Tuesday, February 1, 2011


I'm not a weight weenie. That is, I've never subscribed to doofus slogans like, "take care of the grams and the pounds will take care of themselves". I figure, if you select quality components, and your selections are based on your proper riding style, (no downhill stuff for the cross country bike, for example), then you'll wind up with a bike well within the range of "acceptable weight".

I recently swapped out the single front ring on the EWR for a double, and therefor I needed a front derailleur. I have a billion front derailleurs, so the question is, which one.

I have the XT that I originally put on the TST/Sandvik, but something about it seems so, well...portly!

So I threw it on the new digital gram scale. Results?...Shimano 9 speed XT - 178 grams! That's for a part that was one step down from the top! Holy crap!

Lets move on. I have a SRAM X-Gen, from back when SRAM only made one front derailleur for every group. So for a time, because it was the only front derailleur SRAM made, it was the top of the range by default. Its always looked like a porky hunk, so I've never liked it, even though it was 3 bucks on closeout. So how porky is it?...

Pretty damn porky! Sram X-Gen...188 grams! (pork!)

Those were my best choices, at least out of my supplies, overpopulated with vintage goodies as they are. So I shift gears a little and start looking outside the keeper box...and instead I look in the box of stuff heading for the eBay out door. My guidelines are simple; must be functional, must be well finished, and it must be free of pressed metal stamped bits.

I found one. 8 speed STX-RC - 13 years old - polished aluminum and very nicely finished - 4 steps down on the shwing-ladder from the top (XTR, XT, LX, STX-RC). Hmmm, I wonder how much it weighs?

STX-RC...128 grams.

So how is it then, that a mid range derailleur can be so much lighter (50-60 grams!) than the top-ish offers from manufacturers in more recent times? Is this really Progress? Of course, the new XT front derailleur (152g), and the SRAM X-0(137g) would be lighter than the SRAM and XT derailleurs described here, but still not as light as the pedestrian STX-RC.

Something to think about.

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