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Having some strange chain (I think) problems
Hey everyone,

I don't know much about bikes, so I'd really appreciate some help. I bought a 1960s Western Flyer on craigslist. Its a beautiful bike and in pretty good shape, but I'm having problems while I'm riding it. When I'm riding, the bike will suddenly "jerk" and I loose all resistance in the pedals. If I mess with the shift for a second (it has "speeds") then it will work again, sometimes for the rest of my ride, sometimes only for a second before it repeatedly does this over and over.

If you genuinely lose all resistance when this happens, I would guess it is the ratchet in your freewheel (rear gear cluster) that is slipping. Sometimes flushing a little oil through the freewheel will help. Lay the bike on its side, prop it up so you can pedal backwards freely, find the point of the gear cluster where the center stays still and the outer part rotates as you pedal backwards, drip some thin oil or chain lube at that point and keep rotating to let it work in.

Other possible problems are that the shifter is loose and it is slipping out of gear, but this would normally cause a lot of noise as the chain starts to hit the next gear. Also could be a worn chain, but this would usually slip mainly when you put a lot of pressure on the pedals.

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