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Salsa El Mariarchi - chain feels like it wants to shift

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Salsa El Mariarchi - chain feels like it wants to shift

Old 05-29-12, 07:23 PM
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JonathanGennick 
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Salsa El Mariarchi - chain feels like it wants to shift

I built up a 2011 El Mariachi on the weekend. XT cassette, SLX rinks. Shimano chain. SRAM X9 rear derailleur.

When I ride the bike, I almost constantly feel some knocking or catching of the chain at the rear. It's the feel you get when a chain wants to shift and is barely catching on the next cog.

When I shift to the one cog for which the chain line is straight, the sensation goes away and the pedaling smooths out. But when I shift either inboard or outboard, the sensation is back. No amount of adjusting cable tension will make the sensation go away.

I've checked the hanger alignment twice now. It is spot on.

The El Mariachi has a swinging dropout mechanism. I have the dropouts pushed as far forward as possible. That has the effect of creating a short chain stay length. Could that be contributing to the problem?

I also notice that my derailleur cage seems to be misaligned. I need to put the bike on the stand and take a closer look at that. Probably I'll check the hanger a third time, just to be sure.

Has anyone experienced this sort of problem before? I'd welcome any suggestions.
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Old 05-29-12, 07:47 PM
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"I also notice that my derailleur cage seems to be misaligned."
As with any other troubleshooting, fix what you know is wrong before you investigate further.
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Old 05-29-12, 09:31 PM
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Since you hear/feel it only when the chain runs at an angle, it might simply be the normal consequences of bad chain line.

Try this. Shift to an angled combination. Have a friend hold the bike up from the front and resist forward motion as you sit next to it and pedal very slowly with your right hand. Put your left finger against the side of the chain, and you'll feel the chain shift sideways a bit whenever a cassette tooth drips clear of an inner link.

That's normal, but the intensity of that pulse and the vibration it causes depends on the cut of the teeth and the shape of the inner plate. Pointed teeth and chains with beveled or bellmouthed inner links move side to side smoothly, while teeth and chains with less bevel have a sharper motion. Often brand new sprockets start out bad, but smooth out over time as wear breaks the edges off the teeth creating the bevel that the maker didn't.


BTW- the same thing happens at the front, but chainring teeth are always pointed to pick up chains coming from an angle, so you don't notice the effect as much. Rear sprockets aren't beveled the same way because it makes for lousy shifting.
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Old 05-29-12, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Try this. Shift to an angled combination. Have a friend hold the bike up from the front and resist forward motion as you sit next to it and pedal very slowly with your right hand. Put your left finger against the side of the chain, and you'll feel the chain shift sideways a bit whenever a cassette tooth drips clear of an inner link.
Hey, that's a good idea.

The way things are going, it'll be tomorrow night at the earliest before I can circle back and diagnose the problem.
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Old 05-30-12, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Try this. Shift to an angled combination. Have a friend hold the bike up from the front and resist forward motion as you sit next to it and pedal very slowly with your right hand. Put your left finger against the side of the chain, and you'll feel the chain shift sideways a bit whenever a cassette tooth drips clear of an inner link.
Had no friend this morning, but I did put the bike in the stand and apply resistance to the rear tire with one hand while pedaling w/the other.

Applying pressure brings out the pulsing sensation.

What I observe appears to be a chain wear issue. As each roller comes around the top of the cog, it is "hooked" momentarily by the cassette tooth, and then released. You can observe small, upward jumps as each roller comes around. The effect disappears when I release the resistance on the tire.

Thus, I believe what I have is a cassette-wear problem. It's unexpected, because I had taken the entire drive train as a whole from my Salsa Big Mama. I had expected all the parts to be worn in together, yet somehow the move to the El Mariachi has caused a change.
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Old 05-30-12, 10:57 PM
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The Hyper part of Hyper-glide?
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Old 05-31-12, 05:07 AM
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Did some further testing. The derailleur high limit is unable to adjust outboard enough. I had noticed earlier that I had to back out that screw to the point it longer contacted anything. Yesterday I released a bit of slack in the cable, so the cable actually hangs slack in high gear. The clicking in the other gears went away.

I hate having actual slack in the cables. So today I will hie myself down to the hardware store and pick up a washer of some sort to put between the derailleur and the hanger.
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