Changing Gears

I’d like to say I finally stopped messing with the Pink Meh-strosity and moved on to other things over the weekend.

I did not, so stop reading–unless you have a perverse interest (is there any other kind?) in derailleur arcana, or you’re in need of a sleep aid.

Okay, now that it’s just us losers, it bothered me that I was still getting a tiny amount of derailleur rub, and meanwhile had this perfectly good Ultegra chain-mover that would solve all my problems if only I could get that darned limit screw turning again:

So on Saturday I got back to work. I cut a deeper slot in the screw to see if I could remove it with a screwdriver, I drilled some more, I threw everything I had it, and while I totally failed to extricate it I’m pretty sure I succeeded in ruining or at least severely compromising the derailleur.

But then something occurred to me. From death often comes new life. And I had the C-Record derailleur from the vengeance bike that had tried to commit suicide in the freewheel due to a broken tab back in May:

Here’s the broken tab:

I’ve since learned that this was an extremely common problem, so much so that Campagnolo soon corrected it by losing that flimsy washer/tab thingy (it’s technically called an “upper body bush,” which sounds like another term for chest hair) and instead incorporating the stop into the actual body of the derailleur and adding a “B” screw in future iterations:

You can even buy an aftermarket replacement for it, and it’s inspiring to think some enterprising machinist has cornered the market on the first generation Campagnolo C-Record rear derailleur upper body bush:

And yes, my new favorite phrase is “Campagnolo upper body bush.”

In any case, I had a mangled Ultegra derailleur, and an Altus derailleur that was about 95% functional (5% demerit for the spoke rub) but about 100% ugly in this application:

[I shouldn’t care what it looks like but I do.]

If only I could get that classy over-designed C-Record derailleur working I could use that instead. Of course, a smart person would just order that aftermarket CUBB (that’s “Campagnolo upper body bush”) or, you know, ask Classic Cycle for one, since it’s their derailleur and they probably have one. But I’m an idiot, and I like to experiment, so I thought maybe if I take the hanger stopper thingy off the Ultegra I can somehow graft it onto the Campagnolo. So that’s what I did:

By the way, I’d never removed one of those from a derailleur, so if you ever attempt to do so on an Ultegra derailleur (or presumably any Shimano) you should know that once you remove the little “c” clip and the mounting bolt the whole thing will basically explode. In fact, the spring hit the wall with such force it left a little dent in it, and I’m lucky it wound up there instead of in my face.

(The Campagnolo on the other hand came apart very easily. Not sure about the later derailleurs, which are basically the same as Shimanos, but this one seems eminently serviceable, which is what Campy-philes are always touting after all. Of course, you rarely ever need to service Shimano parts–unless you’re me and let your limit screws and freehubs seize–but that’s a whole other sleep-inducing topic.)

The TUBB (transplanted upper body bush) wasn’t a perfect fit, but I was reasonably confident that once I snugged it all up in the hanger it would work, since really all it had to do was hold the derailleur at such an angle that it would shift properly without rotating forward too far. By the way, here’s a C-Record derailleur spooning with an Altus:

I could not imagine a more offensive sight for a Campy-phile.

After I was done doing my impression of Dark Helmet playing with his dolls, only with derailleurs…

…I installed the kludged C-Record derailleur and, well, it didn’t work. The angle was all wrong, and the derailleur was basically at 8:00. But I had everything apart, so I reassembled the C-Record with the BUBB (broken upper body bush) and put it on just for the hell of it. And you know what? It worked perfectly:

On the Kestrel the derailleur rotated too far forward and went into the cogs. But for some reason on this bike it seems to be staying put despite the missing tab:

I don’t know if it’s friction, or chain length, or just because they’re both Italian. I also don’t know if it will eventually start slipping and do what it did on the Kestrel. But I rode it for about 30 miles yesterday without any issues–and I can confidently say the bike’s actually attractive now, too:

Mixing-and-matching turns some people off, but I think there’s a certain beauty in a drivetrain that’s completely cobbled together and spans multiple manufacturers and several decades.

And there’s no spoke rubbing!

When and if the Kestrel goes back to Classic Cycle this will go with it, but in the meantime it’s doing the job, and even in its injured state it’s probably worth more than the rest of the bike. If nothing else, I’m learning quite a bit about the C-Record components, which is to say that I’m filling the limited space in my tiny brain with information that’s completely useless–and not only that, but I’m dumping it into your brain, too.

You’re welcome.

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