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  1. #1
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    Chain skipping every couple revolutions on a cheap bike

    Is this even worth trying to fix? I have a Huffy 10-speed I'm riding around town this summer. I had intended to look at bikes for awhile and buy something better in the spring.

    The chain had a habit of skipping once or twice when I first accelerated from a stop. It's been doing this for years, but I used to ride so infrequently it didn't seem to matter. Now that I'm trying to start riding daily, I thought I'd try to do a little simple maintenance.

    That was my problem--that "thought" part. That always gets me into trouble.

    Anyway, I figured the first thing to do was to remove the factory chain that's been on there >10 years and replace it. I bought a cheap chain at the local hardware store (bike shops are an hour away, and the bike is pretty junky anyway) and put that on. Oddly, it was exactly as long as my old chain. I got a cheap chain tool and got the chain installed, no problem. I adjusted nothing else. Got on the bike, and it sounds like a capgun. Every revolution of the crank, the chain skips. Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!
    The only thing that stops it is to go to a higher gear so I'm not pushing so much force through the crank to get moving. (I generally start out on the smallest cog, front and rear, and I don't shift on anything but the worst hills.)

    I started thinking again (still dangerous) and remembered people talking about "stretch." So I removed a link from the chain and tried again. If anything, it's worse, so shortening the chain doesn't seem to be the solution. I have three questions:

    1. Is there a way that I can fix this myself, that can be explained so that I can understand it?

    2. Is it even worth fixing this thing? Or am I talking about throwing bad money after good? I just hate to write it off since I really can't afford a new bike right now, even in the $200-$300 range. I was planning to buy a helmet, shorts, etc. and save for the bike over the winter. I could ride my wife's model of somewhat newer vintage as long as I keep my wrench away from it, though hers is a women's version with pink trim.
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  2. #2
    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    Better than 50/50 chance that your old chain was, indeed, worn, and that the gears your talking about were worn down in the process.

    Examine the teeth on the cogs that skip. Do they look identical to the teeth on the cogs that don't?? If not, you probably need a new cassette.

    Most of the pictures on this page are of "healthy teeth" on a cassette:

    http://www.parktool.com/repair_help/FAQcogs.shtml

    It's also possible that you have a rear derailleur that needs the cable tension adjusted.

    The derailleur adjustments can be found at:

    http://www.parktool.com/repair_help/FAQrindx.shtml

    The Local Bike Shop should be able to take a quick look, if you can't get through this, or if it doesn't help.

    Write back if you get any further information from these steps. Maybe we can offer more advice.

  3. #3
    Make it a Single Speed! wasabiboys's Avatar
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    Follow the chain very slowly pref the bike upside down...see what exactly happens. Are there links that are frozen or rusted. Lube? Is the chain loose when you move it side to side in ones hand?

  4. #4
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    The chain is loose in the hand and I checked for links that freeze up. I didn't find any on either the old chain or the new.

    I wouldn't be surprised at all to find that the derailleurs are way out of adjustment. My front derailleur doesn't move no matter how far I push the control (the cable seems to be completely frozen at the derailleur end) and although the rear derailleur works, I'm not sure it works the way it's supposed to. It takes a great deal of rattling and clanking to get a shift accomplished, and once the shift is made, I have to hold the shifter in just the right position to keep the bike in the desired gear. I don't even know enough about bicycles to know whether that's something everyone has to do or not, but it seems to stand to reason that most people can shift and have the stupid thing stay in gear.
    The rear wheel is bent anyway. I used to just live with it, but I've probably put as many miles on it this week as I did in the last year. Maybe two or three years. If I want to keep using it, I should probably replace the wheel and the cartridge.

    I may not make it to spring before I buy another bike. Heck, I could probably ride the thing until November without getting cold.
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  5. #5
    Giant-Riding Ogre Don Gwinn's Avatar
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    Well, you guys must have been right about the cog wear. This morning I took my wife's "girly bike" out for a ride, but eventually it occurred to me that it has 26" wheels with about the same spoke count, though they're narrower than mine. I also noticed that the new Meijer store tires I put on her bike last month, while they have aggressive lugs on the side, are much more suited to road use in the middle than the ones I still have on my Huffy. So I simply switched the wheels (along with the cassette, of course) from her bike to mine, and et voila! No more skipping.

    Now that I think it over, I'm sure I made the problem much worse than it had to be by riding it while it skipped all that time. Each time it skipped probably took a little more material off the cog in just the wrong place, right?

    By sight alone, I absolutely could not tell the difference in wear between the two sets of cogs, though, even on the cog I use almost exclusively on the Huffy bike (the only one that was skipping.)

    Next is to see if I can adjust the derailleur with the links above. Thanks all!
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The key is "every couple of revolutions."

    A problem with the crank will show up every revolution. A problem with the freewheel will show up a couple of times every revolution. A chain problem will only show up every couple of revolutions.

    Turn your crank backwards by hand as you examine the chain where it exits the rear derailleur. When you see a little jump, that's the bad link.

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