So What Happened Was

We’re just riding along up a hill on a team ride and heard this terrible metal twisting, shearing sound. Eric’s rear derailer was clicking a bit, he shifted up, and something happened. That something tore the derailer off the bike and mangled the chain. A team mate had a chain tool and Eric got back with a single speed: 39 x15.

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“Just riding along”?

Classic.  In the bike shop world that’s probably the single most common ‘cause’ of a mechanical.

And he was riding behind me. He has the chunk of the derailer with the set screw as a memento. Most interesting is how mangled the derailer and chain were from a non-violent shift. It was just up the cassette; not a chain suck.

Did the derailleur hit the spokes or did it get caught on the cassette somehow?  Was that clicking the spokes brushing against the mech?

This is why I’m paranoid about my rear adjustments—none of my bikes have replaceable hangers and I can’t afford the costly fixes a failure like this would entail.  An ounce of prevention!  Also, I use friction set-ups which allow one to adjust the derailleur at speed, at the very affordable cost of slightly slower shifting.

Eric should pop in here, as I only heard it and so the aftermath. Spokes were ok.

This happen to me a few years ago. In my experience, the chain was the primary culprit or perhaps the person maintaining the chain. The removable chain pin had worked itself loose. I heard clicking and only thought my derailleur needed some adjusting as it sounds almost identical up until the time of failure. This continued for miles until the chain pin came out enough to release the outer chain plate. This prevented it from passing through the derailleur pulleys and wrapping the derailleur right up into my wheel. It was my last day to ever ride without a chain tool and to ever use chain pins. I only use links now, as in the Connex or something similar.

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