Ratio Technology, a UK-based company that specializes in drivetrain upgrades, recently posted images of a direct mount derailleur conversion that they've been developing. In this case, the direct mount bracket was 3D printed on an HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) machine, and then attached to a SRAM 1x11 XX1 derailleur that had also been equipped with Ratio's 12-speed Wide Cage upgrade kit.
According to Ratio
, "We are planning to try aluminum or titanium but we haven’t settled on a material yet - it depends on the usual trio of strength, weight and price. If we do succeed in making a product we believe offers shifting improvements then we intend for it to be a user-fitted kit, although we’re aware that this one will likely require some specialist tools to be included. Lastly, with this being at the prototype stage, we’ll only make it available if we think we can do so without stepping on SRAM’s toes. We appreciate that there is a lot of intellectual property around the design."
"You’re looking at a fairly early prototype but we thought we’d share some photos to see what people thought of the idea. Our thinking was that a lot of our shifting troubleshooting emails are solved with a hanger alignment tool, so anything that makes the derailleur-frame interface more accurate and repeatable is a good thing for our customers. We totally understand the uncertainty about this new system. No shifting improvement is worth it if it increases the chances you write off an expensive derailleur in the process - not good for your pocket or the environment.
"That said, sacrificial parts are not an elegant solution to crash protection - everything else on the bike is either strong enough not to break, or designed with a degree of freedom to absorb impacts. Brake levers are a good example; hit them reasonably hard and you’ll usually be totally fine. Hit them harder and in most cases they’ll rotate on the bars instead of breaking.
"SRAM have designed the UDH with the same solution in mind. For us, there’s plenty of testing left to do to reassure ourselves and everyone else that this is the case - but if it is, it can only be a good thing. All that said, we’ll always design parts that are as simple and inexpensive to replace as possible if they do get damaged."
Recently we've also seen unreleased SRAM direct mount derailleurs at World Champs
. We've also seen a handful of frame manufacturers, such as Ibis
, and Forbidden updating their rear triangles to the UDH standard.What do you think? Are direct mount derailleurs something we need or is a sacrificial hanger still the best solution?