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Horizontal vs Vertifcal dropouts(5 posts)

Horizontal vs Vertifcal dropoutskilimanjaro
Mar 10, 2003 11:26 AM
My current roadie beater from the late 80s has horizontal drop outs (campy style). Noticed that most new rodie frames have vertical dropouts.

I know that with horizontal dropouts I can potentially convert the bike to a fixie (which I plan to do with the beater). What other pro/cons are for each type of dropouts. Why has the horizontal dropouts almost dissappeared?


re: Horizontal vs Vertifcal dropoutsTrent in WA
Mar 10, 2003 5:08 PM

Except for the convertability you mention, I'm not sure that there are any other advantages to horizontal dropouts. They don't support the axle as well (and therefore tend to cause axle breakage more often), they require you to make sure that the dropout screws are aligned properly (and are therefore prone to become misaligned), they make changing tires a chore, they make fendering difficult, and they're more prone to breaking themselves. Vertical dropouts are stronger and more secure. They have no disadvantages relative to horizontal dropouts, which is why the latter have practically disappeared from quality bikes.

And I'm something of a retro-grouch....

Now and thenKerry
Mar 10, 2003 5:17 PM
It is harder to use vertical dropouts because they require that the frame be square or they don't work well. Back in the day of lugged/brazed frames, many bikes weren't all that square, so the horizontal dropouts provided a little cushion to the builder. Now, bikes are held in a jig while welded or glued, and you can guarantee the dropouts will be in the right place or close to it. I really like the vertical dropouts, and using the bike as a fixed gear is about the only drawback I see to them. This of course assumes that the bike is built square to begin with.
re: Horizontal vs Vertifcal dropoutsSpunout
Mar 11, 2003 5:55 AM
True, you could fine tune any alignment problem with the rear screws. Most racers always had the screws all the way in, mounted right at the opening for a shorter wheelbase.

But what was also possible was to lengthen the wheelbase almost 1" for long rides, touring, etc. Can't do that with verticals (okay, Look, Gios verticals are in an adjustable mount).
re: Horizontal vs Vertifcal dropoutsHeron Todd
Mar 11, 2003 8:34 AM
The main advantage today of horizontal dropouts is their suitability for singlespeed applications. Also, as someone already pointed out, they allow for much looser manufacturing margins.

Vertical dropouts eliminate the problem of wheels pulling loose under load. They position the wheel axle in the best place relative to the derailleur hanger for indexing. They make wheel removal easier on bikes with very short chainstays or fenders. In most cases, they are lighter than horizontal drops.

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
LaSalle, IL 815-223-1776