More than a year ago, I was warned that my drive train was on it's last legs. And over the last couple of months, it's become nearly unusable.
I had new rings, chain, and cassette priced out at about $120, which made sense until I waited too long and discovered that it now requires some kind of witchcraft to get your hands on a 9-speed cassette.
And then I spotted a new Deore 2x10 complete drive train on sale for $175. Sold. (Plus, I had a new ZTR freehub waiting to go on. Sweet!)
I spent much of the weekend setting it up.
Here's the procedure:
- Take reference pics of all cable routing and mech. setup.
- Test-fit everything.
- Remove old stuff.
- Mount new stuff:
- front mech.
- rear mech
- cables (fit the housing sections, then string the cables)
- Adjust high/low limit screws, fiddle with cable tension, etc.
- Now cut & cap the cable ends.
As with all things technical, it takes forever the first time you do it. I'm sure I'll finish in half the time if I ever need to do it again.
Now, when you're fitting the chain, do not screw up Shimano's little "master pin" thing. I managed to somehow get the angle wrong in my chain tool, and it broke before actually going into the chain.
So, I just popped apart the next link, and then joined the chain ends using that pin. The join was a little stiff, but a few spins of the cranks seemed to show that everything was in order.
And then this morning, I learned why that was a bad idea. (Or, at least, I learned that I don't yet have the skill to pull off that little maneuver.) Luckily, the chain broke relatively close to the trailhead. But now I know: don't screw up that master pin.
I've replaced the shimano chain (which I had to assume was beyond repair) with a KMC. We'll see how that goes.
Other than that, though (which is 100% my own fault), the new drive train is badass. It was a snap to set up, the action on the levers is super-light, and it shifts beautifully every time. It feels incredibly solid. Deore really has come a long way in the last few years. (My old drive train came stock on my bike 4 years ago.)
At this point, the only components on my bike that I haven't swapped out myself are the cockpit, the fork, and the bottom bracket. Everything else is new. I'm accumulating enough components that it's reasonable to pick up a $100 garage sale bike and be able to set it up as a jalopy.
Freehub: The new ZTR freehub is awesome. Steel, same weight as the old aluminum one (90g), with a spline pattern that matches the shimano cassette pattern. Should last a lot longer than the last.
Front Derailleur: The groupset I ordered included the M615 (topswing) derailleur. I need the M616 (downswing). But I got lucky-- the chainring spacing is the same as on my old tripple (or close enough anyway), so I can make due with my old derailleur until the correct one arrives next week.
ESI Grips: I replaced my thin "racer's edge" ESI grips with "Chunky" ones, and I like it. I'm still getting used to the difference, but I think I'm going to like it.
Chain: I decided that my chain was beyond saving, and headed for the bike shop for a new one. I ended up spending $50 on a KMC X10 10-speed chain. I don't yet know how it performs, but the "missing link" tool-free installation already puts it way ahead of Shimano on the mechanical front.
Multitool: When my chain broke, I wouldn't have had to walk half an hour back to the trailhead if my multitool had included a chainbreaker. I even had a spare missing link with me that I could have used. So, I'm going to find a small multitool with a chain tool. Another lesson learned.