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Discussion Starter #1
I posted this in the Cannondale section and got no responses. Hopefully someone here might be able to answer the question at the end:

I have an old Crit frame (as well as a new R5000, its sweet but has nothing to do with this post, just bragging I guess)

The rear spacing is 126. I have since donated many of the original parts to a friend's bike. I have enough parts to build a bike up, but the catch is the rear spacing. I have an ultegra/105/velocity 9 speed set of parts.

Most everything I have read warns against trying to cold set aluminum. However, I have tested the fit and it isn't even moderately difficult to fit this wheel between the drops.

In another life I was an aero engineer that specialized in structures. I am familiar with the concepts of metal fatigue, cantilevered loading and sheer stress. However, I was also one of those engineers that enjoyed shooting from the hip more than hours of FEA (probably explains why I don't do that anymore). A large part of me keeps saying 'Come on man, it's only 2mm on each side'. Then again the thought of having a seat/chainstay break at 20mph isn't very attractive.

Here's my question (sorry about the long winded intro): Has anyone either ridden an old cannondale frame with a 130mm wheelset (without cold setting, just sticking it in there) or knows someone who has. If so, how has it worked?

Thanks in advance.
 

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Steaming piles of opinion
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Depends on the year...

There was a period (I'm told my '90 3.0 road race was one of them, not sure how long before or after that) when Cannondale spaced the rear to 128, so that they could work with 126 or 130 equally well. And as you've noticed, the 130's go in without any hesitation or sense of flexing the stays. Similarly, the 126's are just a little floppy until you twist the skewers. You're really only flexing 1mm, which is nothing over that length.
 

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n00bsauce
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The answer is yes. I have put a 130 in an old Cannondale R400 (1985) which is obviously a 126 frame. However, I have not ridden it much in this configuration and currently the frame is stripped and sitting in my basement. I can't speak to the longevity of the frame when the triangle is widened. Personally I think it's more advisable to put the 130 wheel in and ride it rather than try and cold set the frame. If damage is going to happen it's more likely to happen from cold setting. Either way I'd keep a close eye (and ear) for stress cracks.

I'd also measure the width between the dropouts with a calipers or good ruler to determine the actual width.
 

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The Problem you may encounter is that if the faces of the dropouts aren't parallel, so you may end up snapping axles. Plus if you are using indexed gears the hanger will be slightly out, making it difficult to get the gears running as sweetly as they might.
 

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n00bsauce
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The faces won't be parallel but my experience has been mixed with this issue. I didn't have any problem dialing in the shifting on my R400 and I can't attest to the broken axle problem as I never ran it long enough in the 130 mode. I have an old steel 126 frame that I routinely run with a 130 wheel. Again, the shifting is fine and I have put quite a few miles on this one in 130 mode with no axle problems, but then again, steel is more forgiving. I've heard of these problems but never experienced them myself. I suspect they may be more common with short chainstay frames.
 

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n00bsauce
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A frame with a rear triangle that is spaced for an earlier standard wheel spacing like 120 or 126 can be spread to accomodate modern spacing (130). The process of spacing the rear triangle is called cold setting. It's really just a brutal spreading of the triangle until it springs back to 130mm. You have to do it carefully to get the two sides centered and you should also re-align the dropouts so they are parallel. This is usually done with steel frames, rarely with aluminum. Steel is maleable and spreads fairly easily. Aluminum often develops stress cracks and fails at the welds when this is attempted. Titanium can be a bear to cold set and carbon fiber is impossible, it will simply fail.
 

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I just googled "cold setting aluminum" and the first item pulled up was from Lennard Zinn (Zinn and the art of bicycle maintenance). I think he's a well known & respected bicycle junkie.

"Cold-setting (that means bending to you and me)
Dear Lennard,
I ride a 1980's vintage Klein Quantum with an 8-speed rear. Should I be able to get the frame adjusted to fit a wider 9- or 10-speed wheel?
Brian

Dear Brian,
Were this question about a steel frame, it would be not be a problem, but no, you cannot adjust an aluminum frame permanently without damaging the frame. But you can flex the stays to put in the wheel each time you do it without hurting the frame. You just can't make fast wheel changes. However, cold-setting an aluminum rear end so that it holds 130mm rear spacing rather than the 126mm spacing is out of the question.
Lennard "

my gut feeling is that it would be highly unlikely for cracks to develop in doing this. I think you should be fine(what spacing is this guy's 8 speed anyway? 126 or 128?).

Mel, was it really difficult to get the 130 rear hub in your 85 cannondale? I tried to flex my 85 and could barely get it so budge. I didn't have a 130 hub though. But I still thought I only flexed it maybe 1.5-2 mm. Remember the old cdale ads where they had someone standing on the rear triangle?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
My spacing is 126. It takes a small amount of effort to put a 130 hub in, nothing remotely difficult. I wasn't going to try to cold set the frame. I cold set an old steel frame of mine. It wasn't too difficult, but from what I know of aluminum I wasn't even thinking about attempting it. Aluminum doesn't have the same snap back/deflection properties as steel. It isn't nearly as elastic or forgiving, which is why aluminum frames are so stiff.

I was 95% sure putting a 130 hub in there wouldn't be a problem, I just thought I'd throw this out there in case someone had some experience with doing this and it went horribly wrong. It's a bike I don't use very often and probably won't be riding super hard (just very hard).

Thanks for the replies.
 

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n00bsauce
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I must be superman. I just went down in the basement and did it. It takes a tug but, as in the past, I got it in. Maybe my spacing is greater than 126 by default. I haven't measured it and really have no reason to. I'm not riding, nor do I intend to ride this frame in the near future. With 8 bikes I already have too many to fiddle with.
 
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