Sunday, 18 May 2014

Balderdash and Piffle #Bikes

I've already talked about Naughtybike's breakdown in a recent post and also mentioned GrumpyBike's been bought out of storage for the moment until we fix the singlespeed monster.

It's been a bit of a bumpy transition onto the bike as It was close to being a junker until I repaired it, leaving the components that were still relatively new (as I don't know it's servicing/parts swap out schedule from the FIL) or showing minimal fatigue with parts checked frequently for failure signs.
Well today I learnt that sometimes checks mean nothing.

On my journey to the Dunstable Down Radio Club car boot *UXWBILL think Hamfest* I noticed the gears were sloppy but ridable, it happens after a bike is used after being in storage for a long time despite adjustment so thought nothing of it as I've had bikes with perfect alignment go sloppy due to warm weather so it was nothing more than an afterthought.

I was lazy, out of shape and pulling the trailer too so decided to walk up the hill to the top, knowing the paths were better up top. On arriving I jumped on and started to pedal and got quite the unpleasant surprise. CLUNKsnapCLANGCLUNKCLANG Bugger! Turns out changing gears caused the rear mech to fail, snap then twist, becoming caught in the wheel spokes and snapping the chain.

Someone must have been watching over me today as it failed at less than 5 mph. If I were to have been travelling in a normal fashion and on the road there's no doubt I would have been smashed up pretty badly and for the record, I was on a public green area with a cyclepath linked onto it, when travelling here I assume pedestrians always have priority there and always cycle safely there.

Well It's shot. I'll link to an autopsy video I created - as I swear in the video I'll not embed it here. It looks like a catastrophic failure that could have been severe if I'd been on the road/hill section. that does not bode well in my mind.

Now if you rely on your bike and need it for transportation use there is a way to cludge it to be usable. It's tacky but works and costs about £5 or less if you have tools.


You'll need

  • replacement chainlinks (halfords sell them)
  • chain-link removal tool 
  • Allen keys 
  • cable ties or tape
  • chain (if yours was killed and unsuitable to botch)
Here's what to do. 

Turn the bike upside down. 

Once upside down undo the rear mech cable with an allen key and undo the bolt. Pull the cable through and 
tie/tape the cable to the post (see the image above the cable ties are holding it together.)

With the chain place it on the middle cog on both the front and rear cogs, it needs to be central as best as possible, failing that it may need to go one down or higher depending on the chain (or buy a chain tensioner - as the setup is different to a bmx the chain configuration is laid out differently so without a tensioner sag is normal. I may sell the shifters and crankset then convert this bike to singlespeed. If I do I'll be making a tutorial on that) WARNING - ONE GEAR MAY BE HARDER OR TOO EASY - NOT MUCH WE CAN DO TO FIX THAT WITHOUT THE REAR MECH

Once you've found the best cogs for the chain grab your link remover and remove excess chain. make sure it's a thicker part of the chain exposed on both sides. 

Grab your links and link the chain together, attaching the top end and locking it in place (Can't help here as all links are different - sorry)

Make sure the front mech (3 cogs on the front) is set to the middle (2) or the chain will fall off! 

Turn the pedals and see how if it runs. Gravity may change the rear cogs one up or down but if done right it'll be fine.

Ride it nearby so if it fails you're near home. If it does fail or the chain is too baggy readjust and remove another small bit of chain or put on the desired cog upside down, use a screwdriver to push it in place it'll not move once in the right place. 

Hope this helps you out. If not let me know and i'll help where I can.

Paul 

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