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  • stevecowles

NCM eBike - Drivetrain Overhaul

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

I've been using my NCM Moscow+ for over a year now and recently I started to have drivetrain problems with gears starting to slip. This isn't a failure as such, simply a case of parts wearing out.

So, how to fix it?

  • The first step was to change the chain as it was starting to show signs of wear (using a cheap chain checker from eBay, a vital tool for any bike owner). I fitted a KMC-X8 chain which I already had in stock, these seem to last about 1,000 miles with the type of mixed riding I do and are very easy to fit as they use a 'missing link'. It was immediately obvious that the problem was still there, possibly worse as the visible wear on the freewheel meant that the chain was not meshing properly with it.

  • Remove the rear wheel.

  • Remove the freewheel from the rear wheel, I found that my tools did not fit so a quick jump onto Amazon Prime for next day delivery on an IceToolz LF-09B3 Shimano Extractor with Screw Crown (this is a very nicely made budget tool incidentally). Be warned, a huge amount of force is needed to undo a freewheel.

  • I managed to also get a freewheel via Amazon Prime, a DRIFT MANIAC 8 Speed Freewheel 11-32 Epoch 8spd, again this is a quality component and simply screws on.

  • Check the chainset for wear, all looks OK.

  • Refit the rear wheel and lubricate the chain.

Once the chain and freewheel had been changed, all was good again so we should be good for at least another couple of thousand miles and hopefully a little more (I was not overly careful with my gear changes in the early days and suspect that I may have caused the freewheel some damage).

If I had got the spares and tools in place this process would have taken me about 40 minutes and the total cost was £56 of which £8 was for the extractor tool which I will be able to use again in the future.

The freewheels do seem to be difficult to get hold of at the moment so I have ordered another one to keep in stock as I do expect to be changing these at least once a year (I always keep a couple of chains in my spares box).

This did get me thinking a bit. Personally, I have no problem with undertaking this type of routine maintenance but it could certainly put some people off. I've no intention of changing my bike anytime soon but, if you are looking to by a bike or ebike specifically for road-based commuting, a belt drive system with hub gears is certainly a lower maintenance option. I think the ebike market in particular will start to see a lot of component divergence between road and mountain bikes over the next few years.

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