Monday, August 15, 2011

Evolution of the Miyata 610

In my quest to make the Miyata 610 more tour ready with easier gearing, last September I bought a wheel to accommodate a 6-sprocket freewheel with low 32T cog. For months, it worked well. I could ascend hills without standing - at least not as frequently as before. The shifting was finicky, but a small price to pay for the added benefit.

But then, the freewheel had a problem; in July I also broke a spoke; two weeks later another one failed. I brought the bike back to the Old Spokes Home. The mechanics ogle my classic bike. It apparently is highly revered by Sheldon Brown, a bike guru of sorts. For me the Miyata is more than a treasure, and I wanted to fix or replace the unreliable rear wheel.

Original back wheel and freewheel.

I spent nearly an hour with Harris, a mechanic I often request and respect. We considered replacing all the spokes and rebuilding the wheel (the owners suggestion, not Harris'), but the shop would not honor the fact that it was a bum wheel to begin with and rebuild the wheel without cost. To Harris' credit he was a patient listener and helped me reevaulate what I ultimately wanted from my bike: lower gearing, spend as little as possible, and have a reliable rear wheel.

I was happy to return to the old original wheel that came with the Miyata, even though it sports a 28T 5-speed freewheel. It has many years life left, without worn cogs, as I had at one time replaced the rear sprocket (before I kept a maintenance log).

Old middle chain ring moved to the large (outside) position.

I opted for a new middle front chain ring. I hardly used the large (outer) front sprocket, preferring instead to coast at these fast speeds, so it made sense to move the middle ring to the large position and add a smaller middle ring.

The new middle chain ring is hidden.

After a week of riding, I'm happier with the middle gears. I have a broader range of possibilities with smoother transitions - something that wasn't possible with the 28T freewheel and larger front sprocket. Sure, I do not have as low a granny gear, but in reality it was only one cog lower. In the long run, should I care to, I can replace the back wheel (or still have the new one rebuilt).

I think it pays to have a mechanic that you can trust. In hindsight, I wished I had compared the tooth counts on the new freewheel with the old one. It would have saved me money. It's also worth getting another shop's take on the situation.

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate your love for bikes. My friend is looking into getting this bike today from a craigslister.


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