dropout. A bicycle dropout is a type of fork end that allows the rear wheel to be removed without first derailing the chain. The more inclusive term fork end refers to a slot in a frame or fork where the axle of the wheel is attached.
A bicycle dropout is a type of fork end that allows the rear wheel to be removed without first derailing the chain. The more inclusive term fork end refers to a slot in a frame or fork where the axle of the wheel is attached.
On bicycles that do not have a derailleur or other chain tensioning device, rear horizontal dropouts allow adjustment of chain tension, and can accommodate a range of chain lengths or cog sizes. They were standard on most older derailleur bicycles from before the 1990s. An older derailleur-equipped bicycle with horizontal dropouts can be readily converted into singlespeed, fixed gear or to use an internally geared hub.
Track bicycles traditionally do not utilize dropouts, but instead have track fork ends, on which the opening faces rearwards. Because they do not have dropouts, the chain must be derailed from the cog before the rear wheel can be removed from a typical track bike. Some single-speed bicycles intended for street or trail use are also equipped with track fork ends instead of dropouts.
Rear vertical dropouts have the slot facing downwards. The advantage is that the wheel axle cannot slip forward compared with horizontal dropouts. The disadvantage is that on a bicycle without a rear derailleur but with vertical dropouts, the chain tension cannot be adjusted by moving the wheel forwards or backwards, and needs another means of chain-tensioning, by a derailleur, chain tensioner, or eccentric bottom bracket or rear hub. Fixed wheel bicycles cannot use any form of chain tensioning device, because the lower run of chain is pulled very tight when using the transmission as a brake.
In general, a modern bicycle frame intended for derailleur gears will have a vertical dropout, while one designed for singlespeed or hub gears will have horizontal dropouts or track fork ends.