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Although the title of this post was primarily intended to refer to the rejuvenation of an old bike, it may also be apropos of my own rejuvenation that should result from riding much more than in recent years. 🙂 As I mentioned in my last trail building post (The First Rides, Part Deux), my attempt to assess the rideability of my trail in the uphill direction was an utter failure since I couldn’t ride a single turn uphill on my singlespeed. So, since it will be good to have a geared mountain bike for my Ride 365 goal anyway, today I started converting my old Merlin XLM back into a geared bike.

For now I’m just going to go with a 1 x 9 drivetrain using parts from an old full-suspension bike that I cracked several years ago (and that my buddies had fondly dubbed the Pumpkin Pig because it was bright orange and ridiculously heavy).

Session 1:

  • Removed the singlespeed chain from the Merlin
  • Removed the singlespeed cog and spacers from the Merlin’s rear hub and installed the 9-speed cassette from the Pig, after fighting to get the cassette off the Pig’s rear wheel for what seemed like half an hour.
  • Installed the Pig’s old 9-speed rear derailleur on the Merlin
  • I couldn’t figure out how to get the shifter cable out of the Pig’s old thumb shifter (I was mostly a Grip Shift guy) so I opened up the thumb shifter and now it’s not working right. 😳

Session 2:

  • Took the thumb shifter apart again, found the problem, and now it’s working again 🙂
  • Installed the Pig’s old 9-speed chain on the Merlin
  • Unfortunately, it appears that my 5-bolt 94 mm BCD Surly stainless steel chainring isn’t quite compatible with a 9-speed chain. Surly’s website says “Our 94bcd … chainrings are made with a 2.2-2.3mm thick stock plate and work best with 5-8 speed chains. Many folks are using these on 9 speed drivetrains but this can often results in a “tight fit” right out of the box (This will loosen up and shifting should improve after the chain breaks in).” However, I’m not sure how I’m supposed break the chain in because the extra chain associated with a derailleur combined with the derailleur spring allows the chain to keep getting sucked up around the chainring. I can see how it would break in if there was no “extra chain” (i.e., singlespeed or internally-geared hub) but that doesn’t help me in the short term. Grrrr.
  • Ordered a new 5-bolt 94 mm BCD chainring that should be compatible with the 9-speed chain but that won’t be here until next week. 🙁

January 5, 2017 update:

Chainring for Merlin arrived a day or two ago and I just got around to trying to install it. Friggin’ thing doesn’t clear the wide part at the base of my old White Industries crank arms. WTF?! Maybe that’s what I get for buying a cheap part. Maybe I’m back to using the Surly chainring and going 8-speed instead of 9-speed. But that means buying a new 8-speed cassette and shifter instead of using the ones from the Pig. Grrr.

So still no geared bike. 🙁

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