Upgrading rear derailleur pullies to ceramic bearing
I was wanting to get any thoughts on upgrading from bronze bushings in my Chorus-11 rear derailleur to ceramic bearing (SR-11 or Token, etc) pullies from a strictly wear/maintenance-based standpoint (not the usual "bling" or attempt to buy some mythical 20 extra watts).
Despite not overlubing my chains, my rd pullies do get caked with crud from the often poor riding conditions, especially this time of year. I'm not into complete rd disassembly on a regular basis for cleaning/relubing purposes.
When I wash my bike, I find using Oil Eater spray cleans all the crap off my rd pretty easily without scrubbing (lest anybody get worked up, my bike is on a stand with wheels removed, pinpoint-directed low pressure water mist, etc.) Obviously, having Oil Eater dribbling through the pullies doesn't work wonders for whatever is lubing the bushings.
So my question: do ceramic derailleur bearings resist wear/still perform adequately with reduced/no lubrication caused by frequent cleanings? Should I stick to the Chorus-level pullies/bushings and just replace them anually as a wear item ($25 from PBK.)
Serotta Davis Phinney, 1992 Serotta T Max,1984 Specialized Allez, Olmo, 1974 Strawberry,Redline bmx, ect.,
The pulleys are like campy and you would be installing them to reduce the drag of the bearings as the pulley it self is not ceramic. it's said to be 80% less drag than regular bearingsnand you can really feel the difference, but I have only done this on Shimano bikes so am not sure about the drag that campy's might have without ceranic. I know the Campy ceramic bottom bracket is the best I have seen for ceramic, spins just like my old super record. One of my co workers services his Campy 11 speed bike about once a month for a full clean and lube of the deraileurs and bb and has about 3000 miles for the original chain, so service is key to not wear out the chains like Shimano 10 speed chains at 800- 1000 miles. Good luck
Well, the ceramics are sealed, mostly with plastic seals though a thorough search might
pop up some metallic shielded bearings, so the lube is better protected than the sleeve
bearings that are oem. But eventually they would run out of lube or have it diluted/
contaminated by assiduous cleaning. OTOH eventually the chain contact portion would
wear out and I suspect sooner than your bearings would. It is feasible to run ceramics
dry or with minimal lube, and in this service (RPM < 600 most of the time) they would
not likely wear out much faster than if lubed. Since you want minimal maintenance
beyond crud removal you would not likely be interested in popping the plastic shield
out and cleaning and relubing the bearing, though this is easy enough to do. Metallic
shields are not removable nondestructively. Depending on how much your time is
worth, $100+ for ceramics might increase your cost only 2x over the $25/yr for the
Campy oem. You will not notice the friction decrease in the bearing any more than you
will notice the difference in weight between a clean chain and a dirty chain.
My original Chorus 11 derailluer was having problems shifting in certain gear ranges (not cog wear). I troubleshooted it with a mechanic who spends a lot of time on newer Campy stuff. After checking the hanger allignment, etc. he disassembled the derailleur and checked the bronze bushing/sleeve and there was visible BUSHING wear. This was at maybe 7000 miles. He scavanged a set of new pullies/bushings from an in stock bike, installed them, and the thing worked perfectly. We surmised that excess play was causing the situation (I know there is supposed to be some "looseness" in the top(?) pulley that is normal to the functioning of the rd.
The reason I considered the ceramic bearing pullies was that people said they would perform dry or with reduced lubrication. If that is not the case, I won't worry about it. I'm not going to blow my brains out over the prospect of disassembling my rd for relubing purposes. I've done it many times before. I just consider it a PITA, lining the tiny screws w/ wet loctite up in my big fingers.
Again, this is strictly maintenance related and not the usual OCP buying into every gimmic/gizmo.