The Univega's old but worthy LX mech might seem an odd recipient of Hawk Racing's Derailleur Pulley Set characterised by super smooth stainless steel bearings and 7075 construction but shifting tag-alongs, trailers and full to the brim expedition panniers day in, day out calls for plenty of gear changing. Oh and they coordinate perfectly with the tubby tourers' red and black livery.
Retailing at a cool 35 quid and available in two alternative colours (green/black or plain black) they're very nicely executed but more interestingly Hawk shun the trend for ceramic bearings in favour of stainless steel-ABEC3 certified Foher Technologies types chosen for the last words in precision and longevity. Machined to Shimano and Sachs patterns, I feared we'd be on a hiding to nothing with an eight-speed mech but a quick wander round the Hawk website assured compatibility with 8,9,10 and even 11 speeds.
Installation is simply a question of splitting the chain (leaving it to marinate in some solvent) and unbolting the existing models from the rear mech, remembering to hang on to the bolts since the Hawk's aren't supplied with any. Take this opportunity to purge residual grime from the derailleur cage before treating those retaining bolts to a quick lick of grease. Snug the Hawk in position with the lazer etched detailing facing the hub; refit the chain and check shifting across the block.
With a fresh drizzling of wax based lube we were ready to go. Don't be surprised if you need to tweak the barrel adjuster slightly and there seemed a very brief bedding in period of around 20 miles and ours haven't skipped a beat since.
Despite high mileages, there's nothing worn or sloppy about the host mech but the Hawks' refinement was immediately obvious. Deliberately leaving down-changes late on the climbs and provocatively shifting under load, shifts were snappier in both directions-even with my full weight dancing on the pedals.
The song remained the same through town, approaching the lights in that gear or so too tall before powering away with a deft flick of the Ultegra bar con. It wasn't long before we felt the call of the wild but I'm pleased to report machined edges churn out gloop and grime with consumate ease, boding well for the not so gentile sport of mud plugging. Ultimately, while they've transformed the persona of an old but worthy mid-range derailleur, in the real world 35 quid would be better invested in a replacement. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to ship them aboard a Dura Ace, Sram Red or similarly top-drawer groupset.
Superb aftermarket jockey wheels for top-flight rear mechs.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Hawk Racing Derailleur Pulley Set
Size tested: Red/Black
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
"Finally the great same bearing technology is available now as well for your Shimano rear derailleur pulleys.
Replace even your ceramic rear derailleur pulley set with our very low friction, service interval free pulleys. Instead of using plastic pulleys we decided to go with Alloy 7075 to make them last longer and still be lighter than most other brands.
"Use our pulley set with Hawk Racing bottom brackets and wheels and you are all set with a low friction weapon on everything that moves you forward".
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pulley Material: Alloy 7075 for long lasting performance.
Works with Shimano and SRAM 10 speed/11T
Folmer Technology Bearings, ABEC 3 certified, Made in Japan
Available in black/red, black/black and black/green
Too early to tell but looks very promising indeed.
17g by my scales
Depends on the value of your rear mech-horses for courses.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Extremely smooth glitch free shifting under load and in both directions accross the block. However, this sort of technology is best saved for top-flight race mechs.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Precision, maintenance free shifting on and off road.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing but it's a little too early to confirm some of the claims made.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Quite possibly- but only for a high end mech
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, in the above context.
About the tester
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)