Electronic or mechanical rear derailleurs?
Electronic or mechanical rear derailleurs? Good question, I’m sure all of us have asked it at some time, especially when we are thinking about renewing our bikes.
First of all, and clearly speaking, we have to think: Is it worth spending a higher amount of money to buy a bike with electronic shifting? Is it the component we want to prioritise?
Subjectivity, as always, rules: giving an unequivocal answer is not easy, but we can try to deepen the subject by evaluating objective aspects, which as usual will be some in favour of the electronic, others in favour of the mechanical.
1. Does it improve performance?
The performance, in the sense of an improvement in the performance of the bike, does not change. If you are looking for a weight reduction or a performance improvement, it is certainly better to invest the money in another product. An example? the wheels.
2. The price difference
Double. It is the difference in price between a mechanical and an electronic groupset of the same level.
Be careful, however, because very often a bike equipped with an electronic system will have a higher quality set of components than a bike equipped with a traditional derailleur. So don’t think that the difference comes only from the group.
3. The big difference
The substantial difference between a traditional rear derailleur and an electronic one lies in the more powerful and faster shifting, especially if we refer to the front derailleur: it is here, in fact, that we can see the main difference between the two types of groupset.
An electronic groupset is more powerful, and this is particularly noticeable in extreme shifting conditions, such as on uneven roads or in stressful situations. It may not be the best thing for the chain, but with the electronic groupset it is possible to shift even if the drivetrain is too tight. And all this without the slightest effort: at the touch of a button.
4. What if it rains?
This is when you can appreciate the difference even more. Modern electronic gears are completely waterproof and, in addition, dirt, water and moisture cause the cables to slide less smoothly inside the chain stays of the mechanical groupsets.
The commands of the electronic groupsets are smaller and generally more pleasant to use. The difference is accentuated when comparing groupsets with disc brakes versus groupsets with traditional brakes.
6. Battery life
The biggest problem when switching to an electronic groupset is that you must never forget to keep the battery under control, otherwise you run the risk of being stranded.On the other hand, it must be said that it is not impossible, on the contrary, checking the battery status is really quick and easy.
If you know how to do it, adjusting the rear derailleur and front derailleur of electronic groupsets is easier and quicker than with a mechanical groupset.
It is not necessary to periodically replace the cables and sheaths to maintain the functionality and precision of the derailleur. It is also clear that, in case of software problems, it is necessary to intervene with special diagnostic programs.
8. Cost of repairs and spare parts
If a control or the electronic shifter breaks, the situation becomes serious: the costs are more or less double compared to the same mechanical components.
9. In conclusion… it depends
Whether you choose a traditional derailleur or an electronic derailleur depends mainly on how you use your bike. For example, we would never recommend an electronic derailleur to someone who uses their bike for long journeys, where breakdowns are the order of the day and it is much easier to fix if it is a cable and not software.
But it’s also fair to say that, from a bike handling point of view, once you’ve tried the electronics it’s hard to go back.
For all cycling products try Deporvillage.