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David Hembrow, the Cyclist's BasketMaker

Page of broken bicycle parts

Every so often something on one of my bikes breaks in an unusual way. Sometimes this is due to things simply wearing out over time, sometimes due to manufacturing problems and sometimes due to the part being abused in some way.

Sachs 3x7 hub

The Sachs 3x7 hub is a 3 speed hub gear with an inbuilt freehub for a Shimano compatible 7 speed cassette. My hub came as standard equipment on a Pashley PDQ recumbent bike. Twice in the past this hub has eaten its bearings and required rebuilding. On a tour in 2008 this occurred some way from home. We limped to a village where we found a very skilled engineer who rebuilt the hub, but could remove the cassette due to not having the correct tool. Unfortunately, the next day the same thing happened again. I didn't understand how it was possible for the bearings to slip out of alignment without the nuts at either end of the axle being moved until later. I built a new wheel for the PDQ but wanted to use the same nearly new cassette. The cassette wouldn't come off the hub. On taking the cassette apart it was obvious why. The freehub body was cracked and slightly crooked.

I couldn't remove the last sprocket without breaking the freehub body. The original damage is discoloured by oil while the break required to remove the sprocket is light in colour in the second photo. The main crack was nearly half way around the body and approaching another crack heading in the opposite direction.

 

Unknown brake lever

This brake lever was on the right hand side of Judy's Azor bicycle. In general, these bikes are of very high quality, and the modern Azor test procedure apparently includes bending brake levers back and forth several times to make sure they don't break easily. However, we bought this bike second hand, the right hand lever had a bit more freedom than the left hand lever and we don't know what happened to be beforehand. I was replaced with a similar looking manufacturerless lever from a local bike shop.


Xtracycle kickstand mounting

The Xtracycle Freeradical is a fine idea, but mine is a very early one and some parts of it were less than well made. For instance, the kickstand mount, which snapped off one day as shown below. You can see from the rust in the metal shown in the photo that one end, "A" was brazed right across, while the other end "B" was not. This weakness lead to the part simply dropping off the bike. I replaced this with the excellent Xtracycle Kick-Back. This is a proper double stand especially made to fit the bike and exactly what the Xtracycle always deserved.

Note that I've been told that newer Xtracycles are improved in this crucial area.


Truvativ idler

My Mango Velomobile is used to test new things. I've tried quite a few chain idler wheels, including this one from Truvativ intended for their "BoxGuide" or some such product. This sets the record for a short life. It lasted just one week, just 400 km or so (including this race), before falling apart and making an odd noise on the way to work. Well, that's something we'll not be using in the product for customers !

Admittedly I think it's not actually intended to be used as a the drive side idler, so I guess it's only supposed to be strong enough for a chain with little tension.



Sturmey Archer 3 speed clutch

My town bike has a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub. The hub dates from the 1970s and has seen a lot of use, and unfortunately it started slipping out of 3rd gear. I took it apart and replaced the clutch.



New (left) and old (right) clutches. The old part is rather more nicely made. It's molded to a very particular shape while the new is just pressed. However, they are funcationaly identical.


In the close-up photos you can see the worn edge of the clutch. It needs to have a good edge which grips on other components within the hub. We blame Sturmey Archer for this failure. It's the result of being not quite correctly adjusted for many years of use.



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