Resource Center

WickWërks Tech Support

Avoiding Drivetrain Trouble

The Clean Machine:

Is it a statement of the obvious? You’d think so, but there are a lot of very dirty drivetrains out there.

The number one thing you can do to avoid trouble with your bike is to keep the drivetrain clean and well lubricated — maintenance.  Along with that comes caring for the components — inspecting the drivetrain for problems, making sure damaged areas are repaired, replacing worn out parts, and keeping adjustments correct.  Do this, and most problems can be avoided.

Best Practices:

The bicycle drivetrain is a system.  No one part is most important.  The chainring is no good without the chain or the crank, and so it is with all the components.

Because it is a system, in order for things to work well, and work well for a long time, there are some things that need to be done to keep the drivetrain happy. Aside from the standard setup items, there are a lot of things to Do or Avoid on a regular basis.  With respect to the front drive, here’s a list:

  • With WickWerks chainrings, use shifting techniques that follow Proper Shifting for WickWerks Chainrings.
  • Anticipate the shift.  Choose to shift before you “have to”.  this helps avoid needing to shift under pressure — something that causes accelerated wear and sometimes chain suck, or component failure.
  • Shift with light or no load.  Shifting under power can be done, but is Not recommended, because it’s awfully hard on the components.
  • Choose gears that minimize geartrain stress.  The straight chain line is the best chain line, but it’s not often the best ratio.  If you can’t have the straight chain line, minimize the effect by avoiding Cross Chaining.
  • Diagnose problems when they first occur.  Waiting till later may be waiting for a ride terminating failure — and nobody likes to walk in cycling shoes.
  • Anticipate potential problems and correct them before they happen.  Things like checking chain “stretch”, looking for warn parts, bent gear teeth, damaged derailleur parts, worn cables, etc..  Correcting potential problems before they happen will keep you riding with a smile.

Listen to your Machine:

Just like when your body screams at you in pain, your bike will talk to you about stresses that might later cause some pain.  That popping, clanking or squeaking sound is a warning something is not right.A good athlete should be in tune with the body as well as the equipment.  If something is not working as you expect, or if you hear something that doesn’t sound good, check it out.  If you just did something (like shifting under high load) that caused nasty noises, don’t do that any more.

This is probably the simplest step listed on this page, but it is so frequently ignored.  Don’t ride like a Flintstone, be in tune with your bike.