First real snaffoo (sp?) in my cycling plans
Research into the problem suggested that the frame (or in this case rear fork since there is a suspension) may not be aligned properly. However my attempts to measure the dropouts seems to indicate it is not the case (tho I will get a second opinion ASAP.
It is suggested that since it is an 8-speed freewheel hub, the added stress resulting from the bearings actually being too far from the frame may cause undue stress on the axle. The bike is reasonably heavy, and franky, so am I, so this is a very reasonable hypothesis.
So herein lies the problem. I NEED to ride the bike. I can replace the axle again. I am not riding rough terrain or jumping curbs (tho some of the streets are REALLY bad). But this axle is critically bent from 4 days of riding.
The "recommended" solution is a more modern "freehub" that moves the bearings out to the frame on both sides. But that would mean a new wheel (or I suppose completely rebuilding the existing wheel around a new hub) and new gear cartridge. The more I read about it the more I want to do it. And I may just do that for next season. Right now tho I can't afford it.
Gonna talk to a bike shop and Recycle Cycles about the availability of stronger axles. If not I don't know what to do. It does mean I am off my bike again until at least tomorrow.