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Rear Derailleur Maintenance

This covers regular maintenance for your rear derailleur.

Tools required:

  • Repair stand
  • Degreaser (like Simple Green)
  • Dry lube
  • Light grease
  • 5mm Allen wrench
  • Small Phillips screwdriver

1. Place your bike in a repair stand if you have one, it will make the maintenance much easier. (You can always build a repair stand yourself.)

2. Rear derailleurs take a bit more work to clean and lube than the front derailleurs, since they have pulleys.

3. I recommend removing the derailleur from the bike for a thorough cleaning. Also, remove the pulleys from the derailleur (but don’t mix them up.) Then spray cleaner all over the derailleur and its parts, or better yet, let them soak in some cleaner.

4. Once it is coated with cleaner, give it a good scrub with an old toothbrush.

5. Rinse it off again with the cleaner, then wipe it clean. Let it air dry for a bit.

6. Before reinstalling the pulleys, coat their bushings with light grease or lube. Now you can put the derailleur back on the bike.

7. With the shift cable disconnected, this is a good opportunity to clean and re-lube it. Might as well do it now! Then go ahead and reconnect the cable.

8. Spray some light lube into the derailleur pivots. Shift the derailleur a few times and spray some more lube in there. Shift a few more times then wipe off any excess, which could attract dirt and grime.