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.
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
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.
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.
Some, like the example below even have an oil filler for added convenience.
The removable disc covering the chainwheel came in three styles: painted, chrome plated or transparent celluloid.
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.
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.
Let's take a look at a couple of examples. Points to pay attention to include:
(1)Case style: Open chainstay or enclosed
(3)Chainwheel disc cover
(5)Badges/Company logo or name plate
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.