Strengths: Very light, Shimano Compatible, unusual.
Weaknesses: As it it were designed to break.
It's interesting and proably more at home on a road bike where I would not heasitate to use it. Shifts very good both up and down and some hard power shifts. Not up to real mountian biking.
You can buy these now cheap on eBay and if you use your bike mostly on the road that's fine.
I was riding my usual trail the third or 4th time out and didn't even realize I hit anything. The cage that hold the pulleys twisted and broke and the derailure came apart at the piviot screw. It was totally destroyed. I am sure that a rock getting kicked up did this. No Shimano derailure would have broken simularly. You could smash this thing right off and not even tweek the hanger.
Similar Products Used: Many, many Shimano derailures. From LX to XTR model years 1990 to '04
Bike Setup: Jamis Dakar XTish build up.
a Cross Country Rider
from Bradford, PA USA
Date Reviewed: September 20, 2004
Strengths: Smooth shifter, inexpensive, direct cable routing
Weaknesses: Plastic construction (I guess), no longer made, no barrel adjuster
Shifts better than an XT unit with the same shifters. It is partailly plastic, so its probably not a good choice for freeriders, trials guys, or DH nuts. The thing is very light. No replaceable parts...no barrel adjuster. Does hold its adjustment quite well. Quiet. Reasonably inexpensive.
Bike Setup: GT ZASKAR with cool costume stuff! very hot!
from Birmingham, England
Date Reviewed: May 5, 2001
Strengths: Light, works well and carries on working. Best Mech is you like it muddy Unfussy Warranty Very Different Not Shimano
Weaknesses: Twat it hard and it breaks (Duh!) Hard To set up initially
I have had the same rear mech for three years, it has outlasted several frames! once you get past the initial stress of setting it up and paying for the damn thing it reaslly just sits there letting you forget about it, wanna shift up a whole block on one wrench whilst pedaling full out, this drailler will do it, through rain or snow, this is why I hsve the oldest, most battered drivetrain of anyone I know, which still out performs XTR straight from the box, O.K I have broken ione but the warranty replaced it almost immediately without quibble, and the second has lasted forever, beautifully made, brilliantly designed, works above and beyond the call of duty, at this rate I'll be leaving it in my will!
Bike Setup: s works m2 team edition judy dh 97 mavic cross links esp front mech plasma shifters,xt caset,avid flak jaket cables the boom like set up for x-country and dh riding
Date Reviewed: March 2, 2000
Strengths: Superlight-compared to anything, shifts when ESP or XT would lock up (dusty conditions, muddy conditions). Works with 7,8 or 9 speeds.
Weaknesses: THE CABLE HOUSING ABSOLUTELY MUST BE THE CORRECT LENGTH. There is a chart in the box, and in the manual. It shows the special cable housing lengths. If you don't cut within 20mm, the derailluer will not work right.
It works well if you have the cable housing cut correctly. The Quartz works very well also, has many of the same features, and costs about half as much. The only derailluer that competes with this is the 98+ XTR. As bad as it sounds, I'd rather be sending my money to the Frenchies.(Although Sachs is owned by SRAM Chicago)
Bike Setup: Bontrager RaceLite OR, 9 Speed XT all around, Rolf Propel Pro wheelset.
a Cross Country Rider
from Montreal, Quebec
Date Reviewed: February 17, 2000
Strengths: Very light,very good design (direct pull), very good shifting
Weaknesses: Built with extremely cheap plastic, very prone to breakage. Only good for the city in my opinion.
I was very enthousiastic about this derailleur for two or three weeks. It was working very well until I started to bike in a nasty singletrack; I am not sure exactly what happened but the Plasma shattered in three pieces where the plastic parts are the thinnest. My master mechanics had warned me about the drabacks of this derailleur. He was right. Anyways, I did not want to waste any more time so instead of a replacement I got myself an XTR, a much tougher derailleur.
Favorite Trail: Le p'tit train du Nord trails, Prévost
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Similar Products Used: Acera x, STX, STX RC, XTR
Bike Setup: Upgraded Klein Hardtail.
a Cross Country Rider
from Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Date Reviewed: February 10, 2000
Strengths: With the Sachs grip-shifters this is by far the fastest shifting deraileur, and the most precise too. When not worn around its pivot-points, no ghostshifts at all. Way better than Shimano XT and XTR (who work fine with shimano shifters though, but still ghostshift on my fully)
Weaknesses: Very weak chainwheels (or pullywheels, whatever you call `m in english), they wear out fast, or their bearings fail, and when they fail, the bottom one unscrews itself (indicating a stupid construction, lost a lot of parts in the forrest because of that, causing an unwelcome singlespeed experience ). The pivot points wear out to fast (within nine month`s or so), when worn the derailleur starts to ghost-shift etc. And although they are sold as being servicable, in NL no importer service is available, nor are replacement parts.
I used two of these during the last 20 months, because they worked the best with the Sachs Plasma gripshifters I bought. Way better than Shimano XT and Sachs Quartz alu. Supershifts are possible, but the derailleur has some weaknesses SRAM should learn from. With a good cable setup it`s not too sensitive to mud, so that`s OK in my experience. But the chainwheels wear out too fast, and their bearings are prone to jamming themselves. When this happens (during a muddy ride, during which you endure so much rolling resistance and chain noise that the protesting chainwheels get unnoticed) the lower chainwheel unscrews itself out of the derailleur cage, and suddenly all is lost! Stupid construction detail! The pivot points wear out fast, and since these are metal parts mounted into a composite material, in theorie it`s possible to repair the derailleur. Unfortunately SRAM NL (or Koch Kleeberg) supplies no spare parts, nor offers a rebuild service. Which means you can throw away a Fl. 200,- (guilders, not dollars) derailleur every ten months... Went back to Shimano XT, reluctantly accepting a lesser shifting performance and some ghostshifts on heavy bumps. If anyone of SRAM reads this, I appreciate any comments you have on this.
Similar Products Used: Shimano XT, Sachs Quartz (the metal one, horrible!)
Bike Setup: `94 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, changed the brakes to Magura, the shifters to SACHS Plasma gripshifters
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 20, 2000
Strengths: Light, smooooth, warranty
Weaknesses: Weak plastic, price
I just broke my second Plasma inside of 12 months. The first one lasted about 8 months and the plastic side of the cage broke. Sent it to my dealer, Bikeworks in Toledo (fantastic service), and they hooked my up with a new one. Used the second one twice and POW, the knuckle broke while I was climbing a hill. It was about 20 degrees outside when this happened and I am not sure if that caused the plastic to become brittle. Anyhow, I will give the Plasma one more shot because it shifted so nice.
Bike Setup: Bontrager Race, Superfly, Valiant wheel set
from Newtown CT, USA
Date Reviewed: January 1, 1999
This is the best rear-derailleur, i started out with an STX and got an XT, but the damn thing fell apart, the Sealed Bearings are crap, they fill with mud and stop turning, and then it just acts like a bushing. My Friend has had an Alivio, an LX, an XT and both the XTR normal and Rapid-Rise, he hated his XT, it fell apart, so far the XTR(the normal one, he returned the Rapid-Rise because it worked backwards) derailleur is working great. I thought it was cool for a while, but different things about it got more annoying and when the bottom pulley shot off and chased me down the road one day I decided to try the Plasma. True, the Plasma cost 3 times as much, but doesnt a BMW cost 3 times as much as a Toyota?(and im not dissin Japanese car companies, they make THE MOST RELIABLE cars in the world.) But if you want performance and engineering you need Sachs. The XTR and Plasma both have real engineering and quality and real CARTRIDGE BEARINGS, A MUST HAVE IN ANY COMPONENT! If you dont mind the price get a Plasma, and if you want almost as good without the German twist get an XTR.