Ultegra rear derailleur - clutch vs non clutch?
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  1. #1
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    Ultegra rear derailleur - clutch vs non clutch?

    Buying a new rear derailleur for my Giant TCR (2018 adv pro) so I can use a 34 cassette for longer and steeper climbs. What advantages/if any does the clutch rear derailleur offer me? I don't see much gravel on my typical rides if that is a factor.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by FasterStronger View Post
    Buying a new rear derailleur for my Giant TCR (2018 adv pro) so I can use a 34 cassette for longer and steeper climbs. What advantages/if any does the clutch rear derailleur offer me? I don't see much gravel on my typical rides if that is a factor.
    Why the question then ? You don’t need it,period.
    Heck,i’ve never even used the clutch on mtb’s derailleurs...
    Last edited by Devastazione; 01-03-2019 at 12:54 PM.

  3. #3
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    A clutch rear derailleur can help with preventing excessive chain slap and having the chain drop off the front chain ring (not going to prevent dropped chains from poor shifting technique or poor front derailleur adjustment). This is useful if you are riding in bumpy conditions such as cobble/brick roads, gravel roads, CX or XC. There is a friction penalty that comes with the clutch benefits. If you are riding on reasonably well paved roads 95% of the time you do not need, nor should you want, a clutch rear derailleur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devastazione View Post
    Heck,i’ve never even used the clutch on mtb’s derailleurs...
    I have and still do. But I still don't see much, if any, benefit.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by eboos View Post
    A clutch rear derailleur can help with preventing excessive chain slap and having the chain drop off the front chain ring (not going to prevent dropped chains from poor shifting technique or poor front derailleur adjustment).
    From what I can tell that's all it does. Which make the word 'clutch' to describe it really confusing. Or am I missing some other function that you didn't mention?

    I get how a rear der. could prevent chain slap by the spring not moving but wouldn't that make taking the wheel off difficult? Or is there an on/off switch?

  6. #6
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FasterStronger View Post
    Buying a new rear derailleur for my Giant TCR (2018 adv pro) so I can use a 34 cassette for longer and steeper climbs. What advantages/if any does the clutch rear derailleur offer me? I don't see much gravel on my typical rides if that is a factor.
    OP this post should be in 'Components/Wrenching' not GD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    From what I can tell that's all it does. Which make the word 'clutch' to describe it really confusing. Or am I missing some other function that you didn't mention?

    I get how a rear der. could prevent chain slap by the spring not moving but wouldn't that make taking the wheel off difficult? Or is there an on/off switch?
    Yes. There is a very simple adjustable clutch in the derailleur housing. You always ride w/ it ON and only switch it to OFF when removing the wheel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    You always ride w/ it ON and only switch it to OFF when removing the wheel.
    And then, after forgetting to switch it back ON, ride for an entire season without noticing any difference.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Yes. There is a very simple adjustable clutch in the derailleur housing. You always ride w/ it ON and only switch it to OFF when removing the wheel.
    Thanks. I can see how that would be good to have for an off road bike. I seem to end up in small/small and get wicked chain slap when riding gravel and though the woods. Some clear plastic on the chain stays is all the remedy I need for that but I'd probably feel different if I had carbon not steel chain stays.

  9. #9
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FasterStronger View Post
    Buying a new rear derailleur for my Giant TCR (2018 adv pro) so I can use a 34 cassette for longer and steeper climbs. What advantages/if any does the clutch rear derailleur offer me? I don't see much gravel on my typical rides if that is a factor.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    From what I can tell that's all it does. Which make the word 'clutch' to describe it really confusing. Or am I missing some other function that you didn't mention?

    I get how a rear der. could prevent chain slap by the spring not moving but wouldn't that make taking the wheel off difficult? Or is there an on/off switch?
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Thanks. I can see how that would be good to have for an off road bike. I seem to end up in small/small and get wicked chain slap when riding gravel and though the woods. Some clear plastic on the chain stays is all the remedy I need for that but I'd probably feel different if I had carbon not steel chain stays.
    It works great...one of the main things that keeps the chain on a single ring drivetrain. That and the single ring specific chainring design.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    I seem to end up in small/small and get wicked chain slap when riding gravel and though the woods. Some clear plastic on the chain stays is all the remedy I need for that but I'd probably feel different if I had carbon not steel chain stays.
    Or you could simply choose to ride in better gear choices. Small-small is a method for sizing chains, not a rational gearing choice.

  11. #11
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    here's my experience with using a clutch derailleur on a road bike.

    I only use this on my CLIMBING bike (you'll see why in a moment). When I ride/use this bike, 90% of the time is spent climbing (since I use it on mountain rides). That mean 90% of the time, the clutch is in the OFF position (because shifting with clutch ON makes shifting very stiff and slow, and furthermore, road bikes generally have shorter chainstays, which put more tauntness on chain tension with the clutch is ON. Mtb bikes have longer chainstays thus chain tension is looser, which counter act the stiffness of the clutch when shifting).

    So when do I turn the clutch ON? you guess it, when I descent. Going over rough pavement at high speed AND peddaling at well over 100+ rpm at the same time will cause chainslappings and thus cause the chain to jump around the cassette (in my case), but chain could also have bounce off the front chainring too. But after a period of time of usage, I just told myself: just stop peddaling when going downhill over rough pavement, this ain't no race. Ever since then, I stop using the clutch all together. In fact, I took apart the derailleur and remove the clutch mechanism inside the clutch der housing.

    But in my case, I went further to tweak my derailleur (since I already have it disassembled at the time.). Shimano derailleurs allow you to adjust the spring tension of the cage (with 2 positional settings), and I so I set the der to use the stiffer tension setting, and that almost totally eliminate my chain jumping issue save to the most knarly bumpiest of descent (then I don't peddal when going over such roughness).

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    Or you could simply choose to ride in better gear choices. Small-small is a method for sizing chains, not a rational gearing choice.
    Yes, and probably not a good method for that if you're concerned about chain slap issues (vs. big-big +1).

  13. #13
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    here's my experience with using a clutch derailleur on a road bike.

    I only use this on my CLIMBING bike (you'll see why in a moment). When I ride/use this bike, 90% of the time is spent climbing (since I use it on mountain rides). That mean 90% of the time, the clutch is in the OFF position (because shifting with clutch ON makes shifting very stiff and slow, and furthermore, road bikes generally have shorter chainstays, which put more tauntness on chain tension with the clutch is ON. Mtb bikes have longer chainstays thus chain tension is looser, which counter act the stiffness of the clutch when shifting).

    So when do I turn the clutch ON? you guess it, when I descent. Going over rough pavement at high speed AND peddaling at well over 100+ rpm at the same time will cause chainslappings and thus cause the chain to jump around the cassette (in my case), but chain could also have bounce off the front chainring too. But after a period of time of usage, I just told myself: just stop peddaling when going downhill over rough pavement, this ain't no race. Ever since then, I stop using the clutch all together. In fact, I took apart the derailleur and remove the clutch mechanism inside the clutch der housing.

    But in my case, I went further to tweak my derailleur (since I already have it disassembled at the time.). Shimano derailleurs allow you to adjust the spring tension of the cage (with 2 positional settings), and I so I set the der to use the stiffer tension setting, and that almost totally eliminate my chain jumping issue save to the most knarly bumpiest of descent (then I don't peddal when going over such roughness).
    Length of the chainstay doesn't have effect on the tension the clutch puts on the chain.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    Length of the chainstay doesn't have effect on the tension the clutch puts on the chain.
    and I didn't says that or mean to imply that way... what i mean is length of chainstays does have an effect on the chainline angle and when you have the chainline angle at a sharp angle (eg, cross-chaining) while the clutch is ON, this has the effect of higher chain tension and so making the shifting while clutch is ON even harder

  15. #15
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    and I didn't says that or mean to imply that way... what i mean is length of chainstays does have an effect on the chainline angle and when you have the chainline angle at a sharp angle (eg, cross-chaining) while the clutch is ON, this has the effect of higher chain tension and so making the shifting while clutch is ON even harder
    Ahhhhh, got it.
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  16. #16
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    Let me just say that while I have never used a clutch derailleur, I will guess that it could be useful on a full-suspension bike.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Let me just say that while I have never used a clutch derailleur, I will guess that it could be useful on a full-suspension bike.
    thign is.. with the clutch on all the time, it will put more friction in the suspension (by hindering chain growth), and this robs small bump sensitivity. Best is to ride with a buddy and have your buddy reach down to turn the clutch off when you need it ;)

  18. #18
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    I wanted more than 28 teeth on my new CX bike and needed a GS derailleur so I went ahead and got one of these RD-RX800's. I haven't taken it on a big ride yet but on the repair stand and riding up and down the street the "clutch on" setting doesn't seem to adversely affect shifting to me. On the other hand, I have no idea if it's really going to help with chain slap, etc.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    It works great...one of the main things that keeps the chain on a single ring drivetrain. That and the single ring specific chainring design.
    Exactly!

    The clutch was designed to keep from throwing the chain on single ring drive train. The clutch and narrow wide chain ring makes 1X drive trains bulletproof. The off switch makes maintenance easier. There is no added drag or friction when clutch is on.

    If you’re not using 1X and not riding on rough/technical terrain you will not see any benefit to using clutch derailleur IMO.

  20. #20
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    my Sram mountain bikes all have clutches and I hardly notice them other than a lot less chain slap and I NEVR drop a chain on these 3 singlespeed bikes rode in the rough gnarl

    I just put a clutch-equipped Ultegra rech mech on my winter bike. It is 2x11 but the cassette is 11-42. I find this shimano clutch is HELLA STIFF and have not tried using it. Seems to be engineered with stiffer clutch than my always-on SRAM mtnbike clutch rear mechs. I turned it on while ont he bike stand and disliked how it affected shifting, felt weird. Perhaps useful if I put some 650b wheels on and took it gravel/offroading I might like it for reducing chain slap.
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  21. #21
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    Max cog for the RD-RX800 is supposed to be 34... maybe that number is conservative and because Shimano doesn't offer cassettes that high but just an FYI. Are you using a wolf tooth or something?

    Also the friction is supposed to be adjustable. I looked at the instructions which involve taking a plate off held on by 3 tiny screws and decided not to mess with it yet.
    Last edited by jetdog9; 01-15-2019 at 06:43 AM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Devastazione View Post
    Why the question then ? You don’t need it,period.
    Heck,i’ve never even used the clutch on mtb’s derailleurs...
    Looking at a product for a problem one doesn't even have doesn't seem to make sense. Before looking at a new solution one must first believe a current solution isn't working

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetdog9 View Post
    Max cog for the RD-RX800 is supposed to be 34... maybe that number is conservative and because Shimano doesn't offer cassettes that high but just an FYI. Are you using a wolf tooth or something?

    Also the friction is supposed to be adjustable. I looked at the instructions which involve taking a plate off held on by 3 tiny screws and decided not to mess with it yet.
    shimano cassette 11-42. XT model

    Wolf tooth, yes

    I did not know the friction is adjustable. thanks.

    We have a number of 16% climbs here and I am decades past my racing years ;) also do some bikepacking weekends carrying extra loads
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  24. #24
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    shimano cassette 11-42. XT model

    Wolf tooth, yes

    I did not know the friction is adjustable. thanks.

    We have a number of 16% climbs here and I am decades past my racing years ;) also do some bikepacking weekends carrying extra loads
    Single chainring or double?
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