Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

One casualty

Posted by Matt | June 3, 2008 | 13 comments so far

So it seems we didn’t entirely escape collateral damage on our recent visit to Afan. My Orange Five succumbed to the First Law of Mountain Biking. After covering 1100 miles in the past year it became apparant during the course of the weekend (OK, more apparant) that key parts of the drivetrain had thrown in the towel.

First to run sobbing from the room was my bottom bracket which spent the whole weekend creaking and grinding in a ‘here’s comes a big bill’ kind of way. It’s normally at this point that I wonder aloud whether 1100 miles is reasonable for a bottom bracket to last (it’s a RaceFace X-type BB), allowing someone else to shrug and say ‘my square taper’s still doing fine after a trip to the moon and back’. Maybe I just haven’t been BB conditioned yet.

Closer inspection of the drivetrain revealed jockey wheels like ninja throwing stars (I throw that in for anyone in the bike industry to chuckle over and use on their next hapless customer), a middle chainring whose teeth had been filed to sharp points by the trail pixies and a chain that ‘probably’ needs replacing. At which point it seems likely that my SRAM cassette is ‘quite likely’ to cause shifting problems if I don’t change that too.

Here the downside of running a top spec bike becomes clear. A quick look on Chain Reaction suggests at bill of around £150 to replace everything pretty much like for like, excepting a punt on a new Hope bottom bracket to try and avoid even more future expense. £17 for X0 jockey wheels is a sobering (and possibly ‘ha! saw you coming’) thought. And SRAM Red cassettes are not cheap either even if they do look rather pimp.

So big a pill is it for me to swallow that I’ve finally been prompted to sacrifice my 2003 Marin Rift Zone on the eBay altar to free up funds for my Orange’s heart/lung transplant. Hannah might point out that it’s just £13.50/month or so for 11 months of riding but then I’d like to point out it’s not her having to pay for it!

So, for a short while my On-one is being pressed into service while I go shopping…


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 13 comments on ‘One casualty’

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  1. Rob says:

    I have recently taken note of some advice given to me by a very experienced MTB’iker. I bought 3 chains (SRAM) and a chain checker (Park Tools) and fitted the first new chain to a partly worn drivetrain. No slipping or bad changes, just nice and smooth.

    I will run this chain for a while and measure its wear with the chain checker periodically. As it begins to stretch and wear I will take it off and fit the 2nd chain and do the same until I fit the 3rd chain. Then, go back to the first chain and so on, until each chain shows 0.75% wear, when it’s time to bin it and start again.

    This process prevents excessive and accelerated wear to the cassette and chainrings (especially in our UK grit and grime) by having a worn out chain. This should prolong the life of the transmission and reduce overall costs. Fingers crossed!

  2. Colin says:

    Rob, you must be a man with deep pockets – have you got 3 chains for each of the 8 bikes in your workshop.

    Must look like some sort of bondage den with all those chains hanging from the rafters!

    Sounds a great idea though. Would it be too late for me to adopt this – I’ve done about 700 miles on my chain ?

  3. Andy says:

    Check Merlin cycles as they do cassette and chain deals. Normally cheaper than CRC.

    Race face BB are aweful, all mine have failed very quickly.

    Shimano Xt ones are still going strong.

  4. Colin says:

    These look worth a punt Matt as an alternative to the Ninja Stars you’ve binned:

    KCNC anodised jockey wheels

    umm, suit you sirr

  5. Matt says:

    Great tips guys!

    Colin, that comment about Rob’s shed had me laughing out loud – I now look at him in a different light!

    And anodised jockey wheels, now they look cool! Might have to try the red ones to match the cassette. Whatever you do, don’t show that stuff to Dave P haha!

    Andy, I’m definitely ditching the RaceFace after hearing nothing but bad comments on them. It’s just a question of whether the Hope is worth the investment…

  6. Dominic says:


    Have a look at the SKF BB we use SKF bearing at work and they are good.

    Just got back from Afan on my (not so) new EX8. Was loads of fun, did all except Whites as we wanted to do the whole of the Skyline (4hrs).

    See you out there.

  7. Rob says:

    Thanks Colin – same time next week you naughty boy?!

    I am only trying this out on one bike to see how it goes – i’ll probably forget or lose track of what’s what though!

    I don’t have a bike OCD – I only have 5, one of which is a road bike (spit!)

    Agree with the RaceFace BB issue – mine lasted 2 months in the Surrey Hills grit. I complained to RaceFace but to no avail. I have now gone back to Shimano external BB which should last about a year again. Search around and you’ll get one cheap.

  8. Mark says:

    Like the anodised jockey wheels.

    Perhaps Colin should get a set in blue, to match his mincey gloves!

    The blue would be a lovely clash with your orange frame Colin.

  9. Colin says:

    Haha, I am no longer a mincer, the dodgy gloves have been refunded, being replaced with good old black.

    Was waiting for some retaliation!

  10. Muddymoles says:

    RaceFace Deus XC Crankset failure

    A seized RaceFace bottom bracket appears to spell doom for Matt’s RaceFace Deus XC crankset.

  11. Muddymoles says:

    KCNC Jockey wheels

    A new drivetrain means new jockey wheels and these KCNC babies look just the ticket.

  12. Muddymoles says:

    How to improve a classic?

    Upgrading is the oil that lubricates the bike industry and Matt’s ready to play his part.

  13. Related: KCNC Jockey wheels | Reviews, Components | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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