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Forward facing vs rear facing horizontal track ends / dropouts?

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Forward facing vs rear facing horizontal track ends / dropouts?

Old 07-12-21, 10:53 PM
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mrmb
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Forward facing vs rear facing horizontal track ends / dropouts?

Foreward facing semi horizontal dropout



Rear facing track end



So, I am having a hard time understanding why anyone would make a bike with front facing dropouts. Rear facing, I get. You get chain tension adjustability and if the axle slides foreward under load, it bottoms out in the track end. A sort of safe-guard. If the axle is going to move, it will slide foreward. With foreward facing dropouts on the other hand, you get the same adjustability, but if the axle slides foreward the rear wheel falls out.

I see absolutely no advantage to foreward facing. Everything it can do, the rear facing can do better.

What am I missing?

It is used enough to where I must be missing something.
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Old 07-12-21, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mrmb View Post
Foreward facing semi horizontal dropout



Rear facing track end



So, I am having a hard time understanding why anyone would make a bike with front facing dropouts. Rear facing, I get. You get chain tension adjustability and if the axle slides foreward under load, it bottoms out in the track end. A sort of safe-guard. If the axle is going to move, it will slide foreward. With foreward facing dropouts on the other hand, you get the same adjustability, but if the axle slides foreward the rear wheel falls out.

I see absolutely no advantage to foreward facing. Everything it can do, the rear facing can do better.

What am I missing?

It is used enough to where I must be missing something.
I think the top one letís you adjust chain tension without needing to readjust the brake pads.

Thats my guess.
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Old 07-12-21, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mrmb View Post
I see absolutely no advantage to foreward facing. Everything it can do, the rear facing can do better.

It is used enough to where I must be missing something.
I can think of a lot of problems with track ends and derailleurs.
Forward dropouts on FGSS play nicer with fenders.

Last edited by DiabloScott; 07-12-21 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 07-13-21, 12:14 AM
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Forward facing was the standard on non-track bikes for many years. Decades, in fact.

One advantage is you can easily remove the wheel by sliding it forwards with the chain still on the cog(s). With track ends, you need to drop the chain off before you can remove the wheel, and this can be tricky and messy.

Also, if you have full length mudguards (fenders) then sliding the wheel back to remove it may mean having to remove the mudguard. With forward facing drop outs, the wheel slides forwards away from the mudguard. You don't have mudguards on a track bike but they used to be standard on daily-ride bikes.
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Old 07-13-21, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
I think the top one letís you adjust chain tension without needing to readjust the brake pads.

Thats my guess.
Not a guess, a fact. The forward facing dropouts are semi-horizontal, with the angle matching the brake calipers, such that the position of the brake blocks does not change as the wheel is moved in the dropouts. Track ends are truly horizontal, so moving the wheel changes the brake block position and they need to be readjusted in order to stay in contact with the rimís braking surface.
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Old 07-13-21, 10:11 AM
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A question could be asked from the other direction.

Am I a fast enough, powerful enough, advanced enough rider to notice the advantage of the track end? My guess is itís stiffer.

I am not advanced enough. I basically piddle around with my wife and kids on bikes.
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Old 07-13-21, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by SkinGriz View Post
A question could be asked from the other direction.

Am I a fast enough, powerful enough, advanced enough rider to notice the advantage of the track end? My guess is itís stiffer.

I am not advanced enough. I basically piddle around with my wife and kids on bikes.
You won't notice the difference in riding. You will notice it when removing or adjusting the position of the wheel.
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Old 07-13-21, 12:54 PM
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If the axle sliding out of position (in either type of frame) is a real concern, I think you should go back and re-examine your procedures for tightening the axle nuts or QR skewer.

I don't think we should ever have the attitude that if it slips, well at least the opening faces back, so the wheel won't fall out. An axle slipping is a big enough problem that we always make sure it won't. Then the direction of the opening is moot.
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Old 07-13-21, 01:20 PM
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You can take forward facing dropouts and go one step further for fix gears. "L" shape dropouts. Like on the bike of my logo; full photo below. As long as a track end (I can run any cog between 12 and 24 teeth without messing with chain length.) Angled about 11 degrees from horizontal - considerably less than a regular road dropout but enough to keep the brake hoes on a deepish Velocity Aero rim without touching the calipers. (Photo - doing up a 14% grade. I should have been on the 23 tooth cog you can see on the left side of my hub but the hill took me by surprise and I didn't stop before it was too steep to start. You can see the 12 tooth hanging from the left side of my toolbag. Trixie under. Chainwhip on the top tube.)

Because the dropout opens to the front, then down, I can pull the wheel out as easily as from a vertical dropout even when I an running my biggest cog and the tire is almost brushing the seattube. On the road wheel flips from the 12 to the 24 tooth cog take the same two minutes as flipping from 17 to 16 and are done with clean hands. (I pull the chain off with the spanner of the Pedros Trixie hub nut wrench and hang it on the chain peg.)

This bike has ridden up to and around Crater Lake twice. 17 and 23 (or 24) to get to the climb and to the rim, then 12 and 23/24 to ride around. (No flat road up there.) That's about 6 or 8 wheel flips and two cog changes. Not dealing with track ends? A real blessing! (And no, this does not have any "retention". Not needed if the dropouts/trackends are steel or titanium. Maybe if the steel is chromed. Look at any ancient velodrome photo and you will see the best riding with just hub nuts. Nelson Vails (late '80s) didn't use retention and he was massively strong.

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Old 07-13-21, 08:27 PM
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To me, the advantage of forward-facing is simply that you can convert an old geared bike to a singlespeed. Does anyone even make a dedicated fixed/single frame with them?
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Old 07-13-21, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
To me, the advantage of forward-facing is simply that you can convert an old geared bike to a singlespeed. Does anyone even make a dedicated fixed/single frame with them?
The Salsa Casseroll was like that, but it was intended as single/multispeed with 130mm dropout spacing and a derailleur hanger. I have one that I have converted to a 7-speed IGH.




Shimano Nexus 7-speed IGH

2010 Salsa Casseroll singlespeed converted to 7-speed IGH
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Old 07-13-21, 08:54 PM
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With either one, if the wheel slips it will slide forward on the drive side only and slam the wheel into the non-drive stay. I've seen this at the track with worn axle nuts and I've seen it on the old horizontal drop outs with worn or misadjusted skewers. People aren't strong enough to wrench the whole wheel out, only the drive side slips and in which case which version doesn't matter, the result is the wheel jammed into the frame. The horizontal style are easier to get a wheel in and out of and past a derailleur while the track are harder to get the wheel in and out of especially if it actually has a rear der. If track riding, get proper track ends, anything else, horizontal dropouts are easier.
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Old 07-13-21, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Mikefule View Post
...

One advantage is you can easily remove the wheel by sliding it forwards with the chain still on the cog(s). With track ends, you need to drop the chain off before you can remove the wheel, and this can be tricky and messy.

...
It's not so messy at the track. They don't allow dirt. (If the track is steep, dirt means tires slip and riders crash.) Also no oil, water, glass or debris.) So chains stay far cleaner.
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Old 07-14-21, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
It's not so messy at the track. They don't allow dirt. (If the track is steep, dirt means tires slip and riders crash.) Also no oil, water, glass or debris.) So chains stay far cleaner.
When I changed wheels or gearing at the track, I never touched my chain. I used a wrench to guide it on or off a sprocket. Chains do have lubricant which will get on your fingers if you handle them.
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Old 07-14-21, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Rolla View Post
To me, the advantage of forward-facing is simply that you can convert an old geared bike to a singlespeed. Does anyone even make a dedicated fixed/single frame with them?
They are getting harder and harder to find.
I really wanted the Casseroll for my commuter but they'd stopped making it when I needed a new one.
Trek used to make one for a while and I got one just in time - The Trek District S... really a fun, useful bike. No der hanger, 120mm OLD, horiz dropouts. Offered only as a SS with flip flop.



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Old 07-14-21, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by mrmb View Post
I see absolutely no advantage to foreward facing. Everything it can do, the rear facing can do better.

What am I missing?

It is used enough to where I must be missing something.
If you have mudguards, wheel removal is quite awkward with rear-facing dropouts.
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Old 07-14-21, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
If you have mudguards, wheel removal is quite awkward with rear-facing dropouts.
Not necessarily. If you have fenders with adjustable length struts, you can provide sufficient clearance to remove the rear wheel without disturbing the fender. I did this with my Kilo WT, which has track ends.


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Old 07-15-21, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
Not necessarily. If you have fenders with adjustable length struts, you can provide sufficient clearance to remove the rear wheel without disturbing the fender. I did this with my Kilo WT, which has track ends.


2010 Kilo WT
That's a fairly short fender (albeit not as short as those seatpost-mounted ones that BikeSnobNYC derisively termed "filth prophylactics"). Longer ones work better to control spray (especially for anyone riding behind you!) but often preclude easy wheel removal with rear-facing dropouts.
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Old 07-15-21, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
That's a fairly short fender (albeit not as short as those seatpost-mounted ones that BikeSnobNYC derisively termed "filth prophylactics"). Longer ones work better to control spray (especially for anyone riding behind you!) but often preclude easy wheel removal with rear-facing dropouts.
Yeah, I wasnít concerned about other riders behind me, since I almost always ride alone. That rear fender is long enough to keep water and dirt off my bike, myself and my gear.
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Old 07-17-21, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by mrmb View Post
Foreward facing semi horizontal dropout



Rear facing track end



So, I am having a hard time understanding why anyone would make a bike with front facing dropouts. Rear facing, I get. You get chain tension adjustability and if the axle slides foreward under load, it bottoms out in the track end. A sort of safe-guard. If the axle is going to move, it will slide foreward. With foreward facing dropouts on the other hand, you get the same adjustability, but if the axle slides foreward the rear wheel falls out.

I see absolutely no advantage to foreward facing. Everything it can do, the rear facing can do better.

What am I missing?

It is used enough to where I must be missing something.
For about two months I've had this random thought in my head of how track ends would work with a derailure, and there the eff it is, it exist.
Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
You can take forward facing dropouts and go one step further for fix gears. "L" shape dropouts. Like on the bike of my logo; full photo below. As long as a track end (I can run any cog between 12 and 24 teeth without messing with chain length.) Angled about 11 degrees from horizontal - considerably less than a regular road dropout but enough to keep the brake hoes on a deepish Velocity Aero rim without touching the calipers. (Photo - doing up a 14% grade. I should have been on the 23 tooth cog you can see on the left side of my hub but the hill took me by surprise and I didn't stop before it was too steep to start. You can see the 12 tooth hanging from the left side of my toolbag. Trixie under. Chainwhip on the top tube.)

Because the dropout opens to the front, then down, I can pull the wheel out as easily as from a vertical dropout even when I an running my biggest cog and the tire is almost brushing the seattube. On the road wheel flips from the 12 to the 24 tooth cog take the same two minutes as flipping from 17 to 16 and are done with clean hands. (I pull the chain off with the spanner of the Pedros Trixie hub nut wrench and hang it on the chain peg.)

This bike has ridden up to and around Crater Lake twice. 17 and 23 (or 24) to get to the climb and to the rim, then 12 and 23/24 to ride around. (No flat road up there.) That's about 6 or 8 wheel flips and two cog changes. Not dealing with track ends? A real blessing! (And no, this does not have any "retention". Not needed if the dropouts/trackends are steel or titanium. Maybe if the steel is chromed. Look at any ancient velodrome photo and you will see the best riding with just hub nuts. Nelson Vails (late '80s) didn't use retention and he was massively strong.

I like those, never knew something like that existed. Subsequently; I though of that design but backwards would be how track ends might work with a derailure... the irony.
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Old 07-26-21, 09:13 AM
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The truly horizontal rear-opening track end makes sense for track racing, where there will NEVER be a rear brake and maintaining a constant, consistent bottom bracket height matters.

The forward-opening dropout that runs perpendicular to the line of the seat stay to allow different wheel positions without having to adjust the brakes was a STANDARD road fitting, and was used with variable geared bikes, single-speed and fixed-gears on the road, most especially in the U.K., for decades. A trawl of '40s and '50s catalogs featuring high-end bikes fitted with flip-flop hubs, mudguards and fixed/single-speed freewheels will show it.

In 2002 I ordered a custom Mercian Vincitore road fixed-gear. I foolishly did NOT specify forward-opening dropouts and got track ends drilled for fender mounts instead. It is a PITA, and, along with specifying clearances for 28 mm tires with fenders rather than 32, something I really regret. Live and learn.

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Old 07-31-21, 01:24 PM
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I like track ends and only run a front brake.
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Old 08-09-21, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
You can take forward facing dropouts and go one step further for fix gears. "L" shape dropouts. Like on the bike of my logo; full photo below. As long as a track end (I can run any cog between 12 and 24 teeth without messing with chain length.) Angled about 11 degrees from horizontal - considerably less than a regular road dropout but enough to keep the brake hoes on a deepish Velocity Aero rim without touching the calipers. (Photo - doing up a 14% grade. I should have been on the 23 tooth cog you can see on the left side of my hub but the hill took me by surprise and I didn't stop before it was too steep to start. You can see the 12 tooth hanging from the left side of my toolbag. Trixie under. Chainwhip on the top tube.)

Because the dropout opens to the front, then down, I can pull the wheel out as easily as from a vertical dropout even when I an running my biggest cog and the tire is almost brushing the seattube. On the road wheel flips from the 12 to the 24 tooth cog take the same two minutes as flipping from 17 to 16 and are done with clean hands. (I pull the chain off with the spanner of the Pedros Trixie hub nut wrench and hang it on the chain peg.)

This bike has ridden up to and around Crater Lake twice. 17 and 23 (or 24) to get to the climb and to the rim, then 12 and 23/24 to ride around. (No flat road up there.) That's about 6 or 8 wheel flips and two cog changes. Not dealing with track ends? A real blessing! (And no, this does not have any "retention". Not needed if the dropouts/trackends are steel or titanium. Maybe if the steel is chromed. Look at any ancient velodrome photo and you will see the best riding with just hub nuts. Nelson Vails (late '80s) didn't use retention and he was massively strong.

Nice set up Mooney! I can't say I've ever seen that drop out design. What is the red bag that seems to be between the frame and the wheel? Is there enough clearance to use that spot to carry gear?

It would be nice to see a few more pictures of this bike and how it is rigged.
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Old 08-09-21, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
Nice set up Mooney! I can't say I've ever seen that drop out design. What is the red bag that seems to be between the frame and the wheel? Is there enough clearance to use that spot to carry gear?

It would be nice to see a few more pictures of this bike and how it is rigged.
That bag is for a pair of Tevas so I could get out of my cycling shoes at the rest stops. The straps were killing my feet. On the fix gear I have to pull up so much harder and all foot issues get magnified. (Straps too loose - blisters and deformed toenails. Tight enough to stop those and I've gotten infections in my toe, probably from not enough circulation and a feeling like a broken bone at the top of my foot. A couple of years later, I cut off those straps and installed laces. The fix! I'm still riding those shoes. And now, rarely carry the sandals.)

No further photos. I've chosen to stay digital photo illiterate .. so until someone else snaps a shot ...

Not much more to the bike than what you see. Stem is a Cinelli 1A or next generation, 135. Levers are V-brake and became Tektros though I think what you see are the anonymous first ones I got. (For climbing with those wonderful long hoods. Discovered that V-brake levers to dual pivots are just about perfect on a screaming descent when you see at the last second there's now way your pedal's staying off the pavement on the next turn! Panic grab but still, no lockup, nothing exciting happens. Just a whole lotta slowing. Seatpost is a custom big setback TiCycles because the seattube is 75 degree angle. (If I'd been properly in the 23 tooth cog you can see over on the left, the wheel would have been nearly all the way forward and teh tire close to the seat tube. All so when I put the 12 on to go back down, I don't lower the BB because the dropout has some angle to it. (Otherwise the brake pad would come off the rim.) It was a big juggling act that worked out very well. That photo ride I used both the 23 and the 12. Yesterday I used a 24 and 13. (24 and 12 works just as easily. I just wanted a slightly lower high yesterday. There's room to boost the 42 to 43 and still use both those cogs.).

Sugino 75 cranks, Miche BB and rear hub. Shimano 600 semi-platform pedals modified with the pickup tab and the heavy washers you can see under the toeclips to get them to hang right for fast pickup (super important if I have to do an uphill start. A bad experience doing a hill start is far more taxing than the grams those washers add!)

TiCycles ti frame, 531 steel fork. Headset in the photo is a Chris King Gripnut but its replacement is a mix and match Tange Levin/Tange cheaper models to get the Gripnut stack height. Soon, the bike is going back to Ticycles to have a little taken off the headtube so a straight Levin drops on. (The Gripnut drove me nuts. Wouldn't stay adjusted more than 400 miles, even when the King factory did the adjustment. Levins only last ~8000 miles but are a joy to own.) Chorus or Ultegra front hub laced to Open Pro rims. Velocity Aero rear (to get a deep usable braking surface for that long dropout). Open Pro Pave tires (now sometimes G+). Terry Fly seat. So nothing radical. A few tweaks to get it all to work but basically just a 1990 road race bike in a fictional world that never saw a freewheel or gears. And equipped with training wheels. (Sewups are coming. Then the bike will shine!)

And a comment on the sandals (and other superfluous weight) - if you cannot see it, it doesn't slow you down. Proof? That photo, Taken on the hardest hill the bike had ever done. 2 miles. 2 stretches of 14 and 14 1/5 percent. We'd already climbed into ski altitudes, descended to lunch and climbed back out. Photo taken at the steepest point by the Cycle Oregon photographer. And the sandal weight? Well. I couldn't see them, never thought about them and nobody passed me the entire hill.

And edit: the bag was designed to do one thing - carry those sandals and NEVER have anything get caught in the drivetrain. Fix gear drive trains don't stop. A little like trains. When something hangs up in them that something or something attached to it breaks. Not maybe. If the bottle cage gets knocked askew, the bag may touch the chain and get dirty, but nothing will catch. Secured by a long toestrap, buckle on the left.

Last edited by 79pmooney; 08-09-21 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 08-09-21, 08:14 PM
  #25  
bykemike 
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Join Date: Oct 2007
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Bikes: 2019 Wabi Lightning, 2009 Cannondale Capo, 2016 trek Domane 6.9, disc and Di2, 2016 Scott Scale 710, 27.5 plus tires and boost rims

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"And a comment on the sandals (and other superfluous weight) - if you cannot see it, it doesn't slow you down. Proof? That photo, Taken on the hardest hill the bike had ever done. 2 miles. 2 stretches of 14 and 14 1/5 percent. We'd already climbed into ski altitudes, descended to lunch and climbed back out. Photo taken at the steepest point by the Cycle Oregon photographer. And the sandal weight? Well. I couldn't see them, never thought about them and nobody passed me the entire hill."

!! Impressive.

I am going to make that shot my screen saver for a while. And I want that drop out style

Thanks for posting that
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