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Without exception, every rear derailleur hanger alignment tool operates in a similar manner: you remove the rear derailleur, install the tool, and then rotate the tool’s handle, checking the gap between the indicator gauge at the end of the handle and the rim. In essence, what you’re doing is checking if two discs are parallel to each other.
It’s a bit of a tedious and iterative process, but it’s also a straightforward concept that has worked for decades.
Wolf Tooth Components’ new — and aptly named — Hanger Alignment Tool (HAT) ignores all of that history completely.
Instead, the HAT asks users to compare the parallelism of two straight lines: one a rod that extends out from a dedicated thru-axle (there’s also a quick-release version), while the other half of the tool threads into the hanger itself, providing the other linear reference.
Unlike other hanger alignment tools, there are no moving parts on the HAT; simply grab the portion of the handle that threads into the hanger, tweak that until it’s parallel to the axle reference, and you’re done.
In addition to supposedly being easier to use, the HAT’s simpler design and aluminum construction adds up to less than 300g for the complete thru-axle version (or 324g for the quick-release version). It’s also remarkably compact, so it’s even easier to toss in a travel tool kit than Abbey Bike Tools’ venerable HAG (Hanger Alignment Gauge).
Retail price for the thru-axle version is US$100 (with interchangeable ends to accommodate different dropout thread pitches); a complete kit with both the thru-axle and quick-release inserts is US$120. Retail prices for customers outside of the US are based on existing conversion rates.