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  1. #1
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    Need a new front derailleur, what would be an upgrade?

    I think the cage on my front derailleur is bent, no matter how much time I spend trying to adjust the angle and throw I can't get it to stop rubbing the chain through every gear on the large front chainring. I took it to a bike shop and they also tried to adjust but werent able to, I have experience adjusting them so I don't think it's a problem with the adjustment, I just can't get the cage to line up with the chainrings properly.

    My bike is an `04 santa cruz bullit with I believe the original deore xt setup on it. Would an XTR be an upgrade, or would I be able to get a current gen deore xt m780 as an upgrade (which is what I see the current model santa cruz nomad's are coming with, which is afaik the most comparable current model to my bike).

    I'm getting tired of only using my middle chainring up front


    I'm not sure of what to look for when buying a new one, mine clamps on to the seat tube.
    crappy picture -
    Last edited by Blind; 09-07-2011 at 09:41 AM.

  2. #2
    Oh, So Interesting!
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    it doesn't really matter.

    Only upgrade would be a single front ring/chainguide IMO.

  3. #3
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    You have to be a wizard to set up a front derailleur properly... as i've been told by my LBS who proceded to direct me to another one. (not that i'd ever pay anyone to work on my bike). Your derailleur might not be clamped at the right angle.
    I could never justify buying an expensive front derailleur, because I shift through it maybe 1-2 times during my ride. I can't tell you what front derailleur is best, but I can tell you to ask yourself, "is it worth it?"
    What kind or riding are you doing that you're actually using your largest chainring? I ride AM/FR and occasional DH and i've never felt that i've needed a large chainring.
    It's not about what bike you ride, but how hard you tear it up

  4. #4
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    I like the extra speed the large chainring gives me, a lot of the rides I go on in socal have 2-3 miles of flat hard pack trails before getting to climbs. When I'm actually on the mountain trails I admit I only use the small and middle front chainrings, with a huge majority of the time being in the middle...

    I think it's bent because it used to work fine and I've setup/adjusted plenty of other front derailleurs on my friends bikes with no problem, they're a little finicky but not bad. The cage just looks all out of shape to me.

  5. #5
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    Once you get above an SLX, you don't really see much of a difference, in my opinion. There isn't much weight savings.

  6. #6
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    SLX or XT. XTR FD is not really worth the extra. RD maybe....

  7. #7
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    front xt derailleurs can be got all day long for 20-30 bucks on CL

  8. #8
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    Most front derailleurs have some pretty shitty engineering going into them.

    Problems I see with most of them:
    They are way too heavy, with a bunch of excess metal that serves no function.

    They have springs that are way too strong. I can understand a rear derailleur having strong springs, but that isn't necessary on the front. By having stronger springs, the whole front derailleur/front shifter setup is required to be stronger to accommodate for the high spring tensions, and contributing to the overall weight problem.

    Most have a guide that accommodates 40+ teeth chainrings. They'd be considerably more compact if designed for 34 tooth max chainring size....This would be another place where a substantial amount of weight could be saved.

    These are things that should weigh in the neighborhood of 80g if designed properly, without any loss in function. Unfortunately, most weigh 150-200g...


    Why this is relevant to the thread: Just get a cheap front derailleur OP, because all of them suck.
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  9. #9
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    So now that I understand there is no real upgrade path.

    How do I identify a proper FD when I go to purchase one?

    I assume I need to measure the seat post mine is clamped to, no problem I have calipers.

    I assume my current one is a top pull because the shifter cable comes straight down from the top tube and bolts to the FD.

    I have a 9 spd cassette in the rear, but would a 10 spd FD like the shimano FD-M770 be alright? I assume it would and would give me a little bit of extra breathing room in the cage against chain rub when I'm in the smallest cog on the rear.


    So would that mean I can order the 2nd item from here -
    Amazon.com: Shimano XT Dyna-Sys FD-M770 Front Derailleur: Sports & Outdoors

    The "28.6-34.9 multi-clamp DP/DS" (down swing?)

    or should I get the "28.6-34.9 DP/TS (top swing?)

    thanks for the help, everyone.

  10. #10
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    From the picture alone i can tell your Der. Is mounted too high... When you shift to the smaller chain rings i would imagine it rubs the bottom of the Der... Try mounting it a little lower?
    Stop reading my signature. Go ride.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kbz31 View Post
    From the picture alone i can tell your Der. Is mounted too high... When you shift to the smaller chain rings i would imagine it rubs the bottom of the Der... Try mounting it a little lower?
    unfortunately that picture is from when I first got the bike, notice there are also no pedals? I had to adjust everything when I got the bike (used), about 5 months ago.

    here's how it's adjusted as of today (I rode this bike in to work today as my road bike/commuter is waiting for a new bottom bracket) -



    I have the inside of the FD cage lined up with the chain rings, but the outside seems deformed to me.

  12. #12
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    Inside cage should be parallel to outside cage. That thing looks like it was hit with a sledgehammer.
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  13. #13
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    A new SLX is definetely an upgrade: Works excellently, is sturdy and cost effective.

  14. #14
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    deore xt derailuer

    any time i am looking for a good derailuer , shimano deore xt or xtr or sram x7 and up , my bike mechanic , who has been a pro rider and bike mechanic at joes bike shop tallahassee fl , for a long time would recomend deore xt or sram x7 and up ,says xtr has to much plastic in it more area for failure , but I wouldn't turn any of it down . good luck

  15. #15
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    As already said, once you're above SLX they're all good. However, do look for secondhand ebay ... you might be able to find a mint XTR for cheap. I've bought many over the last two years, and just last night got a new XTR-960 for $US30 shipped. Thats the same price as I'd pay for Deore new in the shops where I am.

    A friend once pointed out that spending lots of money on a rear derailleur is stupid, as it's hanging out where it's prone to being damaged, but a good front should last for years and years ... $30 for XTR that you should get 10 years out of ... that's cheap per year.

    I've bought many because I was building up an XTR960 group for a potential new project, which I don't know what frame it'll be. So was ensuring I had 31.8 and 34.9 options with top and bottom pull. I still don't have the complete set of top and bottom swing, but I've got time.

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