Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chain Suck > Bike F*cked

Today I broke my mtb in quite a major way. Stomping up a short climb  in Tai Mo Shan I heard a big crunch underneath before my pedals locked and I jammed the brakes to inspect the damage. Too late. The news was not good- I'd ripped the rear mech off into my spokes. This isn't the first time I've had to try and ride without a rear mech, so I figured shortening the chain and going single speed should get me out. That worked for about 2km, before more crunchy noises started happening under foot. This was the sound of chainring bolts shearing and popping into the undergrowth, before once again the pedals stopped working. Weird! After about an hr of walking / scooting on tarmac I was back at the car. A bad day at the office all round...

I've since begun the diagnosis & possible cure options. The root cause would appear to be the combination of a complete mtb maintenance neglect on my part in the past few months while I built my other bikes (I know), combined with the a tired middle chainring and a worn freehub that I just discovered is allowing side to side play. This explains my rubbish gears and suggests spontaneous chainsuck (I wasn't changing gear), after which the lower chain ripped the mech forward, twisting my nice carbon XTR mech in the process and shearing the dropout. All in, an expensive thing to fix. The bolt holding the dropout has also sheared inside the frame so even if I got a new drop out (that will be serious hard work here) I'd need to get it re-tapped. Ideally I'd like a new frame, new forks (they leak), new wheels & new brakes (to match the new full sus frame & wheels). Oh, and a new drivetrain. So, a new bike then... That, or I go uber low tech and single speed up with a steel frame and hold off on the forks & brakes. The cost difference would appear to be about ten fold, but I know long term it will be a case of buy cheap, buy twice. Two mtbs in the HK stable is not really an option, unless I change the wife also- controversial... Thoughts?

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