Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Get me a bike!

This month has been a doozy for bike repairs!

I've already mentioned the Avanti with the broken spokes and the badly adjusted rear derailleur. 

On the weekend Sam called from the Uni, the folding bike with the new Tyres got a puncture... 'What do you mean you got a puncture!". I went out and picked her up and there it was. A punctured rear tyre. With a great long piece of brazing rod running through it! No wonder. The bike is resting in the back yard now.

Deep puncture
Tire Piercing Brazing Rod

Now my trusty Long bike has bit the dust!
A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to replace the chain and sprockets on the long bike. The bike still had it's original chain plus the extension provided with the Xtracycle kit, the rear sprockets came with the bike but I put them on a decent wheel I bought from the old bike shop in Darwin about ten years ago. After nearly 20,000 km of cycling the chain and sprockets had become worn out! The chain kept slipping and the teeth on the sprockets were worn to a sharp point! By now I've re-packed the wheel with grease at least twice... Basically the whole kit has had it's day.
Two chain pins bottom one is newish the top link is from my worn chain having done nearly 20,000 km (It appears that the new pin is slightly longer than the old one... they should be the same length)

Some left over chain... (After pulling them apart I got to appreciate the quality of the steel and the various components)

Long Bike all messed up!

With stuff all money to spend I had to improvise and unfortunately compromised a little too much. Having an Xtracycle means that my chain is longer than the usual bike. I needed two. The tip shop is usually pretty good for parts and I managed to find a couple of decent chains and a barely used 6 speed sprocket. I took them home, replaced the sprocket and was reinserting the final pin of the chain when I snapped the chain breaker! I got the pin in but was not happy with the job and was worried it would not stay... It didn't!

Mashing the chain
Messing up the gears! (The shiny chain is the result of no oil and rubbing on the disconnected front derailleur...)

Last night on my way home from work the faulty connection came away and the chain broke and got caught in the rear wheel. Luckily I had some tools to fix it and a joining link (The part I should never have compromised on!) I fixed the chain bent the derailleur back into what I thought was a suitable position and proceeded to ride on. No problem. Clicked her into a lower gear, OK... clicked her down again into first and WHAM! Chain came off and tore through the spokes on the rear wheel, seized the wheel and bent the derailleur all the way! One look and I could see it was terminal. The Long bike will be off the road for a long time this time! Now I'm wondering if I should resurrect her or start again and just attach the Xtracycle to a whole new bike!

Oh yeh one more rear wheel casualty. A couple of weeks ago I spent a few days wandering around Darwin on the old Shogun road bike. I did a lot of miles and traveled across some fairly uneven ground with a panier bag full of my gear... (Don't ask why!) As I was riding I noticed a creaking sound coming from the rear wheel. I Stopped and had a look and discovered that the wheel was starting to buckle under the load and a couple of the spokes had become loose. Not a good sign if you want a wheel to hold together. Wouldn't it be funny if I ran out of bikes to ride! Actually I'm a bit sad about that. The Shogun has been with me for years and the rear wheel has stood up to several trips around the harbor.

Actually I'm kind of happy about all of this. Through trial and error I have learned first hand several things.
  1. Fine tuning the low gear of a rear derailleur is worth it.
  2. When joining chains they should be very very similar in width and match the sprocket set you are using. (I probably should have found out more about this before I replaced the old chain)
  3. There's nothing wrong with using a chain joiner. (Don't be a hero and think you've got to get all the pins back in!)
  4. Chain breakers break if you apply them on an angle... particularly when trying to replace a pin rather than extract one!
  5. A good quality chain breaker is much better than a crappy one! (short handles mean poor leverage, long handles are good!)
  6. There are actually times when not having oil on your chain is an advantage
So there you have it. Another inventory of stuff that's gone wrong. ;)  I suppose I'll have to post a happy story next.


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