Note to Self:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Planning for Winter, Prepping the Mule, its New Chain Guard, and How I got it

First of all...no it is not snowing here in Western New York, at least not yet. The above photo is of my bike I fondly call the "Mule;" the photo was taken last winter. It's an old Trek that I purchased at a flea market for $40.00 and made some adjustments and have ridden it for the past 4 winters...it is truly a good ride and  a rugged piece of machinery. Anyhow, like many bikes sold in America it does not come with a chain guard...I can't tell you how many pairs of pants are either stained or ripped because of this. Here's a picture of the crank up close.
After tearing the pant leg of a brand new pair of jeans last spring I decided to do an internet search for universal chain guard. I came across one that looked good by a company out of Germany called SKS. I originally found it at this page on Amazon and at closer inspection I saw that it was sold through Niagara Cycle Works, which after Googling it I found it was only about 30 miles from my house, and they, in fact, had the same item listed on their website. So on a cold, rainy, and slushy day last spring I drove my vehicle to their shop. When I asked for the item the sales person told me they didn't have it. Will you be getting it in? I inquired. No, he replied, we don't actually carry it. But it's listed that you do on your website. To get to the point, he told me that many of the items listed they don't actually carry at their store, they are at their "virtual warehouse." Huh? He told me I would be better off just ordering it through them on Amazon because if I didn't like it I could return it through Amazon but If I ordered it through the store directly it would be un-returnable. I say again, huh? At any rate, I put off ordering it through the summer but  as the cold months are encrouching I decided to prep the Mule for the winter and I finally got around to ordering it. It arrived today and it looks pretty good (pictured below). I haven't installed it yet because I lack the neccessary crank tool to do so (I'll visit the bike shop tomorrow). The guard comes in a few sizes and I ordered the larger size (I figure it would be easier to modify a larger one if it didn't fit perfectly than try to stretch a smaller size)...anyhow it looks like it'll fit pretty well. I'll post pictures after it's installed. I'd be interested to know how other bikers out there in the blogesphere deal with a guardless chain, or if they've used this item. And also...do you ride through the winter :)

11 comments:

Amrita said...

Hi Joe thanks for linkin g me on your side bar. I hav e become your follower.

I have never ridden a bike due to my disabilities, but I like reading about the,

Mankan said...

Hi Joe!

I don´t have a chainguard on any of my bikes. Why? I guess because of the look, haven´t found one that I like. So I end up with tucking my pants into my socks, or I fold them. Have a pair of snug-fitting overpants I use during winter so it´s not really an issue. I ride year-round; http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_abJfqlRRZB4/S69rbmIT1wI/AAAAAAAAE0c/RKHYEu128sU/s320/20100328018.jpg

Joe said...

Amrita, Thanks for subscribing...I look forward to future correspondence and posts on your blog.

Mankin, yes I know what you mean about the look, but over the years I've started to think more about practicality than how it looks. I mounted the chain guard today and there will be photos forthcoming. Nice blog, BTW...too bad I don't understand Swedish. Thanks for your comments.

Mankan said...

Joe, there´s always Google translate ;-)

John in NH said...

I bought the same version, although my local cycle shop had it in stock. I was very impressed with the quality. However, before I had time to put it on my old bicycle, I bought a Breezer with a full chain case! It is now at home waiting to be put on my dad's hybrid bicycle, so that he can use it with pants on. I also have a front fender for him to put on that will help.

Being as I am further north than you (Plattsburgh, NY) ;) I do bicycle in the cold snow, although if I have the chance to take a bus or ride into town I take it, but I still ride in town from uni- to work at the coop to the bike shop and back.

The breezer has full fenders and the chain case and as such an internal 8 speed hub. Works great :)

Joe said...

John,glad to hear you ride year round...it is a challenge but it can be fun also...and I'd much rather ride in the snow than the rain. I thought about getting a Breezer at one point they seem really nice. Have you had it long? how does it ride? The only bike I have with an internal hub (5-speed) is my Dahon folder...I enjoy it but can not seem to get it adjusted correctly...I usually end up using it as a 2-speed; low and high. As far as the chain guard it is really nice but I can't tell you what a pain it was to install...I had never removed (and replaced) the crank and bottom bracket before and I can tell you it was no easy task on my old Trek. Anyhow, thanks for the comments.

the_big_smile said...

http://tinyurl.com/2g7njzk
This is all I do to keep my pants clean.
Works most of the time.
It is a ribbon made of steel like a spring, that wraps around the leg.
I don't like chainguards. The last one I tried many years ago didn't really work together with a front derailer.
But I am thinking of a chainguard, just to protect the chain from water and dirt. But the SKS you show won't do this.


After I rode through last winter, I sold my car this summer.
I have a pair of studded Nokian tires for my trekking bike and a pair of Continental Spike Claw 120 for the Mundo.
I need studded tires because I have to ride daily with my two daughters. And the extra weight of about 55 kg makes it a bit hard to stop on snow.
And I wouldn't even try to ride the Mundo on Fat Frank tires in the snow!

Joe said...

Big Smile,
I actually have one of the metal straps that you showed in your link. I use it when I ride the Mundo. I wanted the chain guard for my winter bike. I've found that the Mundo, despite it's size and weight is not that good in the snow and ice. I've never tried the studded snow tires, though I've thought of it...Do you recommend them? Are they worth the money?

Mankan said...

Joe, having actually two sets of studded tires, a set of Nokian Hakka for my 700c-wheels, and a pair of Conti Spikeclaw240 for my 26", i must say that they are worth every penny. During icy conditions they feel bomb-proof. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_abJfqlRRZB4/SykYmxbFxFI/AAAAAAAAEsE/FwYuXHte3e0/s320/20091216265.jpg

Joe said...

Mankan & Big Smile...you guys have convinced me. I've been contemplating getting studded tire for a couple years and I think it's finally time...next paycheck. Thanks for you comments.

Jeff said...

I smiled because I regularly purchase things from the folks at Niagra. They have a great selection online and competitive prices. I would prefer to purchase locally but the one in my neck of KY woods is simply horrendous.

Look forward to seeing the pictures of the mounted chain guard.