Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Crunchy Commute to Bummer Land

Riding home from work today, heading up Eastlake towards the Burke-Gilman Trail, crunching noise emanates from the rear of the steel Ibis, instantly followed by locked up rear wheel. Mr. Derailleur, meet Mr. Spokes. Even though I was in the lowest gear, wasn't even shifting at the time. Damn weird. The results were pretty dramatic....

That my friends, is pretty damn ugly. Wasted '97 era XTR derailleur, chain jammed behind cassette, and severely bent derailleur hanger. It took me awhile to untangle the mess. Plan was to remove the derailleur and convert to emergency single speed to get home. I had all the required tools in my messenger bag. After pulling everything apart, discovered the derailleur hanger was bent enough to rub against the cassette. Incredible. I tried a few cave man methods to bend the hanger back. Insert Dream On by Aerosmith for the correct soundtrack.

A stream of bike commuters buzzed by, since Eastlake is a popular commute route. A few asked if I needed help - including a dude riding a recumbent - I asked if he had an adjustable wrench on him. Score! He had one in his mighty tool bag. The stubby wrench clamped around the hanger gave me the leverage to bend it just enough to clear the cassette. I'll never make fun of recumbent riders again. Well, at least for a few months. Recumbent Dude saved my ass for sure.

Post road side derailleur-ectomy, chain now shortened into pseudo single speed mode, allowing the remaining 15 or so commute miles to be powered by me. Except for the last super steep mile into my neighborhood, that I had to walk; couldn't pull it off with my new "single speed". I was also afraid to really torque on the cranks with the damaged chain, could have easily snapped. That would have just added insult to injury. Or maybe in this case, injury to insult.

Jokes aside, I'm incredibly bummed over this. The entire drive train of this bike needed to be replaced anyway - cassette, chain rings, chain, BB bearings - are all shot. Being tight on dough, I was dragging every mile out of it. Now I've paid the price. Out of all my bikes, this one is the most used by far and my favorite all around bike. It's also the only one currently fitted with fenders, a must for commuting here. Damn, what a pain.

The derailleur hanger is really tweaked, but being steel, think it's repairable. I could probably wrestle it back myself, but I may have a local frame shop perform that operation to be sure everything is back in line. I'll call Davidson tomorrow to get a quote. When I add that cost, plus the drive train replacement, then factor in the flaky left STI old school 8 speed shifter, plus the rear XTR cassette freehub is sticky - a new bike make be cheaper. Ouch.

A new bike in that price range won't be as trick as the old school '97 Ibis Hakkalugi however. I built this bike up in '97 part by hand selected part. The speedo died and was removed years ago. I'm guessing the frame and fork have 20,000+ miles on it. Probably more. Many, many commute rides, some fun rides, and even a 'cross race. It's a damn cool bike. I'll have to weigh out my options.

Bizarrely enough, my carbon Ibis ate a derailleur a few months back, when the replaceable hanger broke off. I've been riding forever and never had this happen on a road bike. Now twice!

I'll wallow in my tears for a short while, then figure something out. Meanwhile, I hope it doesn't rain. Cue up Dream On for an encore...


  1. I had that happen to me on my Mountain bike, but the derailleur hanger broke, this may be better than bending. I also try to get every last drop out of parts and I also know it's not the best way to go, but we do what we have to do.

  2. ouch, I feel your pain, save the jockey wheels. I've had this happens I think the deraileur starts running a little to close to the spokes, and if it gets slightly lose and spoke can catch it, CRUNCh!!!!

  3. Nasty....Luckily I have never had this happen to me...but I have been riding with Guys when they have had this happen.
    Hope you get to work out the best and least expensive option...!


  4. I think it goes to show you the pure power of those Dan O legs! Pure power.. You should be able to get that hanger fix just like new.

  5. Wimpy Dan O legs not to blame. Wasted XTR derailleur probably developed enough play to allow it to get sucked into the wheel. Painful.

    I called Davdson, local frame builder here in Seattle. Quoted me $50 to straighten it. I could do it myself, better off having a frame builder check the alignment. I'm also considering having 'em spread the rear to 130mm, from the current 135mm. Will make wheel replacements easier - no need to lace a 700c wheel to a mountain bike hub.

    This bike needs a pile of replacement parts. I have a few ideas floating in my head...

  6. Fix the Ibis, Dan-O! New bikes blow!

  7. I had the rear made on my CX at 132.5 and I can run either road or mountain. I am glad I went that way with it.

  8. @Utahdog. Yeah, the Hakkalugi is a cool old frame. I don't wanna retire it. It's a great do everything bike.

    @Bikewright. That is a good option. I may consider that.