derailleur hanger alignment Gauges... are they worth the investment?
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  1. #1
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    derailleur hanger alignment Gauges... are they worth the investment?

    Looking to see if anybody has any advise/input on rear derailleur hanger alignment gauges?

    I'm thinking of purchasing one to include in DIY workshop bag of tools but I don't know if there is a real big difference with one from another. they all appear to function in the same manner, so my concern is the reliability and ease of use, which they seem pretty simple to use!

    I'm looking at the following:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0784P9BGM...ogi&th=1&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010T6L22E...ogi&th=1&psc=1

    https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B077SZBZ...t-best-20&th=1

    Are they worth owning vs going to LBS and/or do you have other suggestions/brands other than one ones I noted above?
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    I've got one and think that it's a good tool to own. Any time the derailleur is off the bike I check. If my shifting action changes I check. When I re-cable, I check. If the bike gets a hard bump or falls on the drive side, I can check. What does it take before you bring the bike to the shop to have the hanger alignment checked? I've had to tweak hangers on my bikes enough times to think that it was money well spent.

    How much of your bikes maintenance do you do, and are you willing to tweak the hanger if it needs it?
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    I think it's definitely worth having. I check the alignment everytime I do a full cleaning or if the shifting seems off. Most times there is some misalignment.

    My road bike has Di2 and it's very forgiving of misalignment so I don't notice much improvement with it but my gravel bike has SRAM Apex and the difference there is very noticeable.

    I made my own tool using a length of 3/4" x 3/4" square steel tube. I drilled a hole in one end and found a bolt to match the hanger threads. I just use some washers to space it out far enough to clear the frame and a tape measure to measure the gap between the end of the tube and the rim. I'm sure the professional ones would be easier to use but I'm too much of a tightwad to spend the cash.


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    Is it worth having/using? Absolutely! It's one of the most used tools I have. EVERY new bike gets checked, every bike I double check for another mechanic gets checked, and I would guess it gets used on 50-70% of the tune ups I do. All 3 of the ones you linked to are probably garbage...the Park and the other one that looks like the Park are definitely crap. The green HAG in my box from https://www.abbeybiketools.com/products/hag is hands down the best one made. Worth every one of the considerable number of pennies you'll pay for it. Easily my favorite tool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.R. View Post
    I think it's definitely worth having. I check the alignment everytime I do a full cleaning or if the shifting seems off. Most times there is some misalignment.

    My road bike has Di2 and it's very forgiving of misalignment so I don't notice much improvement with it but my gravel bike has SRAM Apex and the difference there is very noticeable.

    I made my own tool using a length of 3/4" x 3/4" square steel tube. I drilled a hole in one end and found a bolt to match the hanger threads. I just use some washers to space it out far enough to clear the frame and a tape measure to measure the gap between the end of the tube and the rim. I'm sure the professional ones would be easier to use but I'm too much of a tightwad to spend the cash.

    I have one like that in my garage, too. Nice!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Is it worth having/using? Absolutely! It's one of the most used tools I have. EVERY new bike gets checked, every bike I double check for another mechanic gets checked, and I would guess it gets used on 50-70% of the tune ups I do. All 3 of the ones you linked to are probably garbage...the Park and the other one that looks like the Park are definitely crap. The green HAG in my box from https://www.abbeybiketools.com/products/hag is hands down the best one made. Worth every one of the considerable number of pennies you'll pay for it. Easily my favorite tool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post
    I've got one and think that it's a good tool to own. Any time the derailleur is off the bike I check. If my shifting action changes I check. When I re-cable, I check. If the bike gets a hard bump or falls on the drive side, I can check. What does it take before you bring the bike to the shop to have the hanger alignment checked? I've had to tweak hangers on my bikes enough times to think that it was money well spent.

    How much of your bikes maintenance do you do, and are you willing to tweak the hanger if it needs it?
    I'm doing more and more of my own maintenance, haven't been to the LBS in about year or so, except to pick-up a few parts/accessories here and there... at this time, it would take something catastrophic to take my bike the local LBS!

    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Is it worth having/using? Absolutely! It's one of the most used tools I have. EVERY new bike gets checked, every bike I double check for another mechanic gets checked, and I would guess it gets used on 50-70% of the tune ups I do. All 3 of the ones you linked to are probably garbage...the Park and the other one that looks like the Park are definitely crap. The green HAG in my box from https://www.abbeybiketools.com/products/hag is hands down the best one made. Worth every one of the considerable number of pennies you'll pay for it. Easily my favorite tool.

    I know we have are favorite tools and believe me theirs nothing wrong with that as I asking for input and I respect your opinion(s), but what's make the three examples I posted garbage?

    And since I don't do this for a living and if one was not okay with spending $200 on tool. What other(s) would you recommend (you must of had a favorite before you found the HAG)
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    I've got a Park DAG-1. It works well, but I have to keep tightening a set screw that takes the play out of the pivot and it doesn't fit one of my bikes. Park has corrected the second issue with a newer version.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROAD&DIRT View Post
    I'm doing more and more of my own maintenance, haven't been to the LBS in about year or so, except to pick-up a few parts/accessories here and there... at this time, it would take something catastrophic to take my bike the local LBS!



    I know we have our favorite tools and believe me there's nothing wrong with that as I asking for input and I respect your opinion(s), but what's make the three examples I posted garbage?

    And since I don't do this for a living and if one was not okay with spending $200 on tool. What other(s) would you recommend (you must have had a favorite before you found the HAG)
    ftfy.

    The Park and anything built like the Park are not precise, and they aren't durable. They use a silly little o-ring to hold the feeler. If you use one as much as I do they're crap. If you're dealing w/ modern 10-11-12 speed drivetrains they're crap. I never had a favorite one prior to getting the HAG cuz they all sucked.

    The Unior tool is actually really nice and works w/ smaller than 26" wheels, and it's less expensive.
    https://uniorusa.com/store/hanger-genie-1602-5/
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROAD&DIRT View Post


    but what's make the three examples I posted garbage?

    )
    Hyperbole.

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    Yes they are worth if you plan to do most of the work on your own bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    ftfy.

    The Park and anything built like the Park are not precise, and they aren't durable. They use a silly little o-ring to hold the feeler. If you use one as much as I do they're crap. If you're dealing w/ modern 10-11-12 speed drivetrains they're crap. I never had a favorite one prior to getting the HAG cuz they all sucked.

    The Unior tool is actually really nice and works w/ smaller than 26" wheels, and it's less expensive.
    https://uniorusa.com/store/hanger-genie-1602-5/
    I don't work on bikes for a living like you do but I sure don't see anything wrong with the park tool. Sure, the o-rings are a little fiddly, and perhaps not as precise but realistically I don't see how it would wear out or why some high degree of precision is needed. I mean, how closely aligned do you really need to get the DR for great shifting? Getting it within a few mm measured at the rim (about 1/2 a degree off perfect alignment) in the horizontal or vertical position is sufficient right? The O-rings if someone uses them carefully will measure closer than that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Yes they are worth if you plan to do most of the work on your own bike.

    I don't work on bikes for a living like you do but I sure don't see anything wrong with the park tool. Sure, the o-rings are a little fiddly, and perhaps not as precise but realistically I don't see how it would wear out or why some high degree of precision is needed. I mean, how closely aligned do you really need to get the DR for great shifting? Getting it within a few mm measured at the rim (about 1/2 a degree off perfect alignment) in the horizontal or vertical position is sufficient right? The O-rings if someone uses them carefully will measure closer than that.
    I would agree that Park tools leave something to be desired, but unless you are an LBS mechanic, the Park version is adequate enough. You get what you pay for.

    When do I check my alignment? Only if I suspect a problem - shifting is funky and it's not due to another known problem. If it aint broken.............
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    What the heck, one of the derailleur tools I was originally viewing/considering from Amazon last week...

    "BIKEHAND Bike Bicycle Frame Rear Dropout Derailleur Hanger Alignment Gauge Tool"

    has jumped up in pricing ($67.00 to $88.99) and is now only available from a direct ship company in Australian. Is there really that big of a demand for these tools?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ROAD&DIRT View Post
    What the heck, one of the derailleur tools I was originally viewing/considering from Amazon last week...

    "BIKEHAND Bike Bicycle Frame Rear Dropout Derailleur Hanger Alignment Gauge Tool"

    has jumped up in pricing ($67.00 to $88.99) and is now only available from a direct ship company in Australian. Is there really that big of a demand for these tools?
    Honestly, I wouldn't order anything from overseas until the plague is over - unless you don't mind waiting a few months for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Honestly, I wouldn't order anything from overseas until the plague is over - unless you don't mind waiting a few months for it.
    ^^^ This.... agreed, I'm not holding my breath and/or plan it!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Honestly, I wouldn't order anything from overseas until the plague is over - unless you don't mind waiting a few months for it.
    I have an order coming from UK. 5 day shipping.
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    Alright CX, I usually agree with you... but I have to push back, or at least ask why. Why is the ParkTool 2.2 garbage?

    My ParkTool derailleur tool gets used a couple times/yr. And that includes lending it out. It has worked well when I needed it. I totally get why YOU would want - and be willing to spend big $$$ for - the best tool on the market.

    Is this like my buddy who's a contractor knocking my Ryobi tools? ;-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    I have an order coming from UK. 5 day shipping.
    Let me know when you actually get it.
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    My DAG is by far my most beloved tool. I discovered it after having trouble getting RD indexed properly. Once I got the hangar aligned, the bike was perfect. I have since taken up the habit of checking the hangar frequently. It's easy and quick to do, and since it's so easy to ding a derailleur, it's definitely worth doing.

    And i do own the Park version. It could be better (the o-rings are a bit fiddly), but it works fine, and is very durable, getting knocked around in the bottom of my toolbox (I really need to get my setup organized like CX has his - that looks amazing).

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    Alright CX, I usually agree with you... but I have to push back, or at least ask why. Why is the ParkTool 2.2 garbage?

    My ParkTool derailleur tool gets used a couple times/yr. And that includes lending it out. It has worked well when I needed it. I totally get why YOU would want - and be willing to spend big $$$ for - the best tool on the market.

    Is this like my buddy who's a contractor knocking my Ryobi tools? ;-)
    If you're really careful the Park will work fairly well...for a while. It's the size/weight/quality of manufacture that is lacking w/ most Park tools. It's also not possible (in theory) to get past the seatstay w/ the Park. It's easy w/ the HAG. Once you use an Abbey HAG (or the Unior) you'll agree.
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    Apparently a lot depends on luck and maybe type of hanger.

    I've only been riding 10 years but ride a ton of miles and not once have I had a need for one.

    I did have a frame with a replaceable alloy hanger but maybe having steel and Ti non replaceable ones for a ton of miles has something to do with never having a need for the tool.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Apparently a lot depends on luck and maybe type of hanger.

    I've only been riding 10 years but ride a ton of miles and not once have I had a need for one.

    I did have a frame with a replaceable alloy hanger but maybe having steel and Ti non replaceable ones for a ton of miles has something to do with never having a need for the tool.
    This has been my experience as well. I have had a Shimano derailleur gauge that I was given, and I think I've used it once. Others' MMV, obviously.

    I'm not that hard on my bikes, so that may have helped.
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    I have 1 (Park, btw and it does not have an o ring anywhere) I use it periodically. As a result of me having one, none of my friends need their own.
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    So I decided to pull the trigger and purchase the "CycloSpirit Derailleur Hanger Alignment Gauge" it should be here Wednesday.

    I will follow-up once I receive and use it... as a result of this weekends riding, I noticed my shifting is a little wonky at the moment. The derailleur is smooth when shifting from the 11th cog through the 14th, and starts to get a little clicking sound from 15, 17, 19 & 21. then 23, 25 & 28 appear to be fine, not sure if this a result of bent derailleur or not

    CX; I like your setup and appreciate your input, but I can't justify the spend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Touch0Gray View Post
    I have 1 (Park, btw and it does not have an o ring anywhere) I use it periodically. As a result of me having one, none of my friends need their own.
    the o-rings go on either side of the small indexing arm that extends out to index the rim at various location. The o-ring is used to mark (index) the small arm so when you pull it back to pass the seat stay and chain stay, you can measure that index against other points on the rim.

    How are you marking/indexing yours if not with an o-ring?



    I don't mind the o-ring. It's not the most precise way of doing things like this, but it's well within the tolerances of what we are measuring. I believe +/- 2mm is the spec for it. I can easily tweak to within 1mm using this tool.

    The thing I like the least about them is when they 'disappear' (presumably off to hang out with my missing socks) after being in my tool drawer for some period of time..
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