Tech Talks: Derailleur Hanger Alignment, Presented by Park Tool - Video

Sep 29, 2016
by Pinkbike Staff  
Tech Talks Presented by Park Tool


Tech Talks Presented by Park Tool is a monthly video series hosted by Park Tool's own wrench whisperer, Calvin Jones. The new series will cover the A to Zs of some of the most prevalent repair jobs, with the third episode tackling an operation that some may find intimidating: derailleur hanger alignment.

While a specific tool is needed to do the job correctly, straightening a derailleur hanger doesn't require the use witchcraft or the help of a salty shop mechanic. Having to straighten your bike's hanger means that it has actually done its job - it's designed to bend slightly to save your frame and derailleur from permanent damage. Now all you have to do is realign the hanger to fix your shifting, which Calvin and Ben show you how to do in the video below.



Tech Talks - Derailleur Hanger Alignment


Views: 14,928    Faves: 51    Comments: 5



Need more Calvin in your life? Episode #1 shows you how to take on tubeless tire installation and conversion in two easy to follow videos, and episode #2 will have you straightening rotors like a pro.

Stay tuned for more mechanical how-to videos with Calvin returning on the last Thursday of every month to show you the easiest way to get the job done. Want to know more? Park Tool's how-to section has you and your bike covered.

www.parktool.com / @ParkToolCompany


87 Comments

  • + 50
 I need to replace my hammer with a rock apparently...
  • + 132
 Actually, that was Park tool RCK 1.0.
  • + 6
 @cmcrawfo: I am still wondering it wasn't blue Smile
  • + 2
 a bunch of new hangers are much less expensive than a DAG 2.2.

Next weeks video: how to manufacture valve stems with a VSM 1.1
  • + 5
 @rrolly: you can get a Dag2.2 for the cost of 4 hangers. this tool has such a narrow use, i put off buying it for a long time, but im glad i finally did, its already paid for itself. more than half of the bikes i have used it on have at least slightly misaligned hangers.
  • + 4
 @cmcrawfo: Only $69.99. Eagle version, $99.99.
  • + 14
 @rrolly: New hangers are not always straight, so alignment is still necessary.
  • + 15
 I work in a shop and I use this tool almost every day. It's fantastic. There's nothing you can do to make a drivetrain work properly with a bent derailleur hanger. I noticed the tech didn't use the Shimano TL-EW02 to take out or install the Di2 wire though.
  • + 4
 If I had a dollar for every hanger I've bent and replaced in the past few years I'd have, well, at least a 10 bucks. This tool is on my wish list.
  • + 5
 @cmcrawfo: Is it just me or did it look like Bear wanted to smash that rock over something else at the end?
  • + 4
 Getting a hanger alignment tool actually improved shifting on my bikes a LOT. I haven't had problems with shifting, but indeed my Saint didn't feel as perfect as I would have expected and even though everything looked straight, there was a little bend in the derailleur. Feels perfect now!
  • + 2
 @garrettstories: seriously??? Wow. I ride the shore and other trails in the PNW and have done so for over the past 20 years and I've gone through three. And one of those was because my bike got launched off the back of our bike rack on the Sea to Sky highway.

I guess if you're burning through hangers, this tool makes sense. Huh, didn't know that was a thing.
  • + 2
 @rrolly: I know right? This didn't become a problem for me until I moved to the east coast where we have lots and lots of tight rocks. Not to mention if you're running SRAM your RD is sticking way out, just begging to be dinged. I moved back to shimano for that reason. Their "shadow" tech pulls the RD in that much closer.
  • + 27
 More of this please.
  • + 14
 I just come here to read everyone's oddball alternatives to fixing things the right way with the right tools.

"I just whack it with a 10-pound sledge, drive over it with a steamroller and wash it in the spin cycle, and there, good as new."
  • + 3
 yeah, i mean, sometimes a home made solution works just as well for 10% of the cost, but this is not one of them. I saw a guy selling a homemade one on ebay for $30 (which is probably a fair price for his time), but at that price, might as well spend an extra $30 for the solidly made one that will last the rest of your life, or until we stop using derailleur hangers
  • + 1
 @xeren: There are always times when you're in a pinch, and you do what you have to do, and use whatever's at hand. And I don't know that you necessarily have to use a certain brand, though I'm sure certain brands are higher quality than others. But in the end, it's just good practice to use a tool that's designed specifically for the job you need to do.
  • + 1
 @TheR: for the most part I agree, but there are many home solutions that aren't necessarily less effective or more risky, they are just slower. if you're a professional doing a certain repair several times a week, it makes sense to use the professional tools to save time, but if, say, you press bearings into a frame once every two years as a home mechanic, you can get away with just using a threaded rod, some wingnuts and some locking pliers. you'll of course want to combine that with purpose made bearing drifts, but the rod can cost $4 at home depot
  • + 10
 For everyone that say just buy new hangers, almost half the time a bran new hanger will be slightly off and need some tweaking for perfect alignment. Not every frames interface is going to be the same so it may not sit perfectly.
  • + 5
 They can't make a bunch of derailleur hangers the same? And they're charging us how much for these bikes and parts?
  • + 11
 When all else fails - 925 Engineering - 10 bucks any hanger, for just about any bike.
  • + 3
 That's good pricing compared to what I've paid elsewhere.

"...just about any bike" obviously excludes the infernal GT Fury. I overpaid for a spare that I hopefully never have to use since it seems the Keebler elves or some other top secret unit makes and hoards these.
  • + 2
 Minus Yeti and Canfield dangit!
  • + 4
 *Montgomery burns style excellent* seems as soon as I needed one all the prices jumped from $10 to $40, thanks for bypassing the profiling and bringing back some real prices. Now I can get 3-4 for the same price, should see me through the bikes lifetime. One thing about bending things is stress fractures and the position of the bend, this tool can never make a perfect fix, sketchy as fk. Again thank you.
  • + 11
 Great. Now, how can we ghetto the DAG 2.2?
  • + 2
 On QR you can use two 10 mm threaded rods and some nuts. Bend the hanger so that the rods run parallel. Voilá!
  • + 2
 The classic ghetto is to use a wheel with a 10mm threaded axle, thread the axle into the hanger, and adjust until both wheela are parallel.
  • + 3
 @dave-f:
Large adjustable spanner sleeved over the hanger and a really good eye. Smile
  • + 1
 There's other brands that make this tool. If it's considerably cheaper or not, depends where you live. They are not refined as the Park Tool one in my experience, I would say they are little bit more tricky, but work just as good.
  • + 3
 @randybadger: Yeah, good luck with that.
  • + 2
 @randybadger: this is the way too do it.
This is what makes Britain great..... Ingenuity.
  • + 3
 @leachie8:
Imagine if early cavemen had pinkbike.
" you must never use Flint tied to a stick with vine as a rudimentary axe" blah blah blah
  • + 1
 @passwordpinkbike: it works well enough with time and patience or little tweeks.
Plenty good enough in the bike park car park.
  • + 8
 Damn... something about intentionally smashing a rock against a bike that makes me cringe inside.
  • + 6
 A disclaimer warning would have been nice. I think it traumatized me a bit. Oh the humanity!
  • + 5
 Triggered.
  • + 4
 Awesome tool for sure!

I was happy to have one of my own after the bike shop installed a new hanger for me (without telling me and charging me $10...dicks) The new hanger they installed was not aligned correctly and I continued to have issues until I straightened it. I like to be my own shop, I'm cheaper, quicker and closer.
  • + 4
 Set your wheel in the drop out, Best to do this when the bike is on the ground, in it's natural position... Not to be done in the stand, especially for a amateur mechanic, precisely who would refer to these videos ..
  • + 2
 Lol I crash so much that the direction my hanger needs to be bent in is outward. No point in getting too fancy with it since I'm just going to toss it down a rock garden next time anyway. I find a big pair of channel locks does the trick nicely
  • + 1
 My Norco sight has a different style hanger. It has a machined bolt, that is supposed to shear on impact.
I feel this kind of adjustment. With this style of hanger, will cause damage to the frame, can anyone chime in on this with experience? My first frame (im on #2) was broken, because the original owner swapped out the aluminum hanger with a stainless one, and well... had a big impact, and the hanger tore its way thru the carbon frame.
  • + 1
 You can't straighten those syntace hangers Norco uses. They don't use a flimsy piece of metal that's designed to bend like other hangers, the bolt will shear before it bends. The idea is that you can just replace the snapped bolt with the one hidden on your frame and you're good to go with a fully functionnal drivetrain. The problem is that instead of shearing the bolt, it's often the aluminium threads in the hanger itself that strip, so you need to buy a new hanger anyway. This happend twice on my range, so I ended up buying the aftermarket steel version as well. I love them, they are super sturdy and still straight after 3 years of hard use and a few smashed derailleurs. Never had a problem since I made the change, but I have an alu frame, so it's not as big of an issue.
  • + 1
 @lanka: You are running an ALU frame. The one on my bike now somehow has been bent... and the bolt did not shear.. bugger, need to spring for a new one i suppose. Nothing works as intended in the real world
  • + 2
 those are one of the biggest failures of engineering ever released upon the unknowing consumer. Usually the interface of the frame isn't straight enough for the hanger ever to be straight and you've gotta file or grind it straight. Then you can tweak the situation a little. You've gotta tighten the bolt while holding the hanger as straight as possible with the alignment gauge. But it's easy to snap the bolt if you're doing it tight enough so that the hanger doesn't just wiggle itself crooked again in a short while.
  • + 1
 @jflb: Perhaps they should come with a triad of screws around the bolt, then none of this would be an issue. Might try that with my bent one.
  • + 1
 Yeah, a good concept, but it sadly has some real life limitation. I think they have to make them out of cheese grade alu to make sure they're the weakest link. As I said, in my experience the threads of the stock hanger rip out before the bolt shears, so I wouldn't be surprised if they get deformed in an impact. The steel version worked flawlessly for me, I've destroyed a couple mech and it's still perfectly straight, but that's no bueno it if destroys a carbon frame, I feel your pain.

If the interface of the frame is not straight enough, it should be caught at the QC stage at the factory, but I guess that's what you get when you mass produce frames in China. Thing like brake mounts and calipers need to be perfectly faced as well, but it's usually not an issue these days. Anybody here misses those f$%&ing conical washers that avid used for years to compensate for misaligned mounts?
  • + 1
 Just remove your hanger and place it on a piece of window glass or a mirror and see if you can slide a very thin feeler gauge or slip of paper under the middle of it, if you can it's bent, if you can't it's flat and good to go. If it's bent put it on an anvil or the flat spot on your bench vise and tap it with a hammer until it's perfectly flat, check again on glass and reinstall. No special tools required and I've used this method on bikes for allot of years. Also a billet hanger like the ones I get from North Shore Billet don't bent like the stock ones, plus they make your bike shift allot crisper.
  • + 8
 This only works if the mounting point for the hanger on your bike is perfectly flat and aligned.
  • + 5
 But hangars aren't supposed to be really strong. Might as well just attach the derailleur directly to the frame.
  • + 5
 Derailleur hangers are supposed to be a weak point so that you don't break your frame
  • + 4
 @Manx isn't wrong, that technique works well with hanger's that are flat. North Shore Billet hangers are still aluminum that will break before the frame does, they're just a better, stiffer product that doesn't flex as much as many stock hangers do, resulting in crisper shifting like he mentioned. I had a stock hanger that would bend just from shifting because it was made from such garbage material.
  • + 2
 What is the likelihood of a bent derailleur cage or perhaps the mount to the derailleur hanger itself in the event that the derailleur hanger is well enough aligned, but shifting is still imperfect?
  • + 2
 Anyone know why derailleur hangers are so goddam expensive? Presuming it's just because companies can sell them for that much.
  • + 0
 i wouldn't bend back an aluminum hanger. i've always replaced aluminum replaceable derailleur hangers that were bent. a bent steel hanger can be bent back a number of times before you have to worry about it being weak shearing - and can be welded back on if it does. but alu isn't generally meant to bend at all, and a bent-back hanger is much more likely to bend again or break off. that's why they're replaceable
  • + 8
 I had one of this tools (from another brand) and you can bend it back several times without breaking it. Of course, it's not like steel, you can't be bending it back forever, but for like at least 2-3 times it would be fine if the bend it's not too extreme.
If you check the alightment with this tool after installing a new derailleur hanger, you will see that is not neccesary perfectly straight. Although most the time straight enough to be unnoticeable while shifting.
  • + 3
 You could play a drinking game with this video. Drink every time he says DAG2.2
  • + 2
 I'm glad he chose to hit that junk SRAM RD with the rock instead of that Shimano di2! I would have cried if he did.
  • + 2
 I like how shimano says to use their tool to plug and unplug their etube cables and they didn't do it.
  • + 2
 I deeply enjoyed the smashing bit. Can you do that with Sram Eagle or XR Di2? It would be better than will it blend...
  • + 1
 I nearly threw up when he hit that derailleur with a rock, that hit a little too close to home (my bike is not loving life at the moment)
  • + 3
 1:25 There's like specialty tools to turn your specialty tools with bikes.
  • + 3
 You like dags? Yeah I like dags... I like caravans more though.
  • + 2
 Price of this tool certainly isn’t bad considering it’s $20-30 overtime you pay a shop to do it.
  • + 3
 managed for 20yrs without one. Recon I can go another 20!
  • + 2
 More Cowbell!! I mean... More Rock!!
  • + 2
 Holy crap, it was worth watching that just for the rock...
  • + 1
 What happens if the bike industry boosts the derailleur hanger thread standard? Do I need another tool then?
  • + 2
 What's the Parktool code for that rock?
  • + 2
 да тут обод гнутый, чо он крутит
  • + 16
 yes ,exactly what i was thinking
  • + 6
 @TomBrady: ha ha, genau ! hab ich auch gedacht !
  • + 1
 I was under the impression never to clamp a bike to the dropper post stanchion tube.
  • + 1
 Super Rad videos, I love them!
  • + 0
 I deeply enjoyed the smashing bit. Can you do that with Sram Eagle or XTR Di2? It would be better than will it blend...
  • + 1
 someone posted already.... axle method
  • + 1
 Requirement to be a Park Tool Employee : facial hair
  • + 1
 That MOFO used a ROCK to bend my hanger!
  • - 1
 ParkTool = the snapon of Bicycle tools?....
  • + 7
 hmmmm dunno .. Park Tools are great but they aren't Snap On quality.
  • + 4
 No, nothing like Snap On or Teng, Gedore etc, they feel cheap in comparison, their quality is much overrated imo
  • + 2
 @dirtydog11: I think some of the bike specific Park stuff like chain breaks and truing stands are great, but why people buy Park Tool allen keys or crescent wrenches is beyond me. You can get the same stuff or better at Canadian Tire for a third of the price.
  • + 7
 @bjam: Park's allen wrenches are made by Bondhus. Probably the highest quality allen wrenches out there in my opinion but no need to pay Park prices. Just buy Bondhus off Amazon.
  • + 4
 @WestwardHo: I use Bondhus at work, definitely a nice product. At home, on my own shit, I use the Silca wrenches I got as an anniversary present from the missus. They're like a work of art.
  • + 2
 Park Allen wrenches start to strip as fast as generic Allen keys from Jenson bike, from my experience.
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