Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pie Plate problems

As I mentioned earlier, I spent most of Sunday, taking Gilbert's chaincase off.
I love the simplicity of the IGH, and the dependability of the roller brake,  and the protection of the chain case, but boy does that make it a PITA to remove the rear wheel.

I have gotten reasonably good at removing the brake cable (made complicated by the fact that I'm missing the proprietary nut that the brake uses, and have a funky multiple washers plus banjo bolt setup).  Removing the gear cable is also reasonably simple now.  But to remove the chaincase itself, I had to take off the cottered crank.  Even though I have the fancy tool from Bikesmith, it's still really tough.  I bent over the cotter trying to press it out,  and then I had to hacksaw the bent end off, drill a hole down into it,  put a punch into the hole and drive it out with a hammer.
Not fun.  But I did take off the chaincase, and enlarged the rear hole that I think was causing resistance at the back.  I also shifted it back 5/16" of an inch, so that it would be more centered on the crank instead of shifted forward.  I'd like to add a couple of tiny brackets to hold it to the brackets brazed onto the frame, but it was not to happen this weekend.

But at the end of Sunday it was all relubed, reassembled and ready to go, except for the pieplate.
This is not the kind of plastic disk that goes behind the sprockets on a 70's road bike, but rather the center piece that covers the chainring on the chaincase.  I left it off, partly intentionally, partly because I forgot until I already had too much of things re-assembled.  But now that winter is coming, I felt it would be better protection for the chain if I had it on.   So I put it into place- and couldn't get it to snap in!.
I tried and tried, but it was like putting a tire with a really stiff bead on a rim.  I'd get it seated all the way around, and as I pulled the final bit into position: snap, it would come out on the other side.

Finally I got almost every clamp I owned and clamped that sucker down, so that it couldn't pop out.

I think it's in,  I'm nervous about riding it in, in case something comes loose or isn't adjusted properly,  so I'll take a lot more tools in this morning than I normaly would.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!


  1. your pie plate doesn't have a rectangular cut-out section with a sliding panel near the center hole? the ones that have that can be removed without removing the pedal or crank arm.

    anyway, yes, full chaincases make removing the rear wheel quite a PITA!

  2. It does have the little slider thing, but it's not quite big enough to fit over the crank without bending it. (and the pedal would definitely have to come off and it's tough enough to get in without bending.

    I did find that I had next to zero braking power in the rear- need to move the retaining nut further back on the cable. Nothing like doing your test ride on the way to work!

  3. After reading all this, I rather feel that simply replacing things a bit more frequently is simpler than fiddling with the chain case...

  4. I haven't seen your bicycles, but based on my experience, the chaincase has not significantly interfered with removing the rear wheel. On my bikes problems removing the wheel have come from the dropouts, not the chaincase. I also have some a suggestion for removing the cotters.

    Cotter Removal
    The most helpful suggestion I read was to keep the nut on the end of the cotter when you start removing it.

    If you loosen the nut and move it to the end of the threads, it's easier to keep everything aligned when you start pushing the cotter out. I think the larger area of the nut also reduces the chance you will bend the cotter. With straight alignment, you can use a larger wrench without fear of bending the cotter.

    I haven't bent any cotters since I started doing this. (I also bent one cotter; as you have learned this makes them extremely difficult to remove)

    You may also want to try lubricating the cotter before removing it, if you haven’t tried this yet.

    Rear Wheel Removal & Chaincase/Rear Dropouts
    My understanding is that Gilbert is a Raleigh Sports (DL22L, 26" wheels), Minerva is a Tourist (DL-1L, 28" wheels), and you acquired some similar but older bikes this year.

    All the 26" wheel Raleigh bikes (Sports) I've seen have horizontal (sloping, forward facing dropouts). It's fairly simple to loosen the axle nuts and slide the rear wheel forward. On the 26" chaincases I've seen, the lower rear corner of the chaincase is attached with 2 screws. You can remove these screws, and when this piece of the chaincase is removed, the dropouts are exposed so you can slide the rear wheel off. If you have rod (stirrup) brakes, you'll need to remove a brake shoe first.

    The problems I've had have been with the 28" wheel frames (DL-1, Dutch Gazelle). They have straight rearward facing dropouts like track frames, so if you try to pull the wheel backward, the chain holds it on.

    On my DL-1, the dropout is long enough that I can slide the wheel forward to remove the chain from the sprocket, and then slide the wheel backward. The removable section of the 28" Raleigh chaincase is the upper rear corner, rather than the lower section on the Sports. Either way, the axle can slide out of the drop out once the section is removed. (Again, you need to remove one of the brake shoes for the DL-1.)

    The Gazelle (1960 Dutch bike, 28" wheels, rearward facing dropout, drum brakes with rods) is the most frustrating ordeal. The dropout faces rearward, so the chain keeps me from pulling the wheel back, but the dropout is too short to move the wheel forward and lift the chain off the sprocket. The chain has a master link - I have to remove this link to break the chain so I can remove the wheel. (I don't want to use a chain tool to remove or install rivets on a link on the sprocket.) The removable section of the Dutch chaincase is the entire section behind the axle (above and below; it opens more than the English chaincases.) After putting the back wheel in place, you have to keep both ends of the chain out of the chaincase to re-install the masterlink.

  5. Stephen, Thanks for the lengthy post.
    I'm sorry if I gave you, and Steve A the impression that the chaincase was the problem in removing the wheel. Although I have to remove the shifter and brake cables, the rear wheel does remove without removing anything except the rear C of the case, which is very simple. In this situation, I had to remove the chain case itself, which neccessitated the removal of the cottered crank. I like the suggestion of leaving the nut on, and I also think it's worth buying some better quality cotters from Bikesmith next time they're in stock.

  6. Where did you even find a chainguard like that?

  7. Erin,
    Yellow Jersey in Madison WI imports inexpensive chainguards made for the Indian and Chinese markets. They are more or less sized for Raleigh sports, and 28" wheel roadsters. The paint quality is poor, and I would definitely recommend having them powdercoated, or otherwise well painted. They're pretty upfront about the quality. Also they are not trivial to install, especially on a bike that wasn't designed for it. I ended up having to tap a threaded hole in the frame itself.

  8. Thanks Cycler.

    I have a 1972 Raleigh Superbe and the long term plan is to get it powdercoated. When I get that all set up, it would be good to beef up the chain guard at the same time.