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somecanuck 09-28-06 02:12 PM

The difference a chain makes
I'm looking for a commuter bike to take me about 10->20km a day in good weather.

I tried a few Dahons earlier this week. I don't have a bias towards any particular brand -- I just started with the 'local shop' and their selection. I'm apartment-bound and close to public transit in case I'd like to avoid the rain -- storage and portability are my motivations for trying out a foldable. ...and there was a 'fun factor' that I got from hopping on the smaller wheeled bikes that wasn't there on full sized machines.

I found the rides a little too bumpy for my liking (Mariner, and especially Mu SL, the Cadenza to a lesser extent due to larger wheel size), so I tried out a Jetstream P8 (a model with suspension) -- it made for a very smooth ride.

The only downside (compared to a couple full-sized bikes I tried with mid-range shimano components) was that I could "feel" the chain while pedalling. I read a review elsewhere on the Jetstream P8 in stock configuration, and its performance after a rolhoff conversion. The writer also made comments about 'feeling every link in the chain' or something to that effect in its stock configuration.

This is likely not a problem specific to foldables, but... how much difference could swapping the chain alone make to the bike? Would it be possible to smooth out the ride with a few extra dollars spent on a chain and a bit of fiddling with the derailleur, or is it more likely a full component upgrade is required to smooth things out? Could it be that the chain just needs to be broken in a bit? Any riders out there that have faced similar issues?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

matt52 09-28-06 02:48 PM

Assuming you haven't already, before swapping the chain, degrease it and pour over a load of White Lightening dry lube and check out whether it still feels as bad.

geo8rge 09-28-06 06:26 PM

What does feel the chain mean? Does it happen in all the gears or just the lowest or highest? Is the front chain ring very large?

Does it really bother you? You might only be noticing it because of the review you read (not trying to be mean).

somecanuck 09-28-06 08:14 PM

I dug around and found the review after I'd tried the bike, so it didn't injected a bias...

It just didn't feel smooth while pedaling -- or as smooth as the other bikes I'd tried. I describe the problem as related to the chain because that was my best guess as to what would cause the bitty vibration I noticed while turning the crank. It was there regardless of gear.

I suspect a better lubricant would be worth a shot... I'll post a follow-up on whether it helped.

james_swift 09-29-06 10:00 AM

Check the bottom bracket first. If the the bike shop will let you, derail the chain from the chainring and spin the crank. Can you feel any grinding?

The vibration could also be coming from the derailleur pulleys. If the problem really is with the chain, then it's possible that the chain width doesn't precisely match the teeth on either the chainring or the cogs (or derailleur pulleys).

pm124 09-30-06 06:41 AM

I would just ask the bike store to adjust the rear derailleur. The chain could also be hitting the chain guide (the little plastic thing on the front that keeps it from falling off) or the frame. Are you in NYC? If so, try the shop at 110 and Central Park West, they have a Jestream P8 there.

I have a Mu SL, and it does ride very hard. But it's a road bike, so it's supposed to. (Where did you find one?) If you are only commuting and don't plan on longer rides, a full suspension bike makes a lot of sense, especially if you don't have to carry it a good deal. The smoothest ride at a light weight is the Birdy, but it will set you back $150 more than the Jetstream. They have the basic Red at NYCewheels for $950.

geo8rge 09-30-06 10:40 AM

"It was there regardless of gear. "

Are you are pedaling at the resonant frequency of the chain? It's unlikely but could it be the RPMs of your pedaling. Is there a peak in the vibrations, if you pedal faster or slower from the peak vibratiions does it get less and less?

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