|Eventually, on consideration, you may have to go back and trench something like this in|
The maintenance slash upkeep slash fiddle factor on the fixed gear commuter is joyfully low. Pump up the tires once in a while, make sure the chain is not too slack, lube the chain when it starts making sounds or soon thereafter, make sure things are tight enough that nothing falls off. When shame overcomes me, wrap the bars with new tape, and wipe some of the most noticeable dirt off the frame. That's about it, and you start to see one of the the reasons I like it so much. The pannier bag I click onto the rack is probably more complicated than the bike itself.
But I do own other bicycles, some with gears slash derailleurs, and those tend to be much fussier about things like dirt, bent derailleur hangers, worn out cables, slightly worn chains, on and on, and if I want to have the other bikes be usable, well, eventually, on consideration, I may have to go back and do something about the stuff that doesn't work. So I jumped in, got my hands dirty, cut some cables, fiddled with limit screws and adjustor barrels for a while, and voila, Yasuko would appear road-worthy, commute-worthy, once again.
But not before concluding that one has not fully appreciated the questionable necessity of a derailleur until one has guessed at what the L limit screw should be set at, tried shifting up past the big cog again, and ended up having to fish the chain out from between the cog and spokes (again). My fixie was resting in the corner snickering at me: what are you doing with your Sunday afternoon, man? This derailleur time is time you could be out riding, spinning down the road, eating up these late summer afternoons like warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream dripping off the sides. With whipped cream. Some sharp cheddar, and slash or a strong double espresso on the side. But no, give the L limit screw another turn, try again. Part of me wants to believe this precise mechanical exercise of fine manual dexterity is like the apple pie, too, but the fixie laughs at my rationalization. Apple pie is apple pie, riding on afternoons like this one is like apple pie, and the tools are a means to an end. One which the fixie seems to represent at the express line to the dessert tray.
And in case there are any lingering doubts, of which I had many, in fact had begun to question the very notion of a rear derailleur on a commuter bike here in flatland, yes, this 9-speed XTR RD-M952 works great on a 7-speed drive train. Several sources of an authoritative reference nature caused all sorts of doubts in my head about that, specifically, that the amount of cable that the shifter would pull to index a gear would not be the same as the 9-speed derailleur was built for, but in this case, that's poppycock. Or that the chain wouldn't fit between the cages, also poppycock. I went ahead anyway, because the thumb shifters on Yasuko click out of index mode quick as you like with a flip of a lever anyway, so either way I was going to finish this job with a smooth, working, swap meet booty derailleur. I also had a couple other alternate chains standing by to try, another derailleur just in case, although not as nice a one, and, in case it all ended in tears, was wondering what Yasuko might look like as a single speed. Or a 3x1. Triple chain ring, one cog in the back. Hmmm. Oh, and while out on the test ride through Scottsdale, found a way to ziptie down the part of the rear fender bracket that was rattling on every crack in the expansion-jointed concrete path, so that I could listen to the silence coming from the drive train. Sweet. Maybe derailleurs aren't so bad after all.