Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 122 total)
  • A SSers opinion on derailleurs.
  • Premier Icon epicyclo
    Full Member

    I know I often give the impression that I’m anti-gears, but in reality I don’t think there’s anything wrong with gears.

    However I think the implementation of gears, ie derailleurs on an mtb is very limiting.

    They’re fine on a road or gravel bike, but far too exposed for UK mtb conditions unless you stick to the manmade mtb trails.

    Any time I say that I get howled down and told how reliable they are, yet every StrathPuffer I do I usually pass one poor soul every lap with a busted derailleur (it’s about the only time I get to pass anyone 🙂 ).

    Occasionally on the odd group ride I go on, someone will belt his derailleur against a rock which usually fubars it, but it usually can be bodged to get home. Worse is to get heather entangled in a derailleur and if the rider isn’t savvy enough to recognise the symptoms and stop in time, it takes out the derailleur and spokes.

    Derailleurs are a well perfected mechanism for efficiency, so I don’t see them replaced by an alternative system soon (I use hubgears when I want some spare ratios), but they hang where they get a continuous spray of grinding compound aka mud, so drivetrains are regarded as consumables these days.

    The problem really is a design issue. The manufacturers benefit from their systems being consumable, so there’s no motivation to change to something more durable.

    Some of the original derailleurs were safely tucked up against the chainstays. Surely this should be done for mtbs.

    Then it would be possible to enclose the mechanism to a certain extent, and get a much longer lifespan.

    What improvements to the derailleur can STW come up with?

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    Pinion?

    I suppose with 1x systems and wide range cassettes you naturally end up with part of the derailleur very close to the ground which you don’t get on road bikes. They (derailleurs) are certainly consumer items but I reckon on three to four years of a lot of riding out of each unless I prang one – which I haven’t done “yet”.

    The only problem I can remember with anyone’s derailleur on a group ride was a couple of winters ago when we were in and out of snow and someone’s mech got iced up.

    Currently derailleurs could be seen as the “least worst option”?

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Full Member

    @whitestione the “least worst option” is probably right. 🙂

    I suppose my thinking is coloured by my age. We expected a gear system to last the life of a bike.

    But surely it is not beyond the wit of human ingenuity to make the mechanism fool proof.

    Premier Icon Daffy
    Full Member

    In 35 years of cycling/biking/dicking around on bikes, I have never broken a derailleur, nor have I been on a ride with anyone who has. I’ve broken chains, chainrings, hub shells, axles, shocks, forks, saddles, but never a derailleur.

    I’ve bent one in a serious fall on a road bike, but even that was literally pressed back into service, despite having several newly planed flat areas.

    Premier Icon Keva
    Free Member

    Years ago when I didn’t know much about bike maintenance I used to crash through derailleurs all the time. Nowadays they last me years. The one on my 2×10 set up is four years old and there’s nothing wrong with it at all. A couple of other bikes I used to have are still running the old upside down reverse 9sp mechs so that shows you how old those are, a mate of mine now has the bikes and they’re still running perfectly.

    I used to ride SS xc years ago but found that it was impossible to ride up the short steep muddy slopes round our local trails in the winter time, not from it being too hard to pedal but from sheer lack of traction on the back tyre. Singlespeed on the road however is much better for me, so when I go xc riding it’s gears and when I go road riding it’s SS 🙂

    As for improving derailleurs I’ll leave that to the design engineers but I find they work perfectly if they’re well looked after.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Full Member

    I’d like to see more development of a 5 to 7 speed systems, IGH or derailleur. Wide-ish ratio, bigger jumps accepted. Chain durability and general tolerances increased. Longer wear rates.
    The old chainstay mount mech would suit something like this but it’d never take off on mainstream bikes. Some custom builders work with them still.

    I’ve had a few mechs broken by stumps or rocks, one ripped off in muddy conditions, but all in all they’re pretty good. Still, none of my bikes get expensive RDs and my winter MTB is a SS as 11-12T cassette sprockets and RDs struggle to cope in the clag. It’s in winter that exposed, complex drivetrains can seem ridiculous.

    My perfect XC MTB or touring bike would use a really high-end 3spd IGH – light, efficient and direct with wide ratios.

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    James – I take it you’ve seen Box Components drivetrains? They do 7spd, 8spd and 9spd drivetrains.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    I usually go for donkeys without breaking one, then have a spate.

    A few years back I lost about 3 in fairly quick succession, then nothing until the other day where a twig mangled one.

    They’ve always broken from stuff getting thrown up like rocks and sticks, never from actually bashing into something.

    They’re a consumable but not one I worry about constantly, so it’s a meh from me.

    Thinking outside the box, why don’t we fit them upside down on the top of the cassette? That’d work. 😉

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Free Member

    yet every StrathPuffer I do I usually pass one poor soul every lap with a busted derailleur

    I suspect if everyone had gearbox bikes then you’d be passing someone with a broken gearbox. If everybody rode singlespeed you’d be passing someone with a snapped or thrown chain.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Full Member

    They’re fine on a road or gravel bike, but far too exposed for UK mtb conditions

    Not really. I’ve broken one in 30 years on a twig (I think) and one in a freak accident caused by badly worn 3rd party jockey wheel bearings – on road.

    All the available drivetrain configurations have downsides, what are you gonna do? There may be some idea from way back that could be brought back, but I’m not hopeful.

    Best option I reckon is the Shimano patent.

    If everybody rode singlespeed you’d be passing someone with a snapped or thrown chain.

    Or a hell of a lot more people pushing up climbs.

    Premier Icon kerley
    Free Member

    My perfect XC MTB or touring bike would use a really high-end 3spd IGH – light, efficient and direct with wide ratios.

    As someone who has used one gear for the last 20 years I tend to agree as if I wanted gears I would just want one that matches my current single speed gear and be used for majority of time with just one lower for steeper hills and one higher for high speed flat and downhill. I appreciated that my riding has clouded my view but why people need 12 gears doesn’t make much sense to me as I have managed with 1 for all this time.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Full Member

    Whitestone, yes, though they’re DH ratios not wide range. Microshift also making 8 and 9s though aimed at entry level 1x. SRAM’s E-bike 8s system is on the right lines. E-bikes could be the driver of these ideas so that the niche XCers can get what they want, whereas on our own the market just isn’t there.

    Premier Icon TrailriderJim
    Full Member

    Bit clickbait this one. Mechs rarely cause problems and offer a wide ratio with low weight. Such a good solution it’s kept being improved for the best part of a century, rather than made obsolete. SS is a conscious choice for various reasons, but not an alternative.

    Premier Icon b230ftw
    Free Member

    In 35 years of cycling/biking/dicking around on bikes, I have never broken a derailleur, nor have I been on a ride with anyone who has.

    Same here. Ever since my first Exage 6 speed gear system in 1987 I’ve never broken a rear mech or even bent one. Ridden all over the country and currently ride most in the Peaks area which is very rocky.

    I’ve also never snapped a chain nor bent a front mech. Bent wheels, forks, pedals, frames but never had an issue with drivetrains. Even when I had a SRT500R Gripshift in 1995!

    There’s a reason they are still around. Easy to use, reliable and very efficient. All other options seem to be a solution looking for a problem.

    Premier Icon timbog160
    Full Member

    I kind of get where the OP is coming from. Mechs just don’t seem very elegant from an engineering perspective. Similar can be said of telescopic forks, but in reality both work really well, possibly due to years of development to try to run out the inherent problems. Every so often somebody try’s to invent a better mousetrap, but guess what, nothing better has been found yet!

    Premier Icon b230ftw
    Free Member

    I appreciated that my riding has clouded my view but why people need 12 gears doesn’t make much sense to me as I have managed with 1 for all this time.

    Where do you ride most? No matter how fit you are you’d be walking a fair bit in some of the steeper parts of the country!

    Premier Icon thepodge
    Free Member

    I always think the alfine 8 was near perfect for me off road but then remember that the shifter and it’s massive window didn’t fit nicely with all brakes, getting the wheel in and out was always a faff because you needed a 15mm spanner and to unhitch the cable, it was quite weighty and you’d need a tensioner if you ran it on 99% of full suspension bikes.

    I still have two Alfine which will end up on commuter bikes but unless on a very specific hardtail I don’t think I’d use them off road again.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Full Member

    Mechs rarely cause problems and offer a wide ratio with low weight. Such a good solution it’s kept being improved for the best part of a century, rather than made obsolete. SS is a conscious choice for various reasons, but not an alternative.

    Totally agree. They’re refined, efficient and can be relatively cheap. Ride-ending failure is rare. SS is a fix for some conditions but comes with greater compromises (as much as I like SS).

    imho it’s a shame that the IGH alternatives have mostly tried to replace the range -and with it, weight- that derailleur systems have, rather than offer something that’s a half-way between the durability and efficiency of SS and the range and efficiency of der. gears.

    I always think the alfine 8 was near perfect for me off road

    I liked it for a while. Was a very good option esp with tubeless making wheel removal rarer. But the weight concentration was a drawback that influenced the ride too much for me.
    The Nexus 3spd shift joint would be vulnerable on an MTB but it’s a great system for easy wheel removal.

    Premier Icon stumpy01
    Full Member

    Didn’t we have virtually this same post from the same OP about 6 months ago?

    I don’t have a problem with derailleurs.
    I’ve bent one in about 24 years of riding bikes with gears. And that was bent back to give me options for riding home.

    If something genuinely better came along that fulfilled the myriad of criteria, then it would have done by now and be widely adopted.
    An enclosed gearbox would be great, but don’t think we are there quite yet for mainstream uptake.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Full Member

    Didn’t we have virtually this same post from the same OP about 6 months ago?

    Maybe, I probably said the same things about IGHs then too. And it’ll keep coming up while some of do find drawbacks in what’s currently available or see opportunity for development – while accepting that for many it’s all fine as it is. Same can be said for suspension really.

    Premier Icon chrispo
    Free Member

    +1 for three-speed bikes

    12 really isn’t necessary on an mtb.

    And nearly everything you need a 50 or even 36 tooth cog to ride up will be quicker and easier to walk up anyway.

    Speaking as a racer.

    Premier Icon colournoise
    Full Member

    Best option I reckon is the Shimano patent.

    This. Derailleur in a box FTW. Proven tech, protected and out of the way, better weight distribution.

    Premier Icon thols2
    Free Member

    What improvements to the derailleur can STW come up with?

    It’s not that hard to dream up potential improvements to most things, but making it cost-effective is a totally different thing. A basic Deore derailleur is fairly cheap and versatile, and most people go years without wrecking them. The current alternatives are hub gears and frame mounted gearboxes. Both are more expensive and less versatile than derailleurs. A derailleur-in-a-box gearbox mounted in the frame would probably be as efficient as a derailleur system, but regular gearboxes are not as efficient, so the XC end of the spectrum won’t use them. A frame mounted derailleur gearbox system would be heavier and more expensive than a normal derailleur and it would have to be absolutely reliable because you would not be wanting to have to open it up out on the trail to unjam it if you messed up a gearshift.

    Shimano, SRAM, etc. all have engineers who spend their time trying to figure out how to improve these things, it’s quite likely that they will already have investigated any ideas posted to this forum and rejected them as either impractical (enclosing a dropout mounted derailleur, for example) or too expensive (gearboxes).

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Full Member

    I do notice when on the SS that I’m far more confident in line choices knowing there isn’t a rear mech that has to clear through the gap I’m leaving for the back wheel.

    Also, I’ve not smashed my GX yet, but I went through numerous SRAM mechs in a single summer back on 10speed. Went back to Shimano and had zero trouble. So I’ve always gone with Shimano whenever possible. I presume I smash them into things just as often, but they seem to last better.

    I end up treating gears as a tool for big days out, like a camelback. I’ll take the SS (and a water bottle) for a ride that I can manage it on. And take gears for anything bigger.

    Premier Icon zezaskar
    Free Member

    Many moons ago, when I was deep into rigid SS long distance riding, I used to loathe derailleurs for the very same reasons as the OP. Then I came to realise 2 things:
    – a massive percentage of RD failures are related with bad limit screw adjustments
    – what I really hated were front derailleurs.

    Nowadays I’m riding stupid stuff much more often but I can’t remember the last time I had a RD issue. Today they have smaller profiles, bike’s BB are much lower which make the pedals sort of a barrier ahead of derailleurs and 1×12 drivetrains are a thing of marvel

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    I quite like the mechanism for the bromptonderaileur.

    Having said that i also wuite like the campagnolo? One where you have to undo the wheel with a lever on the seatstay then the wheel walks back on the toothed drop out. Might be interesting mid offroad climb.

    Premier Icon kayak23
    Full Member

    You could always fit one of these if you’re smashing them off regularly.

    You might struggle to get through gates mind.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Full Member

    No problems with derailleurs? I probably shouldn’t have mentioned SS, then the response would be more like:

    Poor ground clearance on XT 12x mech

    🙂

    @stump01 probably. This time it was triggered by seeing one of those dinner plate rear cogs and the derailleur hanging so close to the ground.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Full Member

    Epi are you saying your non derailleur bikes have clean chains at all times?

    And…as above…in 33 years riding off road (less these days admittedly, and no 1x yet) I’ve mangled 2 mechs (one on @leffeboy ‘s bike 😀). I don’t recognise your experience, although it does seem more of a thing these days, I blame lack of care and subsequent hangers.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Full Member

    cynic_al
    Epi are you saying your non derailleur bikes have clean chains at all times?

    I don’t think I claimed to have a clean chain.

    Only on my full chaincase bikes. The life on those is measured in decades.

    I rarely clean my bikes, although chains do get lubed.


    @jameso
    I agree. My ideal would be a very wide ratio 3 speed with close to the range of an Alfine, or a 5 speed with the range of a Rohloff. Three speed for preference because it would be lighter (a 3 spd S-A hub is about 990gms.

    Premier Icon codybrennan
    Free Member

    I once inverted my bike to do something, and then wondered- why isn’t the derailleur mounted above the wheel rather than below? It would prevent rock strikes, and with modern clutch mechs the tensioning issue is gone.

    In fact, with thru axles, the need for a dropout below the axle/QR, rather than above, is also removed.

    1 x systems and huge dinner plate cassettes are making it more of a problem than before, of course.

    Premier Icon Del
    Full Member

    Didn’t we have virtually this same post from the same OP about 6 months ago?

    TBF this one makes a refreshing change in my view. unless an independent scotland is going to outlaw derailleurs 😉

    jameso + 2

    i feel that at least half the gears available these days are just there to make getting from one useful one to the next easier.

    Premier Icon LAT
    Full Member

    I’d like to see more development of a 5 to 7 speed systems, IGH or derailleur. Wide-ish ratio, bigger jumps accepted.

    i was looking at the 9 speed wide ratio cassettes in the hope that they’d be lighter than 11. they are not. pretty obvious when you are only loosing a couple of sprockets.


    @jameso
    how many teeth would you want the lowest sprocket? or you had a 50 would you still not need a mech with the same dimensions?

    Premier Icon ajantom
    Full Member

    I loved my Alfine 8, until it died.
    It had been abused on an MTB for years, and I’d gone way lower than recommended sprocket wise, so it was a valiant effort from the poor misused hub.

    But hell yeah, a lightweight, wide ratio 3spd IGH please!

    Premier Icon didnthurt
    Full Member

    My rear mech iced up today, has happened before when riding in snow, bit of a pain. I’ve also broke a couple on rocks but have bent or broken countless mech hangers over the years.

    I think they’re a crap for proper off-road especially in muddy conditions but they do work well enough for a decent amount of time.

    Next mountain bike will very likely have a gear box.

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    But hell yeah, a lightweight, wide ratio 3spd IGH please!

    ye olde sturmey archer? I run one and its great. Only 50 years old. 200% range IIRC

    I have to say that having a mix of bikes half with IGH then its always a bit of a retrograde step for me to get on a derailleur bike. No shifting when stationary, slappy noisy chains. the silence when running a IGH is really noticable

    Premier Icon tjagain
    Full Member

    The current alternatives are hub gears and frame mounted gearboxes. Both are more expensive and less versatile than derailleurs.

    alfine 8 is a couple of hundred quid. what the cost of a deore hub, mech, levers and cassette? Also don’t forget running costs are virtually zero with an IGH

    Premier Icon Andy-R
    Full Member

    Bit clickbait this one. Mechs rarely cause problems and offer a wide ratio with low weight. Such a good solution it’s kept being improved for the best part of a century, rather than made obsolete. SS is a conscious choice for various reasons, but not an alternative.

    Not clickbait imho -only yesterday I ripped off a 12 speed mech by simply trying to climb up a narrow sheep track through some heather. I’ve done it before too snd a riding mate of mine avoids such terrain for just this reason.
    Singlespeeds have their uses and scratching around through heather is one of them.

    Premier Icon joshvegas
    Free Member

    Where do you ride most? No matter how fit you are you’d be walking a fair bit in some of the steeper parts of the country!

    I don’t find that to be the case. You’d just adjust your gear for climbing. As a general rule i’ll get up anything a geared bike can and often faster as theres not much choice how fast you go. When i do get off and push geared bikes will be giving up or i’ll pass them on foot.

    I’m not a heroic singlespeeding god or anything its just not as hard as people think! What will catch me out os very tight steep hairpins, thats technique that i just really struggle with for some reason.

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    I think big low hanging wide range 1x systems just exacerbate the flaws of rear derailleurs, I’ve never had so many drivetrain issues as when I switched to 1x 11-40…

    I think the real genius would be solving whatever issues it is people have with front mechs, then shifting all that weight and clutter back away from the rear axle.

    Were internal geared cranks really so awful?

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