Rear Wheel Frustration
So,I'm all excited this am, taking the bf on his first ride with me, (he has an older mtn bike) and the rear wheel won't engage. The gears seem to work fine, and having not yet been taught the fine art of bicycle maintenence, I can't figure out why. Please help!
Right way: Take his bike to a shop and have them install a new freewheel,gear cluster thingie.
Cheap, dirty way: Take off the back wheel and lay it horizontally across a waste basket. Spin the gear cluster thingie and notice where it spins relative to the rest of the wheel. Try to spray some WD-40 into that little crack - it might take more than 1 try.
I'm not sure what you mean by "the rear wheel won't engage" or "the gears seem to work fine." The wheel won't go into the frame, or the chain doesn't fall precisely on the cogs (the gears), so he can't ride? By "gears," could you mean the shifters, the levers you move to change gears? A lot of people call them "gears," but they're not.
Originally Posted by tofu123
Assuming it's the second option, does he have friction shifting (shifter moves smoothly from gear to gear, without clicking) or indexing (the shifter clicks or clunks as it moves from one gear to another)?
Either way, you can start by lubricating everything that moves. WD-40 isn't much of a lube, but it will work for this purpose if it's what you have. Spray the chain and the rear derailleur, then follow the cable from the rear derailleur up to the shifter and spray everywhere it touches something else (the inner cable, not the housing around it). Where it goes under the bottom bracket (between the pedals) is a key point, so be sure to clean and oil that. Let it sit a few minutes, then wipe off the excess with a rag. Try shifting a few times and see if that helps.
If not, google "adjusting rear derailleur" or search for that at www.parktool.com or www.sheldonbrown.com and follow the instructions. It's easier than it probably seems.
Failing THAT, you may need a new chain, new cable, new housing or (rarely, unless the bike's been crashed or dropped) a new rear derailleur. But simple maintenance is usually enough.
Last edited by Velo Dog; 11-10-08 at 05:46 PM.