear braving the stings to rip apart a rotten tree, heís actually eating the hornets, their larvae, and some unprocessed nectar. Ditto skunks. (My wife is a pollinator gardener, she knows this stuff.)

Maple syrup, or sap anyway, has been here since time out of mind. Not sure if the Native Peoples could spare the firewood to boil it down to syrup using stone axes, but Jacques Cartierís diaries record his being shown the winter treat of sap on snow. Even in Europe there would not be abundant and cheap sucrose for another 200 years.

*As I write this, I just know someone is going to find some species of native bee that makes wax. Just watch.
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Old 09-23-20, 12:14 PM
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I must say, in all sincerity, I love that there is so much about this world I don't know, 'cause as much as I'd like to be a know-it-all, life wouldn't be much fun if there wasn't anything left to learn. So thanks for all that.

Can you now tell me how I can complain to Big Sucrose for them making it difficult for me to pedal my bicycle as fast as I'd like?

Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
Beeswax (in North America at least) actually is a high-tech product in that it required ocean-capable ships, the apex of Enlightenment-era industrial prowess, to bring honey bees to the New World. Our native bees donít make honey, or wax combs.* So when you see a bear braving the stings to rip apart a rotten tree, heís actually eating the hornets, their larvae, and some unprocessed nectar. Ditto skunks. (My wife is a pollinator gardener, she knows this stuff.)

Maple syrup, or sap anyway, has been here since time out of mind. Not sure if the Native Peoples could spare the firewood to boil it down to syrup using stone axes, but Jacques Cartierís diaries record his being shown the winter treat of sap on snow. Even in Europe there would not be abundant and cheap sucrose for another 200 years.

*As I write this, I just know someone is going to find some species of native bee that makes wax. Just watch.
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Old 09-23-20, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by pcb View Post
I must say, in all sincerity, I love that there is so much about this world I don't know, 'cause as much as I'd like to be a know-it-all, life wouldn't be much fun if there wasn't anything left to learn. So thanks for all that.

Can you now tell me how I can complain to Big Sucrose for them making it difficult for me to pedal my bicycle as fast as I'd like?
Yep, give a dog a bone.......
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Old 09-23-20, 01:02 PM
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I blame this whole thread on the murder hornets.
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Old 09-23-20, 01:22 PM
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Two words: vertical dropouts

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Old 09-23-20, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
- derailers without B-screws needed to have the wheel just so in the dropouts in order to shift properly.
Over the last 40+ years and I don't even know how many bikes I have never seen that happen.
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Old 09-23-20, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie View Post
Over the last 40+ years and I don't even know how many bikes I have never seen that happen.
I have seen lots of people who cannot play the violin, including me. In fact I’ve never met personally anyone (other than nun at the music school who tried to teach me) who could play it well. Doesn’t mean it can’t be played. One’s own experience is not the final arbiter of what doesn’t happen.

But here’s a project: which came first, horizontal-ish dropouts with wheel adjusters, or derailers? Did wheel adjusters appear only as a necessity to optimize early derailers, or did early derailers take advantage of wheel adjusters already extant for other reasons? Did the switch to vertical dropouts require the B-screw, or did the introduction of the B-screw finally allow frame builders to switch to the superior vertical dropouts?

Someone like Mike Barry would know the answer, but we would need a seance.

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Old 09-23-20, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by conspiratemus1 View Post
- if the builder didn’t get the frame perfectly straight, you could adjust the dropout screws to centre the wheel.
- derailers without B-screws needed to have the wheel just so in the dropouts in order to shift properly. I still have to do this with my Nuovo Record which I use just for looks, especially for 13-tooth sprockets.

Modern vertical dropouts require faith that frame is straight and leave the B-tension to the B-screw. Progress x 2.
That, of course is the real answer to "why horizontal dropouts".
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Old 09-23-20, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Two words: vertical dropouts
Friends don't let friends build frames without them!
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