Monday, February 09, 2009

Equipment - N-Gear Jumpstop

A short one today.

During races and rides you'll sometimes (hopefully infrequently) experience a somewhat normal bike riding experience - dropping your chain off the front ring. If you go "over the top" of the big ring, you can recover the chain just by pedaling lightly.

However, if you drop the chain off the inside, it can be a bit more dramatic, especially since you usually shift down because it's getting hard and you're pedaling harder than you want to pedal.

For some reason it seems much easier to pick up a chain dropped off a Shimano drivetrain. Campy seems much more difficult.

For the longest time I've been extra vigilant with my front derailleur adjustment, careful with dumping the chain fast (I don't), and I've been rewarded with maybe one chain drop on the Cannondale.

Of course the chain broke my SRM pick up mount, got jammed up down there, and stopped my ride (with SOC) for about 10 minutes.

Because dropping your chain is somewhat normal, and because it can be really inconvenient, there are a number of companies out there selling devices to prevent the chain from dropping down.

Okay, if you look, there are about two devices out there - the "Third Eye Chain Watcher" (under various names), and my favorite, the N-Gear Jumpstop.

Third Eye Chain Watcher. I find the black plastic inevitably slides a bit, exposing the hose clamp, and allowing the jagged hose clamp to dig into the delicate seat tube. Plus I've cracked the few Watchers' "shark fin". (Image taken from Excel Sports)

Professional pictures are so... professional.
(image taken from N-Gear)

I like the Jumpstop because:
1. No chance of metal on seat tube contact.
2. Nice stainless guide for chain.
3. Adjustable in a very fine way - you can adjust angle and distance, and the guide had an inch of "guiding" length because it's flat (not rounded like the Watcher).

1. Proprietary nut (I lost one and trust me, you need their nut).
2. Pain to install.

I used these for a long time until I got my first Giant (and with it, its oversized seat tube). For whatever reason I lost interest in preserving my chain's bottom bracket virginity, probably because my racing really toned down.

Plus, I figured another way of avoiding dumping the chain - never put it in the small ring. So in the most important races, like the 2005 Bethel Series, I'd keep it in the big ring the whole race.

I haven't mentioned this device before because the Jumpstop only works on round seat tubes (i.e. below the front derailleur), and my Giant's seat tube base wasn't round. Yeah, I know, I have a Cannondale now, and I bought a Jumpstop, but I only decided to put it on the other day. I mean, I knew I had it, and I knew it was sitting around in the new house, but I never mentally pictured the Jumpstop on the Cannondale. So the Jumpstop lay there, forlorn.

When I finally put Jumpstop and Cannondale together, there was no stopping me.

The Jumpstop has one parculariar difficulty when mounting it, otherwise there'd be no illustrated steps on its installation. Basically it's a totally pain in the butt to put on the bike. The screw needs to go through two long, straight holes, so the two ends of the strap clamp have to be parallel. Since the plastic strap stretches a bit, N-Gear is nice enough to give you a slightly undersize strap.

In other words, it's a pain to install.

I turn the clamp sideways, stick the bolt in, and clamp together gently with channel locks. Make sure some threads are sticking out the other end.

Turn it so it faces the correct direction (bolt head forward).

Thread on proprietary nut and tighten bolt.

I'll test it out in California.

After I clean the bike.

(You can purchase the N-Gear through their site. And, no, I'm not getting credit for this review - I bought my N-Gear through a shop.)


Aki said...

Another variation on the theme:

A similar gizmo, homemade, showed up on a bike in bikeforums.

Michele said...

And here's another:

I have these on almost all of my bikes.