SRAM Type 2 Rear Derailleur: On Test- by c_g

Last fall, Guitar Ted had already talked about the Shadow Plus derailleurs from Shimano (here) We also have bikes equipped with these derailleurs, (most recently the BMC Fourstroke FS01), with impressive positive results. And as the informed reader knows also SRAM offers a comparable technology – called Type 2. We got a sample of it in for long term testing, which we will talk about in more detail in the coming weeks and months as we have one installed on the CUBE Stereo SHPC 140.

Guitar Ted actually has another bike which is equipped with Type 2 derailleur – the Diamondback HT Mason (here) – and will report in turn.

The philosophy is the same as Shimano’s: With a highly attenuated derailleur cage the chain hitting the chain stay is minimized and the main reason for a dropped chain is bypassed … and no extra chain guides or limitations of gear ratios is necessary. The “Roller Bearing Clutch”, so called by SRAM, reduces the cage movement. It is placed at the pivot point of the cage and only counteracts the counterclockwise movement and runs on maintenance free fat needle bearings.

SRAM uses this mechanism which is dampened permanently (instead of an adjustable one, like Shimano) and keeps it fixed with a factory preset (for SHIMANO adjustable with a little effort). Our past experience with the Shadow Plus has shown that there is no real reason to switch off the clutch ever. The effort when switching wheels does not cause much drama, and the shift quality suffers only slightly at the trigger, needing only slightly more pressure to initiate the shift. The Type 2 SRAM works differently though.

With the “Cage Lock”, one can lock the cage with a pin at the front and thus take the chain tension off from the system completely. Simple but effective. To release one moves the cage just out of the retainer slightly forward and the pin is retracted and is then spring-driven. After our first experiments in assembling the wheel, as well as for work on the chain, we can say already – This is a dream come true and at least as effective as the on-off mechanism of SHIMANO.
The usual SRAM “Exact Actuation” remains for derailleur control and means the cable pull is equal to the derailleur movement – the ratio is 1:1. The system is less susceptible to small variations in the cable tension, and tolerant of a not 100% perfect setting.

For now the Type 2 technology is limited to the levels of the SRAM X.0 and X.9. We expect that the other groups in the further stages of development will come to enjoy the technology soon though. Type 2 derailleurs come in three cage lengths (short, medium and long) so for 1 × 10, 2 × 10 and suitable 3 × 10 configurations. Thus, Type 2 which was originally developed for the AM and enduro use, is even good for XC and trail riders. SRAM strongly recommends Type 2 derailleurs for all applications. The colors available stay the same: For the X.0 has one / a choice between Silver / Black (test pattern), black / black and black / red and the X.9 group of black / white, black / black and black gray.

As for the weights, the XO Type 2 derailleur compares against the “regular” model with just 25-30 g more weight- 235 g compared to 205 g for the medium length cage – This is likely going to prevent only the most hardcore weight fetishists from buying Type 2. Pricing for the XO Type 2 derailleur is € 233.00 (€ 104 at the X.9 level-) and thus only a few euros over the normal system (MSRP of XO at € 228 – € at and for X.9 -). Even so hardly a reason to hold back a possible purchase.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: After the system we have now has been in use for a few weeks, we wanted to share with you, of course, our first impressions. The Type 2 derailleur has replaced the one on our CUBE Stereo test bike that previously had the standard XO rear derailleur.

The first rides with the Type 2 XO rear derailleur were unremarkable. Since the “audible” chain hitting on the bike was minimal with the normal rear derailleur the audible difference was small. More important, however, was that the shifting performance and the shifting comfort remained at the same high level. I imagine that the shift forces are slightly higher, but the difference is not very big (if at all and therefore does not require getting used to.) The gear changes are even under load, just as crisp and precise -.. No significant delays or abnormalities. In this aspect, Type 2 at first glance is at least similarly scoring full points.

Early modification: In order to tease out the differences, strengths and limitations of Type 2 or even more, I decided, therefore, summarily to upgrade to 1 × 10 with no derailleur or chain guide. We have fitted a front RACE FACE single ring with 33 teeth instead of 24/38er 2-way combination. Why 33 teeth? Simply because we are both familiar with 32 or 34 and it’s cool that we found that there are also odd numbers of teeth are available :). While it is too early to go into details, so far we have had the 4 outings on this configuration with no chain dropping or other problems. You think this sounds promising, right?

We will ride the SRAM XO rear derailleur Type 2 for a while, in the above or other configurations, and keep you posted about any observations at a later date.

Until then … RIDE ON,