Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Orcs in my Drivetrain
Today, I want to tell you a story about my messed up bike.
During the past few rides I've noticed the rear derailleaur shifting slowly. Yesterday, it only shifted to easier gears. To get to harder gears, I had to reach down and pull the derailleaur cable that runs along the downtube. It was like plucking a bass string. Thunk, and the derailleaur shifted into the next gear or even more.
This happens every winter. In the past, the cure has been a little lube in the section of housing leading to the rear derailleaur.
When I got home, I carried the messy bike into my basement shop and found the culprit to be the section of cable housing coming out of the bar-end shifter. I removed the cable and housing for replacement and noticed the rear derailleaur was not springing back to hold the chain tight. The chain was hanging loose. I pulled the derailleaur off to clean it and found the lower pivot was frozen in place -- no spring action left.
I dug in the parts box and found an old replacement derailleaur. I installed it and noticed the lower pulley was wobbly. I tightened the pulley bolt and found it was already stripped. That must be why it was in the parts box. Ding, dang, darn it!
I sold two perfectly good derailleurs last month on Ebay. Ding, dangedy, darn it!
I decided to make it a single speed by using the 18 tooth cog which is right in the middle of the cluster providing a perfect chainline. However, I couldn't get it just right. The chain was a little too long or way to short. A 19 tooth would have worked, but none of my 5-speed freewheels have a 19 tooth in that position. While I was trying to get the chain length right, I noticed two broken teeth on the 18 tooth cog.
I thought about changing chainrings to make the 18 tooth work, but I didn't want to touch the filthiest crankset in the world. It looks like I used it to hack Orcs apart at a Lord of the Rings battle.
By the way, before I brought the bike in the house, I tried to wash it, but the hose in the garden was full of ice.
Conclusion: No derailleur, no single speed, no other bike that will take the studded tires -- no bike ride today.
I have most of the parts I need to set it up as a three speed. I just need spokes and a 1/8" chain.
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