I’ve talked before about the Essential Tools and Parts for Mountain Biking you should be carrying in your pack. Of course, tubes are essential but most people carry those anyway right? So why lug along an extra pound of equipment when you can mooch one off one of the mules in your group? Well, it’s not cool – that’s why!
Quick links are good to have around as well since they save a lot of time fixing a broken chain while everyone sits and watches you fumble doing something you probably haven’t tried before, making fun of you because you didn’t bring a quick link. There’s even guys like myself that will offer you one if you “pay it forward by buying me two in return and two for yourself for the future”. But quick links are not essential. A broken chain can be fixed as long as you brought a chain tool. (Part of your essentials tools.) But you know, being the moocher you are, you probably didn’t bring that either and will have to rely upon the more experienced people in the group! Don’t be that guy.
One thing you absolutely CANNOT be without is a spare derailleur hanger. They are different for each brand and model of bike. They’re designed to break instead of breaking your derailleur or worse yet, bending or cracking your frame when you hit a rock. Don’t count on anyone having one specific to your bike. But if you have an experienced rider around, they’ll be carrying a universal derailleur hanger to get you out of your jam and back on the trail.
We’ve all heard about people converting their bikes into a single speed when they don’t have a replacement derailleur hanger. But realistically, it doesn’t work well and you’ll be holding up the group while your chain continuously falls off. You need a single speed tensioner to convert a standard frame into a single speed. And the convenient thing about a tensioner is that it permits you to select the gear you want to be riding in within a few gears range.
By now I hope you’re wondering: Where can I get the derailleur hanger I need for my bike? Glad you asked. There’s a website for that: http://www.derailleurhanger.com/
I carry both the custom derailleur hanger for my bike AND a universal derailleur hanger for everyone else. You should too!