Would a front double derailleur be possible on these hardcore hardtails?

  • In grey: Kona Big Honzo (carbon)
  • In black/yellow: Transition Throttle (carbon)
  • In blue: Ragley Blue Pig (steel)

I only ask the question regarding the frame architecture, not about the parts I will have to change.

Thanks !

Kona Big Honzo CR Transition Throttle Ragley Blue Pig

  • What do you mean by front double derailleur? – Mike Mar 1 '19 at 10:26
  • I don't really see why you would want a FD on a hardcore hardtail, just pick a small front ring (~30t) and you are set. On this style of bike you dont need the top end pedalling speed that you might on an XC 29er (for example) – Andy P Mar 1 '19 at 10:33
  • @Mike: I mean a derailleur for 2 chainrings. – Rose5 Mar 1 '19 at 10:39
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    If you've got the legs to need a 48t ring on a hardcore hardtail you should just speak to your sponsor directly and get them to make a custom frame for you – Andy P Mar 1 '19 at 11:00
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    Probably the main issue is the layout around the bottom bracket. If the BB shell is too wide it doesn't leave room for a derailer without forcing too wide of a stance. And likely any change would require changing out the BB shaft, and you might have difficulty finding a replacement that suits requirements. There is the issue of finding a derailer that can be attached to your frame, but that depends on the specifics of the frame in that area. In this regard the bottom bike is probably the most "receptive" to the upgrade. – Daniel R Hicks Mar 1 '19 at 13:20

Everything is possible, the question is "is it worth one's while".

When fitting a front derailleur to a bicycle the following aspects need to be considered:

  • affixing the derailleur to the front tube - is there a hanger already or one needs to be put, or a clamp-on derailleur will fit
  • is routing the cables possible - are there the suitable eyelets
  • can the shifter be easily added or perhaps a brifter needs to be installed

For the first one - putting any clamp on a steel frame with round tubes is easy as pie. Even brazing a hanger (if you plan on painting the frame afterwards). For oddly-shaped tubes you are facing a challenge, and remember not to overtorque the clamps on carbon tubing.

The second one on steel and aluminium frames can be solved by attaching some routing guides with pop rivets (or brazing those on for a better visual effect if you plan on painting the frame afterwards). Carbon is not that easy to customise. You can install an electrically activated derailleur (e.g. Di2 from Shimano, EPS from Campagnolo or eTap from SRAM) and simply attach the wires with tie-wraps or electrical tape.

The third issue is the easiest to solve but depends on your current setup. And remember not to overtorque the clamp if having a carbon steering bar.

Thus, it is possible. But if you are looking for more speed range I suggest you watch this RJ The Bike Guy video where he converts a 2x7 to 1x10 and explains how the current speed range is kept in the new setup (see the chart from 13'54").

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  • Thanks a lot for your diagnosis, it's greatly appreciated. – Rose5 Mar 1 '19 at 11:07

Given that you've pictured three bikes, I infer that you're considering buying a bike and then immediately upgrading it.

Don't do that. Instead, buy a bike that has the features you require. Adding new features to a bike is expensive and usually means that you end up with a bike that's less good than one that was designed to have those features from new. (Mike's answer gives more detail about the hassle involved.)

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Adding to Mike's answer...

If you want a 2x setup, chances are you want a bigger front ring. These bikes are designed for 1x systems with a small ring and wide ratio cassettes. A larger diameter front ring may have clearance problems with the drive side chainstay.

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