One thing we really like about cycling is all the different options you have for not just bikes but components too. You will rarely find two bikes the same unless they have both just been bought off the shelf and are still in boxes.
The option to customize your bike and add parts can add so much value to your cycling experience.
Here at BikeTestReviews, we often get asked about add-on parts to improve the cycling experience, and the derailleur guard has a lot of controversy around it. In this article, we’re going to be telling everything you need to know:
- What Is A Derailleur Guard?
- How Does A Derailleur Guard Work?
- Why You Might Want A Derailleur Guard?
- Why You Might Not Want A Derailleur Guard?
- Available Derailleur Guards
What Is A Derailleur Guard?
A very common issue many off-road cyclists face is a broken rear derailleur. Derailleurs are typically attached to a hanger that holds them to the bike. These hangers, when knocked, are designed to break before the derailleur, but often the derailleur breaks too.
Derailleurs are not always an easy fix on a bike if knocked. If the hanger is broken, a special tool is required to straighten it.
If the derailleur is broken, it requires the chain to be removed, a new derailleur put on, and then it all has to be indexed.
A derailleur guard is a small piece of metal or plastic that sits on the rear of your bike and stops the rear derailleur from being knocked or broken. They are uncommon, and you generally don’t see many available for sale.
How Does A Derailleur Guard Work?
A derailleur guard typically connects to the bike on the rear skewer or rack mounts. It wraps around the derailleur and guards against any potential impacts from the top or horizontally.
They are incredibly easy to install and can be bought in shops.
Why You Might Want A Derailleur Guard?
There are many reasons why you might want a derailleur guard; here’s what you need to know:
To Protect Your Derailleur
The first reason you might want to use a derailleur guard is to protect your derailleur. If you end up hitting any rock or trees, then there is a much better chance of you not having any problems or needing any repairs afterward.
Although not the intended purpose of the derailleur guard, it comes in very handy when it comes to transporting a bike. Not only is it fantastic when it comes to packing your bike away in a box, but also if you were to put it in the back of your car.
You might also want to install a derailleur guard for self-storage. If you have a garage where there’s a lot stored and have had a derailleur broken before, why not install a guard to stop it from happening again?
Why You Might Not Want A Derailleur Guard?
There are also many reasons why you might reconsider when it comes to wanting a derailleur guard. Here’s why:
It Can Cause More Damage
It’s important to mention that derailleur guards knocked hard enough can actually cause more damage.
They are attached to the frame and skewer of the bike and, if knocked hard enough, could break the skewer and possibly bend the rear stay of the frame.
Sometimes a broken derailleur or a bent hanger could be a better option.
They Make The Bike Wider
The next concern to mention is they make the bike much wider. The guard does stick out more, which means the lines you run by rocks might need to be wider compared to what you would normally do.
The next consideration to make is that it adds weight. Although it’s not much, all these little add-on accessories can add up. If you are planning on racing professionally, this is something you might not consider enough of a benefit for the extra load.
It Might Not Fit
A lot of these derailleur guards need a quick-release skewer to work properly. If you have another system to mount your wheels, such as thru-axles or a bolt-on system, then the derailleur guard might not fit altogether.
Available Derailleur Guards
Now, if you have decided that you want a derailleur guard, which ones should you be looking at? Here are our recommendations:
The YunQin is a derailleur guard which is attached by the quick-release skewer. It comes in at $10 and weighs around 70g. Unlike other guards, this comes in a pack of two, so you will have a spare or can put one on another bike of yours.
It’s a great design that takes minutes to attach and is going to protect that derailleur in case of any nasty hits.
Coming in a sleek black, it will blend in with most bike components too. We highly recommend it for a cheap solution to protecting your derailleur.
Generic Derailleur Guard
The Generic derailleur guard is another great option for a bit of bike component protection. Coming in at $8, it’s not expensive to buy and is a quick and easy solution. Unlike the other derailleur guard we discussed, this one is mounted differently.
Instead of going through the axle, it attaches to the rack mounts on the rear if you have them. It’s very easy to install and is very strong. Another derailleur protector we heavily recommend and feel is going to give an amazing service.
A Final Note
Should you use a derailleur guard? In my opinion, it comes down to personal preference. It does have a place as an excellent add-on accessory to your bike, but the value is more in transport and storage over riding.
We hope you enjoyed our article.
Robbie Ferri has spent years working in a bike shop, has worked with industry leading brands on product creation, has been a semi pro athlete, and is a fully qualified strength and conditioning coach. He has broken World Records, bikepacked all over the World and raced ultra distance at a top-level.