Old jockey wheels are getting toothless and I was wondering, does it make a great difference which jockey wheel goes where?

Can you use the same profile jockey wheel in either position?

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    I've successfully used cheap chinese jockeywheels in both positions without issue. Both were better than what was previously there.
    – Criggie
    Feb 16 '18 at 19:08
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    @Criggie I guess that would depend what was there previously, that approach would not work for anything new or higher end Feb 18 '18 at 15:29

The top and bottom wheels are different. The top wheel's bearing allows some lateral movement. They come as a set and are not expensive so just replace both together.

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    Great answer. The only thing to add is that you should keep the same number of cogs when you buy the replacements. You can't use a different size jockey wheel especially on the top as you might have trouble shifting.
    – RoboKaren
    Feb 16 '18 at 12:41
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    @RoboKaren Thanks. Also, larger wheels may just not fit in the cage. Feb 16 '18 at 13:15
  • The tooth shape is also different between the two wheels. One has shaped teeth and a specific turning direction. Getting that backwards will make your shifting work very poorly.
    – KevinC
    Feb 16 '18 at 17:42
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    Can somebody find an explanation why jockey wheels need teeth? There was a time when they had none since their task is to guide the chain and not to transmit any power. I've had several toothless RDs from Simplex and Huret.
    – Carel
    Feb 17 '18 at 18:39
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    @Carel Interesting, you should ask that as a independent question Feb 17 '18 at 22:10

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