Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Is this normal wear on derailleur pulleys?

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Is this normal wear on derailleur pulleys?

Old 10-03-20, 09:43 PM
  #1  
jsdavis
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,322
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Is this normal wear on derailleur pulleys?

Is this normal wear on rear derailleur pulley wheels? This from a Deore M590 RD used for 20-30 thousand miles.

I believe the left pulley is the lower one.



jsdavis is offline  
Old 10-03-20, 10:01 PM
  #2  
cxwrench
Senior Member
 
cxwrench's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Nor-Cal
Posts: 3,695

Bikes: lots

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1898 Post(s)
Liked 2,809 Times in 1,437 Posts
Sure, if you don't take care of your stuff that's what happens.
cxwrench is offline  
Likes For cxwrench:
Old 10-03-20, 10:12 PM
  #3  
Russ Roth
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Shore of Long Island
Posts: 2,128

Bikes: 2010 Carrera Volans, 2015 C-Dale Trail 2sl, 2017 Raleigh Rush Hour, 2017 Blue Proseccio, 1992 Giant Perigee, 80s Gitane Rallye Tandem

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 807 Post(s)
Liked 644 Times in 486 Posts
Seen it plenty of times, you're running metal over plastic, eventually they can't help to look like that. Just pick up a nice new pair and be amazed at how the new bearings or bushings make it seem easier to pedal and how noise went down. Not a big deal.
Russ Roth is offline  
Likes For Russ Roth:
Old 10-03-20, 10:32 PM
  #4  
Jeff Wills
Insane Bicycle Mechanic
 
Jeff Wills's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: other Vancouver
Posts: 9,619
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 709 Post(s)
Liked 410 Times in 259 Posts
Yes, I've worn a few sets to where the teeth are pointy. Replace them.
__________________
Jeff Wills

Comcast nuked my web page. It will return soon..
Jeff Wills is offline  
Old 10-03-20, 10:34 PM
  #5  
Bob the Mech
Senior Member
 
Bob the Mech's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: South Wales
Posts: 206

Bikes: 2016 Trek Emonda S6 frameset, custom build (road). 1995 Dawes Genesis Reynolds 531 Competition frameset, custom build (road). 1996 Orange C16R frameset, custom build (retro MTB). Coyote Dual hard-tail, custom build (MTB).

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)
Liked 76 Times in 55 Posts
Frankly I would have replace those 10,000 miles ago
Bob the Mech is offline  
Likes For Bob the Mech:
Old 10-04-20, 08:13 AM
  #6  
Crankycrank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 3,141
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 674 Post(s)
Liked 677 Times in 511 Posts
Another vote for not unusual wear especially for a dirt/dirty bike. Replace and enjoy the ride.
Crankycrank is offline  
Old 10-04-20, 09:36 AM
  #7  
Iride01 
Plz hurry Dec 22!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,873

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4853 Post(s)
Liked 3,377 Times in 2,341 Posts
Were you looking for manufacture defect and wanting a free replacement?

Just replace them. Its what you do when things get worn. Surprisingly though, I think I've seen some that looked almost like that new back in the vintage days when all sorts of DR tech was going in every direction and experimenting on us.
Iride01 is offline  
Likes For Iride01:
Old 10-04-20, 10:08 AM
  #8  
jsdavis
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,322
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Were you looking for manufacture defect and wanting a free replacement?

Just replace them. Its what you do when things get worn. Surprisingly though, I think I've seen some that looked almost like that new back in the vintage days when all sorts of DR tech was going in every direction and experimenting on us.
No - I wasn't sure if i did something wrong. Like not replacing the chain frequently enough or similar.
jsdavis is offline  
Old 10-04-20, 10:15 AM
  #9  
Iride01 
Plz hurry Dec 22!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 11,873

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4853 Post(s)
Liked 3,377 Times in 2,341 Posts
Originally Posted by jsdavis View Post
No - I wasn't sure if i did something wrong. Like not replacing the chain frequently enough or similar.
Replacing the chain more often will quickly out run the cost of replacing the pulley wheels when they need it.

All cogs wear.... and pulley wheels are cogs technically, but they are special, so they get a more special name. At your mileage you should have some other things needing changing if you haven't already.
Iride01 is offline  
Old 10-04-20, 11:43 AM
  #10  
jsdavis
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,322
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
I have changed the cassette a few times and the crankset has maybe 7-10 thousand miles on it. A road biker fell on me and destroyed my original crank.
jsdavis is offline  
Old 10-04-20, 12:42 PM
  #11  
grizzly59
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 712
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 283 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 164 Posts
They are worn out. Maybe the local bike coop has a RD or the pulleys you could swap in. Congrats on riding your bike enough to wear parts out. Awesome.

Last edited by grizzly59; 10-04-20 at 03:28 PM.
grizzly59 is offline  
Old 10-04-20, 10:20 PM
  #12  
LV2TNDM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 642

Bikes: Cannondale tandems: '92 Road, '97 Mtn. Mongoose 10.9 Ti, Kelly Deluxe, Tommaso Chorus, Cdale MT2000, Schwinn Deluxe Cruiser, Torker Unicycle, among others.

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 223 Post(s)
Liked 156 Times in 99 Posts
I'd suggest you clean & lubricate your pulleys more frequently. Typical non-DuraAce/XTR Shimano pulleys are simple bushings. They run fine when clean and lubricated. They have no real pulling load on them, as they simply act as tensioners. But they quickly get dirty, dry out and get stuff wound around them, fouling them and causing a lot of drag. I've been amazed to see how much friction dry pulley wheels can add to the drivetrain. This wear indicates they had developed a fair amount of friction and that's why they wore so much. I have yet to wear out a set of pulleys to that extreme.
LV2TNDM is offline  
Old 10-04-20, 11:44 PM
  #13  
Amt0571
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Catalonia
Posts: 913

Bikes: Canyon Grand Canyon AL SL 8.0, Btwin Ultra 520 AF GF, Dahon Mu P27, Triban Road 7, Benotto 850

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 385 Post(s)
Liked 180 Times in 120 Posts
Originally Posted by jsdavis View Post
Is this normal wear on rear derailleur pulley wheels? This from a Deore M590 RD used for 20-30 thousand miles.

I believe the left pulley is the lower one.
After 20 or 30 thousand miles that's totally normal, even if you were using aluminium jockey wheels it would be normal. I would have replaced them several times in that mileage.

And yes, the left pulley is the lower. The lower one always gets more wear because it takes the chain at an angle unless you always ride in a gear combination that involves a perfectly straight chainline.

Last edited by Amt0571; 10-04-20 at 11:47 PM.
Amt0571 is offline  
Old 10-05-20, 12:39 AM
  #14  
jsdavis
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,322
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by LV2TNDM View Post
I'd suggest you clean & lubricate your pulleys more frequently. Typical non-DuraAce/XTR Shimano pulleys are simple bushings. They run fine when clean and lubricated. They have no real pulling load on them, as they simply act as tensioners. But they quickly get dirty, dry out and get stuff wound around them, fouling them and causing a lot of drag. I've been amazed to see how much friction dry pulley wheels can add to the drivetrain. This wear indicates they had developed a fair amount of friction and that's why they wore so much. I have yet to wear out a set of pulleys to that extreme.
How do I lubricate them? Do I put chain lube on the cover or take the RD and pulleys apart and put grease inside?

The replacement pulleys appear to use cartridge bearings.
jsdavis is offline  
Old 10-05-20, 12:40 AM
  #15  
jsdavis
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,322
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
After 20 or 30 thousand miles that's totally normal, even if you were using aluminium jockey wheels it would be normal. I would have replaced them several times in that mileage.

And yes, the left pulley is the lower. The lower one always gets more wear because it takes the chain at an angle unless you always ride in a gear combination that involves a perfectly straight chainline.
Thank you. I was curious why one of them had more wear.
jsdavis is offline  
Old 10-05-20, 01:31 AM
  #16  
Amt0571
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Catalonia
Posts: 913

Bikes: Canyon Grand Canyon AL SL 8.0, Btwin Ultra 520 AF GF, Dahon Mu P27, Triban Road 7, Benotto 850

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 385 Post(s)
Liked 180 Times in 120 Posts
Originally Posted by jsdavis View Post
How do I lubricate them? Do I put chain lube on the cover or take the RD and pulleys apart and put grease inside?

The replacement pulleys appear to use cartridge bearings.
Whatever you do, in 20 or 30k miles they will be destroyed anyway. I'd just check that they're clean and spin freely. If they don't i'd try to free the bearings with a bit of oil. If they're just a bushing you can probably disassemble it and clean it. I've mostly had problems with them seizing on MTBs, as they tend to get wet when crossing streams or puddles and water doesn't play nice with the bearings.

Keep in mind that they're plastic and as I've side before, the lower pulley takes the chain at whatever angle the gear combination you're using causes, and also the chain sometimes comes in weird angles due to bumps and irregularities, especially on MTBs. This means that the harder side plates from the chain rub against the teeth of the wheel constantly which causes the wear. Even if you use aluminium sprockets,aluminium is quite soft compared to the chain and doesn't make that much difference.

What can make a difference is keeping them clean, as dust, sand and any type of contamination gets trapped between the pulley and the chain plates and works as an abrasive.

Try to keep them clean and running freely, but I don't lose your mind over it. They're relatively cheap, usually last a long time, and after all, like all parts of the drivetrain, they're a consumable.
Amt0571 is offline  
Old 10-05-20, 07:26 PM
  #17  
jsdavis
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,322
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
Whatever you do, in 20 or 30k miles they will be destroyed anyway. I'd just check that they're clean and spin freely. If they don't i'd try to free the bearings with a bit of oil. If they're just a bushing you can probably disassemble it and clean it. I've mostly had problems with them seizing on MTBs, as they tend to get wet when crossing streams or puddles and water doesn't play nice with the bearings.

Keep in mind that they're plastic and as I've side before, the lower pulley takes the chain at whatever angle the gear combination you're using causes, and also the chain sometimes comes in weird angles due to bumps and irregularities, especially on MTBs. This means that the harder side plates from the chain rub against the teeth of the wheel constantly which causes the wear. Even if you use aluminium sprockets,aluminium is quite soft compared to the chain and doesn't make that much difference.

What can make a difference is keeping them clean, as dust, sand and any type of contamination gets trapped between the pulley and the chain plates and works as an abrasive.

Try to keep them clean and running freely, but I don't lose your mind over it. They're relatively cheap, usually last a long time, and after all, like all parts of the drivetrain, they're a consumable.

Thank you for the guidance.
jsdavis is offline  
Old 10-06-20, 12:25 PM
  #18  
grizzly59
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 712
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 283 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 164 Posts
If it's a sealed bearing pulley just clean it up, then put everything back together. I wouldn't try and take any of the bearing apart.

Removable bushing pulley-
Remove the round metal covers on either side. Q-tips and solvent, push out the bushing and clean whole pulley, teeth, grooves, and bore. Clean inside and out of the bushing. Find some grease, shouldn't feel too thick or crusty. Grease the inside bore of the pulley, outside of the bushing. Put the metal covers back, bolt the pulley assemble back into the derailer. When installed, pulley should spin freely.
grizzly59 is offline  
Old 10-07-20, 06:46 PM
  #19  
LV2TNDM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 642

Bikes: Cannondale tandems: '92 Road, '97 Mtn. Mongoose 10.9 Ti, Kelly Deluxe, Tommaso Chorus, Cdale MT2000, Schwinn Deluxe Cruiser, Torker Unicycle, among others.

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 223 Post(s)
Liked 156 Times in 99 Posts
Originally Posted by grizzly59 View Post
If it's a sealed bearing pulley just clean it up, then put everything back together. I wouldn't try and take any of the bearing apart.

Removable bushing pulley-
Remove the round metal covers on either side. Q-tips and solvent, push out the bushing and clean whole pulley, teeth, grooves, and bore. Clean inside and out of the bushing. Find some grease, shouldn't feel too thick or crusty. Grease the inside bore of the pulley, outside of the bushing. Put the metal covers back, bolt the pulley assemble back into the derailer. When installed, pulley should spin freely.
I just pulled apart a set of Dura Ace pulleys. I was being careful and all, but I still screwed up and dropped 7 teeny-tiny ball bearings on the shop floor! Total rookie move!

Found all but one! Probably 99% of pulleys have no actual ball (or cartrigde) bearings in them. These are really nice pulleys and deserving of an overhaul. Cleaned with fresh grease? Like buttah! And will roll better than bushing pulleys for a long time.

A 3mm allen wrench removes the pulley bolts so you can fully open them up and clean them. Again, they're basic bushings. But as I said, when they get dry, they can create a lot of friction. Clean off the old gunk, apply light lube like TriFlo and reassemble. LocTite on the bolt threads isn't a bad idea. Pulley bolts tend to fall out at the least opportune times!

In the future, just drip a little oil between the plastic and medal washer on the pulleys and wipe off all the excess. The oil will work its way in and will keep them happy. Overhaul 'em only as frequently as you see fit. 6 months or a year? Watch the football game and clean your pulleys!

If you have actual cartridge bearing pulleys, they can be flushed with solvent and relubricated without too much trouble. At least there are no individual ball bearings to fall out!
LV2TNDM is offline  
Old 10-07-20, 08:32 PM
  #20  
frankenmike 
mechanically sound
 
frankenmike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Dover, NH
Posts: 1,583

Bikes: Indy Fab steel deluxe, Aventon cordoba, S-works stumpy fsr, Masi vincere, Dahon mu uno, Outcast 29 commuter

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Liked 57 Times in 41 Posts
By the time my pulleys look like that, the joints on the parallelogram are usually worn out too. I’d just get a new derailer personally.
__________________
frankenmike is offline  
Old 10-08-20, 09:21 AM
  #21  
Crankycrank
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 3,141
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 674 Post(s)
Liked 677 Times in 511 Posts
Originally Posted by frankenmike View Post
By the time my pulleys look like that, the joints on the parallelogram are usually worn out too. Id just get a new derailer personally.
Couldn't disagree more. IME most derailleurs can go through 2+ sets of pully's before the derailleur is worn.
Crankycrank is offline  
Old 10-08-20, 10:00 AM
  #22  
Racing Dan
Senior Member
 
Racing Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 2,103
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1242 Post(s)
Liked 274 Times in 186 Posts
Originally Posted by jsdavis View Post
Is this normal wear on rear derailleur pulley wheels? This from a Deore M590 RD used for 20-30 thousand miles.

I believe the left pulley is the lower one.



Imo, replace the pulleys when you replace the cassette. Not very expensive and they do help better gear shifts.
Racing Dan is offline  
Old 10-08-20, 06:45 PM
  #23  
frankenmike 
mechanically sound
 
frankenmike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Dover, NH
Posts: 1,583

Bikes: Indy Fab steel deluxe, Aventon cordoba, S-works stumpy fsr, Masi vincere, Dahon mu uno, Outcast 29 commuter

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 78 Post(s)
Liked 57 Times in 41 Posts
Originally Posted by Crankycrank View Post
Couldn't disagree more. IME most derailleurs can go through 2+ sets of pully's before the derailleur is worn.
Really glad to hear it! I hope this means derailers have been improving, durability-wise.
__________________
frankenmike is offline  
Old 10-09-20, 12:42 PM
  #24  
Redbullet
Full Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 485
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 207 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 22 Posts
To me, it looks like abnormal wear. After 26000 km on the road, mine (sram force 22) are still very similar with the new ones, just the edges are a little bit less firm. And I use to heavily shift, to keep a constant cadence.
I had to change the whole derailleur for a new "middle cage" to accommodate bigger cogs (11-32), otherwise I think the old pulleys would last well above 100.000 km
Redbullet is offline  
Old 10-09-20, 09:24 PM
  #25  
jsdavis
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 1,322
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 64 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
It is on my all weather commute bike and I also ride it on dirt roads and dirt paths after work and sometimes on weekend.
jsdavis is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.