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Permanently Remove Front Derailleur???

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Permanently Remove Front Derailleur???

Old 12-08-23, 06:53 PM
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Permanently Remove Front Derailleur???

Hi all. I have an older Bikes Direct "Motobecane Record" that I recently fixed up. I added a new short Zipp stem, Specialized short-comp bars, a new Sora Groupset, carbon rims, carbon straight race fork, and some other changes. I can't believe what a different bike it's become. The frame is a Kinesis made from 7005 aluminum. The welding is excellent and the frame is very stiff. I almost wish I had put a 105 set on it instead of the Sora. But the Sora is actually fine for my needs. I ride flat roads in the desert. I literally use no more than 4 rear gears and never use the front gears. I keep the chain on the large crank ring at all times. Its a 2x9 set up and it actually shifts very well, although there's a noticeable "clump" sound with shifting. Otherwise, the rear shifts very effectively. The front derailleur is a different story. No matter how much I tweek it, I get some chain rubbing. I hate rubbing! I have it set up now where it won't even shift into the small set of teeth. But it now has absolutely no front derailleur rub and runs beautifully. What a pleasure. So I thought to myself, why not just remove the derailleur entirely? I don't use it, don't need it, and it's just sitting there. And I imagine that I may get some rub if I ever shift into some really lower gears. So I ask, have any of you ever removed the front derailleur completely? Is there anything I need to be concerned with in removing it? Thanks!
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Old 12-08-23, 07:23 PM
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It may keep your chain from coming off at the front.
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Old 12-08-23, 07:56 PM
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People ride with 1 ring all the time.
An entire section of cycling drivetrains exist for this- 1x drivetrains.

There doesn't seem to be any upside in moving to 1x, my opinion obviously. You will save 100g of weight, I guess? And in the meantime, you will make your bike less capable.
Seems like a lot of money and/or time to make a bike less capable.
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Old 12-09-23, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
But it now has absolutely no front derailleur rub and runs beautifully. What a pleasure.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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Old 12-09-23, 09:00 AM
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There's a bit more to it than just removing the derailleur. Not a lot, but it should factor in. You'll want to replace your shifters. Having a "dead" left side might be annoying. So, remove the derailleur, swap two new shifters, remove the cable, makes sense to replace your cables and housings while you're at it... rewrap the bar. Still not a big deal. But as mstateglfr said, the upside is marginal.

Don't get me wrong. I think a 1x road bike makes a lot of sense - more so than the early trend of 1x gravel bikes. But, that may mean starting from scratch with a 1x crank (centered chain ring), picking the ideal gears - front and back...

I did that a while back. It was fine. In the end, I didn't like the bike. Shimano didn't have a 1x road group so I used SRAM, and I really think SRAM's mechanical road stuff is awful. Not quality - just the mechanism they use to in the shifter.
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Old 12-11-23, 02:14 PM
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The trim position of a lot of shifters really throw some people who don't know it's there, it's purpose, and that all it really ends up doing most times is lessening the severity of the rub. It also makes it easier to set up the front derailleur wrong.

All that being said, there is nothing wrong with removing the front derailleur. You might find chain drops more common as any retention that it did over bumps, rear shifts to either extreme of the cassette, etc...is no longer present. You may also find that there is no problem at all. If you do find you have a problem, a Paul chain catcher captures the chain on 3 sides encapsulating it making derailment impossible.

I've seen people run without a front derailleur at all but still leave all the chainrings in place and shift the front by stopping the bike and moving the chain manually by hand if there was a big hill or whatever the situation called for.

Also, the $12 Sunrace friction thumbie can be forced onto the drops (of a non-carbon) road handlebar and used as a makeshift bar end of sorts. An infinity of trim positions within its range.

...And of course there is the ubiquitous 1x chainring. Usually they are corrected inboard a few mm so that they run center of the cassette instead of favoring the outboard half. The narrow/wide teeth config really does help with retention. Again, if you find you have a problem, it is a viable option to correct it.

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Old 12-11-23, 02:24 PM
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"The trim position of a lot of shifters"

Sorry, but I'm ignorant of what a trim position is. Can you explain a bit? I've raised and lowered the derailleur, moved it in an outward, tightened and loosened the cable tension. Yet I still get some rub. I find it so frustrating having a chain on one bike rub when the chain on my 105 is just so smooth. I can't imagine that Shimano designed a mechanism (Sora) that they know is going to rub a bit and leave it at that. So, I have to be doing something wrong. Thanks for the reply!
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Old 12-11-23, 02:26 PM
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Yes! I think this is the answer. Rode it again and I was like a falcon cutting through the wind! No noise, so smooth. But just the fact that I have this mechanism on my bike that doesn't work as intended, or as efficiently as it should, just drives me nuts! I want to fix it!
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Old 12-11-23, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
"The trim position of a lot of shifters"

Sorry, but I'm ignorant of what a trim position is. Can you explain a bit? I've raised and lowered the derailleur, moved it in an outward, tightened and loosened the cable tension. Yet I still get some rub. I find it so frustrating having a chain on one bike rub when the chain on my 105 is just so smooth. I can't imagine that Shimano designed a mechanism (Sora) that they know is going to rub a bit and leave it at that. So, I have to be doing something wrong. Thanks for the reply!
Originally Posted by ArgoMan
Yes! I think this is the answer. Rode it again and I was like a falcon cutting through the wind! No noise, so smooth. But just the fact that I have this mechanism on my bike that doesn't work as intended, or as efficiently as it should, just drives me nuts! I want to fix it!
Trim position is a click within the front shifter that moves the front derailleur ever so slightly inward when the chain is on the large ring. It exists to reduce chain rub when the chain moves across the cassette's cogs. As the chain moves from cog to cog, the chain's angle changes and eventually the chain touches the front derailleur a bit. So this small click adjustment moves the front derailleur in a slight distance, like less than 1mm, which then keeps the chain from rubbing when you are using that rear cog.
The front shifter is only 1 click up from the small to large ring, but its 2 clicks when you are in the large ring to move the chain down to the small ring. You dont really notice if you push the shift lever in all the way as that just overtakes the trim option and the chain moves to the small ring.

Take the bike to a shop if you cant figure out how to set it up for there to not be any rub.
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Old 12-11-23, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
The front derailleur is a different story. No matter how much I tweek it, I get some chain rubbing. Thanks!
You need to watch some more YT videos about how to setup a front derailer. It is entirely possible to get configured to not have chain rub.
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Old 12-11-23, 06:50 PM
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^^^^^^
The trim position is like a "half click" between a full shift. It is important to reset the shifter to the true "0" starting position and any inline adjusters reset to their most retracted position and the derailleur set to the proper small ring position by way of low limit stop (the "L" screw) before attaching the cable. From there the inline adjustors can be used to account for any seating of the cables and tension lost through the course of use.

Different quality tiers of shifters will have varying configurations of trim options. With a 2x, the options can be as many as: Low, low trim, high trim, high. Anyway, this feature probably explains the extra clicks in your shifter.

It is rare for there to never, ever be any rub. Especially when cross-chained with short chain stays and big cogs. But it is the ideal and is most often achievable or at the very least rendered inconsequential with enough attention to detail.

You shouldn't really cross-chain anyway. So the trim is intended to be an in the moment temporary fix until a better combination of gears that provide the same ratio can be found.
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Old 12-11-23, 07:54 PM
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If you have shimano. And you remove it then there will be nothing to hold the brake lever in position. itll be all floppy. If you think a non perfect front derailluer bothers you wait till you go to grab that brake and the levers off flopping around.
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Old 12-11-23, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ls01
If you have shimano. And you remove it then there will be nothing to hold the brake lever in position. itll be all floppy. If you think a non perfect front derailluer bothers you wait till you go to grab that brake and the levers off flopping around.
Hmm…My gravel bike has Ultegra 6800 levers, and I’m running it 1x with no shifter cable connected to the left lever. It works fine. There is no flopping.
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Old 12-11-23, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ls01
If you have shimano. And you remove it then there will be nothing to hold the brake lever in position. itll be all floppy. If you think a non perfect front derailluer bothers you wait till you go to grab that brake and the levers off flopping around.




Check your shifters. Do they say 'Shimano' or 'Shimono'?
If yours fall off and flop around because a shift cable isn't used, there is no chance they are real.
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Old 12-11-23, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
Hi all. I have an older Bikes Direct "Motobecane Record" that I recently fixed up. I added a new short Zipp stem, Specialized short-comp bars, a new Sora Groupset, carbon rims, carbon straight race fork, and some other changes. I can't believe what a different bike it's become. The frame is a Kinesis made from 7005 aluminum. The welding is excellent and the frame is very stiff. I almost wish I had put a 105 set on it instead of the Sora. But the Sora is actually fine for my needs. I ride flat roads in the desert. I literally use no more than 4 rear gears and never use the front gears. I keep the chain on the large crank ring at all times. Its a 2x9 set up and it actually shifts very well, although there's a noticeable "clump" sound with shifting. Otherwise, the rear shifts very effectively. The front derailleur is a different story. No matter how much I tweek it, I get some chain rubbing. I hate rubbing! I have it set up now where it won't even shift into the small set of teeth. But it now has absolutely no front derailleur rub and runs beautifully. What a pleasure. So I thought to myself, why not just remove the derailleur entirely? I don't use it, don't need it, and it's just sitting there. And I imagine that I may get some rub if I ever shift into some really lower gears. So I ask, have any of you ever removed the front derailleur completely? Is there anything I need to be concerned with in removing it? Thanks!
If your needs are decidedly limited enough that you do not need a second chain ring in the front, there is no reason why you couldn’t remove the front derailure. If you do not want to bother with removing the handle bar tape and rewrap it, which would be needed if you choose to remove the cable and housing, you don’t have to. You could simply hold in place with a zip tie on the frame (somewhere convenient and out of the way).

I did precisely just that with one of my bicycles. At one point, when I needed to sit more upright because of back pain, I ended up switching to a more straight handle bar, removed the conventional brifters and installed mountain bike shifter/break set (Shimano XTR), and an XTR rear derailure - this has a longer reach that DurAce (road bike). Because of better reach of XTR derailure, I have absolutely no difficulty in shifting from the largest to smallest gear.

In your case, if your rear derailure happens to be a short cage, you may have some difficulty in covering the entire range of rear cassette. In such a case, you may have to judiciously decide which extreme of your cassette’s use you wish to sacrifice. But depending on the range of your rear cassette, you may not to sacrifice anything.

Or with some effort, you could adjust your front and rear derailure carefully so you do not have issues of rubbing chain. There are, in some cases, genuine limitations if you attempt to cross load your chain - large ring in the front and largest gear in the back; or small chain ring in the front with largest gear in the front. If you are running in this problem, it is more practical to avoid these extreme combinations. A combination of intermediate gears in the back with one one of the two chain rings will give you a similar gear ration you need.

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 12-12-23, 11:42 AM
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If I lived on the flats, I wouldn't even bother with a front derailleur. Just swap out the 2x chainring to a dedicated 1x chainring for better chain retention.

Though for my local terrain, I prefer using an FD and 2x setup. It really depends on where and how you ride.
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Old 12-12-23, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2
If I lived on the flats, I wouldn't even bother with a front derailleur. Just swap out the 2x chainring to a dedicated 1x chainring for better chain retention.

Though for my local terrain, I prefer using an FD and 2x setup. It really depends on where and how you ride.
I live on the flats also. So, is there a company that I can get a dedicated 1x chain ring from? AIso, think that will then require a new shifter. The Sora shifters are pretty stiff and the rear shifter is tricky. When I shift from a lower to higher rear gear, I find that I have to often depress the shifter twice. It's feels like it has to set after I shift before I shift once again. I don't mind it too much. So, maybe a recommendation for some good shifters? Thanks for your advice!
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Old 12-12-23, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
I live on the flats also. So, is there a company that I can get a dedicated 1x chain ring from? AIso, think that will then require a new shifter. The Sora shifters are pretty stiff and the rear shifter is tricky. When I shift from a lower to higher rear gear, I find that I have to often depress the shifter twice. It's feels like it has to set after I shift before I shift once again. I don't mind it too much. So, maybe a recommendation for some good shifters? Thanks for your advice!
There are multiple choices for manufacturers of 1x chainrings. My choice has been www.wolftoothcomponents.com. What you will find is that most chainrings intended for 1x use have a "narrow-wide" tooth profile that helps with chain retention. This is a good thing.

Shifter stiffness and the behavior you describe could be an issue with the cable and/or housing causing additional friction. However, if you want to upgrade, Shimano 105 or Ultegra will serve you really well for a long time, and will be a nice upgrade in quality.
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Old 12-12-23, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
There are multiple choices for manufacturers of 1x chainrings. My choice has been www.wolftoothcomponents.com. What you will find is that most chainrings intended for 1x use have a "narrow-wide" tooth profile that helps with chain retention. This is a good thing.

Shifter stiffness and the behavior you describe could be an issue with the cable and/or housing causing additional friction. However, if you want to upgrade, Shimano 105 or Ultegra will serve you really well for a long time, and will be a nice upgrade in quality.
Okay, just checked out WolfTooth. Now I'm completely confused about the type of chainring I'll need. What the heck does "BCD" stand for? I would be swapping out the chainring from a Sora R3000. I'm actually excited about maybe doing this! Really customize my bike. I love working on stuff like this. Thanks again.
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Old 12-12-23, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
Okay, just checked out WolfTooth. Now I'm completely confused about the type of chainring I'll need. What the heck does "BCD" stand for? I would be swapping out the chainring from a Sora R3000. I'm actually excited about maybe doing this! Really customize my bike. I love working on stuff like this. Thanks again.
BCD = Bolt Circle Diameter. This relates to the bolts that hold the chainring to the crankarm. For the Sora R3000 cranks, you will need a "110mm Asymmetric" bolt pattern. 110mm is the BCD.

Be aware that there are 2 different 110 Asymmetric configurations used by Shimano - road and GRX. You do not want the GRX one. I found out the expensive way that they are not compatible.

Be aware that, in most cases, the crankarm bolts go through both chainrings and the crankarm spider. Going to a 1x, you will likely need shorter chainring bolts.
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Old 12-13-23, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by ArgoMan
I live on the flats also. So, is there a company that I can get a dedicated 1x chain ring from? AIso, think that will then require a new shifter. The Sora shifters are pretty stiff and the rear shifter is tricky. When I shift from a lower to higher rear gear, I find that I have to often depress the shifter twice. It's feels like it has to set after I shift before I shift once again. I don't mind it too much. So, maybe a recommendation for some good shifters? Thanks for your advice!
Originally Posted by ArgoMan
Okay, just checked out WolfTooth. Now I'm completely confused about the type of chainring I'll need. What the heck does "BCD" stand for? I would be swapping out the chainring from a Sora R3000. I'm actually excited about maybe doing this! Really customize my bike. I love working on stuff like this. Thanks again.
Sora shifters should not be difficult to shift. My 13yo daughter has used Sora 3500 shifters and Sora R3000 shifters and she can easily shift the rear derailleur with either, even with smaller hands.
I say this because based on your prior frustration with your chain rubbing on the front derailleur, if it is difficult to shift the rear- your bike's drivetrain simply is not set up properly. I am not trying to be harsh, but Sora R3000 is not complex to set up and not difficult to use when properly set up. Rear shifting is actually quite light and quick when everything is set up correctly.
Having to press the shifter twice to get your rear derailleur to move the chain onto another cog is a clear indicator that your drivetrain is not set up as it is designed to be.



ETA- this is the ring you need from Wolftooth if your crankset is the R3000 design with 4 arms- https://www.wolftoothcomponents.com/...shimano-cranks

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Old 12-18-23, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Hmm…My gravel bike has Ultegra 6800 levers, and I’m running it 1x with no shifter cable connected to the left lever. It works fine. There is no flopping.
I agree-no flop on my Sora shifter either. One advantage I have noticed on my 1x is the chain last longer than It was in a 2x configuration.
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Old 12-18-23, 02:23 PM
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1x bikes are often sold with a regular left 2x shifter/brake lever - and no... the unused shifter does not "flop around".

For the OP, most 1x drivetrains run a clutched rear derailleur which keeps chain tension higher to help limit dropped chains, in combination with a narrow/wide front chainring. Since your setup has neither, you might try just adding a chain catcher in place of the front derailleur.
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Old 12-19-23, 01:04 PM
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So, I'm still pondering switching out to a 1x chain ring. But here's a thought, I have a 2x presently. I have never used the smaller chain ring. The chain has never fallen off the larger ring. But I keep seeing that if I were to go to a 1x, I'd have to obtain a ring with alternating normal and wide teeth, so as to keep the chain from falling off (I believe.) But the thing is that my chain has never fallen off my present large ring. So I'm thinking, why do I need a whole new ring when I can just alter what I have to remove the small ring and front derailleur? Do I even need a new 1x chain ring? Am I making sense here, or am I missing an obvious problem? I've been know to do that. Thanks!
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Old 12-19-23, 01:22 PM
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The obvious problem is the current chain retention duties (if any) of the existing derailleur will no longer performed and the cross chaining consequences will not be mitigated by the non-existent 1x chainring that was invented to split the difference in position of the 2 existing rings
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