In West Newton Since 1952 - On The Web Since 1995
MountingThere are 5 different mounting types for front derailers, depending on the seat tube diameter of your frame, among other things:
- 1 1/8" (28.6 mm) clamp on. (This is the traditional, standard type for most road bikes and older MTBs.
- 1 1/4" (31.8 mm) clamp on for mildly oversized seat tubes.
- 1 3/8" (34.9 mm) clamp on for oversized seat tubes, common on aluminum frames.
- "Braze-on" units mount on a special slotted tab, which may be brazed, bolted or glued onto the frame.
- "E-type" Shimano units have a bracket that is held on by the bottom bracket retaining ring. These also use a special braze on to stabilize the derailer.
- Traditional front derailers are "bottom pull", operated by a cable running up from the bottom bracket area to the derailer.
- "Top pull" derailers are operated by a cable running down from above. This design is mainly used on mountain bikes, with the intent of avoiding running the cable under the bottom bracket, where it is exposed to spray kicked up by the front tire.
- Some older designs use a loop of cable housing running from a stop near the bottom of the down tube. This design hasn't been used since the mid 1970s, but we stock a couple of derailer models that are compatible with this cable routing.
Large Chain Ring SizeFront derailers shift best when they are mounted as low down as is possible without having the cage foul the teeth of the chainrings. In particular, the bottom edge of the outer cage plate should be closely matched to the curvature of the largest chainring.
If you use a front derailer with a larger ring than it is meant for, the rear of the cage will get too close to the chainring before the front of the cage is close enough to provide crisp shifting.
If you use a front derailer with a smaller ring than it is meant for, the front of the cage will get close to the chainring while the rear of the cage is still far away from it. This won't hurt shifting, but will require excessive "trimming" of the front derailer as you change gears at the back.
Mis-matched derailers/chainrings may be satisfactory with friction shifting, but will likely cause problems when used with indexed shifters, such as Shimano STI units.
If you have unusual gearing requirements, and are handy, you can re-shape the outer cage plate with a grinding wheel to match a non-standard large chainring.
Double/TripleModern derailers are optimized for either double or triple chainwheels. The shape of the shifting cage is tailored for the application intended.
"Double" front derailers will work with triples, but if the middle ring is much smaller than the big ring, they will be balky shifting up from the small to the middle chainring. They do, however, work well with "half-step-plus-granny" setups, where the middle ring is only 3-5 teeth smaller than the outer ring.
- "Double" front derailers have inner cage plates that extend down slightly farther than the outer plates.
- "Triple" front derailers have extended inner plates that go down considerably lower than the outer plates.
"Triple" front derailers may have interference problems between the extended inner plate and the inner chainring.
Indexing Road/MTBThe ratio of cable movement to derailer movement differs with Shimano's "road" vs. "MTB" front derailers. This can cause indexing problems if you use a "road" front derailer with upright handlebars or a "MTB" front derailer with drop handlebars.For more on front derailers, adjustment and troubleshooting, see my Derailer Adjustment Article.
Indexed front shifting is OK when it works, and usually works OK if you use exactly the parts and sizes that Shimano intended to work together--but if you want something a bit different, you may be in for some difficulties.
While rear indexing is the same for all recent shifters/derailers, Shimano fronts use a different amount of cable pull for drop bar vs straight bar controls. This makes it difficult if you want to use a "road" crankset, with full-sized chainrings (52, 53 top) with straight handlebars, or if you want to use a "mountain" crankset (44-48 tooth top) with drop bar STI shifters.
This is a great choice for converting a drop-bar road bike to upright handlebars. Available for standard 1 1/8" (28.6 mm), 1 1/4 (31.8 mm) and braze-on mount.
|See Quality Special Order Catalogue|
The only currently available front derailer that is designed for mid-range ("compact road") triple chainwheels
and compatible with Shimano "road" (drop handlebar) STI shifter indexing.
|See Quality Special Order Catalogue|
|Bottom||$27.95||Decent quality traditional front road double.|
|See Quality Special Order Catalogue for more choices|
|IRD||FD223||Braze-on||Bottom||$45.95||At the moment, this is the only front derailer designed for compact double cranksets.|
N Gear "Jump Stop"
The Jump Stop has a stainless steel deflector held on by a resin band. Slightly preferable to the Chain Watcher, if you have a round seat tube.
Derailers (Front) | Derailers (Rear) | Freewheels | Shifters
|Articles by Sheldon Brown and others|
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