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  1. #1
    Chamois Dropper
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    Aluminum jockey wheels, any advantage?

    Did some searching here, and I didn't really find the answer I'm looking for. Is there any advantage to these things.? I'm not looking for bling, and I'm not overly concerned about noise. Does anyone think that I would gain crisper shifts with aluminum or some other material? I'm running an xtr med cage dérailleur with a 2x9 soon to be 1x9 . I have noticed ( and read about) that Shimano uses a slightly wobbly upper wheel on the derailleur . I assume aluminum wheels such as KCMC don't wobble and I'm not sure if tis would be a change for the better or what. Thanks for the input.

  2. #2
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    The upper pulley is supposed to have some play to allow for proper chain alignment even if your derailleur tuning is not perfect. Unless you have your derailleur adjustment dialed in, you will probably experience worse shifing, or maybe the same, but doubtfully better. The only benefit I see to the aftermarket pulleys are better bearings, so maintenance should be less of an issue.

  3. #3
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    Torontocycles.com has plenty of aluminum pulleys to choose from. The ones I am using on my Dura-Ace 7700 road bike don't have the float on the upper pulley like a Shimano, but they are only $12 per pair as opposed to about $50 for Dura-Ace or XTR. You do have to get the adjustments right. It's a bit weird to look down and see the upper pulley cocked slightly sideways. The aluminum teeth took a few hours to break in, but mine don't make that much more noise now that they are broken in. The shifting doesn't seem much different for me either. I can't speak on the longevity yet.

  4. #4
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    Ok, thanks for the advice. Just trying to decide whether this is a cool modification that will improve anything or a waste of time and $$$. Thanks for the link, they have a lot of choices.

  5. #5
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    No, it's not a worthwhile improvement. You are trading a slight improvement in life, of something that generally lasts tens of thousands of miles, for worse shifting and more noise.

    Do you really think these aftermarket companies know better than Shimano how to make a derailleur work the way it's supposed to? Or put another way, if it improved anything, don't you think at least one of the derraileur manufacturers would be taking advantage of the fact?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post

    Do you really think these aftermarket companies know better than Shimano how to make a derailleur work the way it's supposed to? Or put another way, if it improved anything, don't you think at least one of the derraileur manufacturers would be taking advantage of the fact?
    That's pretty much what I was thinking. I wanted to see what peoples experiences with them were. Guess I'll stick with the XTRs...

  7. #7
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    Mine dont shift any better or worse. I replaced the plastic pulley with a bushing for an aluminum one with a bearing. It made no difference in drag either. Its a tad bit noisier.

    All in all, it was pretty much a complete waste of money.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    No, it's not a worthwhile improvement. You are trading a slight improvement in life, of something that generally lasts tens of thousands of miles, for worse shifting and more noise.
    I go through a set of plastic jockey wheels per season on my XC bike, that's far from 10 000 miles. Shifting remained the same but they are a little noisier which you quickly forget about.
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  9. #9
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    I bought some at Performance and was concerned there might be degraded shifting performance, but noticed no difference.

    This was a while ago, so its hard to remember, but I think the set up had a bushing that slid into the cartridge bearing in the center of the pulley. The bushing was a bit longer than the bearing width, so when it was clamped into the cage, the pulley could move back and forth a bit. Maybe that's why I noticed no difference.

  10. #10
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    Isn't it true that SRAM doesn't have the floating upper pulley like Shimano? It really doesn't seem to matter much. I think KCNC pulleys are supposed to float a bit.

  11. #11
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    Just got home and fingered 3 derailleurs , XTR -wobbles, wife's deore - wobbles, Sram X-7 no play. I didnt want to change pulleys and end up getting frustrated trying to get it to shift right.

  12. #12
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    If you're burning through jockey wheels in one season you may want to try cleaning your drivetrain occasionally....
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickav21 View Post
    If you're burning through jockey wheels in one season you may want to try cleaning your drivetrain occasionally....
    I do after every muddy ride...
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    I bought some at Performance and was concerned there might be degraded shifting performance, but noticed no difference.

    This was a while ago, so its hard to remember, but I think the set up had a bushing that slid into the cartridge bearing in the center of the pulley. The bushing was a bit longer than the bearing width, so when it was clamped into the cage, the pulley could move back and forth a bit. Maybe that's why I noticed no difference.
    Those are the ones I got too.. they seemed to have the same range of motion as the stock pulley.

  15. #15
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    I just broke my second stock Sram x7 jockey pulley. Just cracked in three pieces and fell off ten miles into a ride. I am looking to replace them with something more durable. Does anyone else who has replaced theirs with aluminum suggest I do the same. I don't wanna get stuck out there again. I broke my chain to make it single speed to get out but it finished the ride.

    Why should these pulleys be breaking in half?

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