Shimano’s New Direct-Mount Rear Derailleur Option

Sea Otter Classic

Quite a few bikes at Sea Otter had Shimano’s new optional D.R.D. (Direct Mount Rear Derailer), and although the system makes a lot of sense, it is confusing to understand (myself included). Basically, the derailer pivot mounts directly to the hanger, without any B-Link present, and the hanger, which is supplied by the frame manufacturer, sits 20mm aft of a standard one. In the usual setup, the derailer connects to a B-Link, and the B-Link connects standard hanger.

Shimano states that this arrangement provides crisper shifts, greater durability and easier wheel removal and installation? Like many components on a mountain bike, the derailer hanger comes from the road bike arena, and many items, like 9mm quick releases don’t work as well in the more abuse environment. One of the concepts behind a standard replaceable derailer hanger, was that it would break off during a crash or when hit hard, and save the derailer from being damaged. Unfortunately, in real-life use, the derailer gets dragged into the spokes, and get disintegrated. Shimano will release the Shadow derailer ready for Direct Mount, although they will include a B-Link for attachment to a standard hanger. I am not sure whether SRAM will release a derailer that will mount on the Direct Mount?

This useful video has Shimano’s Matt Robertson explaining the new optional standard, along with some of the bike manufacturers who have chosen to adopt this, and incorporate it into their designs. Find out what D.R.D is and see why brands like IBIS, Rocky Mountain, Yeti Cycles, GT Bicycles and Santa Cruz Bicycles are adding the new Direct Mount Rear Derailleur option to their line of bikes.

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Varaxis says:

    Also prevents newbies from installing Shimano derailleurs incorrectly and/or bolts getting loose enough that derailleurs swivel on the hangers that don’t have tabs.

    Example: http://www.socaltrailriders.org/forum/workshop/59303-my-rear-derailleur-shot-pic-inside.htm

  • Bikethrasher says:

    I personally think this is a good idea. It makes the rear end of the bike stronger and stiffer. Makes wheel changes easier, and they aren’t forcing the manufactures or anyone else to use it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a SRAM version within a couple months. Just like so many recent advances. Once people try it and see and feel the improvement it makes. People will be like why didn’t this happen sooner?
    Don’t Hate, Inovate!

  • GG says:

    Yeah changing out rear wheels right now is a major PITA !

  • Sloppyjoe says:

    OR you could just buy SRAM and not have to worry about any shifting problems!

  • rtm says:

    I’m curious to see this in practice. I’m sure Shimano put it through the paces before they went to market. And it seems Shimano has really upped their game over the past 3 years. Like to see their innovations. SRAM seems to be following their lead lately.

  • Ben says:

    Anyone know when these go on sale ?

    I ordered a Tallboy and would give this a try if I could find one. I’ve got an XTR in a box. I love the idea of the wheel popping down without anything in the way.

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