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Eulogy to the front derailleur …

So, now what do we do with those antiquated shifting mechanisms?

How about some ideas from Fairdale R&D:

Not having a front derailleur is a wonderful thing!

So how do we do it now? Here is what SRAM suggests:

Learn more at SRAM.

11 responses

  1. No thanks. I like my front derailleur. I have no desire to get rid of it. I have noticed that in all three of these videos there is no mention of what replaced it. It is just one big mystery as to how they are shifting without the front derailleur. Did I miss something? I really did try to pay attention, but if they explained this it eluded me. I know that there are front 2 and 3 speed hubs for the crankset, but again there is no mention of using one in place of the front derailleur. Even if that is what is replacing the derailleur there is a big problem for some of us. It’s called money. Those hubs are not cheap.

    April 22, 2016 at 7:41 am

  2. daytriker

    “Even the dog signed a waiver.” Too Funny! As a fan of Internal Gear Hubs I won’t miss the front or rear derailleur. I think this is Sram’s version of electronic shifting to compete with Shimano’s system.

    April 22, 2016 at 8:19 am

  3. Alonzo Savage

    It’s OK Steve it happens as you get old, your mind goes blank sometimes/oft-times an’ I should know. Anyway if you pay really close attention it ultimately advertises Sram NX rear cassettes with goodness know how many gears as competition to some set up by some company called Shimano. Steve G however will try, unsuccessfully I’d guess, to convince you that hub gears beat the lot.

    April 22, 2016 at 12:34 pm

  4. Art

    Why get rid of something that works. New concepts aren’t always better. I’ll keep my 3x9x3 system.

    April 22, 2016 at 4:16 pm

  5. I think this is mostly the result of SRAMs marketing machine for their 1X component groups. With up to a 10-50 tooth cassette, you no longer need a front derailleur for mountain biking. This actually provides greater gear range than what I’m running (20 – 101 GI vs my 21 – 99). But at over $400 for the cassette alone, not cheap, and doesn’t even get you electronic shift– SRAM’s eTap is part of their road component group and tops out at 28t. Shimano’s Di2 electronic shift is a better bet for ‘bents (technology is more mature, tops out at 32t for road and much higher for XTR), but still requires some other means of shifting. I do dislike front derailleurs; I’m running a Schlumpf Speed Drive in the front with 11-32 Ultegra Di2 in the rear. So front derailleur repurposing is a very important part of my eco-friendly lifestyle. Thanks for the tip;)

    April 23, 2016 at 8:11 am

  6. Thanks Kurt for the VERY informative information, which sheds light on what this new transitioning is all about!

    April 23, 2016 at 11:27 am

  7. I did a little more thorough analysis here: A pretty interesting option.

    April 29, 2016 at 7:53 pm

  8. My main concern with modern gearsets is one: the chain. The more speeds on the rear, the thinner the chain needs to be, and it will be less reliable in the long run.

    AFAIK, the only real alternatives to the Front Derailleur are the Rohloff hub (14 speeds) and the Pinion 12 or 16 speed bottom bracket gearboxes. The SRAM or Schlumpf 2-speed cranksets are a very good alternative, but they are not lighter than the system they want to replace.

    April 30, 2016 at 11:59 am

  9. It’s too early to tell, but after more than a year on my bottom-end 11-speed Shimano chain, I’m liking it much better than the mid-level 9-speed SRAM chains I used to run. It’s quieter and seems to be lasting longer. In fact it’s so quiet that I’m falling into my old bad habits of rarely cleaning or lubing it.

    Is a Rohloff lighter than the system it replaces? My recollection is that it’s a heavy beast.

    April 30, 2016 at 12:43 pm

  10. Marcel

    Greenspeed is going to an 8 speed chain on their GT20. This is what they say about it;

    “In recent years, there has been a move to add more cogs to the rear cassette to provide more gears, so that 10 cogs now occupy the same space as 8 used to. Thus the cogs have gotten thinner, as have the chains. The problem here is that the side links of the chain need to be the same thickness for strength, so the internal bearing surfaces of the chain have had to be reduced. With the higher loading on the bearing surfaces this has reduced both the efficiency and the life of the chains. As an example, when servicing a well used, 23 year old Greenspeed trike last year, which only had a 7 speed cassette, it was found to still have the original 7 speed chain! Not only that, the chain was still within the standard wear limit of 1/16” per 12” of chain! As there has been a movement to using single gear bikes, one has to question the need for a large number of gears. In fact, I find I am changing at least two gears at a time on my 9 speed trike. Thus the GT 20 has only an eight speed cassette at the rear, and a triple at the front, giving only 24 “gears” or combinations. More important than the number of combinations, is the gear range. The GT20 has a particularly wide range of gears, with an 11/34 cassette, and a 56/42/28 triple, giving a range from 16 to 102 gear inches or 612%.”

    I am looking forward this year to see a review of this trike from the guys on BROL.

    May 3, 2016 at 3:23 pm

  11. That’s interesting re: Greenspeed. With 2500+ miles on my 11-speed Shimano chain I’ve reached almost 70% of the average life I was seeing on my 9-speed SRAM chains, and wear is still well under the .5% mark. I think I was getting unusually short life out of my 9-speed chains, maybe for some reason I’m back to normal now. I should know by the end of summer.

    Adding more gears in the cassette is probably necessary for SRAM’s 1x approach but it seems like Di2 could have stopped at 9 or 10.

    Of course time doesn’t mean much for chain wear. I’m curious how many miles that Greenspeed chain had on it.

    May 4, 2016 at 12:27 am