As you get to know your bike, you realize there are many things to take into account that make a change to your ride. Different parts respond in different ways, and you feel the constant need to adapt your ride to what your style demands.
When it comes to derailleurs, many may be confused about what “GS” and “SS” derailleurs mean. But first, let’s have a glimpse into both of them, and then we’ll be able to make up our minds to what is better for us -and our bike, of course!
What are GS and SS Derailleurs?
When we talk about GS or SS derailleurs, we are referring to their cage lengths. GS, for example, is the term used for Medium Cage Length. They contain a maximum cage capacity of 37 to 39 teeth, as regards their cogs.
SS, on the other hand, refers to a Short Cage version, which presents us with a model with a maximum cage capacity of 33T or less. There is also a Long Cage Length type, and its maximum cage capacity is that of 43-44T.
These differences in capacity affect your bike’s performance depending on your type of riding and, thus, your performance too. So, let’s ride into the main differences, and when and how we should choose either of them.
How to Select the Right Derailleur- GS or SS?
In order to decide which cage capacity is the right one for your bike, there is a very simple equation. It consists of finding out the difference (regarding tooth size) between the largest and smallest chainring. Then, you do the same with the sprockets.
Add up both results. The correct derailleur for your bike would be the one that fits that number. That is the one that is within range. Before buying a derailleur, check its specs, and with the help of the equation stated above, find out whether it is suitable or not.
After doing this, it is also important to check your bike’s speed, and see if the chosen derailleur fits. There is no equation needed to make up your mind, so this decision is quite straight to the point, the number of speeds must match in both your cassette and your rear derailleur.
Finally, if you’re building a bike from scratch, you must take into account that road bikes usually use short cage versions, whereas mountain bikes tend to go with the long cage version.
This video explains whether you need a short, medium or long cage derailleur (Credit to Global Cycling Network):
When Should You Convert SS to GS Derailleur
As stated above, the type of use you give to your bike is of great relevance when choosing a derailleur. So, with this in mind, you should think of converting from SS to GS if you are planning to convert your riding type too.
A tip when doing so: be careful, not all types of derailleurs are compatible, with regards to brands and models. If you happen to decide on changing, be sure you get informed and good advice from your local bike shop.