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Explained: Shimano DRD Mech Hanger

Shimano’s new ‘Direct Mount Rear Derailleur’ has come under a fair bit of fire for being yet another new standard, but as this video shows a lot of the industry think this new design of mounting a rear mech is a great idea.

On the whole I reckon it’s a step forward thanks to it offering better shifting due to increased stiffness and strength, but I do still have a few concerns about it. The first one is that if you go making the mech hanger super strong then your expensive mech is just going to suffer even more if it’s subjected to an impact. It’s a catch 22 situation really, and once again it highlights the shortcomings of the whole idea of using a rear mech on mountain bikes. No matter what you do they’re always going to be susceptible to damage in one way or another. That said, many conventional mech hangers are so flimsy that they bend under even the smallest impact, and once they’re bent, even just a little bit, your shifting is never going to work properly. Also, if you bend your mech hanger and don’t realise there’s a strong possibility that it could end up in your spokes and get completely obliterated anyway, so maybe you are better off with a super strong one? It’s all a case of compromise I suppose, making the best of what is essentially a bad situation full stop, and when you weigh everything up maybe this is the best route to go down. Plus replaceable mech hangers were never really designed to save mechs (although in many cases they have since proved to be quite effective at doing that), instead they were introduced to stop you writing off an entire frame thanks to a bent mech hanger.

My other main concern is that of compromise in terms of dropout design. Currently frame manufacturers who are offering this all seem to be saying that they will be offering both a conventional mech hanger and this new one with each frame, so that you can use either a Shimano or SRAM rear mech, but from where I’m standing that doesn’t seem to make much sense as it appears to add another layer of compromise. The reason why I say that is because the DRD does allow you to make a better dropout, there’s no doubt about it, but if you still have to make the dropout work with a conventional mech hanger then surely you can’t really take full advantage of the new design. If SRAM were to offer a DRD mech too then this would solve that problem, and if like Shimano they sold their mech’s with a removable link which means the mech will work with either style of mech hanger then there would also be no issues of obsolescence.

I should probably also point out now that Shimano aren’t offering a DRD mech hanger themselves, just a DRD mech. The exact design of the hanger and the way it attaches to the frame is entirely up to the frame builder. If they really wanted to they could even make it so that it’s not removable.

Overall then I definitely don’t think this new standard is anything to rant about as it’s not going to affect anybody negatively, and even if it’s only a small one I think it’s a step in the right direction. If SRAM were to get on board with the DRD system then I think it would be even better…and if someone actually managed to come up with a decent alternative to the rear mech then we could just stop worrying about bloody mech hangers full stop.

What do you lot reckon?

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