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Bike is hard to pedal, very frustrating!

Old 05-29-18, 04:51 PM
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Bike is hard to pedal, very frustrating!

Hello

I have a Breezer Discovery 3- https://archive.breezerbikes.com/2017...r/discovery-32 Purchased it about 6 months ago. I'm a bike messenger, and put probably 20-30 miles on it every other day, give or take.

Anyway, about a month or so ago, the bike became harder than usual to pedal. Front is always in the 2nd cog and in the back, I start out in the 4th, then once i'm warmed up shift into 5th and 6th. The 4th rear gear however started feeling like the 5th or 6th, so I've been starting out on 3rd, which feels closer to the 4th, but with a little less resistance and then going up from there.

I started getting into bike mechanics about a year ago and am trying to pinpoint this issue myself. I did take the bike the the LBS a couple weeks back, and they informed me my chain was beyond stretched and wanted to replace that along with my rear cassette. I did both myself. Replaced the stock KMC HV700 chain with a KMC Z-72 and the stock CS-HG31 cassette with same. I also did a slight upgrade to my wheels, replacing the stock Vera Terra wheels with Shimano WH R501's and am STILL having this issue! The bike just doesn't feel smooth. The best I can describe it, is it feels almost like the chain is too short, even though it isn't.

Both wheels spin freely. I even overly loosened the rear hub a bit so there's a little bit of play. I don't have rear brakes, just front, which definitely aren't rubbing. Both wheels are new and true. With the chain off the front ring, the crank spins freely also. If I spin it hard, it spins and spins, with no resistance whatsoever and feels very smooth. I keep both tires @ 85 PSI, which is the max for my tires. Chain is clean and lubed.

I'm down now to it either being a rear derailleur issue or a worn front ring, I guess? Could a bent rear derailleur cause this issue? I'm not sure if it's bent, I suppose it could be though (I have no problem shifting). So far I've pulled out and cleaned both pulleys and it made no difference. Could lack of tire tread be the problem? I still have the stock Vera CityWide tires, but they don't look all that worn surprisingly. Ii'll post some pics later on.

Any advice/possibilities to help pinpoint this issue would be GREATLY appreciated, as my rides have been very stressful and frustrating! Thanks!

Last edited by c4p; 05-29-18 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 05-29-18, 05:34 PM
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LBS time, you seem to be well out of your depth, if this is something you need to be using on a daily basis for income, an you don't have the skills (if your have been wrenching for over a year and can't work it out, it's time to start over) it's time for a professional to look at it.

For the distance ridden, thinking 20-30 miles really isn't a lot every other day, and at six months, if maintained, most parts on a bike should still be in pretty good condition, less say the tires,

For what your describing, would be looking at the Bottom Bracket, as this is the only thing you haven;t mentioned, also, you could probably drop the tire pressure, a Max is not their to be attained, it's just the max recommended, your bike came stock with 32mm's, these will probably give a nicer ride at a slightly lower pressure.
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Old 05-29-18, 06:03 PM
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LBS said the problem was chain stretch / worn cassette. I should have noted, the stock components aren't of the highest quality on this bike. I'm guessing those wear down a lot more rapidly?

The problem dosn't appear to be bottom bracket related as it turns very smoothly.

I just removed the crankset (Shimano Tourney, 48/38/28T).

Does it look like it could be worn? (I only use the 2nd ring)

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Old 05-29-18, 06:12 PM
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Great pictures!

Those chain rings are in excellent condition.
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Old 05-29-18, 06:31 PM
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I also forgot to mention that I was using the bike for at least 2 months WITH a very stretched out chain, unbeknownst to me. It wasn't until I visited the LBS last month that I found out mine was WAY stretched out. As a noob, I thought for some reason chains lasted WAY longer.

The chain-rings might look good in the pictures but up close, some look VERY thin, deformed and a few even look partially cracked!

My theory after cleaning/looking at the front chain ring and I think what *MAY* be happening here, is the stretched out chain I was riding on for 2 months(possibly more), damaged some teeth. The chain is now taking longer to get on/off those teeth, resulting in drag.

Last edited by c4p; 05-29-18 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 05-29-18, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by c4p
My theory after cleaning/looking at the front chain ring and I think what *MAY* be happening here, is the stretched out chain I was riding on for 2 months(possibly more), damaged some teeth. The chain is now taking longer to get on/off those teeth, resulting in drag.
Yeah, not likely - if the chain isn't "letting go" of the teeth, it's a pretty obvious thing to look at, and the problem doesn't feel like too much resistance, it just makes your chain jump around.

You got the most suspect items: brake rub, BB bearing, wheel bearings.
Are you keeping your tires pressurized well?
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Old 05-29-18, 06:50 PM
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Someone mentioned lowering your tire pressure-that will only increase drag. Check your tire pressures. It's amazing what a difference that can make with higher pressures. The ride will be a lot harder at higher pressures but you'll have a lot less rolling resistance. Just offering my 2 centavos worth. Good luck.
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Old 05-29-18, 08:02 PM
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Don't worry about your chainring, it shows virtually no wear because it's steel, and your LBS may well have been exaggerating the chain wear. The things you're concerned about are there to help the chain shift onto the other rings.

And don't run your hubs with any rattle, it'll destroy the bearings before long. If your hubs have QR levers, set them up with the tiniest rattle you can feel, which should disappear when you tighten the lever. If you have nutted hubs, just set them up by aiming for the point the rattle disappears, or just a tiny bit tighter.
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Old 05-29-18, 08:09 PM
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Have you taken a look at the engine itself? I mean, you? May be you're overstressing yourself and loosing muscles? This would make the bike appear harder to pedal.
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Old 05-29-18, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmo
Don't worry about your chainring, it shows virtually no wear because it's steel, and your LBS may well have been exaggerating the chain wear. The things you're concerned about are there to help the chain shift onto the other rings.

And don't run your hubs with any rattle, it'll destroy the bearings before long. If your hubs have QR levers, set them up with the tiniest rattle you can feel, which should disappear when you tighten the lever. If you have nutted hubs, just set them up by aiming for the point the rattle disappears, or just a tiny bit tighter.
I bought a Park Tool CC 3.2 before replacing the chain to confirm and the tool did easily go all the way into the links, so she was definitely way worn!

Normally I do what you suggested, but wanted to increase the play a bit just to see if the drag was somehow rear hub related.

I'm not really sure where else to go from here, other than something rear derailleur related. Maybe the stretched chain did a number on the plastic pulleys? There's drag coming from somewhere!
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Old 05-29-18, 08:24 PM
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Worn tires? Bent rear derailleur?






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Old 05-29-18, 08:32 PM
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What else has changed? Anything?
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Old 05-29-18, 08:37 PM
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Does the new cassette have the same size sprockets as the original? The link you provided for the Breezer lists a 11-32 cassette. Could you have installed an 11-28? This would change 4th, 5th and 6th to slightly higher gearing requiring more effort. You seem to have covered all the other bases (brakes, wheel bearings, bottom bracket). You also say that the bike shifts well which may preclude a problem with the rear derailleur.
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Old 05-29-18, 08:59 PM
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I was in a rush earlier so forgot to clarify a few things.

The reason I originally went to the bike shop was because of the SAME issue i'm dealing with now. I went in because the gears didn't feel right all of a sudden and that's when I found out my chain was stretched and cassette was worn. I'm having the SAME issue WITH a new chain, new cassette and new wheels that I had with all of the older, worn components and even way out of true wheels!

The Cassette came in a Shimano box with 11-32t checked off with a marker, so assuming that's right, it's the right part!

I may just order a new rear derailleur off amazon and throw it on, see what happens. I've had similar problems before and the issue turned out being really gunked up pulleys. This feels like that, only the pulleys aren't gunked up, (least they weren't before the picture above was taken) which makes me think they're just trashed from excessive use with a stretched out chain.
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Old 05-29-18, 09:13 PM
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This could be a flier, and maybe it's just me, but the cage width seems narrower by the upper jockey wheel. And is that the bolt sticking out of the cage? It just looks off. I'm assuming that you, or the lbs checked this.

It is just I've never had replacing a chain ever impact the ease if peddling to any extent, shifting and smoothing the drivetrain, yes.

John
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Old 05-29-18, 09:15 PM
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Since you ordered a new rear derailleur, it is moot to check the cage in the old one.

​​​​​​​John
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Old 05-29-18, 09:15 PM
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None of the things you have changed will make the bike harder or easier to pedal, a new chain and cassette will feel smoother but wont make it any easier to spin the pedals ditto chainrings. You have ruled out hub bearings and brake rub and unless your dérailleur pulleys are seized the slow down effect will be minimal (its easy to check and clean jockey wheels). That leaves the bb or the motor take your pick.
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Old 05-29-18, 09:36 PM
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There is nothing on a bike besides the brakes that is going to hold a bike back and not have completely broke or become VERY obvious in a very short time like minutes to maybe an hour tops. Even brakes would show up and be obvious too. Meaning... nothing in the drivetrain or the bearings can take that excessive heat and friction for long at all without completely destroying itself and turn to wobbles, shakes, grinding, and squeals. Maybe a single speed bike with an extremely tight chain but that does not apply here.
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Old 05-30-18, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Bigbus
Someone mentioned lowering your tire pressure-that will only increase drag. Check your tire pressures. It's amazing what a difference that can make with higher pressures. The ride will be a lot harder at higher pressures but you'll have a lot less rolling resistance. Just offering my 2 centavos worth. Good luck.
Someone, that was me (you can #username ), and the OP has 32mms tires, high pressure is not the always the answer, especially once you get past 23mm, and are not talking about road bikes, it's all a balance of comfort, speed, elimination of pinch flats, going for the max pressure maymake the bike roll a tiny bit faster, but any speed gain will be countered by a decrease in comfort.

One thing that I didn't mention, due to no info being given by the OP, is the tires, these will make a massive difference to the bike (the OP says they have replaced the wheels, but no mention of the tires) generally, stock tires on most bikes, and especally lower end ones like this will not be great, and changing them for better ones will make a difference to the ride.
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Old 05-30-18, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by c4p
Hello

I have a Breezer Discovery 3- Breezer Bikes | 2017 Discovery 3 | Bike Archives Purchased it about 6 months ago. I'm a bike messenger, and put probably 20-30 miles on it every other day, give or take.

Anyway, about a month or so ago, the bike became harder than usual to pedal. Front is always in the 2nd cog and in the back, I start out in the 4th, then once i'm warmed up shift into 5th and 6th. The 4th rear gear however started feeling like the 5th or 6th, so I've been starting out on 3rd, which feels closer to the 4th, but with a little less resistance and then going up from there.

I started getting into bike mechanics about a year ago and am trying to pinpoint this issue myself. I did take the bike the the LBS a couple weeks back, and they informed me my chain was beyond stretched and wanted to replace that along with my rear cassette. I did both myself. Replaced the stock KMC HV700 chain with a KMC Z-72 and the stock CS-HG31 cassette with same. I also did a slight upgrade to my wheels, replacing the stock Vera Terra wheels with Shimano WH R501's and am STILL having this issue! The bike just doesn't feel smooth. The best I can describe it, is it feels almost like the chain is too short, even though it isn't.

Both wheels spin freely. I even overly loosened the rear hub a bit so there's a little bit of play. I don't have rear brakes, just front, which definitely aren't rubbing. Both wheels are new and true. With the chain off the front ring, the crank spins freely also. If I spin it hard, it spins and spins, with no resistance whatsoever and feels very smooth. I keep both tires @ 85 PSI, which is the max for my tires. Chain is clean and lubed.

I'm down now to it either being a rear derailleur issue or a worn front ring, I guess? Could a bent rear derailleur cause this issue? I'm not sure if it's bent, I suppose it could be though (I have no problem shifting). So far I've pulled out and cleaned both pulleys and it made no difference. Could lack of tire tread be the problem? I still have the stock Vera CityWide tires, but they don't look all that worn surprisingly. Ii'll post some pics later on.

Any advice/possibilities to help pinpoint this issue would be GREATLY appreciated, as my rides have been very stressful and frustrating! Thanks!
Have you talked to Breezer aka AdvancedSports (i.e. info <info@advancedsports.com>). They own a few brands including Kestrel, Fuji etc.

They are very responsive but your situation may not come under warranty.

I bought a bike 2nd hand (Breezer Venturi) and it had a busted chainstay and they sent me a brand new frameset!
see Too Good To Be True - Buy or Not?
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Old 05-30-18, 08:10 AM
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And when the bike is in the stand and you turn the pedals there is noticeable drag? If not, then I'd have to ask why you don't use 1st or 2nd rear to start off in.

Also, are the gears you are giving us based on what the shifter indicator says or what the chain is actually in?
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Old 05-30-18, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO
This could be a flier, and maybe it's just me, but the cage width seems narrower by the upper jockey wheel. And is that the bolt sticking out of the cage? It just looks off. I'm assuming that you, or the lbs checked this.

It is just I've never had replacing a chain ever impact the ease if peddling to any extent, shifting and smoothing the drivetrain, yes.

John
good observation.... the LBS mechanic pulled the derailleur apart for some reason, and left out the metal washer on the inside of the pulley hardware? Now the pulley is pinched and rolling with great resistance?
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Old 05-30-18, 10:38 AM
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it PEDALS with a lot of resistance? no downhill coasting no problem? walking it down the street no problem?
turn bike upside down pedal by hand its hard?
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Old 05-30-18, 11:14 AM
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Things to check:
Lift the bike or turn it upside down and turn the wheels and let them spin. Do they abruptly stop? Does the wheels touch any part of the frame? Do the wheels touch the brake pads? (are you sure it's not touching the brake pads? do the pads have enough clearance for the rim?)
If the wheel is dragging something and it's not touching anything check the play of the wheel. If it has lots of play it may rub on brakes or frame under certain loads and leans.
If it has no play maybe it's too tight.
Cheap hubs can become out of spec as the wheel turns, if the cones are not properly locked by their locknuts, the cones can move and self-tighten (can even crack hubs, or break cones or balls) with lots of resistance, or self loosen where you get lots of play.

Same can happen either in the front or the back. But especially in the back on the driveside is a common problem. As the vendor of BSO's usually do a light checkup and assembly. But the hub cones are almost never touched and properly locked especially the driveside cones that require removing the axle and torquing down the locknut against the spacer and the driveside cone. And after that is inserted back in the hub. - This happens often on cheap assembled bikes.

If the rear wheel drags the chain and move the cranks a bit while coasting the freewheel or freehub is at fault being too tight in its bearings or pawl.

If wheels check fine, look at BB roll and play (disconnecting the chain and just giving a spin to the cranks will give a better indication of any resistance present), and spin the pedals on their axles.. they should spin nicely without any noticeably resistance.

Check that wheels are true (severely out of true - tacoed wheels increase rolling resistance a lot).

If everything checks fine and there is still a problem.. check again as you missed something.
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Old 05-30-18, 05:16 PM
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OP, when you replaced your chain and cassette yourself, did you route the chain properly through the RD? There's a good chance that you have (read: more than once I have) threaded the chain over a retaining tab in the cage, instead of under it, which will add a LOT of friction to pedaling the chain, although it's not obvious to casual inspection.

(However, this would not explain sudden degradation of performance before you changed chain/cassette)
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