Gears & sprockets


My beloved three-speed bicycle had three problems, one after the other.

First, the rear tire went flat.

After I fixed that, the chain would  skip gears (or at least it felt that way).

After I fixed that, something was slipping, such that when I pedaled hard, some of the effort was lost to just making the rear gear spin.  This made for mushy pedaling.

I can hear the clamoring begin to rise: “Throw the old thing away already!  Get a new one!”

Now, now… this is my legacy system and it meets my requirements.  :)  I just want to write down what I did for the latter two fixes, since I think I’ve experienced these same issues in the past and forgot:

Skipping Gears Fix

Why was the chain skipping gears?  I never could see it happening, but I do know that increasing the tension of the chain (by loosening the rear axle and moving it backward) fixed that issue.

Mushy Pedaling Fix

Why was the pedaling mushy?  When I fixed the slipping gears problem, I moved the serrated washers (these might give the idea) on the rear axle from the inner side of the metal frame to the outer side.  I don’t remember why I did this, but it seems to have enabled the mushy slippage.  I moved the serrated washers back to the inner side of the frame (working to maintain chain tension!) and the mushiness evaporated.

No unit tests… a lot of moving parts… you start to get scared to change anything… hmm!


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