I hate wrenching on my own bicycle. Inevitably I will do something wrong and will usually have to take the bike in for professional servicing. I have had success in very few areas. I can change a tire. I can clean the bike. I can tighten loose bolts. I can install a computer. I have attempted to true a wheel, adjust a derailleur, and adjust a brake. One time I even tried to build a front end. I have never fooled around with cranks, cassettes, headsets, etc.
Recently the shifting on my bicycle has been off. I assumed the derailleur cable was just loose, but at the same time, it had been about a year since I had it built up and decided to just get a tune-up. As it turned out Bicycle Village was backed up 3 weeks for tune-ups and would not even look at it. I started with Bicycle Village as they built up the 10 speed drive train that is on the bike. I went over to Performance bike and the mechanic also said that they were backed up 3 weeks for tune-ups but could take a quick look if something was really bothering me.
I told him the rear derailleur definitely needed to be adjusted. He said it may be a simple barrel adjustment and through it up on the stand right away. He then started asking me who installed the cassette. I told him Bicycle Village had and he replied that the spacer is missing and the cassette is loose. He put the spacer on and then fiddled a little more and finally said it works, but the cable should be replaced. This work they could squeeze in.
I picked my bike up the next day and he said that not only had the spacer been missing, but the chain was on backwards. Apparently Shimano 10 speed chains have a sidedness to them. He also recommended replacing the front and rear derailleur from 9 speed to 10 speed as I would see some improvement in shifting. Mostly on the front derailleur that was redesigned for a narrower chain. I did not make the $150 investment, but probably will down the road.
This experience served as a painful reminder that I really need to learn to work on my bicycle. If I don’t know how an assembly should operate, I am really at the mercy of mechanics at varying skill level. I should have noticed the cassette wobbling. I should have noticed a backwards chain. I should be able to hand test a cable to see how loose or tight it is and at minimum make barrel adjustments.
I would also like to thank Performance Bike for taking the time to squeeze me in and explaining the work that was done.