Clogged cogs

Dmac

Member
Region
Canada
I think the way my Pedego Element’s hairs sits on these chain cogs is the culprit to catching leaves that jam things up and cause the chain to skip as the leaves get dragged into the gears. I have to stop and clean it every so often on rides. Is there a solution like replacing parts? My other bike doesn’t have this problem nor does a friend with a fat tire bike who rides with me.
D5ADB04B-FECB-4A46-945F-FDA2564A96D5.jpeg
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
If we look at the other stuff in the picture it tells us what is happening here. You have some sort of thick-ish goo on your chain. It is visible in the narrow links, and also on the links at lower right. You can see smears across the wide links at bottom right. It looks like someone used grease as a chain lubricant. A grease would build up on the rear pulleys and turn them into crud magnets in exactly this fashion.

My easy-peasy way to clean a chain is to use a sacrificial towel or old sock. Then squirt Rock and Roll chain cleaner over the top of and through the chain, with the rag underneath the squirt (its easy to keep the output minimal so you do not make a mess). Immediately wipe the area you just squirted with the sock/rag. Since RnR is a combination of cleaner, solvent and lubricant and works in one pass. That wipe cleans your chain after the squirt immediately softens the crud.

Since you have that goo on your chain, which is unusual, you may need to do two passes. Once this is done, repeat the simple cleaning every few weeks - or less depending on how much you ride. I wait until the chain starts getting noisey and do not pick a set interval.

Rock and Roll is at pretty much every quality local bike shop. Its also on Amazon.

EDIT: Use a screwdriver, held up against the pulley at a 90-degree angle to the side surface to clean the pulleys. Have the back wheel up off the ground and rotate the chain somehow, either pedaling forward (turn the power off!) or backward depending on how your bike works. Every half dozen cleanings or so this is a good routine to scrape the pulleys clean on general principles.
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
A stick may cause a problem, but not leaves. How many miles on the chain and cassette gears? Jockey wheels on the derailleur should not cause skipping problems. When was the last time you tuned up the derailleur and checked cable tension? You have WAY too much crud on the chain. It all needs to be cleaned off. I don't like using a solvent, I use a rag and small brass brushes I buy at Harbor Freight. Then just put a single drop of lubricant on each roller in the chain. Anything on the exterior of the chain does nothing to benefit it. The wear on a roller chain is inside the rollers and the pins that they spin on. I use Shimano chains and the pins in the chain are flush with the link. I've never seen chain pins peened over like that. They almost look like hand peened pins.
 

Dmac

Member
Region
Canada
That crud is from the leaves jamming up. I had just cleaned and relubed the chain. Keep in mind the cogs are black. The bike has done this since new last year. I had it tuned up in January.
 

JRA

Well-Known Member
m is right it looks like to me also it is the lube you are using that is attracting the leaves and making them stick.

Screen Shot 2022-10-25 at 7.30.14 PM.png


That black gooey stuff looks more like grease than the thinner lubricants generally used for chain lubrication.

I would suggest cleaning as much as possible of that crap off and try a lighter lubricant.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
No the crud I (and probably Rich C cuz he seems to be seeing the same thing) am talking about is on the chain itself. Nowhere near the derailleur pulleys. That glop is definitely going to transfer to the pulleys and that will cause your problem.

EDIT: 3 cheers to @Dmac for taking such a clear and hi res pic. Very helpful. Wish everyone did that. Looks like @JRA was able to do a great closeup thanks to that.
 

Dmac

Member
Region
Canada
No the crud I (and probably Rich C cuz he seems to be seeing the same thing) am talking about is on the chain itself. Nowhere near the derailleur pulleys. That glop is definitely going to transfer to the pulleys and that will cause your problem.

EDIT: 3 cheers to @Dmac for taking such a clear and hi res pic. Very helpful. Wish everyone did that. Looks like @JRA was able to do a great closeup thanks to that.
Yeah and what I'm saying is it wasn't like that when I started riding. I had cleaned the chain the night before. Degreased the mess and didn't over grease it. But after riding 19 km in those leaves, they are actually the globs. They aren't grease....the are leaves covered in grease. It's like paper mache and the leaves wrap all around almost like tissue, pull any lubricant off the chain and then collect all dust. So that glob you see - that's actually a leaf. I had to stop once before this picture and pick off the leaves but I probably didn't get them all. I took out the leaves with my brush before leaving the trail after this picture and I'll have to clean the whole chain again.
 

Dmac

Member
Region
Canada
If we look at the other stuff in the picture it tells us what is happening here. You have some sort of thick-ish goo on your chain. It is visible in the narrow links, and also on the links at lower right. You can see smears across the wide links at bottom right. It looks like someone used grease as a chain lubricant. A grease would build up on the rear pulleys and turn them into crud magnets in exactly this fashion.

My easy-peasy way to clean a chain is to use a sacrificial towel or old sock. Then squirt Rock and Roll chain cleaner over the top of and through the chain, with the rag underneath the squirt (its easy to keep the output minimal so you do not make a mess). Immediately wipe the area you just squirted with the sock/rag. Since RnR is a combination of cleaner, solvent and lubricant and works in one pass. That wipe cleans your chain after the squirt immediately softens the crud.

Since you have that goo on your chain, which is unusual, you may need to do two passes. Once this is done, repeat the simple cleaning every few weeks - or less depending on how much you ride. I wait until the chain starts getting noisey and do not pick a set interval.

Rock and Roll is at pretty much every quality local bike shop. Its also on Amazon.

EDIT: Use a screwdriver, held up against the pulley at a 90-degree angle to the side surface to clean the pulleys. Have the back wheel up off the ground and rotate the chain somehow, either pedaling forward (turn the power off!) or backward depending on how your bike works. Every half dozen cleanings or so this is a good routine to scrape the pulleys clean on general principles.
Yeah, I had actually cleaned it throughly before this ride. That goo are disintegrated, pulverized leaves. It's like papier mache when it gets in their and it drags them up into the gears and up across into the chain in little pieces. The leaves are thick maple leaves that scrape any lube from the chain and accumulate it all in these cogs. I had used degreaser and cleaned the gears and cogs and chain right before this trip.
 

m@Robertson

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Well... where the hell are you riding where leaves pile up that high? Don't ride there anymore :)

More seriously: What exactly are you using to lube your chain? What solvents to degrease it? If what we are seeing on the chain is debris, the thing I would do is remove some variables in this equation: Clean EVERYTHING off the drivetrain including lubricant. Make that chain, the front chainring, the derailleur pulleys and the rear cluster clean and dry. A ride or three with a dry drivetrain will hurt nothing. Might be a little noisy, but afterwards if your drivetrain does not clog up you know your lubrication method plays a part in the issue. If it does clog up when dry, you probably need to rethink where you ride. Your derailleur and that pulley in your pic ... there's nothing special about them. Same with the chain. They aren't going to be to blame here.