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  1. #1
    The Dude Abides
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    Death to the front derailleur!!

    I would like to request an alternative to the front derailleur. I absolutely hate front derailleurs. I have had years of problems, all of my friends have their share of problems, as seen in other threads, people on this forum have had their share of problems. The front derailleur has done well on the road, but for the steady jarring seen on a mountain bike, I feel there has to be a better way.

    So the first response I would expect would be for gearboxes. They seem to be the next competator to the standard derailleur drivetrain. The weight and ineffeciency don't quite make it worth the cost yet, and many don't have the full gammut of gears.

    I like SRAM's Dual Drive hubs, here you get a 9 speed cassette on a 3 speed hub. All the gears, none of the front derailleur. I think this is the direction we should head first. Baby steps. Get that system operating on standard XO/X9/X7 shifters and make it mountain bike friendly (currently meant to be used on commuter bikes). It may not be perfect yet, but working on it now could lead to much better systems in the future.

    So this is my call for help, for change, anything. I'd like to see the decline of the front derailleur and the increase of drivetrain robustness. If you have the same feelings, post your front derailleur horror stories and any ideas to alevieate the problem. Maybe the powers that be will feel our pain and work towards a better tomorrow.

    Happy Trails

  2. #2
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    Or get a Rohloff hub and forget derailleurs altogether. Until the internal gearboxes/hubs get lighter/cheaper/more reliable/readily available/easily serviceable, I'll stick with my derailleurs. Actually I've had far less problems with front derailleurs than banging up rear derailleurs, altho initial setup of a front derailleur is a bit trickier.
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  3. #3
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by UP Dude
    I would like to request an alternative to the front derailleur
    Just don't shift, get strong enough to do the hills in middle ring. That's what I've done, and I rarely ever use the granny anymore. The benefit to getting stronger and turning the middle is that you'll kill your friends, and then you'll have more time to recover at the top of the hill while you are waiting.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  4. #4
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Just don't shift, get strong enough to do the hills in middle ring. That's what I've done, and I rarely ever use the granny anymore. The benefit to getting stronger and turning the middle is that you'll kill your friends, and then you'll have more time to recover at the top of the hill while you are waiting.
    Go with a 1 X 9 set up, or better yet a 1 X 8.

  5. #5
    surly and rigid
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    ha ha yea 1X9 is the way to go with a chainguide

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by UP Dude
    I like SRAM's Dual Drive hubs, here you get a 9 speed cassette on a 3 speed hub. All the gears, none of the front derailleur. I think this is the direction we should head first.
    That actually sounds like a pretty good idea, but i think tha would add more weight to the rear of the bike too.

    As for managing my front gears, i try to shift to the granny less than i used to. Instead, i try to stand up and hammer in the middle wherever possible. If i know i need the granny, i try to shift at an appropriate time, where i don't need to shift under load.

    Yes, people are always looking for a better way, but it seems we are still quite a few years away from seeing any major drivetrain innovations really catch on.

    If ever the switch to a full gearbox is made, i really think it should be mounted at the BB end rather than having all the weight at the rear of the bike, which can effect suspension movement a little, and create a very rear-heavy bike.
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  7. #7
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnome1979
    ha ha yea 1X9 is the way to go with a chainguide
    If you do 1x9 with a chainguide, then you don't really save any weight do you? Not to mention that some chainguides can jam up pretty good if the chain somehow manages to get off the ring. This is especially true with a bashguard.

    Not that it's a bad idea, it's just not necessarily "better" IMO unless there's a specific reason (like using the bashguard on rocks and such).

    That said, if I had a hardtail I'd definitely be running 1x9, no doubt.

    For now, I just don't use the front derailer.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  8. #8
    The Dude Abides
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    I actually do use my middle ring probably 90% of the time. Partially because I don't want to have to deal with the front derailleur, and partially because my suspension performs the best in the middle ring. However, those times when I do want the big ring, and need the granny gear, I like having the option.

    I have several friends who run single rings with chain guides. Their experiences don't show me any reason why a chain guide is worth it. From what I hear, the e.13 and MRP guides are the best, but still, many clogging issues. Plus the added noise and drag from the pulleys.

    I've noticed that a top swing is much better than a bottom swing. My last bike was bottom swing, and for three years it never ever worked right. My bike now requires a top swing, and performance is significantly improved. I also switched to a SRAM, so maybe that helps, I dunno. But my girlfriend got a new bike this spring, and her FD is a bottom swing. We have yet to get it working properly. The chain drops constantly.

    I agree that adding weight to the rear wheel is not such a hot idea. Especially as much as the Rohloffs. I like the idea a 2 gear selection with the same range as 3 rings and built into the BB.

  9. #9
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    As BMW and the other manufactures develop the continously variable drives for automobiles, I think we will see this technology (with major modifictions) more suitable bikes.

    Another thought is to use a hydraulic shifter rather than cable based system.

    I have seen an electronic shift system for bikes that is battery operated

    Lastly the power wasted in the shock absorber system maybe a energy source for a pneumatic shift system (not great on smooth roads).

    I'll bet none of us gets even close to guessing the future.

  10. #10
    "El Whatever"
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    Hey!! I use more the FD than the RD!!!

    Well... I'd love to see both to die. I'm too wimpy to get rid of any gear, however; so I'll have to patiently wait for technology to catch up.

    Going hydro/electric/pneumo will not solve the issue as the problem is the chain/rings themselves, rather than the FD.
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  11. #11
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    Quote Originally Posted by Warp
    Hey!! I use more the FD than the RD!!!

    Well... I'd love to see both to die. I'm too wimpy to get rid of any gear, however; so I'll have to patiently wait for technology to catch up.

    Going hydro/electric/pneumo will not solve the issue as the problem is the chain/rings themselves, rather than the FD.
    I find I use the largest four cogs in the rear and the granny/middle chainrings. Maybe I'm just a wuss.

    I want to get some of those plastic shifter "cables" that are impregnated with teflon and have zero stretch. Now that seems like the best idea. I lean more toward fixing what is wrong with the old system rather than inventing a brand new system. As far as I'm concerned, the old Shimano shifters (I have an old set of DXs) have nice action and place the triggers in the correct place. Now if we could pair that with SRAM's 1:1 actuation ratio, then I would be extremely happy.

  12. #12
    "El Whatever"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guyechka
    I find I use the largest four cogs in the rear and the granny/middle chainrings. Maybe I'm just a wuss.
    I am too!!!

    Seriously, I miss more a 32th cog, than I miss the 9th cog (I run an 8sp drivetrain - crappy one, but I find it hard to justify going back to 9 when the 8 works so well... the dirtier the better)
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  13. #13
    Ride on
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Just don't shift, get strong enough to do the hills in middle ring. That's what I've done, and I rarely ever use the granny anymore. The benefit to getting stronger and turning the middle is that you'll kill your friends, and then you'll have more time to recover at the top of the hill while you are waiting.
    Punishing your friends by hammering up a steep hill in the middle ring is fun, but a front derailleur won't keep your chain from bouncing off on a rock garden on the way down.

  14. #14
    The Dude Abides
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott
    As BMW and the other manufactures develop the continously variable drives for automobiles, I think we will see this technology (with major modifictions) more suitable bikes.
    .
    The NuVinci continuously variable hub by Fallbrook Technologies will be interesting. I read about another ball and race CVT design being developed and they were reporting similar efficiencies and weights to a Rohloff (they were directly comparing, but I am). I hope there is one to try at Interbike this fall, I'd love to see it.

  15. #15
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    do what im doing, rip off the front deraileur, shifter, big and little chainrings, then drop the rear 9 speed to a 5 speed by removing 2 4 6 8 cogs and collapse and use spacers to fill appropriately. you still have the range of a 1x9 but the simplicity of a 5 speed. the increment in the standard 8 or 9 speed is just too small to be worth the extra shifting effort.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem
    Just don't shift, get strong enough to do the hills in middle ring. That's what I've done, and I rarely ever use the granny anymore. The benefit to getting stronger and turning the middle is that you'll kill your friends, and then you'll have more time to recover at the top of the hill while you are waiting.
    Truth. I ran an entire race in the middle and large ring, even the tough loose climbs.

    I'm thinking of going to 2x9 on my short travel bike for just that reason.

  17. #17
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    Go Singlespeed - problem solved!

  18. #18
    The Dude Abides
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drewdane
    Go Singlespeed - problem solved!

    Sinner!!!

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drewdane
    Go Singlespeed - problem solved!

    You'll also need to grow a beard and drink only micro brewed beers.

  20. #20
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    My new bike(race bike)= 34 front 8 speed rear. I cant wait!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by UP Dude
    The NuVinci continuously variable hub by Fallbrook Technologies will be interesting. I read about another ball and race CVT design being developed and they were reporting similar efficiencies and weights to a Rohloff (they were directly comparing, but I am). I hope there is one to try at Interbike this fall, I'd love to see it.


    Will they not though be limited to cruiser type bikes and commuter rides ? Looks good,but how will it hold up on a Moment or Truth doing 1,2 or 3+ foot drops on a semi-regular basis ? The Rohloff has a good history of strong reliabilty in off road conditions as well as racing,something this new rear hub lacks.It will use a twist shifter which is great in my books.I am a little surprised that Ells will be putting out a new line of cruiser bikes with this hub,I wonder if the frames will be built in house ? Do you know if any of the full sussy frames Ellsworth makes can take a Rohloff as is? I would love to build up a Truth or Flux/5-Spot with a Rohloff or something similiar.
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  22. #22
    My bikes hate me!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guyechka
    ....better yet a 1 X 8.
    You took the words out of my mouth
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    now, go dig a giant hole and bury your dumb ass in it....

  23. #23
    The Dude Abides
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tarbaby4Ever
    Will they not though be limited to cruiser type bikes and commuter rides ?
    For now. But I've read a paper on the development of a similar transmission to handle the torque of motorcycles, and ultimately cars. A cruiser bike is the obvious starting point to introduce a hub like this since that is where internally geared hubs live. I totally forgot about the whole Ellsworth cruiser bike deal. Definately something to look for this fall at Interbike.

    I would think once the hub can prove itself and they work out all of the teething issues, they'll move up to a more demanding environment to put it in. As far as a Rohloff goes, you should be able to hook it up to any bike. I've seen pictures of someone with one on a Moment. You just have to run a tensioner because of the suspension, but it should work for you.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnome1979
    ha ha yea 1X9 is the way to go with a chainguide
    I think that's what I am going to do.
    I never leave the middle ring at all on the trail. Ever.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mthedude
    You'll also need to grow a beard and drink only micro brewed beers.
    Yeah, and...?

    (actually, the beard is only an absolute requirement for recumbent riders. )

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