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October 11, 2009

Derailed

Filed under: Riding and racing — mtbguru @ 11:03 pm

So far I’ve never quite experienced mechanical failure of catastrophic nature on the trail – good, I’ve had my share of flats, torn sidewalls, broken chains, vaporized brake pads, bent rotors, minor crash damage and a pretzeled wheel (but that was in college and there were two of us on the same bike). But today my lucky streak kind of ended.

The day after our onerous excursion in Coe, I found myself in south San Jose with some hours to spend before the sun would go down, and I was thinking – what better recovery ride from Coe than a nice short sunset ride in Coe? So I headed to Hunting Hollow with the Red Rocket (my Salsa) and had just started to pick up some speed on Coyote Creek road, as I experienced some trouble with the rear shifter; no worries, a few quick shifts up and down to jog the chain in place I thought but all of a sudden the chain locked up; this was accompanied by a loud crunching sound, after which my drivetrain halted driving anything… turns out half of the rear derailer cage had sheared off and disintegrated, due to what looked like some twig or stick getting caught up in the cassette and/or pulley wheel (and me greatly exceeding the force that one should put on the chain in such unfortunate conditions).

Derailer cage sheared off

Even worse, derailer parts had caught, scratched up and damaged a few spokes, and my Salsa derailer hanger thingie was bent beyond hope. Those spokes are made out of polyphenylene bensobisoxazole fibers (aka plastic wires), and I was impressed by how well they held up – the wheel was still perfectly true and certainly useable, but I didn’t care much for the only idea that could save my ride today: trying to make a temporary singlespeed out of my Salsa. Reasons for this: (a) this is Coe, the place is just not ment for singlespeeding, (b) I was only a few hundred yards from the parking lot, and (c) I didn’t have a chain tool with me.

Spoke damage

And thus was my sunset ‘ride’ over. After I’d completed the most pointless drive I’ve done in recent history and gotten back home, I decided to seek opportunity out of this unwanted change, and improve the bike’s bling a bit further: say hi to this Redwin Red cutie.

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