Ch ch changes.

Discussion in 'Member's Travelogues' started by Rickshaw Phil, 19 Aug 2012.

  1. Rickshaw Phil

    Rickshaw Phil Overconfidentii Vulgaris Moderator

    As those who have read my posts before may know, I quite like my old Raleigh :hyper: and have upgraded it as bits wore out.
    While the current set up is great, I have for some time had a hankering for a wider selection of gears with a few more options for climbing so a few bits and bobs went on my birthday list....


    To set the scene, my Raleigh Pioneer Jaguar is a trekking style bike which I bought new in 1998. It came as an 18 speed with grip shifters, a 28-38-48 chainset and a close ratio 14 to 24 freewheel.
    I should point out that in ’98 this was a decent spec at this end of the market as 10 or 15 speed with thumb shifters was still common.
    The highlight of the spec though is the frame, which is made of 4130 Cro-moly steel. This is reasonably light and gives a nice ride.


    A couple of years ago, while renewing the drivetrain, I upgraded to 21 speed with a “mega range” style 13-34 freewheel which gives brilliant climbing ability – I could now sit and wind my way up climbs which were previously only possible by standing on the pedals and pushing until it felt like my chest would burst. This improvement was great but I still wanted more.:addict:

    The next logical step was to go to 24 speeds. A simple idea which I’d been thinking about since well before the last upgrade, but there is a snag – to be successful, 24 speeds means changing to a modern back wheel equipped with a freehub. Now, a freehub has an axle length of 135mm over the lock nuts and therefore requires the distance between the rear dropouts to also be 135mm... obvious really, but hubs for a screw on freewheel are traditionally only 126mm meaning that the frame has to be bent to fit – a bit daunting but possible. (Note; this is only possible on steel frames as aluminium alloy ones are at risk of being over stressed and breaking if you try it).

    Whilst it’s possible, I really didn’t fancy the idea of “cold setting” as I felt nervous about maybe damaging my frame, so the idea went on hold. Then, one day while the back wheel was out for maintenance I decided out of curiosity to actually measure the distance between the dropouts and found it’s 132mm. Suddenly the project is possible again as the adjustment needed is minimal (alright, I know I should have measured it before and not assumed).

    So, my birthday came and everyone has been good enough to get the parts I asked for. There was a slight problem with one of the wheels being black and one silver (my fault, I wrote down the wrong part number):blush: but Raleigh were really good about doing a swap. Now I just needed a dry day to get out and do the build and yesterday was that day.

    The first job was the strip down. The chain came off really easily thanks to the KMC quicklink, I then moved to the cranks and bottom bracket which also came off easily thanks to having been greased when assembled.

    Has anyone else noticed that Teflon based grease smells strongly of gunpowder when it’s been compressed?:scratch:

    After removing the rear derailleur I swapped the tyres on to the new wheels. It was a great moment when I could stand the bike on its new wheels for the first time.

    I should have known that things were going too well. When I attempted to fit the front derailleur it wouldn’t go on. There is simply no clearance for it between the frame and the rear mudguard. Looking at the mudguard I thought I could create enough clearance by adding a spacer to the front fitting so I removed the stand and tried removing the fitting.

    I’m sure you’re well ahead of me here – it’s the original 14 year old set screw and nut so of course it was solidly rusted in place. I don’t have a cranked screwdriver to hand so I had to improvise and hold the head of the screw with a pair of pliers while I attempted to undo the nut. Pliers slip, there’s a moment of pain and I now have quite a pretty blood blister on my index finger.:cry:

    The nut eventually broke off the set screw and I was able to cut a new one to size (with a bolt not a screw) and space it correctly, but the front mech still doesn’t fit.:cursing:
    I now know there are two types of clamp-on fitting and naturally I’d put the wrong one on my list.:wacko:

    Unfortunately because I’ve stuck the adapters in place I can’t now return it. Fortunately it appears that this will fit on my knockabout bike which will need a new front derailleur quite soon.
    Hey ho... go and fit the new brake blocks instead. These at least went on easily, but as always I take ages on the adjustment to get it just the way I like.

    By this time it is 6pm so I pack away and will resume on Monday when I can visit one of my local bike shops who appear to stock the alternative mech I need.

    Time to relax a bit.:cheers: There's a set of pictures showing what I've done so far here.
    To be continued....
    2clepto, doog and Pat "5mph" like this.
  2. mcshroom

    mcshroom Bionic Subsonic

    Egremont, Cumbria
    Phil, I'd try using your current front mech. 6-7-8 speed are all the same chain width and the mech doesn't know what speed the system is.
  3. OP
    Rickshaw Phil

    Rickshaw Phil Overconfidentii Vulgaris Moderator

    I did think of that, but one of the changes I'm making is to fit a mountain bike chainset. I can't lower the existing road style mech enough to work with this set as the rear of it fouls the chainstay.

    Thanks for the thought though.:thumbsup:
  4. OP
    Rickshaw Phil

    Rickshaw Phil Overconfidentii Vulgaris Moderator

    Have been looking at the various options for front mechs and think I have found the right one. It's on order & should be here soon so no building today. I've also ordered a new rear wheel for the knockabout bike - the old one has let me down once too often.
  5. OP
    Rickshaw Phil

    Rickshaw Phil Overconfidentii Vulgaris Moderator

    Great. The derailleur I ordered (I went online in the end rather than LBS) is discontinued. Alternative one now ordered but I don't expect to see it before the weekend. Trust me to need an unusual part. :unsure:

    Helpful chap at the dealer though - But I'll wait for the part to come before praising them in case it all goes pear-shaped.

    I'm starting to wish I'd not tried something fancy with the new spec now.;)
    Pat "5mph" likes this.
  6. OP
    Rickshaw Phil

    Rickshaw Phil Overconfidentii Vulgaris Moderator

    I had time available today and it wasn't raining so I got out to finish the build.:hyper:

    The new front derailleur came on Friday (a big thank you to All Terrain Cycles of Bradford for their advice when the one I ordered turned out to be discontinued) and, although it is the correct high-clamp type, it was still a bit tight for clearance between the rear mudguard and the actuating arm so I had to refit the spacer to the mudguard.

    The rebuild actually went pretty smoothly. The crank arms went on nicely with a new bottom bracket out of my spares box (I bought it some time ago but got the wrong length.:wacko: It is the right length for the new crankset, which is handy).

    After fitting the front derailleur and cable and roughly adjusting them to give a start point, I cut the chain to length (carefully this time after cutting the last one too short) and fitted it. Fitting the chain is really easy using quick links but three hands would be useful at times.

    Once the chain was on I fitted the cable to the rear derailleur and was ready to start setting everything up.:thumbsup:

    I started with the front. I'd set the derailleur too low to start with so it fouled the middle chain ring when I selected the big ring. That was just a small tweek to sort out. The gear cable needed a couple of adjustments before I was happy with it.

    The rear was easier. After setting the high and low stops it was only a couple of turns of the barrel adjuster before it was spot on. Very nice!

    The last parts to go on were the pedals. These are the originals and I do intend to replace them with something else soon (I'm thinking road flats with a short toe clip). I had to pull them apart and regrease/adjust them as they were feeling rather gritty.

    Once the pedals were on it was time to road test.:wahhey:

    My first impression is that the bike feels weird :crazy:, but in a good way. I've geared it lower at the bottom end than it was, for good hill climbing ability, but the top end should be about the same as before. I just have to select one gear higher on the shifter than I'm used to.

    The spec I've gone for is a 22-32-42 chainset coupled to an 11-30 tooth cassette, giving me a nice wide spread: a lowest gear of approx 19 gear inches and a highest of approx 103 gear inches.
    I picked the 11-30 because on this cassette the gears I will most often be using have very similar ratios to the old ones.

    The old mega-range freewheel was good but had the drawback that on climbs I often found myself wanting a gear inbetween the 24 tooth and the 34 tooth. Now I have that, which should be nice.

    Link to photos of the rebuild here.

    I'm looking forward now to the first proper ride.
    2clepto and Pat "5mph" like this.
  7. Pat "5mph"

    Pat "5mph" A kilogrammicaly challenged woman Moderator

    Are you back yet, Phil? ;)
  8. OP
    Rickshaw Phil

    Rickshaw Phil Overconfidentii Vulgaris Moderator

    I had to be patient and did the first proper ride today - 18.6 miles around one of my regular routes. A few stops for adjustments were needed en route but nothing major, although the wheel bearings did need a tweek when I got back.

    At the start I was a wee bit worried about experimenting with this low geared set up but out on the road it feels good. With this cassette there aren't any big steps between gears so I can keep up momentum really easily.:wahhey:

    I went over Lyth Hill on the way back where there is a short steep bit which is probably about 1 in 5. The lowest gear is brilliant! I didn't think the difference would be quite as noticeable as it is. I'll have to try it out on the Long Mynd soon.:thumbsup:
    BrumJim, gavgav and Pat "5mph" like this.
  9. Andrew Brown

    Andrew Brown Active Member

    Makes me smile how the Alivio fitted is what I remember the old LX chainset looking like from when I had my first "real bike"

    That was some years ago!

    I had Alivio at the time but it looked more like this:


    Rickshaw Phil likes this.
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