So I was looking at the weld…

on the latest big box bike in for work and wondered how it passed? Do they not take any pride? I thought for a minute it might be a machine, but really, would a machine do that bad of a job?

You may ask…why do I qualify to judge this weld? Am I a welder? No. However, during my schooling I spend a great deal of time learning to weld. Not necessarily to weld well, but more than enough to critique welds. Enough to be able to critique a weld on an airplane if I were ever to become an FAA certified mechanic. No more. No less.

So this weld…it was….how to explain…chunky-ish? Welds are supposed to be a smooth bead, left alone without any filing and/or filling in. I realize that it’s a bike and not an aircraft, but really?

That’s not why it was in. Just an observation. It was in for a broken chain. Which lead to, once replaced, horrible shifting. Nightmarish.

I’m finding a commonality with some of these big box bikes and their front derailleurs.

If you’ve ever put a new bike together at a shop, or watched the mechanics do it, there is a little sticker on the derailleur with a drawing of where the crankset teeth from the big ring should be relative to the derailleur. It’s not very high.

Back to the big I’m working on. The derailleur is WAY HIGH. So, I lower it, well, it’s not shifting right. It’s also hitting the big ring. I put it a little higher. Argh…a little higher….I end up so high that the bottom of the cage hits the chain.Oh, and the cage is all twisted up. It seems that when the customer took it back to the big box to get it fixed, they just grabbed it, twisted it and gave it back. It didn’t work any better. (Sometimes, though, this actually works, but only if the cage needs to be untwisted)

As it turns out, we had a fairly good condition one taken from a junked big box bike.

Installed it, had to put it on at a very high place on the seattube, adjusted it and voila! I will say, Rick had the magic tools to finish it off.

Why so high? My only guess is because when they put parts on these things, they don’t always pick parts for compatibility. If you look at the crankset and bottom bracket you would see massive daylight between the crankset and BB shell of the frame. I think I saw the crankset somewhere in outer space?! This may be why the derailleur has to be set so high?

Well, it works. It’s still a massive hunk. The owner could still use a longer seatpost. But, what do I know?

I know we only charged him for a chain and installation.

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