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2010年2月19日 (金)

Chaincase (First Half)

次回、この記事の日本語版を投稿します。

I'll admit it. I like chaincases.  Old fashioned?  Yes, probably to most people. But the reality is that chaincases are both functional and aesthetic. My guess is that they would more popular if only someone would invent a practical chaincase for derailer bicycles.  But for the present, chaincases are limited to single or internally geared rear hubs. Used to be that internally geared hubs were 3 or 5 gears; however, today as many as 14 are possible.
Img_9232

Img_9327
From a functional standpoint chaincases:
(1)Prevent your trouser cuff from getting caught in the chainwheel
(2)Sheilds your trousers from getting soiled
(3)Protects the bicycle's drivetrain from rain and sand and extends the life of parts.
(4)Reduces frequency of cleaning and oiling, so more time for "riding".

From an asthetic point of view:
(1)Sleek and aerodynamic
(2)Ornamental

Remember that "chaincases" totally enclose the drive train and differ from "chain covers" which only shield a portion of the drivetrain.

Two basic designs, one that leaves much of the chain stay exposed and the other that encases nearly the entire chainstay.
Img_9235  Img_7860
P1070490

Some models actually had a "chain bath" .  This was an oil reservoir located an the lowest point of the chaincase, ie front portion of the chain case directly beneath the chain wheel.   As the cyclist pedaled the chain passed through the resevoir providing continuous lubrication. Oil was added (and removed) via an oil filler located at the rear of the chaincase. This "oil bath" was patented by the infamous Sunbeam Bicycles.

Almost all chaincases allow easy access to the rear sprocket for oiling with removal of a single scew.

P1070628

P1070632

Some, like the example below even have an oil filler for added convenience.
P1070465 P1070466

The removable disc covering the chainwheel came in three styles: painted, chrome plated or transparent celluloid.

Painted
P1070467

Chrome plated
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Transparent celluloid
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The bracket securing the chaincase to the chainstay was often ornate. This attention to detail on even the smallest and seemingly insignificant parts never fails to impress me.
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In addition to an ornate chainstay bracket, the case typically branished a couple of badges, a plate bearing the company logo or company name, and, the entire case was accented with gold pinstriping.  A close look reveals that the pinstriping was hand painted, though certainly not without the use of a guide or stencil.
Img_9243

Let's take a look at a couple of examples. Points to pay attention to include:
(1)Case style:  Open chainstay or enclosed
(2)Oil filler
(3)Chainwheel disc cover
(4)Chainstay bracket
(5)Badges/Company logo or name plate
(6)Pinstriping
Kyyyt2002img600x45012592074424ljhlnP1070480 P1070481 Img_7250P1070478P1070471P1070459 P1070475 P1070472

In the next English post we will take a look at  a few rare style of chaincase.
Until then "stay trued" and "happy wheels".
PS: Kindly note that the next post will be the Japanese version of this one.

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Great stuff as always Richard! I think there must be story behind each of the brands listed. I can't wait to hear it.

BTW: Have you ever heard of a Japanese Brand called "Baite"?

Cheers Jeff. One of these days I hope to get around to doing a few posts specifically on some of the great bicycle manufacturers like Yamaguchi, Sekine, Maruishi, Fuji, Mizutani, Zebra, Hidori, etc.

"Baite"? Doesn't ring a bell, nor, does it sound Japanese. Could be a foreign named bicycle or brand in Japan but I could not find any information on it. Doesn't mean it didn't exist though!

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