March 18th, 2013
Still figuring out the whole computer thing so bear with me. At the least I have a backup plan… one that involves lots of travel, but it’s a backup plan all the same. Also, I’m going to need a flash drive.
Since I’m currently borrowing a computer (thanks, baba!) I don’t have a lot of time, but I wanted to post something while I could, and what better to post than a story.
We get this bike in today and it’s not shifting properly. It’s apparently a problem Fauji doesn’t see very often because I get called over almost immediately. The chainwheel freezes as the chain travels up (from first to second and from second to third) in the front. I just taught five seminars on stuff like this so I’m all over it: The derailleur is too low on the seat tube.
We raise her up (one millimeter makes all the difference) and now the chain shifts up but not down. Loosen the cable.
Down but not up. Tighten the cable.
This battle continues and eventually we go through the whole shebang — checking FD (front derailleur) angle and height, FD wear (nothing worn off, no play in the joints), cable tension, chain wear, and chainring wear. All was well. There was really nothing more to check, so the only remaining solution was that something was wrong with the derailleur. I asked for a scale (their word for “ruler,” but it took a while before we distinguished between the weighing scale and the distancing scale) and compared the width of this derailleur to width of a brand new one.
AHAH!!! What now India.
The user had crammed the derailleur into the chain trying to get it to shift up (the original problem, remember). All that cramming had increased the width of the derailleur (if you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the photo below. The wider the front derailleur, the less accurately it moves the chain).
So as an American mechanic I was like, “dudes, time for a new derailleur.”
And they were like, “Dudes, we don’t got one.”
Okay, our English was a little less ghetto. But just as we were getting ready to give up and steal one from a new bike, I was struck with inspiration. “Plaace!” I shouted, and reached for a pliers.
They watched, curious. I looked at them and said, “Indian” (we use this phrase to signify something that wouldn’t be okay to do in the states), then reached down and squeezed the heck out of the derailleur with the pliers, decreasing its width. I mean, he needed a new one anyways, right?
Stepping back to admire my handiwork, I asked one of the kids to pedal the bike while I shifted.
She shifted perfectly.
We cheered. We high-fived. We danced. The newly-skinnied derailleur guided the chain perfectly. I was now master of the Indian way. Why replace it when you can bang it into place?