We did manage to get out on some rides and I made it up a hill that was very challenging. Lots of ruts, and I really am liking the big 29er tires even going up the steep stuff
While out on a ride this weekend Josh hit a stick:
that became entangled somehow and it ripped off his derailleur hanger.
Neither one of us had ever had this problem before, but in reading various blogs, we had heard that this does happen occasionally to divide racers, most commonly from mud. One in particular had to buy a new frame. Unfortunately the bike was one without a replaceable hanger.
In looking at bikes I had taken this into consideration. The Jamis Dragon is a beautiful Reynolds 853 steel bike that I was very tempted to get. The derailleur hanger on the Jamis is not replaceable. Theoretically you could bend back the non-replaceable hanger, but if it is too bent it might just break. Or it could be torn completely off. Not to mention I don't want to be in the middle of nowhere trying to bend a piece of steel with a multitool.
Luckily Josh has the Salsa Fargo steel frame bike that has a replaceable hanger, and I had a replacement hanger in my kit. If you do not have a replaceable hanger and it is torn off, or you do not carry a replacement hanger you can buy a temporary emergency one called The Gimp. Available on Adventure Cycling's Cyclosource store. I have never tried this gadget, but one review on Cyclosource says it works. If you used The Gimp you would have to re-set your limit screws and fully adjust your shifting as it mounts outboard of the dropout and is held in place by your wheel skewer. I think the best scenario is to have a replaceable hanger and carry a spare with you.
I took some photos of the repair operation, and tried to learn how to do it myself.
First step is to assess the damage. Be sure the scene is safe, no bears nearby... Yell for help, check your cell phone.. you can curse a bit if you have no service and then get down to work. Fortunately Josh's spokes and actual vintage derailleur were intact.
Next step is to gently untangle the mess and remove the wheel without causing further damage.
Get out your multitool. We have a Crank Brothers Multi 17 that seems to have just about all we need for trailside repair when coupled with a Leatherman Squirt PS 4.
On Josh's bike the screws holding in the hanger accept a tiny #2 allen fitting. You need to fully clean out the screw heads or they will be easily rounded out and then you will be screwed. We ended up using the knife tip on the Leatherman for this job. Wet pine needles were not effective.
Once the old broken hanger is removed,
put the new one in.
Reattach your derailleur, keeping your fingers crossed that it is not bent and mangled as well.
Put your wheel on and adjust shifting. One important piece is to shift the bike into the large cog in the rear. Be sure that your derailleur is not bent and in risk of hitting the spokes and that your chain does not derail into the spokes. Adjust the limit screw if need be. It may be necessary to lock out your large cog if the derailleur cage is severely bent.
Again we were lucky and no severe bending had occurred and so away we went...
Things worked out well, with a bit of preparation, and luck and having the right tools (including a bike mechanic). It was like Christmas in April. We even found the tree!