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Spoke Protector Pie Plate

Old 08-11-22, 07:31 AM
  #1  
Desert Ryder
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Spoke Protector Pie Plate

What is the general opinion of spoke protectors, AKA Pie Plates.

I've always removed them on the bikes that had them. As a teen, we just broke the plastic ones off. I currently don't have a freewheel tool to do this though.
I'm debating on paying a shop to have it removed. Is it worth it to me? Spend the gas, and time, to get to the bike shop. Buy the tool for an aesthetic look?
Or, just leave it be for a recreational riding bike.

Man, This pic really shows some rustiness. Having the freewheel off would allow a good cleaning.

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Old 08-11-22, 07:52 AM
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I'd go for buying the right freewheel tool.
Also gives you the option of servicing the rear hub which can't be a bad thing.

Not a fan of 'dork discs' myself, adjust the RD properly and you shouldn't need one.
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Old 08-11-22, 07:54 AM
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Private, not General, opinion; mechanical stuff happens and a bit of lightweight protection for the spokes from a bad chain incident is fine.

I used to remove dork discs to prove my competence, but my engineering ego has been deflating since retirement.
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Old 08-11-22, 08:18 AM
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IMO, it kind of depends on the status of the bike. If you’re refurbishing an older bike to its look when it was new…then yeah…a nice clean, shiny dork disc might be appropriate. However, if you remove it permanently you might want to remove the chainring guard too. Regardless…whether you’re going take it off, and leave it off. Or, if you’re leaving it on…I think you should buy the correct freewheel tool and do the hub upkeep mentioned above. You can get them on Amazon for less than $20 (less than $10 depending)…and the LBS will probably charge you more than that just to take the freewheel off. And next time the rear hub needs maintenance, or a new freewheel…you’ll already have the tool.

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Old 08-11-22, 08:53 AM
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Depends. Make, model of bike, intended rider and their experience or future attention to maintenance, bling factor, current condition, all factor in
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Old 08-11-22, 09:06 AM
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Based on the picture--and only the picture--it appears maintenance isn't high on the priority list. If that is indeed the case--then keep the dork disk. It may save you a massive headache down the road.
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Old 08-11-22, 09:17 AM
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I wouldn't care one way or the other. Some can be quite the pain to remove. Unless you are going to change out the freewheel, I'd just spray some WD-40 on it and wipe off the excess. It'll slowly allow the cogs and existing rust turn blackish or over time.
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Old 08-11-22, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4 View Post
Based on the picture--and only the picture--it appears maintenance isn't high on the priority list. If that is indeed the case--then keep the dork disk. It may save you a massive headache down the road.
Bike was purchased and no maintenance has been done yet.
Summer in the desert isn't the time to be riding outdoors. A bike trainer has been recently purchased and I am preparing to start maintenance
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Old 08-11-22, 09:31 AM
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If it comes on the bike I leave em. If the bike doesn't have one I wouldn't put one on !!!
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Old 08-11-22, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Desert Ryder View Post
Bike was purchased and no maintenance has been done yet.
Summer in the desert isn't the time to be riding outdoors. A bike trainer has been recently purchased and I am preparing to start maintenance
Then it comes down to purely personal preference. If you enjoy working on your bike, enjoy having the proper tools, and don't like the look, by all means, remove it. We pejoratively call them "dork discs," but don't listen to that. They do, in fact, serve a very useful purpose. They aren't necessary, however. So really, the choice is all yours.
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Old 08-11-22, 02:04 PM
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I know that elitist snobs turn their nose up at "dork disks", but they can serve a purpose and they certainly don't harm anything (except add a tiny bit of weight). I still take them off, but only when I have a reason to remove the cassette for something else.
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Old 08-11-22, 02:12 PM
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My old trek had an aluminum one that was only slightly larger than the largest rear cog. I didn't mind it.
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Old 08-11-22, 07:54 PM
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A spoke protector of plastic is junk and a properly adjusted derailleur should not go into the spokes and if it does generally you have way more problems.

No elitist snobbery in taking proper care of your bike and making sure your derailleur is properly adjusted. That is just what you should do with a bike. Poor adjustment leads to issues that plastic won't solve.

However some of the metal ones on vintage bikes are actually kind of neat ish and probably would actually do some good if your derailleur was poorly adjusted and the chain got into the spokes. If I had one and didn't have the tool to remove it I would probably just leave it.
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Old 08-11-22, 08:45 PM
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At the bike co-op visitors often ask me what I think as they are redoing a wheel.
I start by explaining that a properly adjusted derailer doesn’t need an ugly dork disk, and how wheels really do look nicer without them. I can see them getting ready to remove it. I then explain that while they might be good at adjusting their derailers, that I have a few more questions. Are they willing to bet that they’ll never make a mistake? Never have someone bump their bike and bend the derailer hangar while they are away? Never have the bike fall over on the drive side? I might relay a story of one of the times that happened to me and I had to straighten it out in the field because I know I won’t remember not to fully up shift in our hilly area.
Are they willing to bet that they know better than the manufacturer, and are they certain enough to bet potentially walking home, a ruined wheel, and a new derailer on none of those things happening? I ask what the potential upside of removing it is? Minor aesthetic improvement on a parts bin bike? A couple grams on an old steel frame? A feeling of superiority with the spandex clad roadies (of which I am one)?
I then point out that while my bikes don’t usually have spoke protectors, I’ve gotten lucky a few times, have spare wheels, and don’t depend on my bicycle as my primary transportation. I also wear a helmet on a bike, and seat belt in a car. At this point I let them know it’s their bike and their decision, but that I want to make sure they have all of those things considered. At this point they usually opt to keep it, and I congratulate them on their wise choice, and let them know they can always come back if they change their mind down the road.
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Old 08-11-22, 08:49 PM
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The bike shop did not install whatever piece of plastic crap Trek probably boxed up with my modern bike or they took it off and I'm ok with that. But I don't see a reason to take a nice shiny spoke protector off of a bike that it has survived on for 40 years.

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Old 08-12-22, 12:11 AM
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^ That one there is beautiful and I wouldn't remove it either.
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Old 08-12-22, 03:53 AM
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It is just a simple SunTour protector on my wife's lowly Bridgestone, not beautiful in itself. But that it is there after nearly 4 decades is what I like. I think the only bike I have other than my Domane without one is my Raleigh. The Raleigh would have had a plastic one and in '84 it would have been appropriate to tear it off anyway I suppose. In fact I probably would have taken them off almost anything back then if it was what the cool kids were doing.

Also I agree with the posts above to get the proper FW tool anyway. The tool is cheap enough and if the OP is going to do work and maintenance on old bikes it is pretty much a necessary item to have on hand. Then they can clean and service the FW before cleaning up their spoke protector and putting it back on.
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Old 08-12-22, 03:31 PM
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Dork Discs..I'd never heard that term before.
For now, I guess I'll just leave it in place. If the time comes to remove the freewheel I'll toss it then. It's just a lowly Grand Prix so originality shouldn't matter too much.

In all my years riding, I've never over run a chain into the rear wheel before. Maybe because everything has been friction shifters.
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Old 08-12-22, 03:53 PM
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You don't need a Dork Disk/Pie Plate if your shifting is precise, calibrated, and structured. I don't use Dork Disks on my good bikes. They are not needed. But on the bikes I lend out, or ride in uneven bouncy terrain where I am pushing my friction shifters to get that chain a dancing... yes I do have Dork Disks. For me it's a hard learned lesson...

As far as Dork Disks go yours is pretty nice looking. I would keep it...
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Old 08-12-22, 05:09 PM
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Agree that the cheap plastic ones get looking ratty and can go, but the early metal ones if maintained look nice.

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Old 08-12-22, 06:04 PM
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I recently dropped the chain between the large cog and the spokes. RD was adjusted correctly, hanger straight, and chain of proper length. this happened due to a shift while going over some nasty bumps. car forced me over just while shifting. it all happened so fast. i'm assuming that the bumps and the chain not being very stable at that moment in time caused the drop. dork disk would have come in handy.
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Old 08-12-22, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
^ That one there is beautiful and I wouldn't remove it either.
This one is hanging in my living room as art.
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Old 08-13-22, 10:37 AM
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This one has a vintage look to it, so if it were me, I'd keep it on. It goes well with the traditional feel of the bike. The metal ones look much classier than the yellowed, plastic protectors. I'd say do both: buy the freewheel removal tool, remove the protector plate, clean/shine it up, install. Might as well accentuate it!
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Old 08-13-22, 01:09 PM
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"That won't happen" If anyone uses those words around you, I would point out that you cannot prove a negative result, nor predict one. "That won't happen" is the German auto designer's go to phrase, as when they welded the inner door panels in place on their Merkur XR4Ti. Why? Because the window regulator will never fail. "We calculated that it can't happen" It can. I did. Cutting torch, saw, $$$$$ Or the 10 dollar tube on the side block of an Audi that sends coolant out to another part of the car. "It won't leak, that won't happen" And thus internet tutorials on how to jack up your car engine to change a 10 tube.

Ahem.... So, If you wander the neighborhoods, ride some trails, have fun with friends on weekends, then sure, drop the pie plate. Its a short walk home. If you don't have money to rebuild the wheel, that's on you.
If you decide to do long tours in areas with not many bike shops, the ego damage of a small plastic disc is overridden by the fact that you won't have trashed spokes, even though you were sure you had the derailleur perfectly adjusted. And we all perfectly adjust our rear derailleurs, right? And after several hundred miles of rough or dirty roads, is it still adjusted right? Zero chance of a stick or stone going through the rear mechanism?

My around town riders don't have pie plates. My touring bike does, because hubris often leads to painful situations that humility does not. YMMV
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Old 08-15-22, 01:11 PM
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If I had a bike that was knocked around a lot, dropped on the derailleur side or otherwise abused a spoke head protecter is a fine idea. My only objection is loose ones that contribute to rattly sounds.
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