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How Much Does It Cost to Fix or Replace a Derailleur?

The chain, cassette, and actual shifters come to mind when considering how your bike shifts. But none of this would be possible without the derailleur. If the derailleur is damaged, then problems can arise. But you might wonder how much it costs to get a bike derailleur fixed.

You’ll probably need to pay more than $100 to replace a damaged derailleur if you’re involved in an accident. The hanger that holds the derailleur will cost around $15, and the derailleur itself will cost about $50. If you take it to a store, you’ll also have to pay for the labor, which varies by area and can cost between $40 and $60. It should cost between $10 and $20 to have your derailleur fixed instead of replaced.

Keep reading below as we take you through all the important information about how much it costs to fix or replace a derailleur.

What Is A Bike Derailleur?

Understanding the purpose of derailleurs on a bicycle is crucial before we go into their upkeep and repair.

The front and rear derailleurs are the two types of derailleurs that can be found on a bicycle. They both function as mechanisms that direct the chain to various gears. Rear derailleurs are basic for any bicycle with shifting, so we’ll start there.

Rear Derailleur

rear derailleur on a mountain bike

Rear derailleurs manage to shift on the back wheel, just as their name implies. There are many various models and styles, but they all have the same basic structure and perform the same job. They are fastened to the bicycle using a mounting bolt on the frame’s derailleur hanger. A linkage system connects the top and lower pivots, creating a parallelogram.

In addition to the pivots, the lower pulley and the higher pulley will be present on the rear derailleur. The lower pulley, often known as the “T” pulley (short for tension), pulls backward and stresses the chain’s lower link. The guide pulley, also known as the higher pulley or “G” pulley, helps direct the chain into the appropriate sprockets.

The mechanical derailleurs seen on most bicycles have a pinch bolt-secured cable. The cage is moved inward by pulling the cable (using the shifters), and the derailleur is moved out of the way by a return spring after the cable has been released. 

There are electrical solutions (known as electronic shifting) that do away with the requirement for a connection and use a Bluetooth-connected tiny motor in its place.

Front Derailleur

front derailleur on a mountain bike

A front derailleur is seen on bicycles with more than one front chainring. Like rear derailleurs, these contain a cage that creates a box around the chain and is connected to a linkage system in the form of a parallelogram. Cables are used in mechanical derailleurs to move the linkage system, which then directs the chain.

Only when the rider is pedaling can the front derailleurs move. The chain flexes to the right to shift outward, and the pedaling causes it to rise. Shift ramps and other sophisticated features help the chain maintain its course. 

The same principle applies while shifting inward. The larger ring is literally “falling off”; the smaller one is as the cage forces the chain in from behind and keeps doing so. The chain is then caught and engaged by the smaller ring.

You risk losing your chain when shifting if your derailleur is improperly geared. You’ll need to occasionally modify your cables because chains stretch with time (and from repeated use).

How Much Will It Cost You to Replace Your Own Mountain Bike Derailleur?

If you ride a mountain bike, your rear derailleur will eventually need to be replaced. The price of a new rear derailleur might vary greatly depending on the reason for replacement—whether it was broken in an accident, was overused and worn out, or you just wanted to upgrade to a better model.

For between $30 and $40, you can get a rear derailleur of reasonable quality. These are great for recreational riding, but if you’re going off-road really, you’ll need something a little more robust. Most rear derailleurs in the $50–$70 price range are of decent quality and can withstand more intense riding. 

A high-end rear derailleur should cost $100 or more to provide the best performance. Purchasing a secondhand rear derailleur is one method to save money when replacing your current one. You can usually get a decent-quality secondhand at only half the cost of a new derailleur. Just be sure to check it properly beforehand for any wear or damage.

Check out this video below on how to replace a mountain bike derailleur yourself:

How Much Does Replacing a Bike Derailleur Cost at a Bike Shop?

Depending on the type of derailleur and whether you buy it from a bike store or online, the price to replace your mountain bike derailleur can range from $30 to $200. If you purchase from a bike shop, they could charge an extra fee for installation, which might increase the price by an extra $30 to $60.

If you get the derailleur changed as part of a bike tune-up or other maintenance you are already getting done, you can save money on labor.

If you’re fortunate (or wise) and have a strong rapport with your neighborhood bike shop, they’ll guide you toward a new derailleur that fits your needs and those of your bike without wanting to upsell you. 

A second-hand derailleur can be purchased from many bike stores for a small portion of the price of a new one. Even some small towns and cities have bike co-ops where you can learn how to fix bikes, swap parts, buy used components, and even have a place to make repairs.

Common Problems with Mountain Bike Rear Derailleurs

A rear derailleur’s most common issue is when it becomes bent. This is separate from the bent derailleur hanger issue, which is probably the most frequent issue with derailleurs among mountain bikers. 

Rear derailleur hangers are essentially disposable due to the frequency of this problem; they are inexpensive and simple to repair. You won’t be able to shift gears correctly if the rear derailleur itself becomes bent because the chain won’t line up to drop into the gear rings. 

The majority of cyclists do make the initial effort to bend the derailleur back to its original position. But barely one in a million people find this to be successful. While it may be somewhat usable, your rear shifting will almost certainly never be perfect.

The wear and tear of the pulley wheels are the second most frequent issue with a rear derailleur. Since they are only small plastic wheels, they can easily be broken or cause flat tires after extensive use. They are not too difficult to replace. However, replacing the complete rear derailleur can be quicker and better in the long term if you have a cheap bike and a cheap rear derailleur.

The wires for the shifter are another typical issue with rear derailleurs. Throughout a mountain bike’s lifespan, cables and housing need to be replaced more frequently than the derailleur itself. Your shifting breaks down as the cables get strained. 

If the cables aren’t overly strained, the barrel adjusters on the shifters allow for simple modifications to the cable tension. When the cables become worn out, frayed, or rusted, it is time to replace them. Fortunately, fixing this on a bike is inexpensive and simple.

rear derailleur

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Derailleur?

Fixing a derailleur is usually not that costly and very simple to do. Most of the time, the derailleur just needs to be adjusted, and that’s it. This can cost anywhere from $10 to $20.

Do All Bikes Have a Derailleur?

No, since they only have one speed, some bikes won’t have derailleurs. These bicycles are frequently referred to as fixies or fixed-gear bicycles. These bikes were quite common a decade ago, but they are now somewhat less so. They are ideal for people who merely want to commute and don’t want to deal with the trouble of shifting.

How Often Should You Replace Your Derailleur?

The derailleur shouldn’t need to be replaced until you have an accident and it breaks because, in general, it should last roughly as long as the bike itself. However, the cables and jockey wheels will probably need to be replaced at some point.

Despite being extremely crucial, jockey wheels are frequently disregarded. Recall the rear derailleur’s “G” and “T” pulleys. The jockey wheels are those. A solid jockey wheel can last for years on a properly maintained bike, but ultimately it will need to be replaced.

Your shifting will deteriorate if your jockey wheels’ teeth are worn, which might result in more expensive future repairs. Keep an ear out for any derailleur noises since these might indicate that the jockey wheels need to be replaced. You may also look out for wear by visually inspecting them.

Can You Use a Bike Without a Derailleur?

You can use your bike without a derailleur, technically speaking. This effectively transforms it into a single-speed bike. You can perform some fast maintenance to resume riding without a derailleur or hangar if you find yourself on a ride with one of them broken. Allen keys, a chain tool, and, ideally, a quick link is all you need.

The chain can easily be taken off if you have a chain tool. After that, you can take the derailleur out. After that is removed, you can locate the gear that enables your chain to stay straight (this should usually be the middle gear).

With your chain tool or a quick link, you may now rejoin the chain. Naturally, this configuration won’t be as sturdy as your old (undamaged) one, so take care not to pedal too hard when you return home.

Is It Easy to Replace Derailleur at Home?

If you’d rather fix the derailleur at home than pay how much it costs to fix a derailleur at a bike shop, then be assured that it is a fairly simple process. We’ve created a guide below for you to fix your bike’s derailleur at home.

bike parts and tools

Step 1: Check for Dirt & Debris

Check that your cassette is clear of twigs, grass, and dirt and that your back wheel is centered in the dropouts if shifting issues arise suddenly, such as during a ride.

Step 2: Check for Warped Hanger

Did your chain get caught in the spokes? The hanger can be warped. Grip the derailleur with one hand and insert a 5mm hex wrench into the derailleur bolt (the one anchoring the derailleur on the bike) with the other hand to make the bike usable. To get the hanger almost straight, exert pressure on the derailleur and wrench at the same time. It won’t be precise, so make necessary adjustments to the high- and low-stop screws.

Step 3: Check for Bent Links

Bent links are also prevalent. To locate the tense or damaged chain piece, turn the crank backward. To reattach the chain, use a chain tool (you should have one at all times) to straighten any crooked links at the trailside. Avoid using huge chainring-to-big-cog combinations since it will be shorter and you risk damaging the rear derailleur, especially on long rides.

Step 4: Keep the Hanger Straight

Check the hanger to ensure it is straight, and the wheel is firmly placed in the drops before cleaning the chain to find wear issues. Change gears. Jumping may be avoided by centering the derailleur over the gear with each shift by turning the barrel adjuster (a knob on the shift cable) in or out. To keep the chain from flying off the cassette, examine the derailleur stops in the highest and lowest gears.

Step 5: Check Cables and Housing

Take a look at your cables if the stops are adjusted properly but the barrel adjuster does not clean up the shifting. A derailleur’s spring may get so slowed down by dirt, corrosion, and wear that it is unable to advance into the next gear. If the cables and housing are suspicious, simply replace them.

Final Words

It’s quite common to have a problem with the derailleur when you own a bike. So, how much does it cost to fix the derailleur? Well, luckily, it won’t cost you a fortune and you can even do it yourself. Make sure to follow our guide on how to fix your derailleur by yourself.