Problems with my winter bike.

This winter I want to use my Trek Fuel EX8 mountain bike to save wear on my slightly newer bike. It has 29″ wheels and a 1 X 10 transmission. With only one chain ring at the front there’s less to go wrong in muddy, winter condition which add an extra burden of wear to a bike. Looking back at my writing I discovered that I replaced the chain, cassette and single chain ring just one year ago. The gear change has become poor and the teeth on the cogs look worn, which could explain this. I replaced the worn jockey wheels on the surprisingly tight Shimano SLX rear mech. but knew before I set off today that this hadn’t helped.

I rode to our local hill, Healey Nab to just play. I intended to work hard but had no targets other than to have fun doing what I love. Messing about on a bike at speed. Several days of bright and breezy weather have dried the trails, apart from the odd puddle. It was like riding in summer.

A group of teenaged lads with very low end bikes were riding around. Hopefully it’s half term, not a neglect of their education. As I climbed steeply I felt the chain skipping over a sprocket and knew it was game over for the transmission. It consists of inexpensive Shimano copies but a single winter of riding seems a poor return for my money. I’ll try a chain first but don’t expect this to work, though it did when my Boardman recently displayed the same issue.

I managed to ride for 3 laps of the trails by not using the lowest gear of all. It seems to be this, largest sprocket which has the problem. In great trail conditions I was able to find plenty of grip and concentrate on technique. On the banked corners I was dropping my upper body and bending my legs on the approach. I could then push away from the bike as I turned to weight the wheels. The more weight you apply through the tyres, the more grip you’ll get.

You need to be brave and reserve most of your pushing for the looser, more slippery parts of each corner. You may be able to turn slightly less tightly on the less grippy parts and do the bulk of your turning on the firmer areas. Get round the turn standing fairly tall by the exit and remember to drop you weight as you approach the next corner.

Despite the dismal transmission I had a great ride and thoroughly tired myself. The weather is now due to turn wetter so I really need to get the Trek back to its best as soon as possible.

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