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First conceived in the early 1900s, the front derailleur and its purpose â€“ to move the chain between chainrings â€“ hasnâ€™t changed a whole lot. Where road bike front derailleur options remain simple and minimal, mountain bike suspension designs have forced multiple mounting types onto the market. In the first of a series of articles delving into the mysteries of componentry, we take a look at, and explain the various types, of front derailleurs on the market today.
With Shimanoâ€™s latest XT M8000 groupset offering a â€˜simplifiedâ€™ 12 different models of front derailleur, and SRAMâ€™s X0 range made up of 40 models, itâ€™s absolutely normal to be confused and overwhelmed when picking out a front derailleur. If youâ€™re not set on ditching the front derailleur entirely and running a â€˜single ringâ€™ setup, then below we detail mountain bike front derailleurs in three basic categories â€“ cable pull direction, gearing and mounting type.
Cable pull refers to the direction at which the cable enters and pulls the derailleur. Itâ€™s decided by your frame design and where the cable routing leads the cable.
Top pull derailleurs refer to the cable being pulled from the top. If your cable routing follows the top tube and then drops down to the front derailleur, itâ€™s a top pull.
Bottom pull derailleurs â€“ wait for it â€“ refer to cable being pulled from the bottom. If your cable routing follows the down tube and then takes the cable past the bottom bracket, itâ€™s a bottom pull.
Dual pull is something that came out as a solution to make front derailleur options more universal. Simply, a dual pull derailleur allows the cable to be routed from either the top or bottom.
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