Drivetrain Woes



A couple of weeks ago, I had a strange thing happen. I was just riding along; downshifted the rear derailleur, and WHAM! Chain skidded off the big cog and into the spokes.

So, I get off, and think “Wow, that was random,” and I unbend the bent derailleur and get on with my business. Shifting was a little sketchy after that, but I assumed it was because of the bent derailleur. I friction-shift, and my setup is fairly tolerant of things being pretty messed up, so I didn’t think much of it. I ordered a new chain and derailleur a few days ago, and figured I’d install them when I take the studded tires off for spring.

Well spring never came. On Saturday’s ride, the shifting got really sketchy. I could ride in the big ring, or the granny ring, but not the middle ring. In the middle ring, the chain just skidded all over the place when I pedaled.

So, I bailed on my ride and limped back home. I installed my new chain and rear derailleur a bit early.

Nashbar / Microshift Derailleur

Nashbar / Microshift Derailleur

Here it is. It’s the Microshift / Nashbar rear derailleur. $30. A bargain at twice the price.

So, Sunday, with bright and shiny new bits, I head out to the coffee shop to meet up with the Sloth.

Oh, sweet Calamity! Middle ring still doesn’t work. I guess it wasn’t the chain or derailleur after all. “So what,” I thinks to myself, “I still have a granny ring and a big ring, so everything will be fine.” And fine it was, for a while.


I made it as far as the Conodoguinet Creek without incident. About two miles out from the coffee shop, the granny ring lost its mojo, too. So, it was me and the big ring the rest of the way to the coffee shop.


I met the Sloth, had some coffees, and begged a ride home.

An informal survey of people who know about such things revealed that my problem was caused by worn-out chain rings. So, I ordered some new ones. When they arrive, I will have replaced the chain, chain rings, and rear derailleur. I’m wondering if maybe I shouldn’t renew the cassette while I’m at it.


These are the chain rings that I totally ground to dust with my mighty force of my epic awesomeness. Looks like I’ll be spending some quality time in the garage with wrenches and tools and whatnot. Maybe it will be springtime when I have the bike put back together.

Here is a map chronicling my epic journey to the coffee shop with a half-working bicycle:

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2 thoughts on “Drivetrain Woes

  1. Adam

    Thanks. I think I have a crank puller somewhere in my pile of junk. Chain rings are out for delivery tomorrow, maybe I’ll have time to find it by then.

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