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My son has a "Eurobike" (hybrid/"comfort" bike with Nuvinci variable speed rear hub and fully-enclosed chainline). He broke a spoke (which is another discussion) and since the spoke broke at the nipple we had to dismount the rear wheel to replace the nipple.

Anyway, this is the first time any of us (two grown sons and myself) had dealt with such an arrangement, so a little fumbling was exspected. We removed the two screws securing the cover over the hub area and, after some fiddling, pulled out the wheel. Replaced nipple and spoke, did some "by guess and by gosh" wheel truing, and went to reinstall the wheel.

Well, long story short, somewhere in the process of getting the wheel back in the chain jumped off the front sprocket. This created a royal PITA situation in the relatively controlled circumstances where we were (concrete surface in the shade at a camp site) but would have been a total disaster if repairing a puncture on the road.

The remaining 5-6 (tiny, easily lost) screws securing the chain cover were removed, but it would not come off due to the crank arm blocking it. So it was a matter of the three of us fishing for the chain with the broken spoke (while prying the halves of the cover apart) to get the chain back on the sprocket, a process that took an extra 10-15 minutes.

Granted, inexperience was a factor, but it would seem that there's got to be some "trick" to keep the chain in place, other than to just hope to have better luck next time.

Does anyone have experience with this and know what could be done differently?

  • Do you recall if it had an axle tug-nut or some other kind of axle positioning thing? Was it a horizontal dropout or a trackend? Was there a chain keeper on the inside of the right chainstay? Looks like a little mushroom. Decreasing all the chain tension might have been the missing step ? Sorry for poking an ancient question. – Criggie Aug 10 '17 at 9:46
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On a bike with a full chain case, any operation that requires removing the rear wheel is a bit of a pain. That would include replacing a spoke or a tire.

Repairing a roadside puncture, on the other hand, can usually be done without removing the wheel; and that is indeed the traditional method in countries where this sort of bike is common. Henry Cutler of Workcycles describes the procedure as follows (source):

  1. Set the bike on its handy parking stand.
  2. Try to find the source of puncture and set it in an accessible spot.
  3. Open the tire from the left (non-drivetrain) side.
  4. Pump a little air into the inner tube to locate the puncture(s).
  5. Remove (all of) the offending objects and remaining air.
  6. Patch the inner tube.
  7. Refit left tire bead onto rim, making sure valve sits straight.
  8. Pump tire up and continue cycling.

The traditional Woods valve (aka. Dunlop, English, Dutch, blitz) adds an extra dimension to this, as you can effectively replace the valve as well without removing the tube from the wheel. In Norway where I live, a replacement valve is often included in patch kits to this day, even though most new bikes come with Schrader or Presta valves.

This all makes sense, I think, as practices developed at a time when rubber was rather expensive. Make your tube last as long as possible by patching holes and replacing valves as needed. With such practices established, the advantages of a full chain case may outweigh the added complications in the remaining cases where you do have to remove the rear wheel.

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  • This is a slight tangent to the question but I think it's a legitimate answer. – David Richerby Aug 10 '17 at 10:20
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I'll take a guess that you didn't keep the bike upright during the flat change, which led to the chain coming off inside the chain case.

I had the same thing happen to me on a bakfiets, which also has a fully enclosed chain and an internal rear hub, I have detailed instructions how I recommend removing the wheel of a bakfiets, but I think the "trick" you may be looking for may simply be to keep the bike upright.

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  • 1
    Actually, the bike was relatively upright. We had 3 people, so someone was able to hold it all the time. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 20 '12 at 15:02

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