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I recently had my bike into the shop since shifting was less than ideal. I had recently replaced the cable, yet every now and again, it wouldn't go into the next gear or would just jump 2 gears all of a sudden. I had recently checked the hanger if it was bent and it was all good to go. The chain, cassette, and chain rings are newer, and the shop eventually indicated that the derailleur was seized on the hanger. They said I should hose the bike down after riding in winter because of all the salt corroding parts.

I clean and lube my chain after every ride, but have never ever done anything with the hanger. I ride year round, even when the roads are treated.

Do I need to be lubing the hanger and can that be causing the derailleur to stick? I have since cleaned and lubed it, but am still skeptical that can be causing that much issue. I have taken that apart and see that it is supposed to pivot, but if it needs to be smooth, why not have an actual bushing or bearing there, yes, cost.

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    The hanger is just a piece of metal and the derailleur is firmly screwed into it. You have to lubricate the derailleur itself. Commented May 13 at 7:02
  • Always clean it, often lube it, and only then, if the problem persists, diagnose it.
    – WornChain
    Commented May 13 at 11:32
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    Clean and lube the chain after every ride? Seems excessive to me. (Sure, extends the life of the drive train; probably depends on the price level.) Commented May 13 at 15:59

2 Answers 2

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A rear derailleur has four pivot points in a parallelogram, a bushing in each jockey wheel, and a big pivot to apply B tension.

That's 7 different places where corrosion can mess with the operation of the mechanism.

Also, its a low-hanging area of the bike and tends to collect road dirt at any time. If you're riding on wintery salted roads, the derailleur will suffer more.

A RD should move smoothly from the 11t gear towards the inner gears when pushed, and should return to the outboard position under its own internal spring tension.

If the RD mechanism doesn't move smoothly lubricating it will help.

I would suggest at least hosing off the salt periodically, and specifically after wet grotty rides. Storing your bike inside or under shelter helps too.

Additionally, oil/grease on the moving surfaces will slow the ingress of salt and corrosion, so lubrication would be wise especially for salty winter rides.

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    The easiest way, I find, is to put a drop of chain oil on each pivot, and 1-2 drops on the jockey wheel bushings, when I'm doing the chain anyway. Also the front derailleur pivots. It's trivially easy when you're right there with something quite suitable in your hand.
    – Chris H
    Commented May 13 at 12:25
  • @ChrisH that raises a point - I wax my chains, so the RD doesn't really get lubricated at all. I should do that.
    – Criggie
    Commented May 13 at 18:18
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    Waxing isn't in question for me. If I do have to oil mid-ride it's no major faff, and when my rides take me away from home for several hundred km with little stopping and only the kit I can carry, waxing seems like an awful hassle
    – Chris H
    Commented May 14 at 11:05
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    I think you’re missing the pivot between the cage and parallelogram body.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented May 19 at 7:40
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The interface between hanger and derailleur doesn’t need lube apart from a smudge of grease before assembly but the main pivot, the parallelogram, and the cage pivot of the derailleur need regular maintenance usually in the form of a squirt of WD-40 especially if you need to wash your bike often. Doesn’t need to be every day, more like once a week-ish.

Be careful when using spray lube on your derailleur if you have disk brakes as you will contaminate the rotors when the spray passes through the wheel. A piece of cardboard or a rag behind to use as a mask will help.

If you ever take the one way journey of dismantling the main pivot for curiosity sake on a dead derailleur you’ll find thin bushings used to assist the motion.

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