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  1. #1
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    Jockey wheels, do they matter?

    I bought a set of sealed bearing jockey wheels last year. Riding through the winter, the lower wheel has seized. I'm not sure what to do. I don't think the bearings lasted as long as the bushings in the stock Shimano jockey wheels.

    Should I try a little fancier jockey wheels, or are the bushings on stock Shimano wheels the best you can do in nasty conditions?

    Really, do the jockey wheels matter, or are they all about the same?

  2. #2
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    It would appear that the sealed bearings were not as well sealed as one would like.

    The stock bushings in most derailleurs handle extreme weather just fine.. the sealed bearing models and after market jockey wheels do make things pretty smooth but so does keeping the stock pulleys clean and lubed.

    Suntour jockey wheels were very well made and can be used to replace some other jockey wheels... they do not wear out as quickly as Shimano jockey wheels either.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Captain Blight's Avatar
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    to my mind they are all about the same although the old Huret untoothed, round pulleys are noticeably quieter than anything "modern." Certainly the sealed bearings weigh a good bit more, though it's a difference that's less than a good swallow of water.
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  4. #4
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    The old Huret pulleys have non sealed bearings in them and when they are clean and the pre-load is right they are very very smooth.

  5. #5
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    The jockey (upper) pulley on a modern indexing rear derailleur has to "float" sideways a little to make shifting quick and quiet so just any pulley won't do.

    Early replacement pulleys were fixed and provided touchy and unreliable shifting when substituted for the OEM ones. I expect current aftermarket pulleys have been redesigned to provide the needed float.

    That said, the factory pulleys work so well and last so long I don't see any use spending more money to replace them.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    In Anchorage AK, as a commuter, in the winter , a bushing type pulley
    may well do better .

    yes specifically, Shimano Indexing requires float ,
    so near miss aligned locations are adequate.

    20 Years Ago , I got some Carmichael sealed bearing Offered is aluminum and Ti.
    the float on those came thru the bushing the bearing sat on.

    Have you popped the plastic seal out and cleaned
    and re lubricated the bearings in the cartridge?
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-06-11 at 07:45 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    The jockey (upper) pulley on a modern indexing rear derailleur has to "float" sideways a little to make shifting quick and quiet so just any pulley won't do.
    My old fashioned 2011 SRAM Red and Force jockey wheels have no significant float. My modern 12, 10, and 6 year old Shimano upper jockey wheels do.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    My old fashioned 2011 SRAM Red and Force jockey wheels have no significant float. My modern 12, 10, and 6 year old Shimano upper jockey wheels do.
    I'm surprised to hear that about SRAM but both Shimano and Campy provide float in their jockey pulleys.

  9. #9
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    There's a common misconception about sealed bearings. Most of the commercial sealed bearings used in the bike trade are only sealed to the standards applicable in the world of electric motors. the seals are intended to keep grease in and dust out.

    These seals aren't intended as hydraulic shaft seals and will admit water, especially sprayed water. The irony is that when it comes to water they do a far better job sealing it in than out. For a light application like a derailleur, there's zero benefit to ball bearings, compared to brass or bronze bushings. There's a tiny reduction if friction, but since the load is only that of the RD cage spring, the total friction involved is miniscule to begin with.
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  10. #10
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    I'm surprised to hear that about SRAM but both Shimano and Campy provide float in their jockey pulleys.
    I think some Suntour jockey pulleys were float-free also.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    I think some Suntour jockey pulleys were float-free also.
    Their pre-indexing pulleys certainly didn't float but I don't recall what they used after they introduced indexing.

  12. #12
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    It seems to me some of their indexed stuff had float and some didn't. Unfortunately I just got rid of an XCE 6sp. rear derailer. I'll check out the XC-Pro 7-sp when I get home though.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  13. #13
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    UPDATE: My Suntour XC-Pro 7-speed rear derailers have absolutely no play in the jockey wheels.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

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