Sunday, June 23, 2013

Doowhackies and bike hacks

Sometimes it's worth adding weight
A week or three back I broke my bike in a new way. Now I've knocked off cable-fixing bolts, punctured, messed up my indexing, had varied handlebar and cassette issues, brake problems etc etc etc and always fixed them. Mostly roadside.

This time I slipped my chain (as I have many times before - normally needing no more than a shift in the other direction to sort out) and it jammed.

This, it turned out, was thanks to a thin metal sheet attached to my frame by the bottom bracket to protect it from chain slips. Which it might have done, but it also ripped, bent and utterly jammed my chain in it.

I got the chain free and bent the metal vaguely back in line so it no longer caught on the inner chain ring, but it got me thinking.

Now a slipped chain is because of my shifting, the the derailleur/cable settings, bad bike design, or sometimes just bad luck.

But it's annoying and - as I just found out - can be a fair bit more than just inconvenient. It took me a good 15 minutes to fix the bent metal plate thing - and I get the feeling it's now more likely to jam again (as the metal won't lie flush).

Then I heard Mel (another lovely reader and occasional writer on the Etape blog) had a doowhacky that stops this from happening.
Chain catcher in place.

As she got hers at her local bike shop in France, It's taken me a bit of time to find one you can buy in the UK (I didn't even know what they were called in English). But I have (this, image left).

It attaches to the derailleur bolt and catches the chain if it tries to get too far to the left and fall behind the inner ring.

There are also this sort, for people without braze on derailleurs.

For less than £10 and weighing in at 6g I think it was probably worth fitting one.

Now, if I can only sort out the indexing issue it created on my front derailleur...

Anyone else got some good bike doowhackies, tricks the rest of us haven't heard or we can fit? Or BikeHacks as the internet would have me write.

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