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  1. #1
    dbg
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    Rapid-rise low-normal derailers not so great

    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    I admit to having no experience with high-end low normal rear derailleurs. The experience that I've had, with low end stuff like the C201, has been uniformly bad. They work fine when they're new and everything is clean, but when the working enviornment worsens, they worsen too.

    The issue is that they depend on spring tension to lift the chain onto the bigger cogs. That's the more difficult shift because the chain has to move upward to the larger cog and because you're more likely to be tensioning the chain during a climb. With a high normal rear derailleur, you always have the option of forcing a downshift. With a low normal derailleur, if you're struggling up a hill, you just have to wait for it to shift. The type of shifter you are using is irrelevant because all the shifter does in this case is to create slack in the shift cable until the derailleur overcomes the factors that are keeping it from shifting.

    My standard fix is to replace the C-201 derailleur with a Deore.
    A couple of the lower end rapid-rise rear ders I am using have not impressed me for the same reasons mentioned in the above quote (from an earlier thread). I had put an XTR rapid-rise on my son's bike and the few times I've ridden it it seems very responsive and crisp. So... it began to bother me on a ride yesterday (with one of my cheapo mega-range rapid rise rears) that releasing into a downshift was not always responding quick enough ..and my conclusion was I needed a better rapid-rise device. This makes me think Shimano's ploy is to create a greater incentive to replace or upgrade your equipment. As a recreational rider I can live with slower or sticky upshifts (to higher gear) as long as I can force a downshift when I really need it. Reversing those failure modes makes living with older equipment very unpleasant.

    I've become less of a fan of this trend toward rapid-rise, and I think I notice plenty of rapid-rise ders going cheap on ebay, but don't see many of the older styles. I'm guessing others don't like them either.

  2. #2
    "Uh-uh. Respek Knuckles." hypersnazz's Avatar
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    The higher end stuff doesn't get any better performance-wise, it just gets lighter and easier to break.

  3. #3
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    Not so much performance-wise, but capability-wise, the higher end derailleurs can take up more slack. On my MTB with 22-32-44 and 11-34 I get too much chain slap with a Deore derailleur (rated at 43T). I found an XT rated at 45T that is doing a much better job (resulting in a quieter ride on the trails thankfully), but its low-normal, so I'll see how well it goes. I did notice the bearings are much nicer than in the Deore and especially compared to an Acera...

    But I do think the market may be speaking, since I got the low-normal for a better price than an older high-normal. I would think that's due to demand.

  4. #4
    Ouch!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by hypersnazz
    The higher end stuff doesn't get any better performance-wise, it just gets lighter and easier to break.
    Sorry, I don't agree with this statement at all. Not only does lighter mean better performance, but the high end components are made with better materials and tighter tolerances.

    I guess I better run out and throw as much Altus and Acera components on my bike as I can, for the big race this weekend.

    (And rapid-rise does suck.)
    "Do, or do not - there is no 'try'."
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  5. #5
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shane45
    Sorry, I don't agree with this statement at all. Not only does lighter mean better performance, but the high end components are made with better materials and tighter tolerances.

    I guess I better run out and throw as much Altus and Acera components on my bike as I can, for the big race this weekend.

    (And rapid-rise does suck.)

    When you look at the road gear, it does apply. Dura-Ace buys you less weight and shorter useful component life. A good, steel ring-set will last years beyond the light-as-fark stuff at 1/10th the price.
    Not that high-end road gear will spontaneous combust - it just wears out faster.

    On the original topic...

    I tried a low-end (comfort groupo) rapid-rise/low-normal rear derailleur last week. YUK. Took it back, made the painful outlay for a Deore.

    I believe I had the low-normal set up correctly, it just wasn't crisp, quick or confidence inspiring. Installed the Deore and it was tweaked within 10 minutes, shifting like a champ. (note: using SRAM MRX 8-speed gripshifts designed for Shimano derailleurs - love them)

    I wouldn't mind trying a high-end low-normal but the Deore (high-normal) is working flawlessly - FAST up and downshift - so I don't see the point in switching now.

  6. #6
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by af895
    When you look at the road gear, it does apply. Dura-Ace buys you less weight and shorter useful component life.
    I would like to see how you back up this claim. I service a LOT of Dura-Ace stuff thats as old as I am (23).
    commuter turned bike mechanic turned commuter (also a Velocity USA employee, but this is my personal account)

  7. #7
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by shane45
    ...(And rapid-rise does suck.)
    Sorry, shane45 - I disagree. I'm using the rapid-rise (low-normal) XTR on the back of my hybrid and I LOVE it! It shifts crisply and evenly every time, I've had no problems, and I see nothing wrong with the concept or implementation. You're welcome to your opinion, but it does suck!

  8. #8
    "Uh-uh. Respek Knuckles." hypersnazz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shane45
    Sorry, I don't agree with this statement at all. Not only does lighter mean better performance, but the high end components are made with better materials and tighter tolerances.

    I guess I better run out and throw as much Altus and Acera components on my bike as I can, for the big race this weekend.

    (And rapid-rise does suck.)
    Well duh, of course that's true if you're comparing Altus with XTR. Below a certain point quality and performance drop off sharply no matter WHAT your flavor is. LX seems to be the sweet spot, the point where performance is more than adequate and honestly DOESN'T get much better as you go up the chain.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by af895
    I believe I had the low-normal set up correctly, it just wasn't crisp, quick or confidence inspiring. Installed the Deore and it was tweaked within 10 minutes, shifting like a champ. I wouldn't mind trying a high-end low-normal but the Deore (high-normal) is working flawlessly - FAST up and downshift - so I don't see the point in switching now.
    My XT low-normal was installed and tweaked faster than anything I've ever done. I attribute it more to being XT than low-normal though. I popped it on, adjusted high and low stops visually with no chain. Installed the cable and chain, then a couple twists on the barrel adjuster and all was good. I'm definitely no expert--I COULD NOT get an XT FD adjusted properly and actually gave up and went back to Acera I had.

    Haven't gotten it mucky yet, so I'm not sure how its going to hold up though. We've had nothing but perfect weather here for 2 weeks, but the combination of overtime and the sun setting earlier is killing me.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
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    The quality jump is not as dramatic as it is more refinements as the value goes up. XT is only slightly different from LX(one pulley is ball bearing), then you make the jump to XTR(which admittedly is a lot) and you get quality bearings and adjustible spring tensions. The casual user may not appreciate these changes, but for a full-time trail racer(such as myself ) I like the fact that I can get a lot more than one season out of a unit(my current one is almost ready for a third, 4k miles a year minimum, 70 percent trails). There is a difference, just a matter if it is relevant to the matter at hand.
    Aviation Mechanic, Bike racer, Fitness Equipment Restorer

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  11. #11
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    I've never tried the lower-end stuff, but my XTR rapid-rise rear derailleur works flawlessly. My rear cassette is 11-32, single chainring. Combined with a bar-end shifter, my shifts are all crisp and fast, and multi-cog shifts (up and down) work without a hitch.

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