SRAM Force Rear Derailleur Reviewed (Great Shift Response)

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A rear derailleur is responsible for the shifting mechanism of the chainring of your bike from one corset to the next. When you shift gears using a handlebar, you are actually initiating derailleur movement. This is why the chain shifts on the cogs of your bike cassette. Derailleurs are integral for road bikes, but not so common on mountain bikes. In this article, we have put forward a comprehensive review of a “road bike” component – the SRAM Force Rear Derailleur. The test runs were carried out on climbs that were particularly steep. The trial runs took place over a duration of a few months so that we could understand performance over varying weather conditions. 

Our Verdict: We needed some time to adjust to the Double Tap technology of the shifters here. This was followed up by riding a few miles as we flicked through gears here. This was necessary before we finally tried it out on the steep and long climbs. The shift response was impeccable as we tweaked a few cables. We used a SL-K FSA chainset here, which eliminated all friction. Overall, the SRAM Force Rear Derailleur was able to hold up all in a variety of riding conditions. We would urge you to use the SRAM Force groupset here, as the performance is guaranteed to be top-notch with this configuration.

Derailleur anatomy

Picture: Anatomy of a Road bike Rear Derailleur


SRAM Force Rear Derailleur

10-speed Exact Actuation compatibleMisalignment will create issues with shifting and handling the bike
Powerful 2-spring system
Utilizes Double Tap technology from SRAM
Built with cutting edge materials that do not compromise strength while making them durable

SRAM Force Rear Derailleur: Offers great shift response, ideal for different types of riding conditions, serves good performance   

SRAM Force Rear Derailleur

Technical Specifications:

  • Speeds: 10s
  • Shifter Compatibility: SRAM
  • Cogsets: SRAM 10 s & 10s cogsets from Shimano
  • Chains: 10 s SRAM Power chains & 10s chain from Shimano
  • Cranks / Chainrings: Compatible with 10 s, 53-39/52-38/52-36/ 50-34 / 50-36
  • Cable & Housing: High quality 1.1 mm shifting cable and 4-5mm compressionless, with mon sealed end caps of maximum 5.8 mm diameter and maximum length 16 mm
  • Total: 33T
  • Max Sprocket: 28T
  • Min Sprocket: 11T
  • Front Difference: 16T
  • Parallelogram Spring: Steel
  • Pulleys: Cartridge bearing
  • Direct Mount: Yes
  • B-Knuckle: Forged Aluminum
  • Outer Link: Forged Aluminum
  • Inner Link: Magnesium
  • Outer Cage: Carbon
  • Inner Cage: Aluminum
  • Hanger Bolt: Aluminum

Features that allow its gear change to be precise

1. High-quality materials

Materials with cutting-edge properties have been used in the construction of the SRAM force rear derailleur. The outer cage has been crafted with carbon fibre, while magnesium is being used for the inner link. This combination allows the rear derailleur here to maintain a low weight despite exhibiting great strength. The B knuckle is using Aluminum too, while titanium is being used for the overall hardware. This is followed up by the finish, which runs warm gray( similar to other Force group components). The design has sufficient capacity for chain wrap so that any combination of SRAM cassette or crankset can be used with it.

2. Exact actuation technology

SRAM Force rear derailleur is able to deliver accurate and clean shifting throughout the gear range for shifting that is available on the 10s cassettes it is ideally compatible with. This is possible thanks to Exact Actuation technology. SRAM was successful in applying the 1: 1 ratio for actuation that existed on their MTB components, where this is the ratio between the movement of the derailleur and travel of the shifter cable. Exact Actuation attempts to balance the hanger design of the rear derailleur, tension in the cable and spacing between the tight cogs. This allowed SRAM to set up a fixed but very simple system for index shifting. Every click on the SRAM Force will be characterised by the same 3mm of cable pull, irrespective of which gear spectrum’s end you are in.

3. 10s compatibility

The SRAM Force rear derailleur is compatible with both standard and compact 10s SRAm & Shimano cranksets for road biking. The components for 10s SRAM are adaptable on both mountain and road bikes. For example, a rear derailleur for a MTB can be used with shifters for a road bike. While SRAM 10s & 11s bike components for a MTB are not mutually compatible, this is not the case for road bikes running similar cassettes. To accommodate cassettes of wider range, the rear derailleurs have been redesigned.

4. Double Tap shifting

The rear derailleur can be used new Shifters from SRAM that are using the DoubleTap Technology. You’ll be able to enjoy benefits like the ability to make adjustments to the individual reach of both the brake and shift levers. The gears changes will be faster and much more convenient. In one sweeping short motion, DoubleTap will handle both down and up shifts. This will require minimum effort and ensures maximum comfort despite your riding position.

5. Zero Loss

As you are pushing the lever for a down or upshift, you will find that the cable engagement is instantaneous. You certainly do not want to be left waiting on the bars for the shifting to take effect. ZeroLoss means that your gear will change with maximum accuracy while taking effect immediately.

6. Chain Gap

The distance between the pulley for the upper guide and the cog on which the chain is riding is referred to as Chain gap. On the SRAM Force rear derailleur, the chain gap is large enough so that to and from the largest cog smooth shifting is possible. The gap is small enough as well so that irrespective of the cog, efficient and fast shifting is possible. The chain gap can be adjusted so that on both the smallest and largest cog, the chain gap is running a minimum of 6mm approximately.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How to troubleshoot your SRAM Force rear derailleur?

Ans: In the table below, we have brought up a few scenarios that you will face with the SRAM Force Rear Derailleur. This is filled by a brief statement about what might be the root of the problem, and how you can solve it.

The chain may be jumping to the offset of the frame from the sprocket which was the smalleastThe screw of the high limit gear may not have been adjusted properlyEnsure that sprocket which is the smallest has been aligned with the guide pulley, by turning the H screw inwards
The chain cannot be shifted to the smallest sprocketThe screw of the high limit gear may not have been adjusted properlyEnsure that sprocket which is the smallest has been aligned with the guide pulley, by unscrewing the H screw
The plate of the inner cage is scraping the spokesThe screw of the low limit gear may not have been adjusted properlyEnsure that sprocket which is the largest has been aligned with the guide pulley, by turning the L screw inwards
Shifting is delayedBetween the sprocket and the guide pulley, the clearance is very largeThe B screw has to be adjusted by counterclockwise rotation
Shifting feels roughBetween the sprocket and the guide pulley, the clearance is very smallThe B screw has to be adjusted by clockwise rotation
When shifting to the smallest sprocket, it is becoming tough to maintain consistencyThe cable has not been tensioned enoughThe barrel adjuster on the shifter has to be turned anticlockwise
While shifting to the largest sprocket, it is taking more timeThe cable has not been tensioned enoughThe barrel adjuster on the shifter has to be turned clockwise
While shifting to the smallest sprocket, it is taking more timeThe shifting cable may be too tight / The cable may have been poorly routed or experiencing too much frictionCheck the cable housing for excessive bending, and whether it needs to be replaced or lubricated

2. How do you tune the SRAM Force Rear Derailleur?

Ans: If the gears on your road bike are badly indexed, they will interrupt your “cycling flow”. So it is important that you adjust the rear derailleur on your bike. The good thing is this tuning process is fairly simple and can be done at home. We will guide you with the process below.

  • Tools needed: Hex key, 5 mm; Screwdriver Phillips #2; and 1 set pliers, needle nose

→ The H screw will need to be tightened first. Typically , the outer limit is adjusted by the h screw. Tighten this screw just until it feels the tightest.

→ Limit screw has to be backed until the cog of the derailleur cog is directly under the cog which is the cassette’s smallest. The limit screw will need to be turned by half of the full turn. Follow this up with slow pedaling and try to listen if the chain is making any excessive noise. The screw will need to be tightened until it is in contact with the 2nd cog and makes a rubbing noise. This is given the fact the chain makes no noise at all. Address the rubbing sound by backing the limit screw off by a quarter of a full turn. This sets the H screw. Finish this step by turning the harel adjuster in anticlockwise direction a few times.

→ You have to follow this up with indexing, where the guide pulls will need to be lined up beneath every respective cog. The rear derailleur will therefore be in an optimum position during every shift of the gears, delivering excellent performance. The barrel can be placed in a number of positions to achieve this.

→ During this process, ideally you should have the outer front’s ring carrying the chain. As you are shifting to the 2nd cog from the smallest cog on the rear, the chain will not jump. You will be turning the barrel adjuster in an anticlockwise direction so that 1 complete turn is finished. The change needs to be attempted again, and the process will be repeated until we have the chain making a smooth jump. Remove any slack of the cable by pulling some of it through the bolt of the anchor cable and tightening the bolt again.

→ If you see that the chain is jumping by 2 cogs and you are shifting, you will need to be shifting back down as the barrel adjuster is turned by full 360 degrees, but in an anticlockwise direction. You will need to be shifting up by a single gear so that now, the chain is on the 2nd cog. Keep turning the barrel adjuster here until the chain is rubbing on the next cog. Continue to pedal and turn the barrel adjuster slowly, this time in a clockwise direction. Keep this up until the noise vanishes. This needs to be repeated for each of the cassette’s cogs. Follow any excess noise by turning the barrel adjuster 90 degrees clockwise. You will also need to go up and down repeatedly until the process is complete. After setting this, you will be setting the L screw.

→ The L stands for “Low” here, and is used to make adjustments to the inner limit. As this screw is being turned until the point where it feels the tightest, the chain will no longer fall from the biggest cog to the wheel. You will now be shifting to the ring that is positioned at the inner front and the rear cog which is the second largest. If you cannot shift to the rear cog which is the largest, it indicates that the L screw has been tightened too much. This is also indicated by excessive noise or when the chain is slowly going up. No such issues will mean that the L screw is tightened by the correct amount. To set the screw at this point, turn the screw by 90 degrees until easy shifting to the largest cog is possible. A crisp shift will indicate that the screw is set.

→ The B screw makes adjustments to the angle. To set the B screw now, you will need to be on the rear cog that is the largest and on the ring lying at the inner front. Check the gap here to see if it is between 5 and 6 mm. If the gear changes are smooth, along with crisp shifting then it is likely that the gap is correct. The B screw will need to be tightened to bring the guide pulley inwards. Loosen this screw to increase the gap. If the gap looks ok( you can also use a measuring tool), then the setup for your SRAM Force rear derailleur has been tuned perfectly.

For a visual representation, refer to the video link provided below.

Adjust the rear derailleur on your bike


The manufacturer SRAM has built up q I’muite a reputation in the market of road bikes today, and the SRAM Force rear derailleur is a testament to the prowess of manufacturing along with engineering of the company. At 178g, this lightweight dirt component is able to deliver peak performance even after a significant number of miles on them.

My name is Dion Lewis. I’ve been cycling since my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions. In my college life, I took a part-time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally. Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or bike gear.

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