Mix And Match Parts To Build A Better Mountain Bike Derailleur

Mountain bikers take their sport seriously, and put their bikes through all manner of punishment in the course of a ride. This has given rise to a wide range of specialist equipment, such as suspension, disc brakes and even clutch derailleurs, which help reduce chain slap when riding over rough terrain. However, these specialist derailleurs aren’t available for all applications, so sometimes you’ve gotta hack together your own.

Shimano clutch derailleurs are only really available for 10-speed rear cassettes and up, due to a change in derailleur ratio compared to the earlier 6 to 9 speed cassettes. Using a derailleur designed for 10-speed operation on a rear cassette with fewer gears won’t shift properly.

[SzurkeEg] was inspired by earlier work, and realised that by combining parts from several generations of Shimano hardware, it was possible to build a working clutch derailleur for 6 to 9 speed rear cassettes. The main parallelogram is what handles the positioning of the derailleur, and is sourced from a 9-speed part to get the gear indexes correct.The rest of the parts are sourced from later models with the clutch feature built in.

It’s a smart mechanical hack, and one that isn’t necessarily the most intuitive. But by having a go, and seeing what’s possible, now a whole generation of mountain bikes can tear up the trail like never before. We’ve seen Shimano gear hacked before, too. Video below the break.

[via Reddit]

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4 thoughts on “Mix And Match Parts To Build A Better Mountain Bike Derailleur

  1. As much as I bike I never heard of it, had to look it up. Yeah I have had a few chain drops off of curbs. It’s more common now that crosswalk curb cuts have been removed for better access for all handicapped people emphasizing the blind over all others.

    They look like they are more robust than most, not into dainty bike parts to save weight.

    1. These clutch derailleurs were designed for mountain bikes, and originally showed up on downhill and enduro aimed Shimano equipment. For 10 speed XT they offered both clutch and non-clutch derailleurs, with the non-clutched ones being aimed at XC and road/hybrid bikes.
      They’re only now starting to show up on other styles of bikes, driven mostly by the needs of gravel/cyclocross 1x drivetrains.
      I wouldn’t say they’re any more robust than any other similar parts, the only difference is the improved chain slap and better chain retention.

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