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Abiding hatred for bicycle derailleur drive trains

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Abiding hatred for bicycle derailleur drive trains

Old 11-11-19, 08:50 AM
  #26  
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OP, heard of rohlof? Great for those that can't turn a wrench. Cheers.
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Old 11-11-19, 11:15 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
You're certainly welcome to put in the R&D and find financial backers. You've had 40 years to do it.
I had a similar thought. When Velocio wanted more than one speed on his bike without getting off to shift, he invented the derailleur. And for the rest of his life, he prototyped and built refinements on that idea.

40 years is a lot of time to spend hating and not doing something about it.
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Old 11-11-19, 12:12 PM
  #28  
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Rear derailleurs are a wonderful and elegant solution to shifting the chain up and down the range of gears on the cassette. Unless you bump them in to something and bend your hanger, they rarely need adjustment, other than a quarter turn of the barrel adjuster from time to time as cable tension decreases.

But front derailleurs are Satan's spawn. You know why.

That said, I'm still not going 1x, as I like the flexibility of multiple front chain rings.
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Old 11-11-19, 12:38 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
Amateur Bicycle League of America
Typo? Maybe he was once part of:

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Old 11-11-19, 01:39 PM
  #30  
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Drive shaft systems eventually require maintenance and it's time consuming and expensive compared to derailleur drive trains. Basically you don't save any time or money, you just put it off.

That, plus the extra weight and drag from variable speed hubs is why drive shaft systems remain unpopular.
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Old 11-11-19, 01:40 PM
  #31  
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Several years ago Bike Friday offered the NWT with a CVT hub in back. I don’t think they do anymore. I guess the demand wasn’t there?
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Old 11-11-19, 01:53 PM
  #32  
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A friend told me once derailleurs are a crappy design from an engineer's point of view, but they work surprisingly well nonetheless.
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Old 11-11-19, 02:04 PM
  #33  
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If you know anything about engineering, you know that every problem has constraints, i.e. compromises. Weight and cost are big factors in bicycle design. It's possible to build bikes that don't need frequent repair, but they would be so heavy that few people would want to ride them. Notice how often you get a flat, have to replace a tire, or do any other kind of repair. It wouldn't be tolerated in the car industry. But making bikes appealing to ride is important, and since the human motor is a lot less powerful than the car motor, we have to make the bike light and pleasant to ride.

I don't buy bikes. I've worked as a bike mechanic, so I know how to build and fix bikes, so I build my bikes. I've often thought about using an internally geared hub (IGH). 3-speeds are nice and simple and super reliable, but the gears are too far apart for me. Whenever I ride a 3-speed, I end up using only two gears, and even they are too far apart. Plus they are heavy and expensive. The IGHs with more gears are less reliable and much more expensive, and they're even heavier.

Chains are annoying for sure, but they are energy efficient and cheap. Belt drives for bikes are around now, but the frame has to be specialized (to allow installation and removal), and the belts are expensive. The drivetrain also must be specialized and therefore expensive, and changing your ratio is somewhere between expensive and impossible. Maybe the situation wouldn't be so bad if belts had been invented sooner so chains were not so entrenched, but material science wasn't ready. Maybe belts will become more common in time.

Shaft drives are heavy and expensive.

Weight matters! Cost matters! Everything brings compromise. You can have your ideal bike, even today, but are you willing to pay for it? It is entirely unrealistic to ascribe evil intentions to a whole industry. They are doing the best they can under difficult constraints.
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Old 11-11-19, 03:11 PM
  #34  
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When I was around 10 years or so, my older cousin showed up with his "new" Schwinn Continental, with 10 speeds! How cool was that! Suddenly the Raynal English Racer 3 speed that I loved, was obsolete, at least to me. That was 60 years ago. I have a succession of old and new bikes, from 1961 to 2013, everything from old Campy to Di2, with a few Simplex and Suntours too. I can't imagine riding without derailleurs. They all work as advertised, at least for me. I don't understand fixies, single speeds or even 1× . The older I get the more gears I like. Never had a problem riding, maintaining or working on the derailleurs. To me it's a simple, elegant design, that is about as fool proof as can be. OP is entitled to his rant, as for me, I'm fine with my derailleur bikes, don't see any reason to change what isn't broken. As for my old 3 speed, I still don't understand (or care to find out) how the SA internal geared hub works, but its easy to see how the derailleur works, no mystery, it just works, and that's the important thing to me.

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Old 11-11-19, 03:25 PM
  #35  
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I'd say the deraileur drivetrain works well for road bikes that generally don't deal with agressive riding conditions. That way the advantages, mainly light weight and efficiency, outweigh the shortcomings, such as exposure to elements, which in turn lead to more maintenance work.

And understandably, commuter and "gravity" mountain bikes, where light weight and drivetrain efficiency is not of such importance, are more willing to look into other options which are better protected from environment such as mud, sand, salt, twigs, etc. and physical damage.

Hoarses for courses, as they say.
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Old 11-11-19, 04:09 PM
  #36  
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Old 11-11-19, 06:18 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS View Post

But front derailleurs are Satan's spawn. You know why.
No, I don’t know why. I don’t consider them to be Satan’s spawn nor all that hard to understand or make work. The principle is the same as the rear and the mechanism works the same. I’ve got about 14 of them in my garage and each one works flawlessly.

I, too, am not going 1x because the range of the triple is far better than anything else that has come along.

Originally Posted by subgrade View Post
I'd say the deraileur drivetrain works well for road bikes that generally don't deal with agressive riding conditions. That way the advantages, mainly light weight and efficiency, outweigh the shortcomings, such as exposure to elements, which in turn lead to more maintenance work.

And understandably, commuter and "gravity" mountain bikes, where light weight and drivetrain efficiency is not of such importance, are more willing to look into other options which are better protected from environment such as mud, sand, salt, twigs, etc. and physical damage.

Hoarses for courses, as they say.
Sorry but nearly 40 years of mountain bike use says otherwise. Derailers aren’t all that delicate or prone to failure. Yes, they can be damaged but it takes a lot to wear one out.
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Old 11-11-19, 06:35 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
If you know anything about engineering, you know that every problem has constraints, i.e. compromises. Weight and cost are big factors in bicycle design. It's possible to build bikes that don't need frequent repair, but they would be so heavy that few people would want to ride them. Notice how often you get a flat, have to replace a tire, or do any other kind of repair. It wouldn't be tolerated in the car industry. But making bikes appealing to ride is important, and since the human motor is a lot less powerful than the car motor, we have to make the bike light and pleasant to ride.

I don't buy bikes. I've worked as a bike mechanic, so I know how to build and fix bikes, so I build my bikes. I've often thought about using an internally geared hub (IGH). 3-speeds are nice and simple and super reliable, but the gears are too far apart for me. Whenever I ride a 3-speed, I end up using only two gears, and even they are too far apart. Plus they are heavy and expensive. The IGHs with more gears are less reliable and much more expensive, and they're even heavier.

Chains are annoying for sure, but they are energy efficient and cheap. Belt drives for bikes are around now, but the frame has to be specialized (to allow installation and removal), and the belts are expensive. The drivetrain also must be specialized and therefore expensive, and changing your ratio is somewhere between expensive and impossible. Maybe the situation wouldn't be so bad if belts had been invented sooner so chains were not so entrenched, but material science wasn't ready. Maybe belts will become more common in time.

Shaft drives are heavy and expensive.

Weight matters! Cost matters! Everything brings compromise. You can have your ideal bike, even today, but are you willing to pay for it? It is entirely unrealistic to ascribe evil intentions to a whole industry. They are doing the best they can under difficult constraints.
Has anyone ever used an IGH and RD combo? That would be fun! I don't know anything about IGH as far as axle length and whether or not a multi-speed cassette can be affixed to one. Sorry for hijack.
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Old 11-11-19, 07:22 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Boxkite View Post
Has anyone ever used an IGH and RD combo? That would be fun! I don't know anything about IGH as far as axle length and whether or not a multi-speed cassette can be affixed to one. Sorry for hijack.
Recently someone posted on BF a derailleur + IGH combo that had 82 ratios or something. He claimed that there was very little overlap between gears. Sorry to hijack your hijack 😎. Maybe somebody else can find it.
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Old 11-11-19, 07:49 PM
  #40  
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I thought similar to the OP in the past, and because of that, I have the Priority Onyx with Nuvinci CVT (their N330) and another bike with a Nexus 8. In my opinion, the Nexus is much less efficient. The Onyx with the Nuvinci is a bit less efficient, but not significantly. The Nuvinci is really nice while riding up a hill as you can dial the ratio as needed to keep up with slight increases or decreases in slope . . . and, for me, all done while mashing the pedals as I'm up and out of the saddle under a load!

I also have a couple of 1X's (which solves half of the derailleur problem ) and for myself, I can't imagine NEEDING much more than 330% or so of gear range (and I ride some very steep hills too).

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Old 11-11-19, 07:51 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Boxkite View Post
Has anyone ever used an IGH and RD combo? That would be fun! I don't know anything about IGH as far as axle length and whether or not a multi-speed cassette can be affixed to one. Sorry for hijack.
In high school I had a Proflex 855 that the front derailleur never shifted right. I don't know if it was a geometry issue or suspension. The rear was fine.

I got a Sachs 3x7 and a Deore XT 8 speed rear end. Pretty sure I had to switch to thumb shifters to get it to work. I think I had a 34 or 36 tooth up front. I can't remember how I secured it but this was before Narrow Wide and I don't remember dropping the chain.

It worked great actually. The chain that ran inside the hub eventually snapped. I bought a Zaskar LE eventually.
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Old 11-11-19, 08:03 PM
  #42  
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A well taken care of bike will present a drive train with very few issues. New cables when needed, lube on a regular basis, a good, solid cleaning after riding in wet & dirty conditions. However - it always comes down to the "dirty - filthy" part when cleaning that thick black dirty grease off the chain, chainrings & cassette cogs, and that's where two products make life happy, easy and non-stressing. Travabon hand cream and Dr. Bronners Castille Soap. If you've never heard of or tried Travabon - go on Amazon AND GET SOME. You put a dollop in your palm and rub it onto your hands like any other hand lotion. Wait a couple of minutes, then go ahead and grab that chain. Get really filthy - I mean, blacken those hands. Then when you're done with the really dirty part, wash up. The grease that normally is as effective as a tattoo will clean right off. If all of it does not come off, then wash with Dr. Bronners. Then it will. All of it. Go-Jo, all those orange pumice de-greaser simple green super grease cutter soaps are garbage compared to those two products.
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Old 11-11-19, 08:11 PM
  #43  
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Really good ideas often get adopted for other applications. Early bicycle designers quickly saw that the roller chain had real advantages. Now the rest of the design world has had roughly 80 years to copy the derailleur. Machinery driven with roller chains are common. More than a few also have gearboxes. Derailleurs are lighter, cheaper and very reliable. I have to confess I've had my eyes closed all my life and never noticed any of the industrial derailleur systems out there.
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Old 11-11-19, 09:15 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Holy Rollercam View Post
Wouldn't it be great if someone invented some kind of hand covering that encapsulated your fingers and palms to protect them from getting dirty like you describe?

When they are invented I propose that they be called "gloves."
Holy crap. I'm dying over here. You win.
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Old 11-12-19, 01:11 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Boxkite View Post
Has anyone ever used an IGH and RD combo? That would be fun! I don't know anything about IGH as far as axle length and whether or not a multi-speed cassette can be affixed to one. Sorry for hijack.
Once again the Late Great Sheldon Brown to the rescue. About 2/3 of the way down the page.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/org/otb.html

"The O.T.B. currently sports a Sturmey-Archer AW 3-speed hub, with 7 sprockets, driven by 3 chainwheels: 3 x 7 x 3 = 63."

Cheers
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Old 11-12-19, 06:04 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Holy Rollercam View Post
Wouldn't it be great if someone invented some kind of hand covering that encapsulated your fingers and palms to protect them from getting dirty like you describe?

When they are invented I propose that they be called "gloves."
It would never work. I mean, seriously - who'd buy them?
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Old 11-12-19, 06:38 AM
  #47  
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..

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Old 11-12-19, 06:59 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Boxkite View Post
Has anyone ever used an IGH and RD combo? That would be fun! I don't know anything about IGH as far as axle length and whether or not a multi-speed cassette can be affixed to one. Sorry for hijack.
My Bike Friday has a SA 3 speed IGH cassette hub. It is designed for 7 speed cassettes but I have 8 cogs on it using Sheldon Brown’s method, which so far has not been worth the effort. It works well enough and, like anything, has its pros and cons that one adjusts to with experience. Does anyone know if SA still makes those?
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Old 11-12-19, 07:42 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by L134 View Post
My Bike Friday has a SA 3 speed IGH cassette hub. It is designed for 7 speed cassettes but I have 8 cogs on it using Sheldon Brown’s method, which so far has not been worth the effort. It works well enough and, like anything, has its pros and cons that one adjusts to with experience. Does anyone know if SA still makes those?
They do, but the current version accepts 8/9/10 speed cassettes.
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Old 11-12-19, 07:46 AM
  #50  
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@Boxkite, to my thinking, a combo system that uses both an IGH and a derailleur has the disadvantages of both, and that's why it's not that common. But with the IGH you can shift while standing, so at least you retain that advantage.
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