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  1. #1
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    Are cheap derailleurs ok

    I'm talking in the $10-$20 range. I've never experienced shifting with a derailleurs over that price point.

    Main reason why I don't want to get expensive derailleurs is because of the fear of it breaking, and also I'm not familiar of the benefits it holds. And by that I'm not really looking for something that might make me finish a trail a few seconds shorter.

    Would $20 be a good price point for a derailleur? What would I be missing out on and what would you recommend? I've also tried looking up expensive derailleurs vs cheap and I can't seem to find anything

  2. #2
    WillWorkForTrail
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    Typically, you won't find cheap derailleurs for expensive drive train setups. So, 11 and 12 speed, I think the cheapest I've seen is $79 and up. The fact you're looking at $20 tells me you're probably looking at 8 or 9 speed stuff. If that's what you're riding, don't worry about expensive parts, just get stuff that works.

  3. #3
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    The main difference between cheap derailleurs and expensive ones is longevity. Yes, the more costly ones will shift a little better but the main benefit is that in a few years time they'll still be shifting well. Cheap ones shift fine when new, and they still last a reasonable length of time, but after a couple of years regular use they'll be loose and floppy.

    They can also use a lot of thin pressed steel which bends easily so they're not so good if you catch them on the scenery.

    Do you ride on trails were hitting the derailleur is likely?

  4. #4
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    I run an SLX 11 speed with my XTR 11 speed trigger. Shifts same as my xtr/xtr setup.Weighs 60 grams more. Big deal. Saved lots of money and piece of mind knowing a broken rear D won't break the bank

    I run a GX Eagle derailleur with my XO1 Eagle trigger. Shifts same as my old X01/X01 setup. And the GX Eagle chain shifts same as my x01 chain.

    Clean cable. Clean housing. Perfect adjustment. Does more than fancy expensive rear derailleur.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    The main difference between cheap derailleurs and expensive ones is longevity. Yes, the more costly ones will shift a little better but the main benefit is that in a few years time they'll still be shifting well. Cheap ones shift fine when new, and they still last a reasonable length of time, but after a couple of years regular use they'll be loose and floppy.

    They can also use a lot of thin pressed steel which bends easily so they're not so good if you catch them on the scenery.

    Do you ride on trails were hitting the derailleur is likely?
    $5 will buy a derailleur protector. As Cotharyus said don't worry about pricing if it's 8-speed, anything will work fine except maybe Shimano Tourney TX, that derailleur is really small. And I recently found out how nice new shifter cables and housing are, I thought my right thumb was going to get arthritis before the cable change lol.
    Hypercritical is good. Hypocritical is bad. Nice people can still be bad people.

  6. #6
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    Damn, didn't even know you could get a worthwhile derailleur for even close to that price, except maybe for a "on sale" FD Honestly, you must remember there's a difference between Cheap and Inexpensive, something to always remember. I buy inexpensive Deore or up derailleurs because I do not want a flimsy, flexy, heavy, stamped POS, to me Deore is inexpensive, Altus is Cheap.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    The main difference between cheap derailleurs and expensive ones is longevity. Yes, the more costly ones will shift a little better but the main benefit is that in a few years time they'll still be shifting well. Cheap ones shift fine when new, and they still last a reasonable length of time, but after a couple of years regular use they'll be loose and floppy.

    They can also use a lot of thin pressed steel which bends easily so they're not so good if you catch them on the scenery.

    Do you ride on trails were hitting the derailleur is likely?
    Yes the trails here can get very narrow, I hit almost every part on my bike all the time. Pedals, handlebars, and the bottom wheel since there are so many sticks and stuff sticking out. These trails aren't really paved out too well. Also since I'm a beginner I will see my self crashing a lot.

  8. #8
    Rocks belong
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    I run an SLX 11 speed with my XTR 11 speed trigger. Shifts same as my xtr/xtr setup.Weighs 60 grams more. Big deal. Saved lots of money and piece of mind knowing a broken rear D won't break the bank

    I run a GX Eagle derailleur with my XO1 Eagle trigger. Shifts same as my old X01/X01 setup. And the GX Eagle chain shifts same as my x01 chain.

    Clean cable. Clean housing. Perfect adjustment. Does more than fancy expensive rear derailleur.
    This. Always wiser to spend the $$$ on the shifter, not the rear D.
    I like 'em long, low, slack and playful

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by John445 View Post
    Yes the trails here can get very narrow, I hit almost every part on my bike all the time.
    Fair enough. Derailleurs are one of the most common casualties of scenery altercations so your plan makes sense. When you look at hire bikes at trail centers you'll often see very cheap derailleurs on expensive bikes, the original ones have probably been ripped off.

    In theory, the hanger is supposed to snap first and save the derailleur but it never seems to happen. If the hanger does break the derailleur is usually already wrecked.

    You can tell quite a lot about derailleurs just from looking at them. At the bottom end of Shimano derailleurs you'll find a lot of structural plastic parts and thin metal bent to form large components. They're getting quite sneaky and some of the bent metal parts look like castings at first glance.

    Once you get up to Deore level most of the big bits are castings and the whole thing should be a bit more sturdy. Things change constantly though just try to find the best quality derailleur within budget.

    eBay is a good source of parts. You might find a lightly used derailleur very cheaply. A useful tip is to look closely at the jockey wheels. They are plastic and wear away. If you see a used derailleur on eBay and the jockey wheels look like new the chances are the derailleur is not very worn. On the other hand, don't be tempted by buy a cheap high-end derailleur that is carrying a lot of wear. It might carry the sexy badge but it functionally it will probably be worse than a cheap brand new one.

    I'd second LyNx's advice. Try to pick up a cheap Deore or XT derailleur on ebay rather than buy a new cheapo one. In the long run it should hold up and last a lot longer.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the help guys.

  11. #11
    Always in the wrong gear
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    Sadly, you won't find a decent piece of mech in that $10-20 range. Unless, like other's have said, you're still on 8 or 9 speed. If that's the case, take a look at MicroSHIFT. the Mezzo and Marvo lines punch *WAAAYYY* above their weight, and are Shimano compatible. I've used it on my bikes before, and was impressed. If I had a bike with gears, I'd give their stuff a serious consideration. I used their top-level "Arsis" group on my road bike and preferred it over Shimano's top of the line.

    I would not use a 'cheap' Shimano or SRAM derailleur, like the ones in the 'Tourney', Altus, or Acera range. They just don't survive being banged on, or really even "used" for very long.

    I would 100% recommend anything above that, *INCLUDING* the newer Deore line (M615) that stuff is not flashy, but it shifts remarkably well. You can find that RD for $35-38. It's 10-speed, which may mean a new shifter and cassette and chain, but a quality 10-speed setup is actually quite serviceable and will last you a long time.

    The M6000 DEORE line is (by all that I've read) a better system than XT from 5 years ago. Shimano does amazing at the 'trickle down'. The M6000 is designed around a 1x10 with a rear 11-42 rear cassette.
    Donít modify the trail to match your skills, modify your skills to match the trails.

  12. #12
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    I don't know if you realize but you need to buy a derailleur that is compatible with the transmission you have?

    Firstly, Shimano and SRAM rear derailleurs are not compatible. If you have Shimano shifters, buy a Shimano derailleur.

    They also need to be the correct speed, kind of. If you have a 10-speed set-up you need to buy a 10-speed derailleur.

    Having said that, all Shimano derailleurs below 10-speed are cross-compatible. So if you have a 7 or 8-speed transmission you can buy a 7,8 or 9-speed derailleur and it will work fine. The pull ratio on all of these derailleurs is the same and it is the shifter that dictates how far they move.

  13. #13
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    I'm pretty destructive. It's annoying. That said, i've only broken 1 derailleur ever, and that was from a stick (small log) flying in to the drivetrain. It was a 10 year old sram x.9 with over 8k miles on it... i took it kinda hard.

    The decent derailleurs don't break unless they're exposed to some absurd abuse. X.9/XT... something where all the parallelogram bits are aluminum. In my bike shop days i'd see the derailleurs with 1 stamped steel link (like x.7 or slx) get knocked out of tune even though they looked OK.

    At the 20$ price point the pivots are pretty sloppy and the springs are weak; those derailleurs aren't intended for anyone but non-cyclists. A deore/nx/x.7 derailleur will function as well as the best stuff but it's heavier and more delicate.




    I have an x.9 derailleur on one bike and an XT on the other. Both look pretty tatty from hundreds of rock strikes, but need to be retuned as often as my road bike derailleur. They were 50-60$ on sale, and the cheapest option in terms of cost per mile. Do it right or do it twice.
    "Things that are complex are not useful, Things that are useful are simple."
    Mikhail Kalashnikov

  14. #14
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    In addition to the above good advice, +1 on considering Microshift bits near that price point. It's good to excellent stuff, quality made and cheap because they have next to no name recognition. I've never been disappointed with anything from them.

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