New Product Spotlight: Retroshift’s New Cyclocross-Specific Derailleur: B.U.R.D.

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New for this ’cross season is the Retroshift ‘Blatantly Upgraded Rebranded Derailleur’ (B.U.R.D.). Retroshift manufactures shift/brake levers which were designed to perform under the sloppiest situations, and now the company has expanded its product line into rear derailleurs.

The B.U.R.D. is what Retroshift’s Adam Clement calls “the ultimate cyclocross-specific derailleur.” It’s designed to work with Shimano or Retroshift shifters, but we’re confident innovative wrenchers will also be able to pair the Retroshift B.U.R.D. with Campagnolo shifters in a new take on Shimergo (Retrogo?).

What makes the B.U.R.D. a cyclocross-specific derailleur? It’s not a SRAM Type 2 or Shimano Shadow-Plus-type derailleur with a clutch to prevent chain slap (although we saw this employed successfully on the 2013 Marin Cortina cyclocross bike). It doesn’t have a Grunge Guard or a steel plate to protect against side impact, and certainly won’t help you hop the barriers. Instead, Retroshift is simply focusing on making an affordable, high-quality rear derailleur with strong spring tension and high quality pulleys that can easily be repaired or replaced when the inevitable happens. Standard units go for $69, crash replacement will get you going again for just $34.

Unlike an office park criterium, a cyclocross course can fill your drivetrain with mud, grass and leaves, or a combination of them all. Try pedaling while a chunk of mud is stuck in your derailleur and you’ll very likely rip it from your dropout.

This is where the B.U.R.D. stretches its wings. It’s a combination of Shimano Ultegra pulleys built into an affordable, Microshift-manufactured derailleur body. We all know it’s only a matter of time before you hit the deck in a race, which means you’ve got a 50-50 chance of crash landing on your drive side. But even stellar bike-handling skills can’t keep grass, mud and other organic material from becoming tangled in your derailleur.

Some of us make a habit of destroying rear derailleurs all season long. If you fall into this category, then the BURD may be very attractive to you. When paired with their ’cross shifters, the two components may present an attractive, reliable option for a serious cyclocrosser. [See our review of Retroshift's CX2 shifters from last season.]

The new Retroshift BURD cyclocross rear derailleur. photo:courtesy

The new Retroshift B.U.R.D. cyclocross rear derailleur. Photo courtesy of Retroshift

For the same price of a single SRAM Force rear derailleur (MRSP $159.99), you could have a B.U.R.D. in each hand (MSRP $69). Compared to a Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur (MSRP $119.00), you could get a brand new B.U.R.D. plus a replacement if you crash. Crash replacement for SRAM is typically around 50% of MSRP, which means that for the cost of a single SRAM Force crash replacement derailleur, you can get two B.U.R.D.s rebuilt.

Experience this a lot? Retroshift has an affordable solution for you. photo: Adam Clement

Experience this a lot? Retroshift has an affordable solution for you. Photo courtesy of Adam Clement

Clement told Cyclocross Magazine that the B.U.R.D. should also perform better in cyclocross because the derailleur “will provide approximately 7% more chain tension as compared to a measured Dura-Ace 7900 unit.” We’ve all seen the catastrophic derailed chains that hindered Jonathan Page, Kevin Pauwels and Katerina Nash at Worlds in Louisville, and Clement says, “This little extra tension is a plus for keeping the chain planted. We are currently looking at some of the wide then narrow chainrings for 1X systems and believe this extra tension in conjunction with this type of chainring will be of good benefit for anyone wanting to run [a single ring] setup.”

Two pulley options on the new Retroshift BURD cyclocross rear derailleur. photo: courtesy

Two pulley options on the new Retroshift B.U.R.D. cyclocross rear derailleur. Photo courtesy of Retroshift

Retroshift places their emphasis on the importance of derailleur pulleys for good shifting and durability, and swaps the standard Microshift pulleys for Ultegra pulleys. Destroy your derailleur? Your originals will be transplanted into a new body as part of the crash replacement, keeping the heart and soul of your old derailleur with you even after death.

Microshift + Shimano Ultegra pulleys = Retroshift BURD

Microshift + Shimano Ultegra pulleys = Retroshift B.U.R.D.

What’s the big deal with Ultegra pulleys? Clement explains, “The difference in performance of pulleys between 105 and Ultegra and Dura-Ace, for example, is greater than the performance gains of the main body.” His theory, based on seeing countless broken derailleurs at Portland’s Cross Crusade series, is that derailleurs typically break not due to crashes but when the pulleys can’t keep up with the chain and jams.  “Pulley health won’t cause a death by itself but a stiff pulley will contribute greatly,” he theorizes.

Expanding on that theory, the company plans to offer an upgraded version for racers who want to go higher-end. For $20 more, Retroshift plans to offer a second model with FSA ceramic pulleys.

FSA ceramic bearing pulleys push the price to $89, with the same $34 crash replacement  policy.

FSA ceramic bearing pulleys push the price to $89, with the same $34 crash replacement policy.

As someone who’s broken numerous rear derailleurs throughout the season, the thought of an easily replaceable derailleur will be attractive as long as shift performance is up to par. We’re anxious to test a unit, and hope mother nature cooperates early this year so that we can see if the Retroshift B.U.R.D. makes this a distant memory:

Just one of dozens of wrecked derailleurs typically seen at a PDX cyclocross race day. photo: Adam Clement

Just one of dozens of wrecked derailleurs typically seen at a PDX cyclocross race day. Photo courtesy of Adam Clement

Retroshift ‘Blatantly Upgraded Rebranded Derailleur’ (B.U.R.D.) Specs:

MSRP: $69 with Shimano Ultegra pulleys, $89 with FSA ceramic bearing pulleys, $34 crash replacement
Derailleur:
Microshift rear dearailleur, CNC cage, Retroshift engraving
Pulleys: Shimano Ultegra or FSA ceramic bearing
Weight:  193g (5g more than Ultegra 6700)
Speeds: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10-speed compatible (any 10-speed or earlier Shimano index system except 8-speed Dura-Ace and 10-speed Dynasis, 11-speed not tested yet )
More info:  www.retroshift.com

Mat Shimoko and Andrew Yee contributed to this report

 

 

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34 comments
morrowtrevorj
morrowtrevorj

PRO - Cheap unit.

CON - After freight costs & lead time for "repairs" you might as well just buy a new mech.

 Its a Microshift Centos mech in essence, FWIW there is a wait for these mechs currently really you could just buy a microshift mech online & install pulleys of your choice...

Adam Clement
Adam Clement

BURD is Shimano compatible. Will work with Shimano and Retroshift shifters. Will not work with SRAM.

Robtgarn
Robtgarn

Excellent...Wolf chainring. I knew it was a matter of time before someone did 110BC. I also like your derailleur idea, I destroyed two in one weekend once.

Todd Everett
Todd Everett

I don't get how this is better in the mud. The stronger spring? Does that make it less liable to catch on the cassette and rip off?

Robtgarn
Robtgarn

I bought an XX1 style chainring from a company in the UK. It fits a 104 mm crank. It works beautifully, 4 hard CX rides without chain keeper and no dropped chain. Best thing since clip less pedals! The largest is 38 teeth right now.

Joshua Geiszler
Joshua Geiszler

I can attest that Microshift derailleurs are extremely durable though!

Joshua Geiszler
Joshua Geiszler

Yeah, I should read the whole article before I say anything!

Cyclocross Magazine
Cyclocross Magazine

Joshua Geiszler, clearly made by Microshift, and they say that, but it's not 100% the same, as the article says, due to pulley changes, FWIW.

Bryan Larsen
Bryan Larsen

so it's an unbadged unbadged derailleur??

Dave Koesel
Dave Koesel

The pulleys don't look like the ones MicroSHIFT Equinox Cycling Team uses.

Cyclocross Magazine
Cyclocross Magazine

Han, cable pull rates vary, so not SRAM compatible. Unless you have old Shimano compatible SRAM Gripshifters!

Han Clark
Han Clark

derailleurs are not indexed, so yes they will work with Shim/Sram

Jeremy Burlingame
Jeremy Burlingame

I've bought plenty of good (read unbent) drive parts from eBay.

Geanie Helfrich
Geanie Helfrich

Well, I'd sell my bent ultegra online too, if I weren't such an honorable person. eBay drive parts...mmm...too risky imho.

Paul Steigerwald
Paul Steigerwald

I love my Retroshift single ring set-up. I'll definitely get one of these burds next time I trash a rear derailleur like I did last cross season.

Zac Chappell
Zac Chappell

SRAM shifters aren't compatible with Shimano derailleurs (and vice-versa). The cable pull is different and you won't be able to get them to index properly. Some gears will work, others won't.

Chris Hubbard
Chris Hubbard

I've never had to pay for crash replacement of SRAM, just saying.

David Ugarte
David Ugarte

so what your saying is a burd in the hand is worth two in the bush?

Geanie Helfrich
Geanie Helfrich

And, as I found out, crash replacement for Shimano 105 is..wait for it..100% MSRP. Is there a chain brand it's most happy with?

Josh Tabije
Josh Tabije

interesting. the article doesn't mention whether it's only compatible with the retroshift shifters or if they'll work with SRAM/shimano.

Joseph Crowell
Joseph Crowell

"For the same price of a single SRAM Force rear derailleur (MRSP $159.99), you could have a BURD in each hand (MSRP $69). Compared to a Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur (MSRP $119.00), you could get a brand new BURD plus a replacement if you crash. Crash replacement for SRAM is typically around 50% of MSRP, which means that for the cost of a single SRAM Force crash replacement derailleur, you can get two BURDs rebuilt."

cyclocross
cyclocross moderator

 @patrickbeeson we're anxious to find out, but it was just unveiled so no test yet. soon! 

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