or...Game-changing horrific crash caused by outdated, ineffective, and defectively engineered technology
Luca Shaw's horrific crash at the recent Windrock downhill race should be a wakeup call for the mountain bike industry. His crash was caused by typical derailleur chain failure that we've seen happen quite often in downhill racing, and also on local trails for everyday riders.
✔ We still have heard no explanation from Shimano or Santa Cruz as to why their obvious equipment failure caused their sponsored athlete to horrifically crash and have a serious injury.
✔ What would have happened had Luca Shaw been paralyzed, which can easily happen in this type of crash❓
✔ Would they be taking it more seriously instead of just pretending their obviously flawed products weren't at fault❓ Archaic roots
Tullio Campagnolo invented the rear derailleur in 1949. It was a great invention for it's time, but I doubt Tullio ever imagined people would be racing down mountains on long travel full suspension bikes at high speeds, jumping huge jumps and dodging rocks, with essentially his same invention over 70 years later. But here we are in 2021, and the sport of mountain biking is still relying on rear derailleurs with that same basic technology for the most part. Why derailleurs don't work
The rear derailleur/chain system is unreliabile because it is exposed and can be easily bent or broken by rocks or crashes. It is also prone to get getting small sticks and grass or weeds stuck in it, which can affect the shifting accuracy. Large sticks can completely jam in it and cause instantaneous, catastrophic failure. The shifting generally isn't very reliable, especially when exposed to muddy conditions, and often has to be adjusted. After the flat tire, it's probably the biggest culprit for catastrophic ride-ending failure.
Luca's back- breaking crash, or others similar to it, would not have happened on a gearbox bike for the following reasons:
✔ A single speed chain is stronger than a derailleur chain, which is designed to flex and shift.
✔ There is no derailleur for the chain to get tangled up in and jam.
✔ There is no exposed rear derailleur to get damaged by rocks and other obstacles.
✔ The front sprocket isn't as large so the chain is much less likely to get hit when the suspension bottoms out, and is less likely to hit the ground or hit rocks, dramatically decreasing the chances of damaging the chain.
✔ Sticks or other obstacles are much less likely to get caught in the drivetrain, which can damage or rip off the rear derailleur or cause damage to the chain.
✔ The chain is tighter and not bouncing around as much, dramatically lessening the chance of damage or derailment.
✔ There is no risk of a bent or out of adjustment rear derailleur, causing the chain to shift off of the casette into the spokes, which can immediacy destroy the drivetrain and hanger and put the rider at immediate risk without warning.
✔ There is much less risk of the bike mis-shifting while pedaling, which can by itself cause your feet to come off the pedals, and/or cause the rider to lose balance and crash. Aaron Gwin's most heroic win
Aaron Gwin may not have won a World Championship title, but he has done something even more heroic. Only Gwin has eluded the failures of the derailleur chain system and still succeeded despite its predictable failure, a heroic and incredibly rare feat where a mountain bike athlete overcame mountain bike engineers obviously failed shortcomings and came out victorious.
Most mountain bikers aren't that lucky. Just ask Luca Shaw or any of the several World Cup racers who break their chains or derailleurs every year. How many thousands of rides have been ended because of broken chains/ derailleurs nobody will never know, but it's safe to call the derailleur chain system a bane to the sports existence.
Nearly all experienced riders have experienced this type of failure or something similar to it, which is unacceptable:Gearbox drivetrains are the solution
There are a few companies producing effective and reliable gearbox systems that work great. The single speed chain is extremely reliable compared to a geared chain, and the system is sealed from the elements. It's also obviously lacking exposure to rocks and other obstacles which can easily destroy our damage a vulnerable rear derailleur.
But most bike manufacturers are still sticking with derailleurs, because they are lighter and slightly more efficient. Some people are smart enough to remove their chain when they are riding at Whistler, when it isn't as necessary, or if their chain or derailleur breaks. The Sramano problem
Anybody who had come to the obvious conclusion that gearboxes are superior is likely frustrated with the dominance of SRAM and Shimano in the mountain bike drivetrain market. These companies almost seem to exist for one reason: To stymie innovation, delay progress in gearbox innovation, and maintain the status quo.
Instead of progressing towards gearboxes. SRAM does wasteful things like buy out small companies(), is their name and then ditch them after they have ruined their reputation with poorly engineered and manufactured products. Or they redesign their Reverb dropper post for about the 27th time and still have an unreliable, failure prone product that hardly anybody wants anything to do with. Or they make a bigger, even uglier, cassette for their regressive derailleur chain system.
Shimano's regressive nature is obvious when you consider how long they continue to try to push front derailleurs onto
mountain bike consumers even after it was obvious that the consumers and test of the industry had given up on them. They have recently released a new 10 and 11 speed shifting group for riders who want more reliably shifting, essentially admiring that their previous efforts were not reliable.
The sport of mountain biking is ready for a change. What if Luca Shaw had been critically injured and had his career ended, or worse yet been put in a wheelchair for the rest of his life? It could have happened in that type of crash, so it's time for drivetrains to evolve.
This is also not the first time somebody has crashed because of rear derailleur failure, it happens more often than you might think. Shimano is aware of the risk but has done nothing to address it
Shimano road bike di2 derailleurs actually have a protection mode to try to prevent crashes if they break, but like derailleurs themselves, it isn't very reliable, and they haven't bothered to use that technology in their mountain bike derailleurs.www.google.com/amp/s/roadbikeaction.com/how-to-di2-crash-mode injuries and liability
Derailleur manufacturers could potentially be held liable in a court and responsible for all damages if somebody is seriously injured because of the type of derailleur chain mechanical failure incident Luca Shaw suffered from. This isn't failed components we are discussing here as much as it is failed technology. It happens so frequently that the component manufacturers would have a hard time defending their products considering the abundance of evidence that highlights the frequent equipment failures of the derailleur chain system. Luca Shaw broke his vertebrae because of an outdated derailleur system, plain and simple. There is no getting around that fact, and a jury would likely side with somebody in the same situation after seeing and hearing all the evidence. There isn't much a qualified team mechanic can do wrong when installing a modern chain, and Luca did nothing wrong as a rider, and now he's been hospitalized, and his season and possibly life has probably been compromised. It could turn out to be one those injuries that bothers him for the rest of his life, as back injuries often do. All because of an outdated derailleur technology where the only real advantage over a much more reliable gearbox drivetrain is that it is slightly lighter and slightly more efficient.
This once again highlights how badly the mountain bike industry has failed its customers for decades by stubbornly sticking with the outdated derailleur system, instead of progressing towards gearbox technology. The weight savings isn't worth it anymore. Derailleurs are exposed, unreliable, and there is no excuse for this to be happening in the year 2021.Roadie roots die hard
The mountain bike industry is completely weight-weenie controlled just like the road bike industry. The overall sentiment seems to be: "Oh, derailleurs aren't that bad, and I don't want to add a few more ounces to my bike, so let's stick with this outdated, ineffective, dangerous, unreliable, technology forever."
Meanwhile, America's fastest downhill racer was recently injured and is in recovery. Everybody just looks the other way, like nothing happened, nobody is at fault, and it's not really the industries fault. Because we must go with the lightest option, everybody seems to assume.
No, we don't. The industry needs to have more people who lead with integrity, and less people who obsess over saving small amounts of weight. The bikes would shift better, be more reliable, be safer, and the sport overall would be more enjoyable as a result. In tired of hearing my chain clicking between gears mid ride, missing shifts, or clunking between gears when I'm pedaling in rough terrain. E bikes to the rescue
Luckily the emergence of e mountain bikes will likely be the final death bed for the rear derailleur. Ultra lightweight and maximum efficiency aren't as much of a concern on motor assisted e bikes, so the mountain bike industry will eventually come to their senses and start using them on e bikes. This should also assist in them becoming more widely accepted on traditional mountain bikes, no pin intended.
Katz maintenance free e bike gearbox:
Revonte ONE Drive motor gearbox automatic transmission system:
The sooner major manufacturers ditch the derailleur chain system for good, the quicker the technology will continue to advance and evolve, the weights will come down, and the efficiency will also improve. If looks were any factor, there is no doubt a bike looks better without a rear derailleur, and hopefully we will one day soon look back and laugh at the weak rear derailleurs and huge cassette currently in use.Hideous looking GARBAGE bolted to a bike frame
Archaic, outdated, ineffective drivetrain that looks like utter technological garbage haphazardly attatched to a bicycle frame:Reliable Simplicity
Clean looking drivetrain of the future:
America's fastest DH race broke his back because of an outdated, idiotic, archaic derailleur chain system and we've still heard nothing from Shimano or his team explaining what happened, what the fault was, or what they will do to prevent this in the future.
The mainstream bicycle drivetrain industry is a hideous embarrassment to itself, when they can't give an explanation to their obvious failure that puts all mountain bikers at risk. These components are supposedly designed for extreme conditions. Luca's broken back and the lack of explanation from Shimano or his team, Santa Cruz, says otherwise.