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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
They are looking a little dull/flat..

I'm at 4100 miles.. I replaced only chain (to duraace) at 3k.. ultegra cassette/front chain ring look okay.

I have 8100 miles on my hardtail - and they are looking really flat.

Is there any parasitic loss or should I just go ahead and replace them?
 

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When worn

Obviously, every situation is a little different. I recently replaced a rear derailleur after 75K miles - a couple of tweaks had caused the unit to get a little sloppy, so when I switched to 10s, I switched the derailleur too. Original pulleys. I put 55K miles on my previous RD pulleys, then sold the bike to my brother in law, and he has probably put another 20K on them. The bike before that had 90K miles on the pulleys. You may need to replace them sooner, but if I wore out pulleys at 4K miles, I'd be replacing them twice a year. On a road bike, I've never seen pulleys wear out that fast.
 

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i'd say at 4100 miles, you've got a ways to go before you have to worry about it. I just replaced my DA pulleys recently and I had at least 20k miles on them.

For a mountain bike, I can see the pulleys wearing out much sooner. Although the pulleys don't really carry any load (they're just helping guide chain) they see a fair amount of grit and dirt, since it's almost impossible to keep a mtb chain clean. But on the road, conditions are much cleaner and the stock pulleys should last you a while. I'd hold out for a bit.
 

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Never had to do one, but it probably should be done...

I've spread my mileage over several bikes for years, so I couldn't tell you the mileage on any of 'em, but I've never replaced a pulley. At a guess, I'd say a couple of mine have 8,000-10,000 miles on them. Maybe I should give them a look next time I lube the chain.
 

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Here's a wear progression picture from Park Tools. You can see that the tooth flats disappear as the pulley diameter shrinks. Finally, all that's left are sharp points at probably well over 100 K miles. Wait a few more years to worry about them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
wim said:
Here's a wear progression picture from Park Tools. You can see that the tooth flats disappear as the pulley diameter shrinks. Finally, all that's left are sharp points at probably well over 100 K miles. Wait a few more years to worry about them.

Holy cow.. guess I have a ways to go..

first 2 pictures are the 4,100 mile trek madone 5.2 - last 2 pictures are my 8,100 gary fisher mountain bike.
 

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All that gunk will cause them to wearout at a much greater rate, they are not worn out. A clean drive train shifts better, gives you a couple of watts more power since you are loosing some power due to friction of the gunk. Lastly a clean drive train lastest longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
capt_phun said:
right on.. clean that mess up!! The mtn bike I can understand being dirty, the road bike stays clean!!

I just cleaned them last week! :(

Had some rain on a 75 mile ride saturday which made the mountain bike all gunky.

Using Pedros road rage lube - as slick as that stuff is, it collects lots of gunk.
 

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Ugh!

bas said:
I just cleaned them last week! :( Using Pedros road rage lube - as slick as that stuff is, it collects lots of gunk.
Read the "chain cleaning method" thread. Your drive train need NEVER look like that. That gunk is serving as a grinding compound that significantly shortens chain, cassette, chainring, and derailleur pulley life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Road cyclist said:
Great pics. Wow. I find it more interesting to see the plastic wear off the center
bore, where the metal bushing is supposed to SLIDE in. With wear like that, maybe
plastic gear wear gets accelerated.

Good eye. I see it now too.
 

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I dunno...

...you get pluses and minuses on this one, but as soon as the original issue pulleys start looking a little faded, I replace them (usually when I'm also replacing a chain) with Carmichael pulleys, which are alloy, lighter, and seem to have better bearings. That's usually about the end of the derailleur pulley replacement routine. I just don't like anything in the drive train that can cause friction, and we're talking something like a $35 investment...
 

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