Another new chain

Chain breaker applied to bicycle chain, with crankset and wheel in background

When I was just 6km from home last week after having ridden more than 100km, my chain derailled on a shift up to the larger chainring. It was easy enough to get the chain back on, but then it was skipping gears on the back for the rest of the ride home.

Bent chain link shown against background of bicycle crank and wheel
That’s just twisted

Subsequent inspection showed a bent link in the chain, which is why the gears kept slipping. I’ve got less than 1,500km on this chain, having replaced it at the end of January, but I decided to go for a new one (not least because it would be too short after I removed the offending link).

Chain breaker applied to bicycle chain, with crankset and wheel in background
Unchain my heart

With my pro chain tool, it just took a moment yesterday to drive out a rivet and break the chain. I selected a point that was a couple of links to one side of the twisted link. With the chain off the bike, I moved a couple of links to the other side of the twist and popped out another rivet. That left me with a short section of useless chain (maybe OK for decoration) and a much longer section that is fine as a spare.

Segment of bicycle chain with twisted link
Too short for a bracelet

Bath time!

Pink spray bottle of bike cleaner and yellow portable power washer
Bike washing overkill

With the chain off I decided to give Kuroko a washing up before proceeding. I’ve had the power sprayer and bike cleaner for some months but haven’t used them yet. (At least not for the bike — I used the sprayer to wash the screens on the balcony windows.) The sprayer puts out a nice, gentle fan of water that’s perfect for this. In just a few minutes I had Kuroko gleaming.

Bicycle glistening with water drops on balcony overlooking city
Splish splash

Back to the chain

Chain tool, chain and gloves
Chain tool, chain and gloves

With the bike newly clean, I gloved up and measured the chain for fit, taking off a few links to get just the right size. I threaded it through the derailleurs and used the chain tool to insert the connecting rivet. After snapping off the connecting rivet’s pilot, I gave the cranks a few spins. All perfect, and that was the end of bicycle maintenance for the day.

Newly installed bicycle chain with wheel in background
On the straight and narrow

Follow through

Lower half of bike on workstand, showing drivetrain
The “Biggie Smalls” chain position

Today I spent some time adjusting the front and rear derailleurs, as well as the rear brake. The shifting is very smooth now (on the workstand, anyway) and I’ve made sure the chain won’t come off again.

Bicycle on balcony overlooking city
Just asking for trouble

I wanted to try one more thing before finishing for the day. Kuroko’s main triangle is small, and it’s very crowded with two water bottles and a tire pump. I moved one of the bottles to the underside of the downtube, and shifted the other bottle a bit lower in the triangle. It looks like a close fit between the front tire and the lower bottle — and it is — but there’s enough of a gap there’s no danger of hitting.

For those wondering about drinking out of a bottle that’s going to be spattered in mud and road grime, there are a couple of solutions. One is to cover the lower bottle’s nipple with something — a finger cut off from a rubber glove, for example. A second option is not to drink from this bottle, but to use it to refill the main bottle when that’s been emptied. I was also thinking of getting a bottle with a full cover for the nipple, but it doesn’t look like there’s enough room for that.

Gasping for air

While I was preparing Kuroko for that last picture, I noticed the front tire had almost no air left in it. (It’s not noticeable when the bike is on the workstand.) This isn’t a real surprise as I’ve only ridden Kuroko once since finally converting the tires to tubeless, so the latex hasn’t had a good chance to work its way into all the leaking areas. The tire beads were still sealed to the rim, so it was no problem pumping the tire up full again. I took the wheel off after that and gave it some swirling to get the latex distributed all around again inside the tire. Then I pumped up the rear tire again, although it was already holding quite a bit more air.

If the front goes down just as far in another week, I’ll add some more latex. But in the meantime I’ll try to find a day without rain when I can go for another ride.

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