I don’t know why I had to wait until I was in my forties to figure out how to do the things I do to make my life better. I mean I’ve had a lot of adventure and I’ve done a lot of things I never knew could be done but most weren’t the kinds of things that actually involved putting food on the table or keeping a roof over our heads. I garden and raise honey bees and pride myself in beginning and finishing a variety of home projects because I like to learn and I’m too cheap to pay someone else to do things for me. Whether it’s repairing the oven, fixing a leak or putting up insulation I’ve had trial and learning periods but none have been as challenging as bike repairs.
I just wanted to change the rear rim on my Jammis road bike due to a broken spoke and age and thought I’d take on a chain and a rear derailer replacement too. It turned I got myself into a big mess. That’s pretty typical though. I guess I’ve spent most of my life figuring out how to get out of the messes I got myself into. But I’m good at it.
The typical way for me to work on my bike has been to remove my side view mirror and turn it upside down. which how you see it pictured here.
Replacing rim was a breeze. I removed tube protector from old rim and just transferred over the tube and tire since they are both only a couple of months old. But when I got to replacing the rear derailer my repair plans got derailed. I had this original Shimano on and its been there at least the 6 years I’ve had the bike and probably longer since I bought the bike used.
The instructions made no sense and were not made for someone new to replacing a derailer. Just look at them. They may have made sense to the engineer who wrote them but not to me. I was lining up the new derailer in the wrong place and couldn’t figure out how it should be placed properly. I tried to find some useful info on the web but there was too much content and not enough simplified info. Then I put it on incorrectly and couldn’t get the chain right. In the middle of it all the chain tool broke from over pressure. Damn cheap Walmart junk! I had to retire for the night. Breaking the chain tool put things on hold for two days until I could research and get a new one from Amazon versus going to Walmart for the same cheap tool.
Two days later the chain tool arrived and I printed enlarged photos of the original derailer on the bike to check the alignment and it took a long time until I figured it out. Actually my son helped me. I was going to return the new derailer and reinstall the original because the hanger plate was shorter than the original and I thought that would interfere with shifting gears but my son gave me some motivation to continue trying the new one.
Then I realized how the hanger plate, bolt and nut were supposed to placed on the bike frame. Finally the light bulb was on and I realized the new derailer would fit just right. Watching Brad Buccambuso’s channel on YouTube helped me get the right idea of how to ensure proper replacement of the rear derailer.
But working with the bike upside down was not suitable to the task. I was lining things up but the chain and alignment were still too difficult to adjust.
It was late so I decided to quit for the night and research how to build my own bike stand for less than the $150 stands they are typically on the market. I decided on the galvanized pipe model from a couple of websites referred to in the links below. So the next night I was in home depot trying to find all the parts and brought them home for a Friday evening build. The cost for the parts was $80. Here’s what they look like all laid out on the floor. Special attention had to be given to the upright post of the stand and how the supports were to be held in place. The 18″ pipes had to be screwed into the 45° elbows on the base, so that their free ends just meet the upright pipe, and they are attached to the upright with 2 hose clamps. These serve as cross-members, to stop the upright from rotating or leaning.
Links to directions below.
This is what the stand looked like prior to the placement of the support board and hooks. One deviation I made was to use a 1 inch x3 inch board instead of a 1 x 2. This allowed me to place three pipe clamps on top of the board for extra stability.
The finished product is a sturdy stand that will aid all future bike repairs and not just those I need for my bike. Here I am with a big smile on my face. Now it was time to finish the rear derailer installation and check all the shifting. With the bike on the stand and some more viewing of the great videos mentioned previously I was able to fine tune the derailer to ensure proper shifting up and down all the gears. It took a while but it was worth it. Then I had to true the wheel a bit and that took some extra time. Truing is tricky but with practice it’s not impossible. Small moves are all that is needed to carefully true a wheel.
The bike was now ready for testing and just a little more fine tuning was necessary before I could get the dog and take him on his daily jog as I ride my bike. I’m on the bike again everyday to get to work and I’ll be cautious as I take on future repairs.
That’s it for today now go and do something useful.
- How to Adjust a Rear Bicycle Derailleur