Bike Upgrade Part 1

Sorry I didn’t post earlier in the day, but I’ve been getting this done in the midst of a lot of other obligations. I’m never busy with anything until I’m busy with everything.

Right in the middle of doing this job, my chain tool broke and I couldn’t get it all back together until I got a new one. And a new one was downtown OKC, having to wind our way past a huge construction mess where the bike shop was. So we got back home and I got the chain back on the bike. Then I had to change the routing, so I had to take it back off and put it on differently. Then I had to adjust the cable tension to match the indexing. And then I discovered that the cassette was worn on the two gears I use most.

So I’m waiting until an expected windfall arrives and I’m going to blow about $100 all at once on new parts: cassette, chain and shifters. And they will all match the new standard with Deore parts and 3×9 speed. And if I can still afford it, someday I’m going to get a Deore crankset (pedals and hanger bearings).

Gotta take care of my car, you know?

About Ed Hurst

Disabled Veteran, prophet of God's Laws, Bible History teacher, wannabe writer, volunteer computer technician, cyclist, Social Science researcher
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8 Responses to Bike Upgrade Part 1

  1. Mr. T. says:

    I had or still have exactly the same problem, two of the gears (fourth and fifth; 3×8 in total, basic Shimano Altus) were worn because I didn’t change the chain early enough (now I have a measurement tool for that purpose). When I rode up fill the chain “skipped” the cogs.

    I changed the chain (not the worn cassette) in the fall last year and simply used only the other gears, and after a few months the chain seemed to fit the worn cogs well. Of course I try to avoid the worn gears now, they may wear the chain down faster.

    But it’s probably time to change the chain again within a month or two (the chain wear measurement tool tells me it’s pretty close to 0,75%), I might change the cassette this time as well, or just use the remaining cogs/gears still… Using the same worn original cassette would save a little money while losing some comfort. But I have managed to cycle around pretty well just by avoiding the worn gears.

    I use my bike (Kona Dew hybrid 2014) often (at minimum about 3000 km/1864 miles a year) when I need to get around the city even though I don’t make that many long trips.


  2. Ed Hurst says:

    I guess I approach it differently. When the chain is worn, I am always prepared to replace the cassette and chain together. This is the first time the chain is less worn than the cassette, and it signals to me the cassette is frankly inferior. The manufacturers are notorious for selling bikes with imbalanced components. Still, I’m moving toward an upgrade, not just repair. My riding is closer to 6000+ km per year, so I really want durable parts.


  3. Mr. T. says:

    I’ve only recently put any effort into bike maintenance. My old bike just got all the drive train components replaced at once when they didn’t work anymore (after about 10 years, maybe?). Then the old bike got destroyed by vandalism, so I got a new bike.

    I’ve also found out that using a chain lube that doesn’t attract dirt makes the chain last much longer (if you don’t clean the chain periodically, which I haven’t been doing). The wax based product named SquirtLube works better in my case. Last year my KMC chain lasted only 1400 km before needing to replace it (using Motorex Dry Lube), now a similar chain has lasted 2800 kilometers and still hasn’t worn too much (using SquirtLube).

    My bike is also my main transportation method, so I guess putting some effort into maintaining it makes sense. But you can’t really call me a hobbyist, mostly just a casual rider.


  4. Ed Hurst says:

    The only thing I’ll add is that I use a dry chain lube from Finish Line, refreshing it about every 100 miles/160 km or so. That’s about every third ride.


  5. Mr. T. says:

    My current “maintenance philosophy” tries to save money: by measuring the chainwear using a simple tool (about a dollar on Ebay) you can get many chains worth of kilometers before you have to change the cassette, or so I’ve heard from a local bike forum. Perhaps three chains after you need to change the cassette, though this probably varies a lot. And many chain & cassettes before having to change the crankset. A good lube seems to keep the chain clean and makes it last a lot longer bafore needing replacement, so savings there as well.

    My previous “don’t worry about it until it wears down and breaks” attitude wasn’t very well informed in hindsight, but modern life is pretty complex and you can’t be an expert in everything.

    Biking is a fun way to get around, even during the winter. Now I even have winter tires and rims front and rear, which are somewhat useful here (from december to april).


  6. Jay DiNitto says:

    I second the winter biking paradigm, although I do have a limit (about 10 degrees).

    I keep my chain lubed. I road ride, so I’m in danger of dirt so much as all the Pittsburgh humidity and rain. Rust can happen quick but getting it lubed regardless is good for performance when switching gears. I have a lever shift, and it’s not segmented? (forget the right term for it). Instead of definite gear positions, it’s free-flowing, so it’s possible to easily shift gears halfway, causing the chain to grind a little. The lubing helps prevent that a lot.


  7. Ed Hurst says:

    The term is “not indexed” or friction shifting. I recall spending time at Fort Indian Town Gap and seeing how untreated metal after just a small bit of rain took on a fine patina of rust from the presence of coal burning pollutants.


  8. Jay DiNitto says:

    That’s the term I was looking for: indexed. Thanks.


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