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We've had a lot of rain here lately. Tends to wash out lubricant and wash in more dirt than usual. As a result cyclists around here are lubing more and one problem (I'm not the only one) seems to be the gear cluster can become suspended without engaging the wheel.

The pedals spin and chain spin around freely and the bike goes nowhere. I've taken it to the LBS. First they suggested just spraying in a little more lube, which I'd already tried to no avail (my attempts or theirs).

Now they're suggesting replacement of the gear cluster along with a new chain which would put the total repair bill higher than the replacement cost of the bike. If that wasn't bad enough they're telling me they can't get good quality five-gear clusters and would have to replace it with a six which would probably do the job but never fit quite right meaning the chain would be more prone to falling off.

I'm wondering if anyone else has run into a similar problem? One of my neighbors seems to be in the same boat. So it seems reasonable to assume I'm not the only one.

LBS says we should lube the outer rim, but not the inner rim of the back wheel. If we use spray lube on the inner rim it could wash out the grease that in important to this function. But it is difficult to lubricate one without the other. So, I'm wondering if I didn't cause the problem by trying to lube the hub in the first instance?
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