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Philo Beddoe said:
Is it worth it? Mine is out of alignment. I hear dropouts are kind of expensive, so I am considering the tool. Anyone have one?
I queried this for a while as well, then just bought one. I found both my bikes needed adjustment, as well as a couple of friends. My friends gave me beers for the use of the tool.... so I guess its already paying for itself.

Having adjusted the hangers, I don't know when I'll need to use it again so cost vs use is a bit hard to calculate at the moment.
 

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Start slow and taper off
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I swear by mine

same as Slamdunk, once a month my buddies come by and bring the pizza and libations, and I give their bikes the quick once over. Nearly every time at least 1 or 2 of the bikes have derail hangers out of whack. Even on my on bike, I can typically tell the hanger needs an adjust when the shifting is a bit off.

And back when I worked at a shop, after diagnosing everything else if the shifting was off 9 times out of 10 the hanger was out of whack.

I picked mine up for like $45 bucks, and next to hex wrenches, probably use this tool the most.
 

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Old man on a bike
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Tools are good...

especially when you have what's needed. I like having tools and working on bikes, and while I don't use this one a lot, it's great when you need it, as well as great if you can use it. Limitations to keep in mind that certain materials other than steel may not work well with this tool; aluminum, carbon and titanium frames/dropouts you may have success with but don't count on it, you're more likely to do damage, steel is best material for this tool.
 

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Philo Beddoe said:
Is it worth it? Mine is out of alignment. I hear dropouts are kind of expensive, so I am considering the tool. Anyone have one?
As others have mentioned it has its limitations with certain materials. I have one for my DH bike which doesn't have replaceable hangers. The frame is made of aluminium however and only good for a few straightenings if not severely bent. Also being aluminium, replaceable dropouts may not take being bent back well without breaking. They are about $25 each. The tool is about $45 and works best on steel frames.

Mike
 

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nonsense

Bikinfoolferlife said:
especially when you have what's needed. I like having tools and working on bikes, and while I don't use this one a lot, it's great when you need it, as well as great if you can use it. Limitations to keep in mind that certain materials other than steel may not work well with this tool; aluminum, carbon and titanium frames/dropouts you may have success with but don't count on it, you're more likely to do damage, steel is best material for this tool.
I've never seen a carbon fiber derailleur hanger so I can't speak to that. But I have used the tool under discussion here to align steel, aluminum, and titanium derailleur hangers on my personal bikes with nary a problem.
If your hanger is bent at like a 90 degree angle to the frame or something, and you bend it back, yer on your own, especially if it's aluminum. that's not what the tool is for. A hanger tweaked only a few degrees can really mess up shifting, and the tool is the thing to have for these situations. You CAN bend a hanger with a big honking crescent wrench, or a long allen stuck in the derailleur mounting bolt, but you can't align it well. eyeballs just can't detect the few degrees' misalingment that adversely affects shifting.
 

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dropouts vs derailleur hanger

Philo Beddoe said:
Is it worth it? Mine is out of alignment. I hear dropouts are kind of expensive, so I am considering the tool. Anyone have one?
The tool being discussed here is for aligning derailleur hangers. But since you brought it up, just as important to have access to or own -- for other reasons -- is a pair of dropout aligning tools, commonly called "H" tools after the Campagnolo designation.
If the two dropout faces are not perfectly parallel, they force the hub axle to bend to accommodate their skew when you tighten the quick release of axle nuts. If you have a problem with broken axles, that's a very likely cause. Bow-shaped axles, which is what you get with skewed dropout faces, also stress the hub bearings, so if you've had trouble adjusting your hub cones -- either loose and floppy, or tight and bindy, with no in-between perfection -- well, there ya go.
Also if you use an axle locknut dimension other than the one intended by the frame's maker -- like squeezing stays together to fit a 130mm hub, or spreading the stays of an old frame to fit a 135mm hub -- your dropouts are no longer parallel and they should be aligned to the width you're actually using. Or, see bent axles, above.
And if you've crashed and tweaked the derailleur hanger, it's worth it to also the dropout alignment.
 

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Amen Club, ya gotta have both. There's just no good substitute for those tools. Between friends and family I support a small fleet, it's SO nice to whip those puppies out and pull off a 5 minute fix on somebody's nagging shifting problem. Quick troubleshooting, quick fix, what's not to like?

-Eric
 

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actually, there's a substitute for the H tools

if you have some bare hub axles and various lock nuts and spacers on hand, you can make a set of H tools that will do the job in a pinch, albeit less conveniently. Attach two axles to the dropouts using the lock nuts so they protrude far enough inboard from their respective dropouts to allow you to gauge the dropouts' alignments. Then reef on them as needed to bend the dropouts into alignment.
 
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