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  1. #1
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    Is there something wrong with my bike - pedalling backwards

    So I picked up a 2010 Specialized Rockhopper. Seems like a great bike. But one thing that is bugging me is what it does when I pedal backwards. On my old 90's Giant Upland back pedaling is smooth, but on the RH it isn't check out these videos to see what I mean.

    Is this normal or is something wrong with it?

    Giant

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    Rockhopper

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/T0FRTpWi_xM?hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/T0FRTpWi_xM?hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

  2. #2
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    my 2011 RH does same thing dont know why

  3. #3
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    You might wnat to take it to a shop for some adjustment work and ask them to show you the basics about what to look for and how to do it.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  4. #4
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    Your freehub needs service. The bearings might be going bad, or there might be gunky build up, or something else; but the freehub isn't freely freewheeling like it should

  5. #5
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    Why would you pedal backward like that? Until it becomes an issue while you are riding then just run it. It becomes an issue when you are coasting and the chain starts to slack on the top part of the chain. Bikes aren't made to pedal backward like that, the Giant does it well because it probably doesn't have any grease left in the freehub/freewheel.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Why would you pedal backward like that? Until it becomes an issue while you are riding then just run it. It becomes an issue when you are coasting and the chain starts to slack on the top part of the chain. Bikes aren't made to pedal backward like that, the Giant does it well because it probably doesn't have any grease left in the freehub/freewheel.
    A properly maintained and properly functioning freehub should always look the like the Giant does in those videos

    For me, pedaling backwards to ratchet the cranks is a normal part of trail riding, though that doesn't move the cranks nearly as far as those example videos.

    Either way, why wait for a problem to become serious when there are already signs of trouble with the freehub? If/when it does fail or seize up he could be left walking home.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    For me, pedaling backwards to ratchet the cranks is a normal part of trail riding, though that doesn't move the cranks nearly as far as those example videos. A properly maintained and properly functioning freehub should always look the like the Giant does in those videos

    Either way, why wait for a problem to become serious when there are already signs of trouble with the freehub? If/when it does fail or seize up he could be left walking home
    Sure, a half or sometimes a full rotation at a time. Not extended backward pedaling, derallieur bikes are not made to be able to do that. The springs don't properly hold tension in that direction.

    And who says there is a problem with the freehub? My guess is that it works properly in the forward direction. If you're worried, have a shop check it out.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  8. #8
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    A shop can help you.
    Last edited by Glide the Clyde; 02-01-2011 at 03:04 PM.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Sure, a half or sometimes a full rotation at a time. Not extended backward pedaling, derallieur bikes are not made to be able to do that. The springs don't properly hold tension in that direction.

    And who says there is a problem with the freehub? My guess is that it works properly in the forward direction. If you're worried, have a shop check it out.
    I can backpedal for hours on my bikes, be it my DT 240s hub, my generic Formula hub, or my 1970's freewheel, and I've never had a bike in good condition that couldn't. I have had a bike with a bad freehub before that didn't backpedal properly like this and, though it never stopped engaging in the forward direction, over time the bearings got worse and worse till I could no longer coast while riding because the freehub would try to keep moving with the wheel and would pull slack out of the bottom of the chain, leaving the top of the chain sagging below my chainstay, which often led to the chain coming off the front front ring before I started pedaling again.

    Sure backpedaling is not a primary function, but it is a sign of how well the freehub bearings are functioning and/or adjusted. Some hubs have really heavy duty seals to protect the bearings and these seals can add drag, and some bearings just never spin freely because they've overpacked or not made well or something other cause. For most cases though, it should be working much better than in that video.

    Mechanically there is probably nothing wrong with this hub, besides bearings with too much drag, but I agree that it's worth having the shop look at.

  10. #10
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    Could it be the grease in the freehub firming up because of the cold?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Why would you pedal backward like that? ...
    To unwind the leg muscles from pedaling FWD all the time.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    To unwind the leg muscles from pedaling FWD all the time.
    That sounds stupid, but I do it sometimes during a longer rider just to shake out my legs and make the muscles stretch in a different direction for a change

    Or maybe I do it to be ironic while I race past all those other hipsters on the trail so I can win

  13. #13
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    Is it worth the hassle and labor costs to have a shop service it? Or are you better off just getting a new one?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by timk125
    Is it worth the hassle and labor costs to have a shop service it? Or are you better off just getting a new one?
    the bike is brand new, so hopefully the shop would cover the cost of whichever option they deemed necessary

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    the bike is brand new, so hopefully the shop would cover the cost of whichever option they deemed necessary
    It was more of a general question. I'm kind of having the same problem, but it's an 08 Rockhopper.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by timk125
    It was more of a general question. I'm kind of having the same problem, but it's an 08 Rockhopper.
    ahh, I see. That might depend on the cost of the replacement freehub. Some are cheap, some can be $100 (probably not yours though).

    Some freehubs are easier to service than others too. For example, there is a tool for Shimano hubs that allows you to easily flush the freehub with fresh lube, whereas other loose-ball freehubs might require tricky dissasembly. If it's a cartridge bearing freehub you could pull the existing ones and press in new bearings, that can be trickier than it sounds

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    ahh, I see. That might depend on the cost of the replacement freehub. Some are cheap, some can be $100 (probably not yours though)
    Right. That would make sense huh?

    Thanks for your help.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by timk125
    Right. That would make sense huh?

    Thanks for your help.
    glad to help. I've edited my post to add some (vague) info on the repair option too

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Why would you pedal backward like that? Until it becomes an issue while you are riding then just run it. It becomes an issue when you are coasting and the chain starts to slack on the top part of the chain. Bikes aren't made to pedal backward like that, the Giant does it well because it probably doesn't have any grease left in the freehub/freewheel.
    I disagree completely. While the videos are an extreme example, there are definitely times where it is necessary to back pedal 1/4 to 1/2 rotation in order to clear logs, rocks and other obstacles that would otherwise cause a pedal strike.

    Every bicycle I have ever owned (other than coaster brake bikes back in the '70's) is capable of at least 1/2 rotation in reverse (if I put one foot on a pedal and spin backward) without the chain dipping significantly.

  20. #20
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    So how many of you have a bike that spins backwards as easy as the Giant? Seems everyone who has an RH says theirs does the same thing.

    I bought the bike used. There were several to choose from and they all did the same thing. They were all lightly used. I know the guy I bought it from. He tuned the bike up for me and wasn't concerned about it. I trust him, he wouldn't sell me something that wasn't in great shape.

    It does a rotation or two backwards pretty easy, it just gets rough when you do it rapidly over and over.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin54
    It does a rotation or two backwards pretty easy, it just gets rough when you do it rapidly over and over.
    Certainly not ideal, but it might be ok if that's the case. Just keep an eye on it for any change for the worse, and definitely for any slack while coasting

  22. #22
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    wait, wait, wait... is it me or is the chain in a higher gear in the beginning of the vid and then dropped to a lower gear towards the end. looks like it to me. if that is the case, it could be that the RD was down shifted before you started pedaling backwards. when you start pedaling backwards, the chain will get hung up on the top egde of the RD cage above the top pully. the chain will not move smoothly into higher/lower gears when you are back pedaling. what happens is that instead of the derrailleur feeding the chain into the cassette the opposite is happening.

    go check it again and also get us some better video of the RD while pedaling backwards. could even be a stiff link in the chain.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    That sounds stupid, ...
    yeah, your face sounds stoopid!
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  24. #24
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    LOL glad to see your still cracking jokes man

    My mavics used to do this a good bit after not being cleaned after a good cleaning and service no more issues.
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  25. #25
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    I had the same issue, solved it by... cleaning the chain. the lube had gotten gunky and was impeding the free motion. At least try it before you spend $ at the shop. I am curious how this all turns out.
    '12 Giant Trance X1, Mavic Crossride Wheels, StansTubeless, SPD Pedals

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    yeah, your face sounds stoopid!
    I know, and if you think it sounds stupid just wait till you see it! Oh, wait...

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebrahum
    Why would you pedal backward like that?
    Umm....I hate to point out the obvious, but when you're coasting downhill, especially a nice fast one, and your rear wheel is spinning nice and fast in the forward direction but your feet are on the pedals (as they should, or you've got other, more pressing problems) holding the cranks in one position.....guess what? Same effect.

    My guess is something's not right with your freewheel.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    I know, and if you think it sounds stupid just wait till you see it! Oh, wait...
    oh..if it's on let me unwind my fightin arms then!
    I have a grill that'll make yer BBQ's look sexy
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by the.rebot
    I had the same issue, solved it by... cleaning the chain. the lube had gotten gunky and was impeding the free motion. At least try it before you spend $ at the shop. I am curious how this all turns out.

    this. If its a new bike, with a new chain, it might still have the new chain grease on it that it comes covered in in the package, which although protects the chain, isn't the best lube for it. Super thick, viscous stuff. Clean the chain and relube it with proper chain lube, and see if that helps.

  30. #30
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    I see you have the dorky plastic disc on your rear hub. That can sometimes cause that if it is out of place. Check it out and get back to us
    Ride

  31. #31
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    MY Guess is the chain line is slightly off

  32. #32
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    My 2011 cannondale is 2 weeks old (since build date at cannondale) it did the same thing.

    There was thick, sticky grease on the chain and every other part that requires lube. I cleaned, and oiled the chain, cycled it a few times backwards, and its perfect now.

    I would start with a simple cleaning and oiling of the chain before having it serviced.

  33. #33
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    Ok, off work Friday, I'll look into cleaning the chain then.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro
    wait, wait, wait... is it me or is the chain in a higher gear in the beginning of the vid and then dropped to a lower gear towards the end.
    Yep.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1208lv
    MY Guess is the chain line is slightly off
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rob1208lv
    MY Guess is the chain line is slightly off
    Yeah highdelll, past it's expiry date and wasn't kept in the fridge.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
    You may be happy to hear that my dad has kicked cancer's ass. Now he's looking for whoever sent it.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja
    Yeah highdelll, past it's expiry date and wasn't kept in the fridge.
    can you get freezer burn on your chainline?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    can you get freezer burn on your chainline?
    I can, I live in Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
    You may be happy to hear that my dad has kicked cancer's ass. Now he's looking for whoever sent it.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja
    I can, I live in Canada.
    -43* or so according to someone who commented on Batty's post earlier today (FB) - not sure where you are in relation, but I think you're close (longitudinally) and more north?
    correct me if I'm wrong
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    -43* or so according to someone who commented on Batty's post earlier today (FB) - not sure where you are in relation, but I think you're close (longitudinally) and more north?
    correct me if I'm wrong
    us NorCal-ians are longitudinally north of many Midwestern and Eastern US cities that are currently and often covered in snow and ice

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    us NorCal-ians are longitudinally north of many Midwestern and Eastern US cities that are currently and often covered in snow and ice
    right, but TN and EB are in the same geographic region - I think...

    Sucks for us here in NorCal that it's sunny and 69 tho right?

    latitude? (or am I missing a joke?)
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    right, but TN and EB are in the same geographic region - I think...

    Sucks for us here in NorCal that it's sunny and 69 tho right?

    latitude? (or am I missing a joke?)
    She's in Toronto I think. That's my old stomping grounds. Almost 30 years ago. The only thing in the lower 48 west of me now is Neah Bay, Washington, maybe. I'm well north of her too. Central Vancouver Island.

    The freezer burn comment was based on the stereotype of a typical Canadian. Where I live, it hardly ever snows and freezing temperatures are pretty rare too. Oddly enough, I can ride my bike from my house to snow in about an hour in August. I lived through 30 winters. I did my patriotic duty as a Canadian.

    45* and sunny today. I was out digging trails and getting bit by mosquitoes.
    Last edited by Trail Ninja; 02-03-2011 at 01:07 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja's Son
    You may be happy to hear that my dad has kicked cancer's ass. Now he's looking for whoever sent it.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    right, but TN and EB are in the same geographic region - I think...

    Sucks for us here in NorCal that it's sunny and 69 tho right?

    latitude? (or am I missing a joke?)
    you mean what I know

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja
    She's in Toronto I think. That's my old stomping grounds. Almost 30 years ago. The only thing in the lower 48 west of me now is Neah Bay, Washington, maybe. I'm well north of her too. Central Vancouver Island.

    The freezer burn comment was based on the stereotype of a typical Canadian. Where I live, it hardly ever snows and freezing temperatures are pretty rare too. Oddly enough, I can ride my bike from my house to snow in about an hour in August. I lived through 30 winters. I did my patriotic duty as a Canadian.

    45* and sunny today. I was out digging trails and getting bit by mosquitoes.
    Ahh, soory* dood - I thought you were back east in the lowlands -
    Left-coast is the "right" coast anyhow

    *said in "Canukian"
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    you mean what I know
    that's what she said?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trail Ninja
    Yeah highdelll, past it's expiry date and wasn't kept in the fridge.
    Fairly certain its colder outside / in my garage than my fridge, but I'll check the expiration date.

  47. #47
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    Getting the chain clean didn't happen today. But in looking at the bike again I noticed that one of the pulleys on the rear derailleur doesn't spin freely when going backwards, so that needs a good cleaning also.

    I am a bike maintenance newbie so the learning curve is in effect, but it doesn't look to hard.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin54
    ... but it doesn't look to hard.
    it's not
    most of it is common sense and basic mechanics.. - a bike is a simple machine
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    it's not
    most of it is common sense and basic mechanics.. - a bike is a simple machine
    "Yeah, so's a toilet!"

    Sorry, couldn't resist a good movie reference. I agree though. There really aren't too many parts, and the important skills can be learned through practice and a little research through some great free online resources (Park Tools, Sheldon Brown, Bicycle Tutor, and others)

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    "Yeah, so's a toilet!"
    ...
    yeah, I've been to a rest stop - I guess some people should NOT werk on bikes
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by the.rebot
    I had the same issue, solved it by... cleaning the chain. the lube had gotten gunky and was impeding the free motion. At least try it before you spend $ at the shop. I am curious how this all turns out.
    THIS.

    I am ashamed it took 25 posts in this thread for someone to come up with the right answer. I have installed dozens of chains on various bikes and they always behave like this until the chain breaks in or it is properly cleaned and lubricated. new chains are always gunky and slow.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle
    THIS.

    I am ashamed it took 25 posts in this thread for someone to come up with the right answer. I have installed dozens of chains on various bikes and they always behave like this until the chain breaks in or it is properly cleaned and lubricated. new chains are always gunky and slow.
    And maybe not so much. I've installed a few new chains and had a few new chains on new bikes. I've never seen one act that way, even before cleaning and lubing. Betcha money the problem doesn't go away when the op cleans and lubes..
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    And maybe not so much. I've installed a few new chains and had a few new chains on new bikes. I've never seen one act that way, even before cleaning and lubing. Betcha money the problem doesn't go away when the op cleans and lubes..
    x2 malibu -
    (I should be a rapper with how I rhyme things)
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  54. #54
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    every new chain I have ever installed on a bike acted like that until I lubed it and gave it a mile or two a break in.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle
    every new chain I have ever installed on a bike acted like that until I lubed it and gave it a mile or two a break in.
    Strange how opposite people's experiences can be; I'm curious what the difference is. I've installed quite a few Shimano and SRAM chains straight out of the box, still covered in the super sticky corrosion protection lube, and they've never acted like that

  56. #56
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    UPDATE!

    I took the chain off and gave it a good cleaning. I have access to an ultrasonic cleaner, so it got a good bath and lube. I also cleaned the rear derailleur. It was pretty gunky and the jockeys were hard to spin. I Lubed what need to be lubed and put the chain back on.

    After getting all of this done it spins backwards smoothly now. No more issues and I am even happier with my purchase.

    Thanks for all of the help!


  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    And maybe not so much. I've installed a few new chains and had a few new chains on new bikes. I've never seen one act that way, even before cleaning and lubing. Betcha money the problem doesn't go away when the op cleans and lubes..
    Looks like you lost the bet...

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grip
    Looks like you lost the bet...
    umm, no not really - some people's DT's are smoother than others...any weak 'link' in the system can make it a prob.

    Let's say you have mediocre everything - pulleys, worn rings, stiffer FH...etc - not enough to notice going forward, but you add another straw (stickier lube on a chain) for 'the camel's back' and now there's a prob..

    Vs. having everything else in top-shape - a 'slower' chain wouldn't affect the whole DT as much..
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grip
    Looks like you lost the bet...

    Prolly not. The cage wheels weren't spinning easily either so likely that was most of the problem. You can see that in the video when the cage pulls toward the chain rings. The chain may have contributed a little but when you watch the video, it looks like it's moving pretty freely.

    P-54, glad you got it working smoothly.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  60. #60
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    ...he lost the bet

    Glad you got it solved.
    '12 Giant Trance X1, Mavic Crossride Wheels, StansTubeless, SPD Pedals

  61. #61
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    oooooooh snap!

  62. #62
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    This thread is worthless without a video update showing how well it spins.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  63. #63
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    As you can see, I really need a bike stand to work on my new bike. All the clunking you hear is my primo bike stand in action.

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/tXMlXxKequA?hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/tXMlXxKequA?hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    Strange how opposite people's experiences can be; I'm curious what the difference is. I've installed quite a few Shimano and SRAM chains straight out of the box, still covered in the super sticky corrosion protection lube, and they've never acted like that
    it could be a lot of things. maybe if you install a new chain and it's cold, the lube is more rigid? or maybe if the chain has been sitting in a box on the shelf for loner the lube is thicker, or it gets thinner over time? all i know is that if the chain acts like that, it needs some lube.

  65. #65
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    Buttah.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    Prolly not. The cage wheels weren't spinning easily either so likely that was most of the problem. You can see that in the video when the cage pulls toward the chain rings. The chain may have contributed a little but when you watch the video, it looks like it's moving pretty freely.

    P-54, glad you got it working smoothly.
    Typical welcher, find a loophole in the bet so you dont have to payup.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grip
    Typical welcher, find a loophole in the bet so you dont have to payup.
    He handed it to me. "Oh and BTW, the chainwheels weren't turning very well either." Or something like that.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  68. #68
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    Sorry guys, guess I should have tried the clean chain on first and then cleaned the rest.

  69. #69
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    Oh crap, now we'll never know who was right!!!

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paladin54
    Sorry guys, guess I should have tried the clean chain on first and then cleaned the rest.

    No problems


    You might want to clean and re-lube new chains right out of the box as well....I do...

    Oh and BTW the two guys lost the bet.

  71. #71
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    I will say that I am fairly certain it was the pulleys that caused the biggest problem.

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