Why Do Mountain Bikes Have No Front Derailleur

Why Do Mountain Bikes Have No Front Derailleur? – [Explained]

I was repairing my mountain bike’s wheel, and suddenly my friend asked me a question why do mountain bikes have no front derailleur?

For an instant, I asked myself why don’t you know that?

Being a Mountain bike freak, this question forces me to find out the answer.

After a little research, I got to know that;

Mountain bikes often have front derailleurs, but there are a few reasons why they should be replaced.

There are several reasons why they do not have a front derailleur, including the fact that they are expensive and prone to difficulties, that they are fragile, that they take up too much room, and that they cannot be converted to disc brakes.

They are frequently considered a gimmick. They’re heavier, so riders have difficulties riding over mountains, but they’re ideal for many forms of riding.

Let’s talk more about why mountain bikes don’t have front derailleurs!

Why do Mountain Bikes Have no Front Derailleur?

Because of the development of the wide-range rear cassette, mountain bikes do not have a front derailleur anymore.

Mountain Bikes Have No Front Derailleur

It means that you may have the same range of gears with fewer parts, which keeps things more straightforward and reduces the amount of weight carried by bike.

It improves the overall aesthetic of the bike’s construction as well.

Benefits of a bicycle with no front derailleur

  • Makes room for other shapeshifters

With fewer shift levers, more space is available for other levers, such as a dropper post or suspension lockout, both of which have recently seen rising popularity among mountain bikers.

  • The chain falls off less

Correct installation reduces the possibility of riders experiencing dropped chains. The reason for this is the superior chain line you possess. It also means that pedaling the drivetrain is less of a chore.

  • Better for beginners

Allowing them to focus more on the act of riding by reducing the number of distractions. It’s simpler to cope with one lever than two.

  • Quieter ride

Fewer moving parts and an improved chain line also contribute to a more peaceful ride, letting the rider focus on the scenery and the overall experience.

  • Enhanced frame design

With fewer riders using front derailleurs, frame and suspension manufacturers were free to experiment with new concepts. Some of the space occupied by the front derailleur was reclaimed.

This gave them more creative leeway, which ultimately led to better frame designs and enhanced suspension performance. Because of the reduction in popularity of front derailleurs, bicycles have been able to be better optimized.

benefits of Mountain Bikes Have No Front Derailleur

Around the same time, the front derailleur went out of style, and the clutch derailleur and the narrow-wide chainring became widespread.

Weight reductions, drivetrain smoothness, and drastically increased durability made a wide-ratio cassette, clutch derailleur, and narrow-wide chainring the natural choice for mountain bikes.

Are Front Derailleurs Necessary?

On modern mountain bikes, front derailleurs are largely unnecessary. There has been a recent trend toward removing front derailleurs across the board, including high-end road bikes.

You can achieve the same gears with the rear derailleur and a larger rear cassette. Therefore, it can no longer be argued that a lack of derailleur reduces range.

The front derailleur was rendered irrelevant in mountain biking due to Shimano’s 1X11 and 1X12 drivetrains. While climbing, many riders like to use the front derailleur to shift to a larger front chainring.

When Did Mountain Bikes Lose the Front Derailleur?

In 2015, SRAM ceased all research and development of front derailleurs. It was a lengthy process, but eventually, mountain bikes didn’t need a front derailleur anymore. It’s unclear when exactly they vanished.

Front derailleurs are still available on some bicycles, though they are becoming less frequent as they are gradually phased out.

Despite their importance to the original design of mountain bikes, front derailleurs have mostly been abandoned in favor of more modern alternatives.

SRAM said they would no longer produce front derailleurs for mountain bikes shortly after launching their 12-speed Eagle groupset in 2016.

By the decade’s end (2017), several bike makers had stopped making bikes that could use a front derailleur.

The fact that it not only gave designers more options but also lowered production costs could account for the rapid adoption by manufacturers.

Riders have advocated for bikes to be produced without a front derailleur for quite some time, long before the idea caught on with manufacturers.


Mountain bikes don’t have a front derailleur due to the introduction of the wide-range rear cassette, which allows you to have the same range of speeds with fewer components, saving weight and simplifying things.

The clutch derailleur and the narrow-wide chainring gained popularity simultaneously as the front derailleur vanished. The current double-chainring gearbox could be better for many riders to desire to make a significant adjustment.

However, the popularity of wide-range cassettes offers an intriguing substitute that will appeal to many riders, so front derailleurs on road cycles won’t be as common in the future.

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