November 21st – In a familiar bike shed at a client’s premises, a neat illustration that the common or garden bicycle, whilst being a marvel of engineering in many ways, is still riddled with design conflicts and the whiff of mechanical compromise.
Here, a well-used and muddy mountain bike, not a cheap one by any stretch. The lack of mud and water shielding means and mud and detritus carried on the back tyre ends up not just as a skunk-stripe on the rider’s back, but also on the front gear mechanism and transmission.
In areas of hard grit like the Peak District, this continual spray works like grinding paste, gradually eating your wearing surfaces.
All for the want of some shielding.
Still, if you were a designer today, and proposed the derailleur system of gears – relying on forcing a flimsy roller chain between gears using side play as a conformal drag factor – you’d be laughed out of industry.
Except there’s nothing much better.