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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just bought a new bike and want to upgrade the Front Derailleur. The bike comes with a Shimano Altus on the front, but the rear and triggers are SRAM X.5. I wanted to switch it over to an X.7 in the front for now, then eventually replace the rear with X.7 when needed.

Is this a good idea? Suggestions besides the X.7?

My issue being a noob is which to buy. How do I know if I need a Top Swing or a Bottom Swing? What else do I need to know?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
bclagge said:
First off, why do you think you need to upgrade?
That actually fits into part of my question...the bike is on order and will be built. It seems that the front derailleur (Altus) is of a lower grade than the rear. I have read a lot of bad things about the Altus and just wanted to avoid the frustration. I figured they could throw on a better derailleur while they were building it.

Your thoughts?
 

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From what i understand the front derailleur isnt used as much so it can be of lower quality than the rear.
 

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I have the standard triple chain ring setup. While trail riding I never, ever switch out of 2nd gear. Even when I do switch, if I was on the road for example, it's very infrequent. If I had to stop my bike and do by hand it wouldn't make a difference. An upgrade I'm considering for the future is going 1x9 and getting rid of my front derailleur and shifter.

My personal thoughts are that if you have money burning a hole in your pocket that you want to spend upgrading there may be better ways to use it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
bclagge said:
I have the standard triple chain ring setup. While trail riding I never, ever switch out of 2nd gear. Even when I do switch, if I was on the road for example, it's very infrequent. If I had to stop my bike and do by hand it wouldn't make a difference. An upgrade I'm considering for the future is going 1x9 and getting rid of my front derailleur and shifter.

My personal thoughts are that if you have money burning a hole in your pocket that you want to spend upgrading there may be better ways to use it.
Thanks for the replies...that was kind of what i was looking for...sounds like i should leave it alone, unless I have issues.
 

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Seriously, I understand upgrading. It's fun. But front derailleurs shouldn't even be on your radar. They pretty much don't matter. If a front derailleur isn't working well, it most likely just needs to be adjusted, not upgraded. Whether you're looking to save weight or see increased performance, your upgrade dollars would pretty much be better spend on ANYTHING on your bike besides the front derailleur.
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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I think the front derailleur is a woefully undersung part on a mountain bike. I use mine fairly frequently, and having it work is really important to me. I live in a fairly hilly part of the country, so I use the top and bottom of my gear range; it's also the right size shift to switch between sitting and standing cadences.

That said, the factory has probably already put the front derailleur on your bike. Usually they're shipped to the shop mostly-assembled, and only need to have the handlebars straightened out, the wheels put on, and a tune. You ought to be able to get some service out of the stock Altus before it quits working, as long as you clean it from time to time and use good shifting technique. When you wear it out, you can decide how much you want to spend replacing it. For now, I'd just leave it alone.

If you must upgrade... top swing and bottom swing refer to the derailleur cage's relationship with the clamp. Top swing sits above it and bottom swing sits below it. You may also need to know top and bottom pull, which refer to where the cable comes from to attach to the derailleur, and clamp size, which is the size of your seat tube. Most Shimano front derailleurs can adapt to a couple of common sizes, but I'm not sure about SRAM. Shimano and SRAM MTB front derailleurs are interchangeable.
 

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AndrwSwitch said:
I think the front derailleur is a woefully undersung part on a mountain bike.
I couldn't disagree more. I'd try, but the end result would be a bunch of words that have ***** instead of letters.
 

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you can get a reasonable quality front der for CHEAP. id go for the upgrade. low end (altus etc) front ders really do under perform, you can pickup a much better deore for 10-15 bucks on ebay sometimes. i think new slx's are only 30ish anyhow.

replace it with the same swing and size you currently have. the manufacturers website should have that info on it.
 

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Why not just use it until it's time for an upgrade?
My wife's bike has an Altus front derailleur and she hasn't had any issues.
Just maintain it properly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I wasn't sure if the derailleur was already attached when it shipped or not. I just assumed that it wasn't. I figured, "why not have them put a better one on while they are putting the bike together?". This way I wouldn't have the labor down the road to upgrade.

I understand the thought process of using it until it breaks...but if it is an underperforming part out of the box, I would rather just replace it right away, especially since it is a low cost part.

Keep the opinions coming.
 

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I've got either an old (09) alivio or altus FD with acera shifters, my girlfriend has an 2010 altus FD with altus shifters and my brother has a 2010 Deore FD with Deore shifters. I wrench all three bikes and all three shift with exactly the same reliability (99% given you've pushed the shifter leaver enough). The Deore requires abit less thumb effort but that may be because of the shifter too. All three get and require about the same ammount of wrenching time and to be honest i can't really pick any difference between the three.

Can't comment on durability yet but half a year of riding and all three are still performing flawlessly.
 

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I use my front der., too. I will usually upgrade something every year or so when I run across a good deal. I like to wrench, so the upgrades keep it interesting. After 3 years I finally upgraded the front der. (alivio to lx) because I found one cheap on ebay. I can tell a difference. The trigger is easier to push, and it is smoother.

I agree with those suggesting sticking with the stock one. Get some use out of it and upgrade later if you find that you use the front der. and want something nicer.
 

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I agree with everyone, keep it, use it and replace it when necessary. It's not like you're going to replace it and sell it for $5.00 to someone. Might as well get some use out of it.

My trail bike came with X5 shifters & rear derailleur and a Deore FD. Front derailleurs can be mixed and matched. It's pretty much standard that the Shimano FD are better than the SRAM FD.

Besides, you'd have to break the factory chain to replace the FD. Do you have a chain tool? Have you ever setup a FD? It can be a pain if you don't know what you're doing. Do you have a torque wrench? You need to tighten the frame bolt to the correct torque specs (usually 5-6 Nm)
 

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chase1996, I have a spare x7, barely used. If you want it, PM me your bike info and I'll see if it fits. I'll give it to you cheap.
 

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Chase, Im in the same boat as you. Im awaiting delivery of a bike where Im wanting to replace the weak components as well. I was recommended to wear out the parts, then replace. Im thinking that I might need to upgrade the cockpit to fit a little better i.e. longer stem or setback seatpost. Ima get on it first then figure out what to do.
 

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bclagge said:
I have the standard triple chain ring setup. While trail riding I never, ever switch out of 2nd gear. Even when I do switch, if I was on the road for example, it's very infrequent. If I had to stop my bike and do by hand it wouldn't make a difference. An upgrade I'm considering for the future is going 1x9 and getting rid of my front derailleur and shifter.

My personal thoughts are that if you have money burning a hole in your pocket that you want to spend upgrading there may be better ways to use it.
Awesome idea, I need to start a new post about this. Need some ideas
 

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I think it all depends on your riding style. My brother (for some reason) uses his front derailleur a LOT, so he has an XT to match his rear. It's important to him.

I, on the other hand, couldn't get the hex wrench fast enough to ditch two chainrings and the derailleur.

Ride the bike first for a while and see if you use it a lot. If you do, and it works fine, leave it alone. If the performance seems iffy to you, upgrade then. You'll only be out the cost of shipping if you order online (But please support your local friendly bike shop. :D). If not, save some weight and do like me. Take the thing off.

As for having them replace it while they're building the bike to save on labor later, a front derailleur is a very easy swap. Barely any labor involved. Ride it for now, upgrade later if need be.
 

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quietcornerrider said:
As for having them replace it while they're building the bike to save on labor later, a front derailleur is a very easy swap. Barely any labor involved. Ride it for now, upgrade later if need be.
Unless it's a bare frame, it's already on the bike. The chain is already though the FD cage. If they are using a Shimano chain, they have to break the chain. Unless of course they have a higher end FD that has a screw that holds the derailleur cage together. The lower end ones have a rivet. If it's a higher end one with a screw, there's no need to replace it in the first place.

Once the new FD is on, the height according to the large chain ring has to be set as well as the limits. The chain then needs put back on with a new pin (Shimano) The derailleur wire needs connected and then the shifter needs tuned. The limits may need to be adjusted slightly as well as cable tension.

I wouldn't call that "barely any labor"
 
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