What derailleurs for commuting

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Moodyman, 8 Apr 2010.

  1. Moodyman

    Moodyman Guru

    My commuting hybrid came with an 8-speed Alivio rear derailleur and a non-series Shimano front mech. Done 1300 miles since January.

    The RD has been performing okay bar the odd barrel adjustment. Front mech also okay (ish).

    Never been truly happy with speed and smoothness of either - especially uphill. I clean, lube and fine tune everything weekly.

    But, Winter's taken its toll and need a new chain and a couple of new gear cables. Visiting LBS next few days. Front mech is particularly rusty - must be steel rather than alloy.

    Am thinking of using this opportunity to upgrade both derailleurs. Want reasonable performance and durability without spending silly money. I do 120 comuting miles with the odd weekend ride. All roads.

    Will a Deore front & rear be good enough or will I need to go up to SLX / XT. Don't do any off roading / racing.

    Currently have 8 speed shifters so recognise these will also need to be changed.

    Any advice?
  2. TheDoctor

    TheDoctor Resistance is futile! Moderator

    I'd have thought Deore would be fine, and they should work fine with 8-speed changers and cassette. No need to go up to 9 speed unless you want to.
    In fact - if you've got through a chain and two mechs in 1300 miles there's no way on Earth I'd go 9-speed. 8 speed is cheaper, and more durable if you clean and lube it regularly.
  3. PpPete

    PpPete Guru

    Chandler's Ford
    Replacing chain and cables is pretty basic stuff. Should be within capabilities of most competent cyclists? You can buy a chain tool & cable cutter and still have change from what most LBS will charge.

    Bit of bling is always nice - but for a commuting bike Deore is a good choice IMHO

    You don't need to change the shifters to work the Deore mechs.
    The Deore mechs might be nominally "9 speed" but all Shimano mechs have the same gain ratio and the amount of cable pull is determined in the shifter.

    If you change shifters to Deore you will need a 9 speed cassette too - and you've pretty near changed the whole drive train and gears, having all this done at an LBS could easily end up costing as much as new bike.
  4. Fiona N

    Fiona N Veteran

    I'd think carefully about a bottom-of-the-range Deore front derailleur - yes, they work fine at first but they have a design with more weak pivots that quickly seize up with road crud. I've had one on my mtb and frankly it would be a liability off-road. Over the winter, it needed washing/lube every time I rode and just about weekly removal from the bike for thorough clean and grease of the pivots to keep them from seizing solid (cables and shifters work perfectly, the problem was the derailleur - after leaving the bike unridden for a week after just a quick wash/lube, I could haul on the cable by hand and not shift the derailleur).

    I've replaced it with an XT version - quite a few more bucks but the design is much more robust as far as I can see.
  5. McWobble

    McWobble Euthermic

    Minkowski Space
    I replaced the much neglected Deore LX rear derailleur on my Galaxy in January with Deore giving me the option to upgrade the current 7 speed to 9 speed later if I want. It works perfectly happily with my current 7 speed cassette and bar end shifters. Two months isn't long enough to comment about the reliability but no problems so far...

    The old LX rear mech was gummed up with muck - not surprising as I doubt it's ever been cleaned in 15 years! I think it will be fine once cleaned. The Deore LX front derailleur has been fine throughout the winter. I think either Deore or LX will be fine for commuting.
  6. jimboalee

    jimboalee New Member

    If you've got to replace the gear cables, front mech and chain after 1300 miles of bad weather commuting, your regular maintenance was wrong.

    Cleaning every week will only remove any weather protection that was ( or was not ) applied when the bike was new.

    On a commute bike ( especially mine ) the bare cables and mechs are coated with a hideous looking coat of Waxoil. Yes is looks messy, but believe me, if I wipe off the waxy looking jolop, the metal beneath is shiny and bright.

    PS. don't forget the BB shells. They suffer quick.

    PPS. The No. 1 is the rear mech cable tension adjuster. It just loves to corrode in to its thread :tongue:
  7. OP

    Moodyman Guru

    Replacing chain and cables is pretty basic stuff. Should be within capabilities of most competent cyclists?

    It hurt a bit did that Porky, but you're right. Will do this myself. Ordered all the bits from Chain Reaction.

    None of the LBSs can fit me in for a few days so best to learn myself so am not held hostage by their limited opening hours.
  8. 3tyretrackterry

    3tyretrackterry Active Member

    East Midlands UK
    Alivio here i thoroughly reccomend them. just changed my complete drive train took me about 6 hours over 2 days being very methodical and careful. got all my parts from Rutland Cycling the only drama i had was with the BB because it had pretty much seized up in the shell
  9. eldudino

    eldudino Bike Fluffer

    I changed from an Alivio to a Deore Shadow rear mech (full drivetrain upgrade on the commuter) I've noticed a huge improvement in the responsiveness of the shifting.
  10. 3tyretrackterry

    3tyretrackterry Active Member

    East Midlands UK
    pennies were being counted when i did my replacement and i was very happy with my old alivio so decided to stick with them i have no doubt that if i upgraded then i would see an improvement but my commuter takes some hammer and i would rather spend the extra money on my trike which i use for fun
  11. ASC1951

    ASC1951 Guru

    I was going to suggest going singlespeed then fixed, to free you of all these derailleur problems. But Bradford is a hilly little spot.
  12. OP

    Moodyman Guru

    I was going to suggest going singlespeed then fixed, to free you of all these derailleur problems. But Bradford is a hilly little spot.

    Don't I know about it. I travel from a low lying part of North Bradford to a low lying part of South Leeds. In-between is The Alps.

    I've ordered an Alfine equipped hub gear bike to do away with the derailleur maintenance, but was looking to upgrade my hybrid as a back up / local pootle bike.

    To be honest, I think I'll put off the upgrade until I've got more wear out the stock components. The Alivio is not a bad derailleur if maintained, just have to accept that it's no XT.
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