1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Broke the chain, complete novice

    Hi Guys, Bought a mountain bike a month ago from sports authority, it was very basic Columbia mountain bike. It has been riding fine until recently I went to the local park trail to enjoy some challenging roller coaster ride. The thing is I went there third time, its chain literally broke down: partly I blame myself for straining it too much on uphill riding and changing the gears during heavy acceleration.
    Now I am stuck in deciding how and where I could get a new suitable chain. Major problem I am facing is what brand/model/and other attributes to consider and I could not even identify my bike's model etc. All I know is Columbia mountain bike. If you guys could help me on this I will appreciate it.
    Once I figure out my bicycle's model and correct chain type to buy,
    I would have to decide from two options:
    buy extra tough chain for heavy acceleration and uphill climbing,
    or buy many cheaper chain and always carry extra one incase of emergency.
    Any advise will be appreciate it. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Well, if the bike is just one month old, the shop will possibly fix the chain under warranty. No need to replace the whole chain, just the broken link.
    Also, you don't have to carry a spare chain with you, all you need is a chain breaker and a few spare links. For the links just ask in the shop, they hardly will even charge you for them. Fixing a chain out on a ride is not a big deal, takes no skills, just common sense.
    Type of chain depends on how many speeds you have on your bike. If it is 7-8 in the rear, most of chains will be the same anyway. Expensive chains are mostly for 9 sp. and I am not even sure, that expensive ones are tougher, they just weigh less.

  3. #3
    EDR
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    Expensive chains typically weigh less and have better corrosion prevention properties, they are not necessarily stronger. In fact they may be just the opposite. This issue you have was likely caused by this:

    changing the gears during heavy acceleration.
    Changing gears while climbing hard puts a tremendous amount of stress on the chain as it crosses over to the next gear. I admit I do this all the time...but I never break chains. The key is, if you must shift to an easier gear while mashing up a hill you should give the cranks a hard spin and accelerate a bit, then you can back off the pressure applied for a brief second and make your gear change (smoothly) then.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by eatdrinkride
    Expensive chains typically weigh less and have better corrosion prevention properties, they are not necessarily stronger. In fact they may be just the opposite. This issue you have was likely caused by this:



    Changing gears while climbing hard puts a tremendous amount of stress on the chain as it crosses over to the next gear. I admit I do this all the time...but I never break chains. The key is, if you must shift to an easier gear while mashing up a hill you should give the cranks a hard spin and accelerate a bit, then you can back off the pressure applied for a brief second and make your gear change (smoothly) then.
    Thanks for all, jeez, I tossed the chain away in the park as I did not know if it is possible to fix it . Let me digest all the info u guys have given to me.

  5. #5
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    You can put all the pressure you want when climbing, but when you change gears it needs to be done under light pedal pressure. It's a learning experience and you'll get better at it over time. Assuming your bike isn't too old or too worn, you should be able to get a new chain and put it on with no problems. I would suggest going to your local shop and asking if you can watch them put the new chain on. They might be willing to show you how to do it and you'll have a couple extra links of the chain left over to carry with you. All you'll need then is a little chain tool to keep with you on rides, I like having the Park CT-5 with me much better than a chain tool integrated into a multi tool. But either way, it's good to have one.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  6. #6
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    OK guys, thanks for all the advice. I have worked couple of days and was able to buy a reasonable chain and part CT-5 tools and managed to install the chain. Also the back wheel was warped and one of the spokes is popped which still prevented me from riding after installing the chain. Today, I went to local bike store and tryid it. And first time n a week, I can finally ride!

    But story is not over yet.
    While installing the chain I have touched couple of links with chain breaker, (well i have done it first time ever without getting help from anyone), the 2-3 chain links are hardened and because of that it makes a clicking sound for every 2-3 pedal turn during the ride.
    I am pretty sure it is gonna pop loose if I do a heavy riding again.
    The problem is I have tried to adjust it but no matter what position i adjust the chain link pin to, it still very hard.

    Second thing is that, the gear guide (on the rear wheel, I dont know if it is correct term) also bent so if I switch to anything below 4th gear, the guide will shift too much toward the wheel causing it to touch the spokes. SHould I just use brute force to straighten that thing. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I typically buy SRAM chains because they come with a powerlink - a link that can be used to join the chain without pressing in a new pin. That avoids the stiff link problem, or having to have those fiddly extra pins that Shimano chains use.

    Depending on how long you cut the chain, the easiest solution could just be to remove the stiff links and rejoin the chain without them. But if it's more than one link, that could be more chain than you want to remove.

    I started trying to describe the repair, but it really needs pictures...

    http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=53

    The thing on the back you're calling a "gear guide" is called a derailleur. Your bike probably has two of them - one on the front and one on the rear. So you'd refer to the rear one as the rear derailleur. The French invented a lot of aspects of the sport of cycling, so they get to keep their spelling.

    Is your bike steel or aluminum? If it's aluminum, there's a little part called a derailleur hanger that bolts onto the rear, drive side dropout on your bike. The derailleur bolts onto that. If it's steel, there's probably just an extra eyelet on the frame and the derailleur bolts on directly. It's a little uncommon to bend a derailleur, but it's very common to bend a derailleur hanger. So you should figure out which it is. You can try unbending the derailleur hanger, but if that's the problem, you really need a new one. If it's the derailleur and it works after your unbend it (and whatever you unbent is steel) it's probably okay, but you should consider replacing the part you had to unbend. On steel frames, unbending the tab is a relatively common repair, but getting the right alignment can be tricky.

    Unless your Sports Authority is very different from the ones I know, you're going to need to find your Local Bike Shop. They're going to have bike mechanics who can identify and order the right parts for you, and install them too if you don't feel a need to do it yourself. I think it's good for mountain bikers to know how to do their own maintenance, but you seem to be learning the hard way.

    Also, see if either your local shop or your local bike advocacy group offers repair classes. It's nothing someone who's good with his hands can't figure out, but there is a pretty large body of knowledge and you might save some grief.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    I typically buy SRAM chains because they come with a powerlink - a link that can be used to join the chain without pressing in a new pin. That avoids the stiff link problem, or having to have those fiddly extra pins that Shimano chains use.

    Depending on how long you cut the chain, the easiest solution could just be to remove the stiff links and rejoin the chain without them. But if it's more than one link, that could be more chain than you want to remove.

    I started trying to describe the repair, but it really needs pictures...

    http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=53

    The thing on the back you're calling a "gear guide" is called a derailleur. Your bike probably has two of them - one on the front and one on the rear. So you'd refer to the rear one as the rear derailleur. The French invented a lot of aspects of the sport of cycling, so they get to keep their spelling.

    Is your bike steel or aluminum? If it's aluminum, there's a little part called a derailleur hanger that bolts onto the rear, drive side dropout on your bike. The derailleur bolts onto that. If it's steel, there's probably just an extra eyelet on the frame and the derailleur bolts on directly. It's a little uncommon to bend a derailleur, but it's very common to bend a derailleur hanger. So you should figure out which it is. You can try unbending the derailleur hanger, but if that's the problem, you really need a new one. If it's the derailleur and it works after your unbend it (and whatever you unbent is steel) it's probably okay, but you should consider replacing the part you had to unbend. On steel frames, unbending the tab is a relatively common repair, but getting the right alignment can be tricky.

    Unless your Sports Authority is very different from the ones I know, you're going to need to find your Local Bike Shop. They're going to have bike mechanics who can identify and order the right parts for you, and install them too if you don't feel a need to do it yourself. I think it's good for mountain bikers to know how to do their own maintenance, but you seem to be learning the hard way.

    Also, see if either your local shop or your local bike advocacy group offers repair classes. It's nothing someone who's good with his hands can't figure out, but there is a pretty large body of knowledge and you might save some grief.
    Okay well, I attached the picture below.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broke the chain, complete novice-dsc02407.jpg  


  9. #9
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    You don't have a derailleur hanger. So the problem is either that the derailleur itself is bent or broken or that the dropout is bent. I can't tell from that camera angle. It looks like the derailleur has an incorporated hanger, which could also be bent.

    If the dropout's bent, either bend it back yourself or take it to your shop. They have a special tool, and it's a pretty sensitive adjustment. I'd probably try to do it myself, with a straight edge.

    If part of the derailleur is bent, you can try to bend it back yourself or you can get a new one. Your shop also might fix it and not charge you, but I wouldn't count on it; if they have a minimum labor charge, it's probably cheapest for you to buy an inexpensive rear derailleur and install it yourself.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  10. #10
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    ok andrwswithc, thanks for you advice, i'll do the investigation on my own and will reply back. THanks!

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