12th May 2017

How the replaceable gear hanger or ‘drop out’ on your bike saves it from certain doom

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The rear gear hanger lives on the rear wheel of most modern bikes, and is the most vulnerable part of a bicycle frame. If the rear mech (aka ‘derailleur‘, the large oddly-shaped mechanism on your rear wheel) takes a hit, or the bike is knocked over (with or without you on it), or the rear mech overshifts into the spokes, the derailleur might bend and take the gear hanger with it.

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This rear gear hanger is part of the bicycle’s frame, and not a separate piece like in the photo above. It’s taken a bad whack and is completely bent. If it can’t be bent back into position, it’s going to be serious trouble for the frame.

If you ride a steel frame, you might be able to carefully bend the gear hanger (or ‘dropout’) back into shape, parallel with the rear wheel.

But if the frame is aluminium alloy, titanium or carbon, the dropout may well snap, spelling big trouble for your bike frame – hence the existence of spare replaceable rear gear hangers like this. It’s a sacrificial part so if it takes a hit, the replaceable drop out will bend or break – and, hopefully, not the derailleur. Or the frame.

It’s therefore worth packing a spare gear hanger, specific to your frame, in your emergency toolkit on any significant ride. This small but crucial part may well save the day.

A selection of gear hangers by bike manufacturer Specialized.

A selection of gear hangers by bike manufacturer Specialized.

Shop gear hangers

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