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· Registered
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Help me classify the derailers from the highest end on down.

When last I seriously shopped Shimano was the only force in the marketplace However now that Sram and others are prevelant I don't know how they compare. It used to be you could classify the derailer market easily start with XTR/XT/X/LX and then into the others (also all shimano) Now however I must admit I am behind the times. I want to help a friend who is shopping for a bike and give them a break down of rear derrailers from the top end right down to the bottom, can anyone help?

· Registered
85 Posts
It's about the same

The whole SRAM vs Shimano thing is kind of like Ford vs Chevy - you have zealots on each side that say one is better than the other, and, for the most part, both sides have valid points. So it's virtually impossible to rank Shimano and SRAM on the same list, so it's gotta be separate lists.

The list you described is pretty much the same for Shimano. It goes:

Alivio (8spd)
Acera (8spd)
Altus (8spd)

Where it gets complicated is that Shimano also has a heavier duty freeride/hucking line now. There's Saint, which is between XT and XTR in price but much stronger and heavier, and Hone, which is sorta in the LX range. Shimano makes a point of not ranking them in with the rest of the MTB groups, but prefers them to be in their own list. I guess I do too.

For SRAM, they also make it easy, it goes


These roughly follow Shimano's trim levels - X.O is sorta equivalent to XTR, X.9 is kinda like XT, and so on.

Hope this answers your question.

· Old man on a bike
12,390 Posts
And keep in mind much of the actual performance is from the shifter/housing/cable setup, not the derailer in particular; weight differences/material qualities are the major differences at the upper end of both Shimano and SRAM derailer lines. It is common for bike companies to sucker people in by spec'g a higher end rear derailer without upgrading the rest of the shifting system.

Curious, what other derailers other than Shimano or SRAM have you seen? I never saw a Shimano "X" series, either.

· Registered
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
thanks for the list that was just what i was looking for.

as for the shimano X seriesIf my memory serves me correctly it was only available for a couple years or less maybe ten years ago or so but I don't recall exactly when or for how long. If I remember right it was my Bridgestone MTB that had x front derrailer on it. but that has been a few years perhaps I saw them on a different bike

perhaps it was called shimano suntour x


· Registered
122 Posts
The price vs performance bang, for Shimano stops with the Deore front derailleur and the LX rear derailleur.

After that, there's a slight weight reduction (VERY slight) along with larger prices with no returns on performance.

For SRAM, the price, performance bang hits on the SX5 system, with some durability improvement as higher end models replace "Grilon" (nylon) parts with metal parts. Once again, not much in terms of weight or performance improvements. However, the SRAM systems get more durable as the price goes up.

One of the most ironic aspects of this question is the whole 9-speed chain issue.

Simply put, 9 speed chains are weak when used with the high torque on mountain bike systems.

This leave little to no good reason to invest into 9 speed systems and every reason to avoid them, thus avoiding being stranded or losing a race to a known weak part.

What does this mean?

Necessarily, there are no good quality 9 speed shifters or cassettes for mountain bike use. These require a fragile chain.

Fortunately, all of the Shimano and SRAM 9 speed derailleurs that work so well, also happen to work just fine with an 8 speed chain (8 speed shifter and cassette are required).

Some Shimano parts are a great curiosity, such as the lower end parts. Sometimes they can be witty versions of their high-end cousins. This is hit or miss.

In my opinion, $40 isn't too much to pay for a rear derailleur that is simply fantastic, such as the Shimano LX (or Tiagra GS) or equivilent SRAM.
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