Thursday, May 28, 2015

Disaster Strikes!

Well, ya know what they say- "anything that can go wrong will go wrong." I guess that's what might explain what happened here. Yesterday, I was availed the chance to ride to work, since it wasn't raining, and I was keen to run the Fat Fargo through some clayish mud back behind a strip of stores I typically pass by on my way to work. There is some construction going on back there and they have made a mess of things with their vehicles and whatnot. Perfect for some mucking about to see how the drivetrain behaves before I find any mud Saturday at the DK200.

Well, it behaved badly!

I was moving along through a bit of tricky mud, and not the first mud I'd found by any means, and then I heard it: Snap! I stopped as soon as possible, making maybe only a half a pedal stroke, but it was too late. Here's my chance to use another tired old saw! "When handed a lemon, make lemonade!"

I decided to use the opportunity to test my roadside repair kit. I would surely find a hole in my preparations if there was one, because the chain was jammed behind the spokes down along the hub shell and the derailleur was...........destroyed! Well, not really, but the chain was jammed so tightly in the cage it wouldn't pass through it. Okay, now to get to thinkering!

I went through a couple of ideas, but when I found my needle nosed Vice Grip pliers, I knew I could wedge the nose against the biggest cassette cog and use it as a fulcrum to make the jaws of the pliers a pry bar of sorts. It worked! The chain was being extracted a little bit at a time. However, that dratted derailleur was now causing me some frustrations, since it was locked to the chain. I was able to find the quick link, so I undid that, and I loosed the derailleur from the cable. All that gave me enough "wiggle room" to finish extracting the chain. Then I could coast the bike.

Now I was only about three blocks at most from work, so I walked it in from there. Had I been at the DK200, my next step would have been to release the chain from the derailleur cage by undoing the bolts through the jockey wheel. Since I had a spare hangar, I could have then replaced it. Then I would have had to repair the cage, replace the chain, and reinstall everything again. The hole in my kit? No LocTite. Usually when you replace a jockey wheel, ya gotta put some LocTite on those bolts or they work themselves out and bang! Back in the pits again with a janky drive train! So....the lesson learned. Pack a little bit o LocTite!

The bad thing here is that I didn't trust that old Ultra 9 speed derailleur after that, and bought a new one at work. An XT 10 speed one. You know what that means? I either run my current shifter in friction mode or try to graft on my Gevenalle 10 speed shifter. I also have to look at the drive side spokes, and if those are toast, I will just have to bail on the whole Fat Fargo thing and go back to the BMC, which I would be okay with.

What did I end up doing? Stay tuned.........

UPDATE: I ended up sticking the Gevenalle GX 10 speed shifter on by swapping levers, then the 10 speed DynaSys rear derailleur shifted properly over the 9 speed cogset!!  I didn't realize that I had mixed 9 and 10 speed until I was test riding the bike in front of the house at 11:30pm! Oh works, and that is all that matters right now.

On to Emporia.


Jon BALER said...

Even in friction mode, the 9 speed shifter won't work well with Shimano 10 speed Mountain derailleurs. They don't have enough cable pull to be able to shift across the entire cassette.
One option to make traditional friction shifters work with Shimano 10 speed Mountain derailleurs is to dremel out part of the shifter to increase the total cable pull. I did that with my 1st Gen Fargo and an XT 10 speed cassette. You have to dremel out a fair bit of metal, but it does work.

jeff said...

Not quite sure I'm following you correctly..spare hanger? How do you mean? Thanks for the clarification.

Jay Robinson said...

Ted. Loving your blogs. New to the gravel game but hooked. My derailleur sheared off at mile 16 at DK, after the mud section. I rigged SS but my chain was too twisted. Salvaged a chain from another stranded rider and got a few more miles before it wouldn't stay in the right cog and had to abandon. #nextyear.

Question. Reading your posts, I've determined you like steel (me too). And you prefer a steel fork. I'm looking at building a new bike. After lugging mine this past weekend I'm thinking the weight savings is important. Your thoughts?

Guitar Ted said...

@Jay Robinson: Thank you for reading and for your kind words, Sir! Much appreciated.....

I do like steel bikes, but as with any material, it has to be a well designed frame/fork. If that is not the case, you can get a dead feeling, sluggish steel bike that is a dud. That said, your good quality steel frame/fork bikes typically outclass the competition despite their "higher quality" aluminum or carbon frames. Maybe titanium is better in some regards, but those qualities come at a higher price than steel does. Ah! We could go on all day and night about this!

Weight is an overrated thing sometimes. For instance- are you using this bicycle as a racing bike, or is it for adventures, where carrying loads might be a viable option? Mountain, road, or gravel? All three! You see, it just depends upon the intentions of the builder and the expectations of the rider. When those two things match up, then weight becomes irrelevant.

Typically I find that a good steel bike will be forgiving to some extent on chatter and rough terrain. It will retain a modicum of lateral stability, but isn't rigid and unbendable in the longitudinal plane. It should have a stiff down tube, bottom bracket, and chain stay. It should have a forgiving top tube, seat stays, and to some degree, seat tube/post.

That's my take.