Author Topic: Bike chain slipping in only one gear (Read 18094 times)

frugalparagon

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Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« on: November 24, 2014, 01:51:59 PM »
I've been noticing that whenever I'm in the third rear gear, I get an annoying sort of popping/slipping sensation while pedaling, regardless of which front gear I'm in. And of course that's my favorite gear!

Google research wasn't very helpful. This was the closest thing I found: http://athenscyclepath.com/wconnchainskips.php, but I can't duplicate the skipping by pedaling backward. It only seems to happen when I'm on the bike. And it seems like it's starting to spread to fourth gear, too.

Visual inspection/backpedaling show nothing wrong. Chain is freshly degreased and re-greased. Any suggestions for what else I can try before consulting the terse but not unfriendly ladies in the basement of the LBS?
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jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2014, 02:02:19 PM »
Given that it is your favorite gear, my guess is that you have worn out that chain ring and need a new rear cassette. When did you notice this problem? Was it after you replaced the chain? Usually thats when worn out chain rings reveal themselves because the new chain isn't happy with the worn out chain ring. Look to see if the gear teeth look narrower and sharper than the rest.

The other cause could be that you need a new chain.
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frugalparagon

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 11:05:50 AM »
Hmm, it doesn't seem to be the cassette. I looked at it and the rear cassette looks more or less fine, nothing different about third gear. It would be surprising if it WAS worn out, because I've had the bike for four and a half years, but it has been in frequent use for less than a year of that time.

So... any other suggestions before LBS?
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GuitarStv

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 12:21:17 PM »
Stupid question, but have you played around with the barrel adjuster to see if it has just gone slightly out of tension?

Le Barbu

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 12:49:33 PM »
Hi, I am the dangerous bike engeneer. Stop looking at the gear, she keeps telling you IT IS worned out!

Let see what Russ think about that, probably you're risking big either way, go buy a new bike, NOW!
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 12:56:56 PM by Le Barbu »
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Guses

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2014, 02:53:53 PM »


Are you sure it's not a tight chainlink? I recently had this problem and it mostly happened in my favorite gears.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2014, 03:15:29 PM »
Stupid question, but have you played around with the barrel adjuster to see if it has just gone slightly out of tension?

Yeah. Flip the bike upside down or put it up on a stand and run it in that gear. Chances are the chain is wanting to hop in between gears because the shift adjustment is a tiny bit out of whack. What happens is that once every revolution the chain grabs one tooth of the next gear, then hops back. This happens on my kids' bikes all the time.
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Le Barbu

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2014, 03:17:26 PM »
If the problem occur on your "favorite" gear AND the smaller one, that could be a frozen link
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frugalparagon

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2014, 07:43:09 PM »
Many thanks to GuitarStv for suggesting that it might be the barrel adjuster, a part of the bike with which I was previously unfamiliar. According to a dandy Sheldon Brown page on the subject, it was about two full turns too loose! On the other hand, repeated examination failed to turn up any problematic chain links; I could not duplicate the problem by pedaling backwards.

A brief test ride suggests that I still have slipping when I first shift into 3rd gear (possibly others, too--not enough time for a full test), but then this goes away as I settle in.

So maybe I need to adjust something else. In the meantime, the bike seems much more rideable, and I have put a beginner-level book on hold a the library to see if the sequential nature of a book ameliorates the drinking-from-a-firehose sensation I always get trying to learn this stuff on the web.

Thanks to all of you! I've already learned a lot!
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GuitarStv

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2014, 07:00:09 AM »
Might also need to lubricate (or replace) your shifter cables. Sometimes the shifter cables get a little rust/dirt on them and it causes all sorts of shifting problems. Use some light oil (most bike chain lubes work fine), put the rear derailleur in the easiest gear to pedal from, and apply lube to the cable just before the housing nearest the cassette. Then keep applying the lube and shifting into harder gears (the cable will pull the lube into the housing as you shift down the cassette). This is the cable housing I find that is most prone to sticking and causing weird shift things to happen.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2014, 08:37:17 AM »
Might also need to lubricate (or replace) your shifter cables. Sometimes the shifter cables get a little rust/dirt on them and it causes all sorts of shifting problems. Use some light oil (most bike chain lubes work fine), put the rear derailleur in the easiest gear to pedal from, and apply lube to the cable just before the housing nearest the cassette. Then keep applying the lube and shifting into harder gears (the cable will pull the lube into the housing as you shift down the cassette). This is the cable housing I find that is most prone to sticking and causing weird shift things to happen.

An extra step that I'm trying this year is using an air compressor plus a small nozzle (think a ball inflation needle) to shoot air through the cable shrouds. A couple local bike mechanics swear by this to keep the cables from corroding and dirt from accumulating inside, especially that last shroud before the rear derailer. One guy said he hasn't had to replace cables on his bad weather bike for years with this method.
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frugalparagon

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2014, 02:31:52 PM »
How does this air thing work? Like you just sort of point a nozzle at the housing where the bare cable goes into the black insulated part? But I don't have an air compressor anyway, so I would have to ask them to do it for me at the bike shop. Unless "holy air" (aka can of compressed air) would work, but I don't think that would have as much blowing power.

Tried lubing the cable housing this morning, but I don't know if I did it right--it seemed like most of the oil just sort of fell off the cable. Longer ride today revealed that third gear sometimes works on smooth ground at constant speed, but slips a lot under any adverse circumstances (can't use it on gravel or for going up a hill, for instance).

If anyone has another adjustment to suggest, bring it on! Otherwise, I will see what my library books says. It's kind of good that I'm having a relatively minor problem (bike is still rideable) that's forcing me to learn something about my bike finally!
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Thegoblinchief

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2014, 05:01:18 PM »
Lacking an air compressor, a nozzle in a floor pump would probably have enough force to give the gook expending benefit.
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MrFrugalChicago

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2014, 06:01:46 PM »
How many miles are on your current chain and cassette? A chain normally lasts 1000-2000 miles before it needs to go.. if you let it stretch, it will break the cassette with it. If you change it every 1000-2000 miles, you can get 3 or so chain changes in per cassette.

jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2014, 03:02:03 PM »
Hmm, it doesn't seem to be the cassette. I looked at it and the rear cassette looks more or less fine, nothing different about third gear. It would be surprising if it WAS worn out, because I've had the bike for four and a half years, but it has been in frequent use for less than a year of that time.

So... any other suggestions before LBS?

I would be shocked if the problem is anything other than a worn out cassette. Is the chain actually slipping when you pedal or is it just rubbing?
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wwweb

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2014, 05:08:50 PM »
I would be shocked if the problem is anything other than a worn out cassette. Is the chain actually slipping when you pedal or is it just rubbing?
+1

The problems you are describing are the classic symptoms of a worn out cassette especially the slipping under load. Are you able to post some pictures of your rear cassette?

frugalparagon

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2014, 10:28:28 AM »
Damn it, I took some pictures but I can't figure out how to post a picture. You will just have to take my word for it that there is no visible wear to the cassette. 7th gear, which I never use, looks pretty much the same as 3rd gear, my favorite and the one that's slipping. Can a cassette LOOK okay but still be bad? And has anyone had a cassette go bad in the 1K-2K mile range? I would be surprised if the bike had more than a thousand miles on it; I ride several times a week, but usually only about 6 miles a day. Even the chain shouldn't really be too bad yet.
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ThermionicScott

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2014, 10:49:12 AM »
Damn it, I took some pictures but I can't figure out how to post a picture. You will just have to take my word for it that there is no visible wear to the cassette. 7th gear, which I never use, looks pretty much the same as 3rd gear, my favorite and the one that's slipping. Can a cassette LOOK okay but still be bad? And has anyone had a cassette go bad in the 1K-2K mile range? I would be surprised if the bike had more than a thousand miles on it; I ride several times a week, but usually only about 6 miles a day. Even the chain shouldn't really be too bad yet.

It absolutely can. It's very hard to tell visually whether a cog is worn to the point of slipping or not -- the only reliable test is whether it slips while riding. And if the slipping is limited to one cog and not others, that points even more to a worn-out cog as opposed to the chain or a chainring.

When you replace the cassette, make sure you also replace the chain. A worn chain will wear a cassette to match its state of wear in a hurry.

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GuitarStv

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2014, 11:10:25 AM »
A few thousand miles would be a remarkably short time to have a cog on your cassette wear out. Do you use this one particular gear all the time? Are you sure the H and L screws and the barrel adjuster are correctly set up? They can be kind of finicky sometimes.

jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2014, 11:20:46 AM »
The wear on your cassette is also dictated by the quality of the components on the bike. If you put 1 - 2K on a Walmart bike, the cassette will absolutely get worn out. If you put that mileage on a road bike with quality components, it would only result in minor wear assuming that you keep the chain reasonably clean. What kind of bike are we talking about here?
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frugalparagon

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #20 on: December 01, 2014, 07:32:15 PM »
A Cannondale Q6 hybrid bike; it was $500 in 2010. Probably haven't kept it as clean as I should have, but it was stored inside at least and I did oil and wipe sometimes.

It's getting worse--starting to have trouble in 2nd gear--so I might just have to break down and pay the bike shop to look at it.
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jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2014, 09:34:40 PM »
A Cannondale Q6 hybrid bike; it was $500 in 2010. Probably haven't kept it as clean as I should have, but it was stored inside at least and I did oil and wipe sometimes.

It's getting worse--starting to have trouble in 2nd gear--so I might just have to break down and pay the bike shop to look at it.

My recommendation would be to go to performance bike.com and order a new cassette. They are very easy to replace and cost around 30 bucks. Watch a YouTube video about how to do it. I would also recommend that you get a copy off the book zinn and the art of bicycle maintenance. It provides how tos for every component of your bike.
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wwweb

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #22 on: December 02, 2014, 06:41:15 AM »
I would also recommend that you get a copy off the book zinn and the art of bicycle maintenance.

I also recommend Zinn. Although you should check if your local library has a copy before you buy - these are the MMM forums after all.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #23 on: December 02, 2014, 06:45:30 AM »
The shop should be able to tell you pretty quickly if it needs a new cassette, cables, or if it's just out of adjustment. Our local one would take a quick look and tell you without a charge . . . so it's probably worth bringing in so that you can be sure you're buying the thing you really need.

jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #24 on: December 02, 2014, 09:23:25 AM »
The shop should be able to tell you pretty quickly if it needs a new cassette, cables, or if it's just out of adjustment. Our local one would take a quick look and tell you without a charge . . . so it's probably worth bringing in so that you can be sure you're buying the thing you really need.

If you LBS doesn't charge you I would agree with this, but you should still learn how to repair and diagnose these problems yourself. Youtube videos are great for this.
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skyrefuge

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #25 on: December 02, 2014, 09:35:19 AM »
I would be shocked if the problem is anything other than a worn out cassette. Is the chain actually slipping when you pedal or is it just rubbing?

Damn, you're going to cling to that one to the bitter end, aren't you? It was a reasonable first guess, but since then you've learned:

  • It's a quality bike with only 1k miles on it.
  • The cassette is not visibly worn.
  • Making cable adjustments helps the situation.

And you still think it's the cassette?! Do you work for a cassette manufacturer or something?

Even *if* the cassette is worn (it's not), it wouldn't be exhibiting any problems, because the chain has not been replaced. Cassettes get worn down by a "stretched" chain. As long as the stretched chain and the worn cassette stay installed with each other, they'll work fine because they match each other (at least until you get to an extremely worn cassette). Only when you put a new chain on an worn cassette will you really start noticing problems. This leads to yet another argument against the worn cassette/chain theory: if the chain was stretched and wearing down often-used gears on the cassette, those gears would still probably work fine; it's the little-used gears that might show problems until the stretched chain gets a chance to wear them down too.

At the moment, since operating the barrel adjuster changed something, derailer adjustment sounds like the most-likely problem. Occam's Razor here, people.

http://parktool.com/blog/repair-help/rear-derailler-adjustments-derailleur is a complete, detailed, and easy-to-follow guide to do a full derailer adjustment. The OP should at least do that before dropping $50 on a new cassette+chain. If that doesn't resolve the problem, it could still be an adjustment issue, just one caused by a cable problem, or a bent derailer hanger, or something like that.

Also, suggesting 1,000-2,000 miles for chain replacement seems pretty extreme and wasteful, like changing your oil every 3000 miles. Sure, maybe check it ("Measuring Chain Wear") every 1,000 miles, but only replace it if it's stretched over 1/16" per foot. And maybe not even then. My cassette is 10 years old and has probably 15,000 miles on it, and it's had the same chain on it for at least the last half of its life/miles. Yeah, both chain and cassette are both worn to hell (the chain is stretched 1/4" per foot), but they both still work fine together.


jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2014, 09:46:22 AM »
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but a $500 hybrid is not a bike that was designed to be ridden 1 - 2k miles. Such bikes are designed for infrequent recreational use and have garbage components. Quality component sets alone cost more than $1,000. I have done enough bike maintenance to know what is going on here.

The only way this could have anything to do with the cables is if the chain is rubbing v. actually slipping. If the chain is actually slipping on the cassette then the problem is absolutely a worn cassette. I am convinced that this is a cassette issue because the symptoms are textbook.

Also you don't need to replace a chain to start seeing slipping because of a worn cassette. If you recently cleaned the chain after a long period of neglect, it can have the same effect. Notice in the first post that he said that he had cleaned the chain.

If he is describing the situation accurately as chain slipping, this has absolutely nothing to do with the cables. It is telling that this only occurs on the most frequently used chain rings.
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jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2014, 09:50:38 AM »
Also chain replacement has less to do with mileage and more to do with maintenance. You can wear out a chain in 1,000 miles easily if its all gunked up. All of the sediment stuck to the chain wears way at the links. Also if a chain gets wet and its not dried off or lubed shortly thereafter, it can have super negative effects on the chain.

Rules of thumb regarding mileage are all well and good, but shouldn't be viewed as gospel.
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GuitarStv

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2014, 11:12:32 AM »
I had no problem riding a 400$ hybrid through two and a half winters now, putting more than 3000 miles of slushy, wet, salty road under the tires. The bike is still in great condition. The inexpensive components are in some ways more robust than the shimano 105 stuff I use on my spring/fall/summer road bike. Often the first sign I get that a derailleur is out of adjustment is slipping under pressure on the third largest cog of the cassette. Sometimes a bad cable housing or rusted cable will do this as well, as the cable doesn't fully release upon shifting and then you go over a bump or something and the cable pulls through the rest of the way . . . causing a shift mid pedaling.

skyrefuge

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2014, 11:17:28 AM »
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but a $500 hybrid is not a bike that was designed to be ridden 1 - 2k miles. Such bikes are designed for infrequent recreational use and have garbage components. Quality component sets alone cost more than $1,000.

Oh geez, we have a bike snob! A $500 Cannondale is a "quality" bicycle. It might not impress your weight-weenie bike-nerd friends, but it's not like it's a WalMart job. If you think it takes $1,000 to get a "quality" component set, you are one anti-mustachian sukka who has been tricked by the business. I got my girlfriend essentially the same ~$500 bike (Specialized's version), and she has over 2k miles on it, including a 750-mile loaded tour, and it has performed perfectly. And I fully expect it to continue to perform as well as any more expensive bike for many years to come. The diminishing-returns curve hits a knee pretty early these days as you go up the price scale on bike components.

It looks like that Cannondale probably comes with a SunRace cassette (rather than a Shimano that most ~$500 bikes come with), but I doubt that SunRace makes their cassettes out of mushy cardboard (sheldonbrown.com sells their freewheels and describes them as "Decent quality, good value"). If anything, I'd actually expect a cheaper cassette to be more durable, since fewer attempts are made to lighten/fancify it. Also, it's a 7-speed, so it should be plenty beefy.

If he is describing the situation accurately as chain slipping, this has absolutely nothing to do with the cables. It is telling that this only occurs on the most frequently used chain rings.

It's strange that you don't trust his ability to visually detect a worn cog, but you fully trust his ability to qualitatively describe the problem in language that you both agree on. (Or maybe you're saying a worn cog can cause skipping without the wear being visually detectable?) If a derailer pushes the chain over enough to be temporarily grabbed by the next cog, that feeling can be described as 'skipping' too.

What's the mechanism by which cleaning a chain replicates the mechanics of replacing a chain? When you replace a chain, the skinny, worn-down pins become fat again. When you clean a chain, if anything, it would seem like the removal of gunk would make the pins go the opposite direction, from fatter to skinnier.

Hopefully you can at least agree that a complete derailer adjustment should be performed to rule that out (for free) before giving up and buying a new cassette? (and I haven't heard you mention a new chain...should he keep the old chain if he gets a new cassette?)

Also chain replacement has less to do with mileage and more to do with maintenance. You can wear out a chain in 1,000 miles easily if its all gunked up. All of the sediment stuck to the chain wears way at the links. Also if a chain gets wet and its not dried off or lubed shortly thereafter, it can have super negative effects on the chain.

Completely agreed. Well, you might be a little more afraid of a bit of water than you need to be, but yes, if you mostly ride on wet-sand ocean beaches without fenders, you probably need to replace your chain pretty frequently.

jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2014, 12:22:55 PM »
This has nothing to do with being a bike snob. You can get a quality for $500, but a newer hybrid is not one of those bikes. A 15 yr old steel road bike that you can get for $150 from craigslist would be exponentially better then the low end hybrids. If you think the name "Cannondale" necessarily means quality regardless of any other factors it is you who are the "anti-mustachian sukka." The brand has nothing to do with any of this; Cannondale only makes the frame.

I'm also not saying that you need to buy $1,000 components. What I am saying is that the components that come with most new $500 bikes, regardless of brand, are not good. Why do you think the bike is so cheap; relatively speaking of course? The frame is probably somewhat solid but they have to strap on a bunch of low end parts to meet that price point. Most people will never use the bike enough to wear those parts out so the problems never surface. You can replace those parts as they wear out and build yourself a "quality bike," but what you got off the rack is going to wear out quickly with regular use. This is especially true if you ride frequently and are continually improving your fitness and power output.

I have never owned a carbon fiber bike in my life, so your weight weeney comments are way off base. I just know what I am talking about because I ride a lot and do all of my own maintenance.

Regarding the chain, it can stiffen over time and with the accumulation of road gunk and as a result it doesn't behave as it should so it can hide a problem with the cassette. When you clean it all off, you are obviously revitalizing the chain and its is behaving more like it was when it is new. In the original post he stated that he recently de-greased and relube the chain. This is the mechanism.

Before buying a new chain I would suggest checking the existing chain out with a chain tool and only replacing it if called for or if it doesn't agree with the new cassette which is absolutely what the problem is. And yes I am saying that a cog can be worn out without it being obvious when you look at it.

I'm not suggesting a derailleur adjustment because that is clearly not the issue. If that had anything to do with this problem I would agree with you, but it doesn't.

My guess is that you aren't familiar with these issues because you've never ridden enough to wear out any parts.

Lets see what the bike shop says...
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skyrefuge

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2014, 03:15:32 PM »
This has nothing to do with being a bike snob. You can get a quality for $500, but a newer hybrid is not one of those bikes. A 15 yr old steel road bike that you can get for $150 from craigslist would be exponentially better then the low end hybrids. If you think the name "Cannondale" necessarily means quality regardless of any other factors it is you who are the "anti-mustachian sukka." The brand has nothing to do with any of this; Cannondale only makes the frame.

Yeah, I know the Cannondale brand name is fairly meaningless at this point; I think even the frames no longer have any real connection to their history. But, they're still "bike shop bikes", which is a very distinct level of quality above WalMart bikes, even at the low-end level. They mostly use Shimano or equivalent components, components that would have been sufficiently upscale 20 years ago. Just because more-expensive components have been invented since then doesn't mean that the 20-year-old technology sucked. I think "stamping out a piece of steel" was something that was pretty well figured out a long time ago.

Why do you think the bike is so cheap; relatively speaking of course?

ha! They're so "cheap" because the bike industry has done such an incredible job of tricking people into thinking that they need $1000 (or $5000, or $10000) bikes that they think those prices are "normal". Note that a $500 bike shop bike still costs more than twice as much as its WalMart equivalent.

And what we're talking about here anyway is durability. There isn't much correlation between bike component prices and durability; in fact, there is probably a negative correlation in many cases (is a $110 Ultegra 11-speed cassette more durable than a $100 Ultegra 9-speed cassette?) When "improving" a component, tradeoffs have to be made, and durability isn't always a feature that's demanded by the dollars.

Regarding the chain, it can stiffen over time and with the accumulation of road gunk and as a result it doesn't behave as it should so it can hide a problem with the cassette. When you clean it all off, you are obviously revitalizing the chain and its is behaving more like it was when it is new. In the original post he stated that he recently de-greased and relube the chain. This is the mechanism.

That still doesn't actually explain what would cause the "skipping". As I understand it, "skipping" happens when the rollers of the chain do not mesh well with the teeth of the gear. This happens when a chain with correct spacing meets a gear with wide spacing, so I'm curious how cleaning a chain makes it behave like one that went from wide spacing to correct spacing. Also it seems like a stiff/dirty chain would do a worse job of meshing with the teeth than a flexible/clean one, not better.

I'm not suggesting a derailleur adjustment because that is clearly not the issue. If that had anything to do with this problem I would agree with you, but it doesn't.

Ok, then how about "a derailer adjustment is a good thing to do anyway, just because it's good to know how, and especially on a bike that has been ridden ~1k miles and never had any adjustments"?

My guess is that you aren't familiar with these issues because you've never ridden enough to wear out any parts.

heh...I usually like to let my words develop their own trust, rather than making an Argument from Authority, and I thought my reference to "15,000 miles" would be enough dick-swinging. But if not, I've done over 10,000 miles of fully-loaded bike touring through 28 states (hauling a 90-lb. bike up and down giant mountains), along with regular bike commuting for most of my life. So I've done all my own maintenance, replaced plenty of components (mostly with the cheapest available Shimano stuff), and that experience leads me to believe that if the OP's issue is in fact a cassette failure, it would have to be due to some manufacturing defect or some factor we aren't yet aware of.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2014, 03:43:01 PM »


If he is describing the situation accurately as chain slipping, this has absolutely nothing to do with the cables. It is telling that this only occurs on the most frequently used chain rings.

It happens on his most-used cog, not chain ring.

Since adjusting the cable tension helped, I would fiddle with it some more and see whether it can be improved further. Is the cable worn or frayed? Is their a burr on the edge of the cable housing? These items are cheaper to replace than a cassette. It's usually worth trying the cheaper options first.

If it is just one worn-out cog, you may be able to buy a replacement cog instead of an entire cassette. (This wouldn't be worthwhile if the entire cassette is close to wearing out.)

You can take it to a shop and ask for a diagnosis. They probably won't charge. Return the favor by buying your new cable from them.

For bike repair books, I recommend Anybody's Bike Book by Tom Cuthbertson. He uses common sense and humor, and he doesn't recommend buying new gear as the cure for every ill.

(I'm a middle-aged female, so no dick to swing. However, I have ridden and maintained my own bikes for over 20 years, and have built bikes and wheels.)

jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #33 on: December 02, 2014, 03:59:15 PM »

heh...I usually like to let my words develop their own trust, rather than making an Argument from Authority, and I thought my reference to "15,000 miles" would be enough dick-swinging. But if not, I've done over 10,000 miles of fully-loaded bike touring through 28 states (hauling a 90-lb. bike up and down giant mountains), along with regular bike commuting for most of my life. So I've done all my own maintenance, replaced plenty of components (mostly with the cheapest available Shimano stuff), and that experience leads me to believe that if the OP's issue is in fact a cassette failure, it would have to be due to some manufacturing defect or some factor we aren't yet aware of.

If this is actually the case, then you should know better. The cheapest available "Shimano stuff" is of much higher quality than what came stock on his $500 hybrid. Stop trolling and offer some helpful advice.

Like I said, lets see what bike shop says......
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skyrefuge

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #34 on: December 02, 2014, 05:07:01 PM »
The cheapest available "Shimano stuff" is of much higher quality than what came stock on his $500 hybrid.

No, the cheapest available Shimano stuff is exactly what came on his $500 hybrid, and what comes on most $500 hybrids (each manufacturer makes an almost-identical product in this range):

Specialized's Sirrus ($520) has Shimano shifters/brake levers, front derailer, rear derailer, crank, and cassette.

Trek's FX 7.2 ($490) has Shimano shifters/brake levers, front derailer, rear derailer, crank, and cassette.

Cannondale's Quick 6 ($520) has Shimano shifters/brake levers, front derailer, rear derailer, and crank, and a SunRace cassette.

Does this new knowledge now mean that you're more willing to accept the long-term viability of a $500 bike? Or does it just mean that now you'll lower your opinion of Shimano stuff because it doesn't cost enough?

GuitarStv

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #35 on: December 02, 2014, 05:08:38 PM »
My 400$ bike came with a cheap Shimano drive train.

frugalparagon

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #36 on: December 02, 2014, 08:16:47 PM »
Wow, what a firestorm :-).

1. I think it's a Shimano derailleur. Something down there says Shimano, anyway.
2. I will ask the bike shop. I actually have a coupon and was planning on shopping there for an under-the-seat bag, so I will ask for a quick opinion.
3. It's a minor point, but I am, in fact, a lady, and would prefer to be addressed as "she."
4. My library only has the 1971 version of Cuthbertson's book. Maybe I will see if I can get the updated one from Prospector.
5. I will continue to monkey around with the adjustors and learn how to do this properly. Might as well practice when I have a problem as when things are working right, no? As my father likes to say, "It's already broken."
6. It feels like "slipping," but all I really know is that there is an uneven sensation in that gear. Sometimes I pedal and something goes afoul. Could be anything.
7. Will also learn to check my chain tension.

Don't worry, I will make sure to let you know what I find out so the correct guesser can have bragging rights!
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FreeWheel

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #37 on: December 02, 2014, 09:12:58 PM »
Fun thread, my thoughts...

Even the least expensive bike shop bikes are more than robust enough to last 10-20 years and roll tens of thousands of miles with nothing but basic maintenance and a few parts here and there. $500 gets one an extremely reliable bike. Spending more money will not add much to reliablity, and in some cases will even detract from it.

If a cog (or chainring) is worn it will be apparent under close inspection. The teeth will be 'sharper' at the top, or rounded along the edge that the chain pulls on. It takes a lot of miles and/or a lot of neglect to get there. Compare it to a new cog if you have to. If it is worn, you will see it.

The most common problem causing 'skipping' while pedaling is improper derailleur adjustment. Barring any obvious damage, checking and adjusting this is always the first step. Has the bike been in any crashes or falls recently?

You'll want the newer book. In 1971 we didn't have indexed shifting, cartridge bottom brackets, threadless forks, cassettes or the better braking systems we have today.

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Le Barbu

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2014, 07:58:56 AM »
My rear derailleur is regularly out of perfect adjustment. The reason ? I switch my rear wheel at least 3-5 times/week because I use my MTB to commute and errands and change for slick tires wheel for that purpose. The cassettes are not identical and I have to compromise. That said, my chain NEVER slip. In rare occasion, it would try to grip the next gear but this phenomenom decrease when load increase. Frugalparagon description is about slipping when increasing load. So, there is only 2 posibility remaining. First is a bad/worn gear, second is a seized link (but in that case, smaller gear would be worst).
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jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #39 on: December 03, 2014, 09:31:07 AM »
The cheapest available "Shimano stuff" is of much higher quality than what came stock on his $500 hybrid.

No, the cheapest available Shimano stuff is exactly what came on his $500 hybrid, and what comes on most $500 hybrids (each manufacturer makes an almost-identical product in this range):

Specialized's Sirrus ($520) has Shimano shifters/brake levers, front derailer, rear derailer, crank, and cassette.

Trek's FX 7.2 ($490) has Shimano shifters/brake levers, front derailer, rear derailer, crank, and cassette.

Cannondale's Quick 6 ($520) has Shimano shifters/brake levers, front derailer, rear derailer, and crank, and a SunRace cassette.

Does this new knowledge now mean that you're more willing to accept the long-term viability of a $500 bike? Or does it just mean that now you'll lower your opinion of Shimano stuff because it doesn't cost enough?

Dude if you want to slap a $22 rear derailleur on your bike that you can buy at walmart (http://walmart.com/ip/Shimano-Altus-Rear-Derailleur/13012514) and that "is designed... for children's bikes," then go for it. You might as well buy a dozen of them. Once again, brand name has nothing to do with any of this.

If you are going to rely on your bike as a means of transportation and use it frequently, do yourself a favor and invest in quality. This will save you money in the long run. The necessary level of that quality will depend on your intended use of the bike, but if you are using it every day and its an important tool in your life then why would use parts that are not going to be up to the task. Everyone's needs are obviously different, but these parts, and bikes, are cheaper for a reason. Its not all a grand conspiracy to up-sell cyclists. Regardless of what you paid for it, the lowest end bike is still the lowest end bike. However, if you are using your bike every day and putting thousands of miles on it, then you are not a low end user and that bike is not going to meet your needs because it wasn't designed to.

I agree that the difference in quality between the most expense parts and that next 3 most expensive parts is probably very minor and not worth the added expense. But the difference between bottom of the barrel parts and even the next step up is usually pretty significant in terms of durability and performance.

Why don't you chill out, this guy is just trying to get his bike working and some of use here are trying to help.

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GuitarStv

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #40 on: December 03, 2014, 09:43:39 AM »
I had no problem riding a 400$ hybrid through two and a half winters now, putting more than 3000 miles of slushy, wet, salty road under the tires. The bike is still in great condition. The inexpensive components are in some ways more robust than the shimano 105 stuff I use on my spring/fall/summer road bike.

My winter bike has an Altus RD. Still working well after several years of very harsh conditions, it meets my needs when commuting the 22 miles to and from work. I wanted a bike with components that could be easily replaced due to the damage that is incurred from salt and grit over the winter. I was surprised to find out that this wasn't necessary.

To compare durability with higher end components . . . I have had to send my Shimano 105 left shifter back for warranty repair because it died after less than a year, and it never had to deal with conditions worse than the occasional rain shower.

Fortunately my (apparently) poor quality and undependable winter bike was able to serve me for the four weeks it took to get the replacement back from Shimano.

jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2014, 10:09:52 AM »
If it works then that is great, but I would venture to guess that you are the exception rather than the rule.
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Guses

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #42 on: December 03, 2014, 10:41:26 AM »
Why don't you chill out, this Lady is just trying to get her bike working and some of use here are trying to help.

Fixed for you.

FWIW, my commuter bike (a Trek 6000) also had "bottom barrel" parts which were only recently replaced after 16 years and 10K miles +.


skyrefuge

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #43 on: December 03, 2014, 10:46:24 AM »
If you are going to rely on your bike as a means of transportation and use it frequently, do yourself a favor and invest in quality.

Agreed. Then it just comes down to answering the question, what is sufficient "quality"? Let's see, whose opinion might be more valuable:

- People who have actually used "low end" Shimano stuff.

or

- Someone who thought that Shimano stuff was just fine, until he learned its price. (which also reveals that first hearing about it today is the extent of his experience with it)

And in case you want more opinions than the many in this thread on whether we're the exception rather than the rule: http://bikeforums.net/recreational-family/329464-shimano-altus-acera-alivio-does-matter.html

"I have an Altus derailleur a 15+ year-old bike which I've ridden through Toronto winters and put through all manner of abuse, and it's held up very well"
"My son's old Trek has Altus and it's still going strong at 7 years. I do all his maintenance. I'm amazed at how good the newer Shimano bottom end stuff holds up"
"I have an Alvio rd on my 2003 trek 4500 mtb - approx 3200 miles on the bike and no significant signs of the rd deteriorating. I ride all 4 season"

Why don't you chill out, this guy is just trying to get his bike working and some of use here are trying to help.

I CANNOT CHILL OUT!!!1! BECAUSE YOU TRICKED ME INTO REFERRING TO THIS FINE, FRUGAL, PARAGON AS A "HE" (something I honestly try to avoid assuming, sorry fp!), AND WORSE, CONTINUE TO REFER TO HER AS A "GUY" EVEN AFTER SHE TOLD YOU SHE'S NOT A GUY!!!!1!1!

I'M SO ANGGGRRY I COULD STAB YOU IN THE THROAT WITH A CHAINRING!!!! (don't worry, it'll be from a $500 bike, so it'll probably just crumble into dust when contacting your skin. Probably.)

jamal utah

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #44 on: December 03, 2014, 11:42:37 AM »
Congratulations on being able to use google to find some people who are happy with it. As I said, if it meets your needs that is great. I'm just not into advocating that people use the cheapest components they can buy when their bike is their primary form of transportation. These parts would not meet my commuting needs because of their durability.

Frugalparagon, I apologize for referring to you as a man. My bad. The advice is the same. As I said before this whole thread got derailed, you probably need a new cassette. This advice has subsequently been echoed by a number of people.

Goodluck fixing your bike.
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Guses

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #45 on: December 03, 2014, 01:04:52 PM »
These parts would not meet my commuting needs because of their durability.

Whaaaa.....?

It was my understanding that cheaper parts were made of stamped steel versus "higher end" aluminum or carbon fiber parts.

Steel is much more durable than aluminum, especially for gearing.


Le Barbu

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #46 on: December 03, 2014, 01:19:19 PM »
Dear Frugalparagon, this is the best link I find that cover about every problem/solution you may encouter with your drivetrain.

http://athenscyclepath.com/wconnchainskips2.php

Keep us informed with diagnosis !
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skyrefuge

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #47 on: December 03, 2014, 02:46:54 PM »
Congratulations on being able to use google to find some people who are happy with it.

Thank you! But, I didn't have to use Google...there are plenty of people right here in this thread who are happy with it! I only found that link because I wanted to see if Shimano actually used that "children's bike" language in their own marketing materials, and my search for "shimano altus" just happened to pop that up as the 2nd link shown! I now see that the "Shimano Altus... Any Good?" thread that also appears under that result also corroborates what every who has actually used Altus has been saying: "yeah, it's pretty good".

None of this is any news to me, and I know it's not cherry-picking, because I've actually tried to find bad reviews of Shimano's low-end stuff in the past. Why? Because my girlfriend wanted to go on a loaded bike tour, but had limited funds for a bike, and I wanted to see if sending her out on a $500 bike was at all a reasonable or safe thing to do. Having done many bike tours previously, some completely solo, I'm more aware than just about anyone how critical a working bike is when it's your "primary form of transportation". But I could dig up no evidence that it would be unreliable or unsafe, and experience has since proven that assumption correct.

I know this is all annoyingly off-topic, but I think it's important to hash this out, because this is the fucking Mr. Money Mustache forum. You're essentially playing the part of the Verizon customer who says "Republic Wireless? No. That's so cheap, it must be garbage, and I will continue to pay my outrageous Verizon bill and not even investigate Republic". Well that ain't how we do things around here. We revel in finding cheap things that are just as good, and sharing them with the world. And if this thread helps get the word out that Shimano's low-end components are a really good Mustachian value when people come searching, then we'll have helped out more cyclists than just our frugalparagon.

frugalparagon

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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2014, 03:10:36 PM »
Wonder no more! The lady at the bike shop said the cassette (yes, the controversial Shimano Altus) was fine and would run indefinitely if I keep my chain replaced. As a courtesy, she adjusted all my cables real quick and that solved the problem. Took her like thirty seconds.

Said my chain should be replaced in the near future (not past the point of replacement, but approaching it), so, being grateful for the free adjustment, I went ahead and bought one plus a chain tool. It will cost me more to do it myself this time with the upfront cost of the tool, but as a family of 4, I anticipate noticeable savings if I can learn to do this myself!

Thanks for all the input, folks! Kind of wish I had persevered with the adjustments myself, but at least now I know what it feels like when it's "right." Wish me luck on the chain replacement!
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Re: Bike chain slipping in only one gear
« Reply #49 on: December 04, 2014, 03:36:17 PM »
Congrats on getting it fixed. I guess it wasn't "slipping" after all.
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