Jockey wheels – aka derailleur pulleys – are small, spinning wheels on the rear derailleur of your bike drivetrain. They guide the chain along as it moves between gears to give you smooth and precise shifting. So they’re indispensable for your travels. Let’s dive into the importance of jockey wheels, the different types, and how to service the wheels. To further expand your cycling knowledge!
The Importance of Jockey Wheels
The wheels play a very important role in proper chain alignment. Which prevents slippage and derailments. They have to rotate smoothly and efficiently to minimize resistance in the chain as it moves across them. Then there’s efficient power transfer from the pedals to the back wheels. You want them to have high quality bearings to stand up against the elements. Then you don’t have to replace them as frequently. Always stay on top of service for quick and accurate gear changes.
Different Types of Jockey Wheels
Plastic jockey wheels are light and budget-friendly, but not as durable as other materials. You’ll find them on entry-level and mid-range bike. Aluminum wheels are also light with a bit more durability, balancing cost and performance. Used on mid-range and high-end bikes. While ceramic wheels are the most expensive, they contribute to optimal drivetrain efficiency. There are hybrid options, too, for different strengths. Like with an aluminum body and ceramic bearings. The size of the wheels is determined by their number of teeth. It affects the chain tension, alignment, and movement for overall shifting performance. Sealed cartridge bearings are most common to protect against the elements.
How to Service Jockey Wheels
You should clean and inspect your jockey wheels every few months. Or after biking a certain number of miles. It really depends on where and how you ride. If your shifting is less precise or consistent, they’re likely due for service. You can work on them yourself or get them serviced at a bike shop. If possible, upgrade to aluminum or ceramic bearings for less friction, smoother rotation, and added durability.
Get the Best Bike Service in Scottsdale
When your bike’s due for service, bring it to us at Airpark Bike Co. We can fix the jockey wheels, replace the chain, change out a flat tire…anything for your ride! You can buy replacement parts here at our shop. Along with full bikes and riding gear. From top brands like Yeti, Nukeproof, Shimano, and Fox. At the lowest prices! This is the best cycling shop in the Arizona.