Thursday, 26 January 2012

You are only as strong as your weakest link!

Wow, what an aggravating start to the week of trying to fix my bike. Last week I got my bike back from its general service. Now normally I thought a general service meant, check everything is OK, check cables, brakes, make sure gears are shifting right, etc. Well I was wrong on that one - the cables were fine, the brakes were great and the bike looked like new, however the shifting of the gears, that is a different story.

Remember in a previous post we said that the riding was good and bad, good being the decent trail? Well this is the bad part. During the ride on Sunday, I found myself battling with changing of my gears, especially in granny gear. Either it sat in 1:1 or 1:2 or 1:3, the funny part is while that was all happening I wasn't shifting at all. Now you can see the problem. What was even more frustrating is that I could also see how to possibly make a temporary fix by either moving the rear derailleur left or right so the alignment is correct.

After quite a frustrating ride, I came home and was determine to have a look at the bike and see if any minor fixes could be done, instead of taking it all the way back to the shop. Yes in hindsight I should have taken it back straight away, but I do know a little about a little and so I got to work.

After checking a few things with regards to the rear derailleur, such as cable tension (this is the actual cable that comes out from the derailleur which can normally be adjusted on the derailleur - the cable adjustment barrel) as well as the alignment of the derailleur which refers to the highest and lowest gear done by adjusting the limit adjusting screws (this can also be tweaked a little by either turning the high level screw left or right when in the highest or turning the low level screw when in the lowest gear) These small adjustments will change the alignment of the rear derailleur. 

Once all this was checked, and busy turning the pedals, all of a sudden SNAP! the one link in the chain goes. Looking at the chain, I could see that the link was actually bent and this probably caused it to snap (fortunately this did not happen at the top of the mountain on the ride on Sunday!) So in the end, after getting frustrated, the problem came in with mainly the chain, which I think was causing the gears to skip.

There are a few things to keep in mind when working on your bike yourself when there might be a similar problem:
1) There are often minor adjustements which can be done to your gear settings at home even for the new rider - take a look at a site called Bike Radar, very helpful in my view also our expert will be able help I am sure!
2) Check your chain a few times and use lube if necessary. Remember there is always time for Lube!
3) And last but not least, if you can, take it back to the shop and ask them for help!

Remember to follow us on Twitter @DirtWorxRiding or look us up on the Book of Faces under Dirt Worx Riding!

Stay Dirty!

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