Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Mechanical problems

Posted by Matt | November 15, 2010 | 3 comments so far

I didn’t ride over the weekend. Partly, I was tired from riding to work on Friday using just the three gears available to me on my ‘Sturmey Archer’ Orange – that’s big, middle and inner rings on the chainset – but partly because I’ve hit wider mechanical woes.

It’s a bit frustrating but the weather hasn’t exactly pushed me to get out. Having said that, Friday commuting was quite enjoyable as I had dressed appropriately for the wet, muddy but warm conditions.

So, what’s going on with the bikes? Well, the Muirwoods is out of V-brake pads and given the state of the trails I’ve no plans to replace them and get out on it anytime soon.

The singlespeed is suffering from a mystery slip in the drivetrain. I’ve wavered between thinking it’s a worn front ring (I’ve recently changed the rear sprocket and chain), a slack chain tensioner or over-greased freehub pawls from when I serviced the hub bearings. Basically, any heavy torque induces the drivetrain to slip, accompanied by a loud cracking noise at the same time.

Speaking of hub bearings, Cycleworks confirmed my suspicions on Saturday that my newly replaced hub bearings on the Five are shot to bits. As in seriously knackered. Despite only covering 100 miles or so since replacing them, the rear wheel wobbles as much as it ever did although the freehub seems OK. A combination of no grease in the bearings, the D2D swamp and a possible poorly fitted freehub seal seems to have accounted for them pretty quickly.

I’ll have to order some replacements off eBay and considering last time I spent around £1.50 a cartridge, this time I might push the boat out and go for the £4-5 SKF cartridge. Because I’m worth it. And I only need to buy two.

This time round I’ll prise off the rubber seals and pack the bearings in waterproof grease in an effort to extend their life. At least it all comes apart easily now that I’ve had the hub apart so recently.

The only upside in my mountain biking life, and the reason I enjoyed Friday’s commute so much was that I’ve finally replaced my Hope seat clamp with a Salsa flip off item, after a year of threatening to do so. In fairness, it took an age for the Salsa seat clamp to come into stock but boy was it worth it. For the first time in a year I have a Five that doesn’t creak and squeak like a YMCA break-in at a pig farm and the seat post now stays in one place.


It’s the little things that make all the difference you know…


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 3 comments on ‘Mechanical problems’

We love to get comments from our readers - if you've spent a few moments to comment, thank-you.

  1. Jez says:

    I’ve swapped my seatclamp for a Salsa (thanks to the mole black market) and my rear skewer for an XT. Amazingly quiet and squeak free since. Bliss.

    My sympathies with the maintenance chores. Its a real pain when it all goes wrong at once. I used to enjoy a tinker in the shed but find these days I just can’t be bothered. You still have my bleed kit I think while we’re on the subject!

  2. Muddymoles says:

    Ride report: Sunday 5 December – Slushy

    A winter’s ride in the snow to Reigate for the Muddymoles this week turned out to be an excellent way to spend a Sunday.

  3. Related: Ride report: Sunday 5 December - Slushy | Rides | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Leave a comment…

Have your say – we'd love to hear what you think.

If you have something to add, just complete this comment form (we will not publish your email address).

*Required information.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.