Disclaimer – this is not a post asking what bike I should buy.
Today was my first ride to work for the year. I live on a hill next to Cleveland Ohio and on the way down there is some nice singletrack. Still a little wet from the recent rain, I was able to resist the temptation to do any of my favorite sections but toward the bottom there is a little section that I gave in to because I wanted to work on a couple skills.
I forgot a couple things as I was coming around a nice sweeping turn and preparing for a short punchy climb over a rock pile. 1) I was in the big ring and 2) I shortened my chain a bit too much last week. The result when I down shifted was I tore apart my derailleur. Bent metal and chunks of the pulley missing. I managed to get into the big ring in front and big cog in back and it was tight.
I fussed with it a while and eventually the missing-link in my chain came apart. After I sifted through the leaves to find one of the halves of the missing-link, I was able to hack my drive train together by bypassing the broken pulley and rode to work. Even with all the trouble it was still more fun than driving or taking the train.
Now the fun part. What to do now? The bike fits me well and it is good for at least riding to work, so I am going to fix it. A little background on the bike. It is a base-level Breezer Squall with 3×7 (i.e. freewheel). I have been a little hard on it but for $300 it has held up pretty well. Here are the options that I have thought of:
1) Replace exactly what I broke. Tourney 7 speed derailleur and chain.
Pros: cheap and should work
2) Convert to single speed. Single speed freewheel, single speed ring in front, chain and chain tensioner. What ratio? Commuter or MTB?
Pros: cheap and will be less fussy than 3×7
Cons: already have a single speed
3) Start upgrading. Ultimate goal would be a 1×10. 10 speed derailleur and chain for now and get 10 speed wheelset and single ring later. Would this work on the 7 speed freewheel with the 7 speed shifter and chain?
Pros: incremental improvement, if it works
Cons: will start me down the path of putting a lot of money into a bike that literally everything could be upgraded
What other ideas are there? What would you do? Would 2 or 3 actually work? Thanks for reading.
You might be able upgrade to 9 speed without changing much or spending a lot. If you have a Shimano freehub the 9 speed cassette should fit. You can get a wide ratio Sunrace 11-40 9 speed cassette for about $30. I would keep the front derailleur for awhile, and switch to 1x only if you never use the high and low front rings. Then get a Shimano Alivio or Deore 9 speed derailleur and shifter. you should be able to get the shifter for about $20, the derailleur for about $25, with your choice of 9 speed chain starting about $15. Total cost somewhere around $90.
Thanks Alvin. Unfortunately, I have a 7-speed freewheel not a 7-speed cassette. So if I want more cogs I have to buy a new wheelset. I would ultimately want to go with a 9 or 10-speed wide ratio like you suggested. But the first step is can I get a 9-speed derailleur to work with the 7-speed cassette until I get the new wheelset?
I went with the 7/8 speed derailleur which will give me the option of going up to an 8 speed if I so choose. Found out that freewheels are indeed available up to 10 speeds (apparently used on some e-bikes – not sure why). Got everything working real nice and did a good amount of trail riding and commuting.
Which brings us to the new question…
Does anyone know a higher quality replacement axle? I ended up bending my rear axle for the second time. In my quick internet search, the reviews seem to indicate that while they work they seem to be low quality and prone to bending. I plan to use this wheel set primarily for commuting but can’t resist hitting some of the trails on the way home.
The previous axle was a standard 135mm QR with loose bearing (all accounted for). I am wondering if a bolt on axle is the best bet. Perhaps a BMX axle would be a bit stronger.
Plan to go to a bike store on Friday but would love to be a bit more educated on the subject. Thanks.
You post this on 7th may. I am a newcomer in this group. Now I read your post. I don’t like to use a 7-speed derailleur. I love to ride 9-speed which is Shimano. If you do not change your cassette please use Shimano CS-6500. I use it. Very good product. I purchased this for $ 49.