There are a bunch of places on a bike where I suspect that we'd all love to see some uniformity applied. Seatposts, hubs, and bottom bracket dimensions, and of course down at the derailleur hanger. We'll have to keep waiting on the first three, but SRAM is moving ahead with their $15 USD Universal Derailleur Hanger to tackle the latter. Not only is it just $15, but it's also open-source; there are no licensing fees.
Why should SRAM do this if bike companies already use their own hangers? That's actually part of the problem, with some brands deciding to use dozens (or more) of different hanger designs over the past few years. Do you need the hanger from 2016 or 2017? There's a good chance that they're different, so you better know the answer. Maybe just before you're about to leave on a road trip? That'll be a two-month wait. An absolute nightmare.
Conceptually, having a single hanger that's used across different brands and different bikes makes sense, even if there are countless variations out there already. A case of better late than never, you might say, just as long as enough brands get on board.
In a way, it makes sense that companies responsible for drivetrains should also be responsible for the derailleur hanger. SRAM wants consistency because it means fewer variables and fewer opportunities for things to go south; if they can control the hanger's geometry, they'll know precisely where the derailleur sits in relation to the cassette. Fewer variables, more consistency, and likely better shift quality. Think of the possibilities with electronic shifting, too...
Word is that the hanger is designed to rotate backwards if the derailleur is smashed into something. It doesn't return on its own - you'll have to dismount and push it back into place - but I suspect that it takes an uncommonly hard hit to make it move. The UDH works with all current derailleurs. And yes, current derailleurs also pivot backwards themselves, but in the future they might not need to if that functionality can be built into the hanger.
There's also what looks like a ramped fin that extends above the hanger. It's intended to help guide the chain back onto the cassette if it's bounced off one of the smaller cogs towards the frame. This should put an end to getting the chain jammed between the cassette and the frame, a rare but annoying occurrence.
No, they're not forcing frame manufacturers to jump on board with a proprietary system; it doesn't require a different derailleur - anything current will work just fine, including those from Shimano. There are already bikes in the wild using the UDH, including the 2020 Trek Fuel EX that I reviewed
not that long ago, but expect to see more in the near future.
Does it make sense? Should drivetrain companies also be responsible for derailleur hangers? Or are you doing just fine with the way things are?
Shimano created their Shadow Derailleur direct mount rear derailleur universal standard in 2012 to address these concerns of frame manufacturing inaccuracies as well as locating the derailleur further back for increased performance and ease of wheel removal.
As for this being something no one asked for, I beg to differ. Last spring I broke the derailleur hanger on my boutique-brand bike in Moab. Moab is kind of an isolated town and does not have a shop that carries my brand, so there was no hanger to be had. This little part certainly would have solved my problem in a matter of minutes for $15. Instead, I had to rent a bike for $225 for the weekend, or my little vacation would have been ruined.
And yes, I should have had an extra hanger. About that -- I know I'm hard on this particular part, so I ordered one from my bike manufacturer a week before I left on my trip. If they had shipped it on the day I ordered it, I would have had it on time. But since their customer service apparently isn't what it used to be, it shipped four days (two business days) later. That last part is on them and their customer service for sure, but stuff like this happens. And also, let's face it, this isn't a part many people think about until they need it. I would gladly pay $15 (which, by the way is $20 more than the manufacturer's hanger) for such an occasion.
Probably won't be a problem for the competitors, as they always can use the hanger... but seems like they are looking for some advantage having a big list of frame manufacturers using SRAM's... isn't it?
Honestly in my eyes probably the product of a year
it's for sure a great idea, but my guess is it will fare as well or last as long as any other standard in MTB does, assuming it takes off (which I don't think it will).
i think frame makers will be the big limitation (their willingness to play ball). that was always the issue with BB standards when carbon started getting popular, everyone on road bikes had to go wider, or do this and that to optimise the frame, so we all had to have a different BB. Trek's no different sticking with a stupid variation on press fit for years, then adopting but maligning the T47 standard.
...and all bikes with be SuperBoost
It will be magical.
Thought it was supposed to be a relaxing and artsy experience...
But you watch, this one won't catch on. There's not enough potential profit in it.
Also, this looks a lot like current Yeti hangers, which are really well designed. No tiny, crappy little bolts-easy to field replace in a pinch.
And.....open sourcing standards like this is the way forward. Hopefully the other S brand plays along (they have on some SRAM stuff) and the trivial but massively frustrating proliferation of (often poorly designed) derailleur hangers will come to an end.
There are waaaaay to many hangers out there. How hard can it be for the manufacturers to decide on like, 5 different hangers?!
I imagine that with the new 12 spd (and 13spd) shifting systems the tolerances are becoming touchy again. Developing a standard derailleur hanger will help component manufacturers/engineers design around a fixed tolerance.
It's the same as the hub standards, anyone can make wheels to fit it, but you're not supposed to make cassettes.
Is it too early to ask for a standard hub width and wheel size?
I mean it's also not actually proprietary.. it's open and royalty free, ie the opposite
P.s. dont forget to cover the pinion booth ;p
What a ridiculous state of affairs!
Press D for doubt.
I assume they won't be offering 2 lengths of hanger..
"The UDH works with all current derailleurs. And yes, current derailleurs also pivot backwards themselves, but in the future they might not need to if that functionality can be built into the hanger."
So at some point i predict that SRAM will remove the derailleur's ability to pivot backwards and if you don't have their hanger you'll smash your derailleur and it won't rotate, then break. Better use a Shimano mech to make sure it still pivot!
Otherwise your SRAM hanger that's tightened to 25nm will hopefully rotate in the frame without gouging the chainstay ???? that is if you have an allen key with enough leverage to untighten it on the trail.
My ONLY complaint about DUB is that the tolerance between the spindle and driveside crank interface is a little too tight and can be a PITA to remove... I've had to get creative a few times.
"No, they're not forcing frame manufacturers to jump on board with a proprietary system; it doesn't require a different derailleur - anything current will work just fine, including those from Shimano. There are already bikes in the wild using the UDH, including the 2020 Trek Fuel EX that I reviewed not that long ago, but expect to see more in the near future."