Designer Luke Douglas is showing off a concept bike he came up with as an entry for the James Dyson Awards. The bike, which is still in the early prototype stage, uses a tiny front wheel for maneuverability (I’ll complain about this momentarily) and a much larger rear wheel for stability. The rear wheel has a toothed drive, which sends power through the rear wheel rim, totally negating the use of spokes. The overall design is a bit awkward compared to typical 700c bikes, but it looks like it might work over the long run.
I know removing and installing the rear wheel on a geared bicycle can be a hassle for someone who has never done it before. I actually had trouble with it 10 years ago when I began biking, too, so I thought I’d do a little how-to for others who are having trouble with it.
First, before removing the wheel, make sure you’re shifted into the largest front gear and the smallest gear in the rear. I know this seems like an optional step, but it really will make the process a lot easier in the long run.
The other important step involves pushing downward (assuming the bike is upside-down as it should be) on the rear-most section of your rear derailleur. By doing so, you will force the pulleys upward, and along with them, the chain. This will leave the drop-outs free and clear for the axle to move in or out.
Study the animated image below, and then go practice. It’s better to learn how to easily do this now, while you’re at home, than later, when you’re stuck on a trail somewhere. As you’ll see by the animation, I’m showing how to put the wheel back in place. Removing it is just a reversal of the steps.
Make sure you fully tighten the skewer and check your brakes before riding.
Or, "Why It’s Important to Take Care of Your Parts"
I bought this Shimano XT cogset back in 2004. It’s lasted me through two chains (about two years each) and now I’ve just begun breaking in a third. I average 2k-3k miles a year, so I’ll just call it 10,000 miles on this one cassette, through dirt, gravel, dust, streams and even a little road riding.
What’s the secret? I clean it regularly and keep the chain well lubed with Pedro’s Ice Wax. That’s about it.