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  1. #1
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    Drivetrain Disdain

    I have an old bike I bought off craigslist last summer. I love the bike, but it is now constantly misshifting, or sometimes the chain just pops off on me when I shift. When I bought it I took it to a LBS and had them tune it up for me. I'm trying to decide between buying a new bike from a retail store, saving up for a high-end bike from a bike shop or replacing the drive train on my current bike. Just looking for advice or input, and curious what I should expect to spend if I choose to replace my derailleurs and shifters. I'm not looking for anything fancy, but I'm 320lbs, and I don't know how bullet-proof of a system I need.

    There is also the possibility that my hatred for friction shifting has to do with poor setup by the LBS I used.

  2. #2
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Maybe your chain and/or cassette are worn out and you can just replace those?

  3. #3
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    new cables and housings, and a new chain will go a long way once it is all properly setup. You probably dont need new deraileurs or cranks (unless you have bent teeth). If you replace the cable housings make sure you have metal endcaps everywhere you can use them.
    2010 Kestrel RT900SL, 800k carbon, chorus/record, speedplay, zonda
    1997 Trek ZX6000, 6061w/manitou spyder, xt/xtr, time atac

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    Thanks for the quick feedback. I've just been thinking a lot lately that I'd be happier if I had an indexed shifting system. But, I have no basis of comparison so it's just my own interpretation. I've also thought of how much easier a single speed would be for my local commuting (longest ride is 3-4 miles to work). But, I fear that my area is too hilly for my fat ass not to be able to downshift.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by vsanthos View Post
    Thanks for the quick feedback. I've just been thinking a lot lately that I'd be happier if I had an indexed shifting system. But, I have no basis of comparison so it's just my own interpretation. I've also thought of how much easier a single speed would be for my local commuting (longest ride is 3-4 miles to work). But, I fear that my area is too hilly for my fat ass not to be able to downshift.
    One possiblity for your commute is an internal hub gear, such as a Nexus or Alfine. You get the simplicity of just one chainring and cog, with the gears when you need them. They are heavier than derailleur systems, and you need to stop pedalling for a second or two while you shift, but on the plus side you can shift while stopped at an intersection (useful in traffic). They are also a little more weather-proof as there is less exposed to the outside.

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    I had no idea such things existed. I'm going to do a bit of research to see if my bike could be converted and what it would cost. I've done some searching and the response to IGH systems seems Luke warm at best. Does anyone here have personal experience? I'd think a 3/5 speed would work does my needs, but being out of shape in a hilly area worries me.

  7. #7
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    OK, if you have friction shifting it's unlikely your cables & DRs are set up incorectly. You can manually adjust the position of the shifter to eliminate any rubbing noises while you're riding and friction shifters are very unfussy. Older and slower than indexed but much easier to maintain & use when things aren't just perfect.

    What was the bike shop adjusting for you that "fixed" your situation, even if temporarily?

  8. #8
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vsanthos View Post
    I have an old bike I bought off craigslist last summer. I love the bike, but it is now constantly misshifting, or sometimes the chain just pops off on me when I shift. When I bought it I took it to a LBS and had them tune it up for me. I'm trying to decide between buying a new bike from a retail store, saving up for a high-end bike from a bike shop or replacing the drive train on my current bike. Just looking for advice or input, and curious what I should expect to spend if I choose to replace my derailleurs and shifters. I'm not looking for anything fancy, but I'm 320lbs, and I don't know how bullet-proof of a system I need.

    There is also the possibility that my hatred for friction shifting has to do with poor setup by the LBS I used.
    There are a bunch of possibilities here, and maybe a little more information could help. What do you mean by "misshifting"? Popping off sounds like the limit screws on the affected derailleur need adjusting - this is normal in response to cable stretch.

    Do you have friction shifters on both front and back now? If it's jumping gears in the back, that could be a bent derailleur hangar - you shouldn't consistently be jumping gears with friction shifting, since you have the ability to make micro-adjustments with the lever, so I'd guess bent derailleur hangar.

    Another possibility is that your hub bearings are shot, causing wobble - that could make a chain jump if it's bad enough. Pick up the rear wheel (or put the bike on a work stand) and turn the pedals, looking at how much wobble there is in the freewheel. A little wobble is normal. But if it's a lot, you probably need to replace your bearings.

    If the chain is skipping, it could mean the chain is either stiff (because of dirt or a bad joint), or stretched badly. See what a good chain cleaning/relube does. While you're observing the wobble in the freewheel, also give a look to see if a chain joint is stuck or really stiff.

    You should measure the chain for stretch by holding it, in tension, against a 12 inch ruler, with the ruler lined up with the joint between two links in the chain. Look at the 12-inch mark on the ruler. A perfect chain will have the 12-inch mark lined up with another joint. If the chain has stretched more than 1/16" in 12", it should be replaced. If it's stretched more than 1/8" in 12", you probably need to replace the rear cassette/freewheel as well as the chain. (I'm guessing freewheel if the bike is old enough to have friction shifters front and rear.)

    Editing to add another thing to try: You may have horizontal or nearly horizontal dropouts on the rear wheel. If that's the case, check to make sure that your wheel is in line with the major axis of the bike, and that the wheel bolts/QR are tight.

    With perseverance, you should be able to find and fix this problem.
    Last edited by tony_merlino; 04-22-12 at 03:46 PM.
    L'asino di Buridano...

  9. #9
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Step One: Clean the chain and lubricate it. If that doesn't help then post pictures of the cassette.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I have an old bike I bought off craigslist last summer.
    Check the chain for wear , replace if it is , worn chains wear cog teeth so that goes too.

    chainring teeth take a bit longer, but they wear too..

    These are consumables.. use makes wear. and dirt and under-lubrication speed that process.

    dont need to think of Bike shops as the place for only high-end bikes.
    they wont be $99. but even a $400 bike in main brand bike shops
    will be better made and user friendly..
    Trek dealer near by ? Navigator is a comfy ride 1.0 is 8 speed 2.0 adds triple crank
    and other features .. 26" wheels are ..

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all the great feedback. It has constantly slipped gears on me since I bought it but I wrote it off to frame flex. I would love a new bike, but I'm pretty broke. So I'm going to try to make due by spending as little as I can for now.

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    I finally had the day off today to strip the bike down and start looking at things. There are a couple bent/chipped teeth on the crank cogs. Nothing that looked bad enough to completely ruin the riding, though. The rear cassette was a different story, the smallest cog was missing a tooth and a lot of them looked fairly worn. The inside of the largest cog on the crank also had a large amount of marks on it from the chain rubbing/slapping it. I also went to Performance and bought a tool kit today for $65, and the crank extractor did not work, the tip of the bolt was big and round, and the inside of my crank looks like a square hole. The lockring tool also didn't match up. So, today was a bit frustrating.

    I also inquired to the mechanic there what his opinion on internally geared hubs was, he had some good things to say. But at the point of investing that kind of money, I am realizing it would be easier to pay a little bit more and just buy a new complete bike. Is it possible to get a decent hybrid/commuter with IHG for around $500? That's the farthest I can stretch my budget in the coming months. But, maybe the best option with my short budget is just to repair the bike I have to a rideable state and try to keep it together until I can just drop more cash.

  13. #13
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    You have a square taper crank. Are you sure you're using the extractor correctly? There should be a video on the park tools website showing you how to use it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by vsanthos View Post
    I had no idea such things existed. I'm going to do a bit of research to see if my bike could be converted and what it would cost. I've done some searching and the response to IGH systems seems Luke warm at best. Does anyone here have personal experience? I'd think a 3/5 speed would work does my needs, but being out of shape in a hilly area worries me.
    My commuter bike has an Alfine 8. I've never had a problem getting up hills on it. Although it's not my favorite bike (the frame is very rigid and gives a harsh ride), I like the IGH in traffic because of the ease and simplicity of shifting. It's a dead easy don't-have-to-think-about-it kind of bike. I also like it in winter because snow and ice don't affect the drivetrain, whereas cogs and derailleurs tend to get frozen up.

    Internally geared hubs have been around for about a century. The Sturmey-Archer 3 speed was the standard on everyday transportation bikes for decades in Europe. IGH bikes are still the most popular choice in places like Holland where people ride for practical reasons, because they can run a long time on virtually no maintenance.

    How low your bottom gear is can be adjusted by using a smaller chainring or larger rear cog - the entire range drops when you do that. The drawback is, any annoying gaps in the gearing are still there. But, after a while you stop noticing.

  15. #15
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vsanthos View Post
    I also inquired to the mechanic there what his opinion on internally geared hubs was, he had some good things to say. But at the point of investing that kind of money, I am realizing it would be easier to pay a little bit more and just buy a new complete bike. Is it possible to get a decent hybrid/commuter with IHG for around $500? That's the farthest I can stretch my budget in the coming months. But, maybe the best option with my short budget is just to repair the bike I have to a rideable state and try to keep it together until I can just drop more cash.
    You didn't say what sort of bike it is (or I missed it) - that could have a bearing on whether it's worth putting the money and effort into fixing it. If it's a common drivetrain for older bikes, like a 6 or 7-speed freewheel with a MTB triple in the front, and as long as your bottom bracket and hubs are sound, you can replace the whole shebang (crankset, chain and freewheel) for about $60 and you'll have a perfect, new, serviceable drivetrain.

    If it's something funkier, it could be harder to find the right parts. And if there's more wrong with the bike, you're probably just better off saving your money and getting something more road-worthy.
    L'asino di Buridano...

  16. #16
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    The biggest hurtle for beginning mechanics is component identification. That's why I suggest posting pictures. Some parts are pretty inexpensive. Some parts are wildly pricey. Without an idea of what you have it's very difficult to advise you on how to proceed.

  17. #17
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    The biggest hurtle for beginning mechanics is component identification. That's why I suggest posting pictures. Some parts are pretty inexpensive. Some parts are wildly pricey. Without an idea of what you have it's very difficult to advise you on how to proceed.
    True. Thinking about it, the comment about friction shifters makes me think "old 10-speed". (Were there mountain bikes sold with friction shifters?) That means probably 120mm dropout spacing and a 5-speed freewheel. A new replacement freewheel is about $15 on Amazon.

    If the chainrings are shot, it will be harder to find parts. (Although driving around on garbage day in the Spring will probably yield a bunch of donor bikes that people are getting rid of as part of Spring cleaning. In fact, you could probably find a decent replacement back wheel complete with freewheel that way...) But it sounds like they might be salvageable. I would try to straighten out the bent teeth and see what happened before replacing.

    If the freewheel is in as bad shape as it sounds, I'd think a new chain is a given. So, if the chainrings are still usable, we're looking at a total of about $25 in parts to get this running decently again.
    L'asino di Buridano...

  18. #18
    Senior Member Captlink's Avatar
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    If you like your bike rebuild it.Start collecting bike parts maybe another doner bike from craigs list.It will come apart with the right technique. The military taught me that no problem exists that can't be solved with the proper application of explosives.I had a seven speed hub and got rid of it the derailleur system is lighter and stronger and much cheaper to maintain for us power-houses repairs on a internal hub is a factory return in most cases and that is big bucks.
    Ever had a eighteen wheeler get in your draft.

  19. #19
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    Okay, I apologize for the lack of pictures. I don't have my bike at home because it didn't break down when I was at home. But, here are the pictures I took this morning!

    The lock ring on the cassette is a Suntour that uses an FR-3 removal tool, which did not come in my kit and Performance doesn't carry. But, you can see the scarring from the chain rubbing/slapping on the frame and chain rings. I admit the only reason I am willing to abandon the bike is that I am a bit overwhelmed/frustrated.






    Last edited by vsanthos; 04-25-12 at 12:38 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Do you know if this bike was in an accident? It almost looks like it took a pretty good hit on the drive side. Is the frame straight? I notice that you have horizontal dropouts. I guess that kind of scratching on the chainstays could happen if the wheel was loose or really crooked. But I have a hard time imagining how the bike would have been ride-able that way at all.

    I'm assuming the tooth on the small cog was broken already when you bought the bike?
    L'asino di Buridano...

  21. #21
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I'm thinking the scars on the frame are from chain drops. I'd be tempted to just have an LBS remove the freewheel. I had an old suntour 2 prong freewheel on a Schwinn World traveler that I had the LBS take off for 5 bucks. It was my nephews bike and i got a replacement freewheel http://www.jensonusa.com/Bicycle-Dri...n-HG-Freewheel for $15 as you can see the replacement is different than the Suntour so buying the tool would be a one time deal. I'n not sure which tool set the OP bought but It may have the proper tool to takeoff future freewheels. (cassettes are different and go on freehubs). I'd also order a new chain and try it out on the old crankset. It's got some wear but trying to remove it may destroy it. So I'm kinda a fix the obvious problems first and see if that is all that's needed.

    P.S. With it apart. Cleaning up the bike is a good idea as dirt will get into the bearings. When you get the freewheel off I'd repack the bearings in the rear axle. Boat trailer wheel grease is an excellent readily lubricant for this. I'll use the Park Tool Polylube 1000 that came with my toolset until it's gone though. You may want to move this to the Bicycle Mechanics Forum. They've really helped me bigtime.

  22. #22
    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    I'm just wondering about what broke that tooth.
    L'asino di Buridano...

  23. #23
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    It looks like it happened some time ago.

  24. #24
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    I'm honestly not sure if it was brokebefore or not. I can tell you that it always shifted very hard and clubkily. I always assumed that was from my size. Today I gave a few schwinns a test ride and am realizing that its not.

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