There’s a word that rhymes with farce

That’s a custom option… not.

And that is, of course, arse. Up there is the result of the ‘sacrificial‘ mech hanger letting go on yesterdays’ ride. This lump of engineering genius is carefully designed to shear under extreme load, thereby saving the more expensive things it bridges between. Those things being the rear mech and the frame, so a sensible solution to the real world problem of rotational torque being transferred in potentially damaging directions. Splendid idea. Well done.

The OED tells us that sacrificial can best be defined as ‘an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy‘. In this case a£500 frame and a£60 mech. Definitely more worthy and important than a fivers worth of pressed aluminium. However brilliant the idea, functionally the mech hanger has some shortfalls, namely 1) the mech was twisted beyond use and 2) it attempted to eat the frame during the snapping process.

I discovered this only today after removing around a metric tonne of Forest Mud from the bike. At the time, my mighty-thighs(tm) were attempting to generate sufficient momentum to propel rider and bike through yet another sticky mess on the trail*. There was the briefest noise of tortured metal giving up followed by a lose of drive and a feeling of flappage out back.

I can only assume the volume of mud and grit in the mech had created some kind of sideways load best thought of as catastrophic. The sheared hanger split took the easiest path the freedom which was sadly through the back of the dropout. However, my initial concern was the exact whereabouts of the spare. That was closely followed by the realisation that I have never purchased a spare in the first place.

Helpful suggestions from my riding buddies included creating a bastard single speed of the remaining working parts. This feels similar to suggesting a man with a sprained ankle could best manage the pain by hacking his entire leg off. Before I was able to articulate my hatred of all things one geared, Haydn magnificently brought forth his own perfectly fitting spare. Sometimes it’s good to ride the same bike as your mates. Especially if they’ve got some concept of what useful spares might actually be worth carrying.

A quick swap and we were on our way with most of the gears sort of engaging in a non indexing manner. After a fabulous downhill run to Coffee and Cake, an emergency fettle, involving the lost art of mech bending, restored shifting harmony. That lost art by the way involves chanting the mantra ‘please, please don’t break the mech‘ while shutting your eyes and leaning heavily on the innocent component. All good, another 30k of mud and fun before a quick beer nearly benighted us.

Until this morning. Much grumpiness. Mech is beyond help and has been thrown into the overflowing ‘drawer of expensive broken metal things that might one day magically fix themselves‘, frame has been photographed, prodded and poked and is waiting for Cy from Cotic to come back off hols to give his professional opinion. Less professional opinions suggest ‘it’ll be fine‘, ‘hit it with a hammer‘ and ‘hand it over to a man with a welding torch’. All of these these things may come to pass, but for the moment I’ve bolted on a new mech and left well alone.

In the last ten days since my miraculous recovery from plague**, I’ve rediscovered a few things. My Cross Bike is fab, there is much singletrack to find and link up within the radius of this confused bicycle, I really don’t like trail centres much and riding in the slop can be good fun. If only as an appetiser to Spring.

Tomorrow will probably be the last ride of the year. Just short of 4000 kilometres on the mountain bike. Just short of 150km on the road bike 😉 That feels about right.

* not THAT kind of sticky mess. I always find the best way to get through that is to store it on my shoe.

** Self diagnosed. Pretty sure I was close to death on occasion. Not a widely shared opinion in the Leigh household.

8 thoughts on “There’s a word that rhymes with farce

  1. “There was the briefest noise of tortured metal giving up followed by a lose of drive and a feeling of flappage out back.”

    I recall that feeling only too well. In an instant, even before you’ve had time to put your foot down to prevent you hitting the deck, two thoughts have gone through your mind…. “This doesn’t feel cheap!” and “Good Christ we’re a long way from the car!”

  2. To be fair it was on the trail it died. But yes when expensive metal stuff is wheeled into the workshop, I am sure it shivers a bit with dread. Might be the extensive collection of hammers on the wall!

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