In a message dated 9/20/02 6:52:40 AM Pacific Daylight Time, email@example.com writes:
<< Heck, even the Wright brothers used vertical drops that we now call Breezers (copycats). So my question is, when did bike dropouts become predominately horizontal and for what reasons? I can think of a few but like all things what was old is new again. >> Looking through "The Dancing Chain": 1890 Raleigh - track type rear ends p.34 1891 QR hinged drop out that fully surrounds axle p.35 1890s? Velocio - track ends p.57 1905 Hirondelle - vertical p.68 1908-1911 Panel, Le Chemineau - vertical (others shown as track) p.78
The first forward facing drop out is shown in a Simplex ad from 1923. p.89
1928 Ancora (Vittoria changer) - track ends p.93
Illustrations in the 1930-9 (starting p.98) section are almost all horizontal (forward facing) This time period happens to coincide with the adoption of multiple gears in the TDF.
1934 Cyclo retro direct - vertical p.119
The book undoubtedly is not a complete compilation, but from the photos and illustrations, it appears rear facing horizontal fork ends (I prefer to NOT call track ends "drop outs") were predominant up to about 1930. Once multiple gears became accepted in the racing community, the forward horizontal drop out appears to be the most common, probably because racers were more concerned with speedy wheel changes?
Another advantage to think about with vertical drops. If you break a spoke, you can't skew the axle so the rim wobble clears the stays and/or brake. Shorter stays? I've ridden bikes with stays too short, I'll pass on the short stay thing. If they're too short, it havocs the fore-aft weight distribution of the bike. Vertical drops DO allow a builder to get a perfect fender line.
Although I'm not a fan of vertical drop outs, I have one set of Stumps that I'll probably use (but not with short stays) Steven "if you gotta deflate the tire to get it in, the stays are too short" Thomas Alameda, CA
ps. I've seen track frames where if you shove the wheel all the way forward until the tire touches, there was still 1/2" of axle slot, in front of the axle. Take that guys torch away!