Last year, Retroshift released a rear derailleur designed with cyclocross in mind. That didn’t mean that it helped you get over the barriers quicker than other rear derailleurs, but offered a promise of durability and cost-effective replacement. The folks at Retroshift simply knew that the demands of cyclocross, especially in muddy Portland, often results in destroyed components, so instead of designing fragile, hyper-light parts, they instead relied on affordable simplicity.
Over the last year, Retroshift has rebranded themselves as Genevalle, perhaps to market themselves to more than just the retro cyclocross racers of the world. They have continued producing their eye-catching CX 1 and CX 2 shifters they are best known for, and now even offer hydraulic braking.
Their goal for creating affordable, quality parts with repair programs remains the same, and they have recently expanded this goal to the front derailleur. Their newest addition is also called the BURD (Blatantly Upgraded and Rebranded Derailleur), just like their rear derailleur.
Priced at $49, the Gevenalle BURD front derailleur won’t break the bank and is a bit more affordable than list prices of second-tier components for the big companies. Better still, for riders who are hard on their equipment, or live in an area where Mother Nature is hard on equipment, Gevenalle’s inexpensive $20 replacement program will keep their cyclocross season alive without too many. That $20 also covers shipping.
The company states that their latest BURD derailleur is compatible with both 9 and 10-speed Shimano drivetrains, and the short front cage comes with a recommendation for the maximum difference between chainrings to be no more than 14 teeth.
The Gevenalle BURD is not the first front derailleur designed specifically around smaller chainrings. IRD released their CD front derailleur for compact cranksets, and Shimano released their excellent but now forgotten 10-speed CX70 front derailleur for cyclocrosss chainrings, in both top and bottom pull formats.
Because the BURD front derailleur is built to work with Shimano’s pre-11-speed front shifters (which pull less cable than the newer shifters designed to work with the long-arm front derailleurs from the 9000, 6800, and 5800 series components), it competes directly with the bottom-pull Shimano CX70 front derailleur, but with a built-in insurance program.
As for setting up the front, Gevenalle suggests either using the BURD as a single-ring chain guide, or using the following double chainring combinations: 34/42, 34/44, 36/46, 36/48.
Make no mistake: the Gevenalle BURD was designed with durability and functionality in mind, not weight savings. The BURD likely won’t attract riders who need to see a naked carbon weave on everything they purchase, but it would be difficult to complain about a 84 gram front derailleur (braze-on model) that makes use of a rigid steel cage. The BURD also comes with a 34.9mm Clamp (31.8 with an adapter) if your current rig lacks a front derailleur mount.
Keen eyes will notice the front derailleur uppers are remarkably similar to the top-shelf Arsis offering from Microshift (thus the “Blatantly Rebranded”), but Gevenalle scrapped the lightweight alloy/carbon cage for a stiffer and more durable steel cage (thus the “Blatantly Upgraded”). Eschewing the light but flexy cages of top-of-the-line front derailleurs for stiffer and more durable options from second-tier component lines is nothing new, as many road and cyclocross pros opt for Ultegra and Force front derailleurs for this very reason.
We still hope the company will release a top-pull front derailleur, since so many bikes already use that cable routing style and cable pulleys can be problematic. The ultimate would be a top-pull front derailleur that is 11-speed shifter compatible, since Shimano has not yet released an 11-speed CX70 top-pull front derailleur. We won’t hold our breath, but wouldn’t be surprised if we see one in the future from Gevenalle, once 11-speed components are mainstream at the local cyclocross races.
With the new BURD front derailleur, Gevenalle proudly states that they are one step closer to a full groupset. Between the BURD, the CX 1 and the CX 2, they already have a formidable array of parts with a replacement program.
Does this mean they are looking forward to develop a complete package for cyclocross bikes? We would certainly applaud their boldness if they ever attempted a chain or brake pad wear replacement program.