Wondering whether to invest in oversized derailleur pulleys or an oversized derailleur cage? This post will help you choose between these options. What works best for you can be determined by asking yourself a few simple questions.

Current Drivetrain Efficiency Trends

Going big is driving aftermarket pulley sales at the moment. The idea behind it makes total sense: a larger pulley wheel requires the chain to articulate less reducing unwanted drag on your drivetrain.

Larger wheels also have a lower rotational speed at the same chain speed. Slower spinning means less drag in the bearing.

oversized derailleur cages vs oversized pulleys

Kogel Bearings offers a range of oversized pulleys that fit on your stock derailleur cage as well as an oversized derailleur cage that uses some of the largest pulley wheels available.

Maximizing Your Rear Derailleur’s Efficiency

Oversized derailleur cages build on your existing drivetrain by replacing the stock cage and are the best option for maximizing your rear derailleur's performance.

Installation probably sounds a bit complicated, but the process is well defined and can be performed by a professional bike mechanic.

Plus, if you love your drivetrain but fall out of love with your bike, you can always put the old cage back on before parting ways with your old bike and use Kolossos on your next bike, provided the drivetrains are compatible.

Righting Past Limitations of Oversized Derailleur Cages

Historically, oversized derailleur cages were plagued by a few design flaws. Specifically, older systems were plagued by flex, which resulted in reduced shifting accuracy.

We designed our Kolossos to eliminate these downsides and be the stiffest derailleur cage on the market.

Kolossos also does not discriminate between tri, road or off-road use, so If you are looking to reduce as much friction as possible, an oversized derailleur cage, like Kolossos with a 19-tooth bottom wheel, is the way to go.

They are not currently available for every derailleur on the market, but over time Kogel will release more and more options. 

Maximizing Your Stock Derailleur Cage Performance

So, if Kolossos sounds like the be-all and end-all of derailleur pulleys, why does Kogel still offer aftermarket derailleur pulleys?

Oversized Derailleur pulleys improve the performance of your stock derailleur cage. Installing the largest possible pulley that fits on your derailleur has a few advantages that an oversized derailleur cage currently don’t offer:

  1. Oversized pulleys are easier to install - Anyone with an allen key and a basic knowledge of how to adjust a derailleur can do the job.  Al-in-all a 10-minute operation without technical challenges.
  2. Oversized pulleys do not require a new chain - Since the added length in the chain is only about 2 teeth, typically you can run oversized pulleys without having to replace your chain. One nearly unavoidable downside of oversized derailleur cages remains the need for a longer chain. 
  3. Oversized pulleys are lighter - Comparing the weight of a 12 and 14 tooth combo versus a 14 and 19 tooth combo, this is an easy one. Additional weight is also added by the extra chain length needed to fit the Kolossos. 
  4. Oversized pulleys offer more ground clearance - An oversized derailleur cage offers less ground clearance than your stock derailleur cage. Being lower to the ground increases the chance of getting caught up on a rock, bush or curb when the going gets tight.

Choosing the "Best" Oversized Strategy

Notice the emphasis on "best". There is no right or wrong answer in this decision. Both options will improve your bike's performance. The key is choosing the best option for you.

By now, you’ve probably gotten the gist of whether to choose an oversized derailleur cage or oversized pulleys. However, if you’re still on the fence perhaps a little bit of self-reflection and honesty is in order.

If you are looking to save weight, regularly have close contact with road or forest furniture, or balk at spending money on a new chain with the installation of your derailleur upgrade, the simplicity of an oversized pulley set will be for you.

If you are looking to maximize the performance of your drivetrain and reduce friction, and don’t see cycling as a close contact sport, Kolossos will be the way forward.

Either way, you'll be enjoying Kogel's promise of Guaranteed Performance.

Ard Kessels