1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071

    Need help chosing a front derailleur

    I'm doing my latest custom bike build project, and need help figuring out which front derailleur to get. I have an NOS X9 rear derailleur (a 2010 model), with an 11-36 cassette and 10 speed shifters. I'm planning on buying an X7 front derailleur, but I'm a little stumped about which version to get since there are 8 choices!

    Which one should I get?

    Planning to buy from JensonUSA. Here are the options:

    Sram X.7 Dual Pull Front Derailleur > Components > Drivetrain > Front Derailleurs | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    1,768
    The one that works on your bike. The differences are either top or bottom pull and clamp diameter. Then there is quality,what's the budget?

  3. #3
    > /dev/null 2&>1
    Reputation: Procter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    1,430

    Re: Need help chosing a front derailleur

    What frame?

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071
    Quote Originally Posted by ddprocter View Post
    What frame?
    The frame is...TOP SECRET. LOL Will reveal it when I'm done. I will say that its a 26er hard tail that you have probably never heard of.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071
    Quote Originally Posted by rangeriderdave View Post
    The one that works on your bike. The differences are either top or bottom pull and clamp diameter. Then there is quality,what's the budget?
    I know that I need a 31.8 to fit the frame, but other than that, I don't know why one is better than the other. I'm ok with splurging a little if I need to, but I'd like to keep it under $50.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2,208
    You need to match the derailleur to the seat post diameter.
    The frame design will require either a top pull or bottom pull derailleur. Most modern mtb frames are top pull.
    I like bottom swing for the traditional look. A top swing derailleur is supposed to have a lighter action and can provide more tire clearance.
    Some frames, specially full suspension require one or the other for clearance.
    And then for odd setups there are E-types and direct mount - and even direct mount with an adapter which can provide more tire clearance.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    1,514
    Besides diameter, as said above, the other variables are swing and pull.

    "Pull" refers to which direction the cable is coming into the derailleur from - this is determined by the cable routing on your frame. It'll either come down from the top tube (calls for a 'top pull' set-up) or up from around the bottom bracket area (need a 'bottom-pull'). Some derailleurs will work with either.

    "Swing" tells you whether the derailleur is clamped below it's pivot point ('bottom', or above it (top). Some frames require one of the other; on traditional style hardtails, it's usually just personal preference. Do a search and you'll find more than you'll probably ever need to know on the subject.
    Sinister Bikes
    Wraith Bicycles
    Sunday River Mtn Bike Park
    NEMBA
    Wachusett Brewing Co.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: moefosho's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    1,822
    I would spend the extra couple bucks to get something higher end (XT, X0, etc).

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,065
    ^If you are going to splurge, the front derailleur isn't where I'd choose to do it.

    On the Jenson link, you really don't have that many choices, since some are 2x10, some are 3x10, and one is 3x9. If you don't want direct mount, that narrows the choices even more. Just pick the one that fits your needs. One is not necessarily better than the other; there are just different options.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071
    Thanks. Got the High Pull Direct Mount 3X10. Thanks for pointing out the 3X10 vs 2X10. Didn't notice that until this morning.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2,208
    Your frame supports direct mount? Unusual on hardtails other than carbon.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    1,168
    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Thanks. Got the High Pull Direct Mount 3X10. Thanks for pointing out the 3X10 vs 2X10. Didn't notice that until this morning.
    Nice choice! I have been using the 3X10 for quite some time now and everything runs smoothly.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071
    Quote Originally Posted by Slash5 View Post
    Your frame supports direct mount? Unusual on hardtails other than carbon.
    About a minute after I ordered, I realized I ordered the wrong one. When I read "direct mount", I was thinking that it "mounts directly onto the frame", then I realized that I needed a clamp. Called JensonUSA and they took care of it. The customer service guy I talked to also pointed out that I needed a low pull, which is what most hardtails use, so that's what I changed the order to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Max24 View Post
    Nice choice! I have been using the 3X10 for quite some time now and everything runs smoothly.
    Well...after I changed my order, it turns out that they didn't have a 3X10 in the low pull, so I ended up ordering the 2X10. Was looking forward to the 3X10, but oh well. Now I gotta buy single speed spacers for the larger cog!

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071
    Well, changed my mind again! Think I'm going to just splurge and pick up an X9 3X10 front derailleur, because I know I'm going to go crazy with the extra click on the front shifter for the missing gear. Will just sell the extra X7. Still don't know if I should go for top or bottom pull, though. Here is the one I'm looking at now:

    Sram X.9 10 Speed Low Clamp Derailleur > Components > Drivetrain > Front Derailleurs | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,065
    Shouldn't you kind of know what crankset you are going with BEFORE buying a front derailleur?

  16. #16
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    13,673
    Top and bottom pull are determined by your frame. It refers to where the cable comes from, relative to the derailleur. For example, my bike routes the front derailleur under the bottom bracket, so it comes up below the derailleur. Bottom pull.

    OP, if I might make a suggestion: build an entire spec list for this bike before you buy anything.

    FWIW, I think a nice front derailleur is one of the most undersung parts on a bike. People whine and moan about front shifting, but nice chainrings, a nice front derailleur, and competent tuning result in excellent shifting. (And I like having the gear range that multiple chain rings gives me.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,065
    If it comes down to it, I'd rather put money into shifters than the front derailleur. Even the Deore FD Jenson has for $10 would probably be fine. For a better derailleur, this XT or this XTR are a pretty good deal and cheaper than the SRAM. These are all dual pull, top swing (low clamp). As long as the frame calls for a 34.9mm clamp, they should work with whatever brand 3x10 shifters.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    2,208
    Do you mean top/bottom pull or top/bottom swing? Pull is required by the frame design, swing may be optional.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071
    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    Shouldn't you kind of know what crankset you are going with BEFORE buying a front derailleur?
    Already have the crankset. Just needed a front derailleur.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071
    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Top and bottom pull are determined by your frame. It refers to where the cable comes from, relative to the derailleur. For example, my bike routes the front derailleur under the bottom bracket, so it comes up below the derailleur. Bottom pull.

    OP, if I might make a suggestion: build an entire spec list for this bike before you buy anything.

    FWIW, I think a nice front derailleur is one of the most undersung parts on a bike. People whine and moan about front shifting, but nice chainrings, a nice front derailleur, and competent tuning result in excellent shifting. (And I like having the gear range that multiple chain rings gives me.)
    Thanks for the clarification about top vs bottom pull. I ended up going with the X9, 3X10, top pull. Until I installed my X5 front derailleur that is currently on my 29er, I've never really had any front derailleurs that have worked very well, so I'm excited about the X9.

    Just for the record, I have all of the parts I need. The front derailleur was the last piece of the puzzle that I needed to figure out, unless, of course, I get a curve ball thrown at me, which seems to almost always happen when I work on bikes!

    Anyway, here is a sneak preview of some of the specs of my new bike:

    Frame: 26er, 6061 Alloy
    Fork: RockShox Tora TK coil
    Wheels: Mavic XM 117 with Shimano Deore M595 hubs
    Rear derailleur: Sram X9, 3X10, with X7 shifters
    Crankset: SRAM S1000 44/33/22
    Brakes: Avid Elixir 3
    Cassette: 11-36, or 11-32 (I've got both, originally purchased the 10-36 for my 29er, but might put it on this bike instead)

    Planning to start building it this weekend, and am really looking forward to it!

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    1,071
    Quote Originally Posted by Slash5 View Post
    Do you mean top/bottom pull or top/bottom swing? Pull is required by the frame design, swing may be optional.
    Crap I don't know!

    On JensonUSA's website, it says top/bottom pull, so I'm assuming that's it, but perhaps they mean top/bottom swing? I'm going to kick myself if I have to order a 3rd derailleur!

  22. #22
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    13,673
    My front derailleur appears to be able to be routed both ways. But they can really only be top OR bottom swing.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,728
    Quote Originally Posted by s0ckeyeus View Post
    ^If you are going to splurge, the front derailleur isn't where I'd choose to do it.

    On the Jenson link, you really don't have that many choices, since some are 2x10, some are 3x10, and one is 3x9. If you don't want direct mount, that narrows the choices even more. Just pick the one that fits your needs. One is not necessarily better than the other; there are just different options.
    Agreed. I can't tell the difference between X7 and X0 with a front derailleur, but it's very noticeable going from X7 to X0 on a rear derailleur.

    Shifters make more of a difference but I agree... just get an X7 in the setup that fits your frame and be done with it.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,728
    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Thanks for the clarification about top vs bottom pull. I ended up going with the X9, 3X10, top pull. Until I installed my X5 front derailleur that is currently on my 29er, I've never really had any front derailleurs that have worked very well, so I'm excited about the X9.

    Just for the record, I have all of the parts I need. The front derailleur was the last piece of the puzzle that I needed to figure out, unless, of course, I get a curve ball thrown at me, which seems to almost always happen when I work on bikes!

    Anyway, here is a sneak preview of some of the specs of my new bike:

    Frame: 26er, 6061 Alloy
    Fork: RockShox Tora TK coil
    Wheels: Mavic XM 117 with Shimano Deore M595 hubs
    Rear derailleur: Sram X9, 3X10, with X7 shifters
    Crankset: SRAM S1000 44/33/22
    Brakes: Avid Elixir 3
    Cassette: 11-36, or 11-32 (I've got both, originally purchased the 10-36 for my 29er, but might put it on this bike instead)

    Planning to start building it this weekend, and am really looking forward to it!
    FWIW, it working well has more to do with setting it up right than component level.

    I'll take a properly set up X5 over poorly set up X0 any day (although I run 1x so "no front derailleur" is my real answer).

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 10
    Last Post: 10-16-2013, 06:17 PM
  2. Chosing a Fat Bike.
    By sjoseth in forum Fat Bikes
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 08-04-2013, 08:01 AM
  3. Advice on chosing a new bike
    By Greg9 in forum All Mountain
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-15-2013, 09:14 AM
  4. will 2x10 shimano m980 xtr front shifter work with sram xx front derailleur?
    By gideon in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-01-2012, 06:28 AM
  5. Help on chosing first bike
    By teggy84 in forum Bike and Frame discussion
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 09-17-2011, 08:22 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •