The bike industry is a funny beast. Some parts are – or used to be – very standard, like wheel sizes for road bikes, while others have a mad proliferation of different designs. None can be madder than derailleur hangers.
All they do is attach a rear mech with a standard thread to the rear right corner of your bike. But break your mech hanger and you will be presented with a bewildering array of potential replacements. Why use an existing design when you can invent a new one?
Wheels Manufacturing has made a business out of making replacement derailleur hangers for pretty much every bike out there. The company reckons there are around 350 different designs and it’s got over 250 covered in its range. All its hangers and other parts are made in the USA.
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It’s compiled a database of over 7000 frames and their compatible hangers based on its own research, manufacturers’ information and feedback from its customers. The array of possible options looks pretty bewildering in Wheels Manufacturing’s display case – and that’s not the full range.
The company says that the demand for some designs is so limited that it doesn’t turn a profit from making them.
Bottom brackets are another fun area of proliferating standards and the company has replacement bearings to fit the slightly less extensive range of options here. You’ve also got the choice between steel and ceramic bearings and adapters between standards to add into the mix.
Wheels Manufacturing also makes the extensive range of tools needed to prise out your rusty old bearings and push or screw in your shiny new ones. It hasn’t yet got into headsets. This is yet another part of the bike where is seems that anything goes.