AFC Pulley Wheel Review.

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by weeracerweenie

Hi all, here is my view of the AFC Pulleys see link:" onclick=";return false;" onclick=";return false;

These are the lightest pulleys on the market that im aware of, so when i decided to do a derailleur tune i brought a pair happily saving 16grams over my standard SRAM Reds, choice i thought!

Early riding reports suggested they worked fine, the shifting was slower than usual but i thought this was my tuning (although i was employed as a bike mechanic), so what i thought, slower shifting isn't the end of the world, and by slower i mean fractional. So i lived with it. The more i rode them, the more i forgot about them, they worked and that's all i asked. My good friend also had a pair he was using on a tuned SRAM red rear derailleur too, he encountered a problem where his outer cage snapped mid ride (ill get him to write up about it on here) we thought nothing of it at the time other than a section of tuning that went to far....

A few months on from this, still using these pulleys while racing (elites) in a dead flat section of road, not reacting to anything just rolling at 55 km/h, i hear a "click-click-click" from the rear derailleur, i just thought it was the chain rattle on someones bike, then all of a sudden hear a "crack" and that terrible noise when your derailleur hanger has broken. OR SO I THOUGHT!

Dismounting and seriously pissed off i see it wasn't the hanger that snapped, it was the derailleur mount bolt (Made by AFC as well as a special part) and the entire derailleur had snapped off, got caught in the wheel, swung round and snapped my chain stay. Upon further inspection i noticed the chain was jammed in-between the cages and the jockey wheels as the jockey wheel had slid sideways off the bearing. Again i thought this was just because the derailleur bolt had snapped.

Upon further talking with my friend, he had posed the question to whether both of our mishaps were to blame because the chain had hopped off the jockey wheels and jammed (I mean JAMMED) in-between the cages and jockeys. It was a valid theory, worth investigating in my opinion.

Anyway i emailed Selcuk (AFC) and explained what had happened, just telling him my thoughts. I rebuilt the derailleur, had the frame repaired and set about riding again (5 weeks waiting to get my baby back :x ) I had a small conversation with Selcuk expressing my views and possible improvements.

Again while riding around the hills a few weeks ago i heard the "click-click-click" again, i immediately stopped and had a look, the following photos are half way through my ride, up a hill. Again on a smooth section of road, i was in the saddle, not doing any efforts. So i have no idea why the body has slipped sideways off the bearing again.




Sorry for the crappy photos too but i was in no mood to take proper ones....

I decided to give them one last shot, i had an elite series race the weekend after this incident so i kept them on for the race, bad news though. After 5 km while descending a small but quick little hill i pedal and BOOM, "click-click-click" so i coast back to the team car and our mechanic has a crack at putting the chain back on the pulleys at 50 km/h, no avail, have to stop and fix it. :x :x :x Spend the next 20 minutes at 90-95% HRM to catch on, only to ride the next 150 km on the back...

I'm convinced now that the bearings do not stay in the bodies of the pulleys, they slip sideways and cause damage to both derailleur, chain, and in my case frame and wallet. I've considered re gluing them myself but after fitting my old SRAM Reds back in the shifting is 10X better. I also built some end caps for them so they couldn't slide off the bearing (this was a suggestion to Selcuk) as the originals had the same diameter as the bearing, meaning the body could slide right over the cap. I built a pair that had a larger diameter and couldn't move sideways over the caps when clamped down. But it still didn't shift correctly and i wasnt happy enough to fit them back to my bike.

I believe the AFC are to thin at the contact point with the chain. This allows the chain to move side to side on the pulley which is the reason the bike wont hold tunes, and the pulleys flex as well which doesn't shift any where near as good as my SRAM Reds. The weight is exceptional of the AFC's but so far the 16 grams i saved has cost me nearly $800.00 NZD in repairs after faults. I would not use them riding again, but now i have a pair ill keep them for photos. I'm really disappointing with the product, they aren't cheap as a high school student, and functionally aren't up to par. I would advise against them unless your putting them on for show.
I guess there's worse hobbies than making a bike light? Right?

by Weenie

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by UpFromOne

Thanks a bunch for "keepin it real" and telling it like it is. Even if this is an aberration, it's more risk than I would ever want to take.

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by prendrefeu

Same thing happened to me with those pulley wheels. Luckily I caught the issue before there was any damage made to the wheels or frame.
I've still kept them, but they're basically useless to use.

Other AFC products have been good, however.
Exp001 || Other projects in the works.

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by weeracerweenie

Agreed, practically useless. I was disappointed wih the AFC mount bolt as it snapped as well. Although all their products appear well made I see potential design flaws which have to be fixed before they are ready for mass markets
I guess there's worse hobbies than making a bike light? Right?

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by theremery

Sadly, this is exactly my experience, also. Slower shifting but then a random and derailleur destroying failure on a flat piece of road when we were just rolling along gently. It grabbed then twisted the cage, as far as I can work out (best guess after analysing it a initial response was that I'd over lightened the cage...still a possibility). The failure was near, click snap....took maybe 1.5 seconds? I was gutted. My first weight weenied part failure. (any other breakages I'd ever had before were of unmodified parts....maybe 4 failures in 30+ years!!).
Selcuk is a decent guy to deal with but I won't be mounting the ones I bought for my G/F on her bike as they don't seem to be fully reliable. Mine won't be going back on my bike any time soon (and certainly not until modified) I have plan to fix the issues they have (well.....utilise the components, maybe) but this is going to be a big ish job to save a few grams over more reliable items. I'll go back to using RothShek ones or try GS sports variants.
Updated: Racing again! Thought this was unlikely! Eventually, I may even have a decent race!
Edit: 2015: darn near won the best South Island series (got second in age
-group)..woo hoo Racy Theremery is back!!

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by artray

I have some as well . I used them for about 2 months with no issues even climbing 53/23 . I did put some superglue loctite to stop them moving off the bearings . The only reason I changed back to some carbon jockey wheels was becasue my bike mech was just not comfy with me using them and thought that a disaster could be looming . As they seemed to work fine I might put them back on my Guru when it's rebuilt .
There are some warnings when you buy them about there use.

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by bura

Thanks for the input WCW.
Alarmed by your report I have dismounted my AFC pulleys from my Dura Ace 7900 cage to check the stability of my pulleys bearings .
Though I do not use their lightest pulley pair but have the lightest 11 teeth type.
I enclose a photo of the pulleys which have close to 7000 kms running distance.
Black set on photo.
I tried to push the bearings out by pressing against them but I could not. Seems no problem with this type till now.
I will remount them and use them further on as I am very happy with their shifting performance.

But WCW' s and Theremery' s experience shows that the lightest option may be not always the one to go for.

The white pulleys is a spare AFC set which is identical to Extralite pulleys and where I have dismounted the bearings . This is the TB type where the bearings are not glued in.
Two bearings push towards a ridge in the center of the hole which is visible in the dismounted white pulley wheel and the alloy caps are holding everything in place so I assume that this may be their best set to buy. No real life long time experience with those though.
We may hear from other users.
Last edited by bura on Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Kuota Kom Evo
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by weeracerweenie

Glad to see some aren't having issues. This was my experience to them and a caution to anyone using their products. I also press tested mine and found no issues when I first brought them, apparently that was misleading. Oh well....

Another peeve with AFC is the sticker that came with my pulleys SUCKED and fell off after one dry ride :( I like stickers... :( :noidea:
I guess there's worse hobbies than making a bike light? Right?

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by 5 8 5

weeracerweenie, I'm impressed you persevered with them for so long. I'd have binned after the first failure!

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by 1415chris

I used to use AFC pulleys, one of the first shapes (10g), few years ago.
That was on my mtb bike. They worked very well.
Wile ago I went for the 6g version for Red derailleur. After few consultations with Selcuk how to approach them, I couldn't even imagine that they might work properly. Chain alignment was bad, constantly rubbing the cage, pulleys couldn't hold straight lines.
I decided not to take a chance.

But as I said, the normal AFC pulleys are, at least were, very good indeed. I was thinking of going for the AFC heavier version. But it's very hard to justify the replacement of such a beautifully working Red's bearings.

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by sugarkane

I'm unsung the extralite pulleys on my 2012 SR gruppo with around 10000kms on em
And used another set on a chorus and then a 2010 SR gruppo (maybe 13000) before giving them to a friend who put a good 7000kms on them on a 7600 groupset..
They shift every bit as good as the campag pulleys and are a thousand times easier to keep clean ( also weigh 11g the pair )
I like em and will run them again

Have looked at the AFC pulleys but am happy with the extralite versions

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by bobbyOCR

That's unfortunate to hear.

I am, however, glad you have all identified the problem and hopefully prevented someone else suffering the same issues.
Cyclist turned music producer

Visiting South West Australia? Visit Crank n' Cycles!

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by weeracerweenie

@sugarkane, extra lite or Roth sheck (excuse the spelling) will be my next choices, but the SRAM reds really are a wonderful performing set. I've put close to 25,000km on mine, and although I'm fanatically cleaning my bike after every ride they are still like new. I'm going to buy a new pair and see if I can tune my old ones a little...

@bobbyOCR, thanks, but there is no point on saying "these suck, don't buy them" without giving reasons. I like to think my opinion is justified here?
I guess there's worse hobbies than making a bike light? Right?

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by bobbyOCR

weeracerweenie wrote:@bobbyOCR, thanks, but there is no point on saying "these suck, don't buy them" without giving reasons. I like to think my opinion is justified here?

I think it is entirely justified.

I'm a big fan of your tuning projects. From what I've seen so far, you're in a rare bunch of proper gram shavers.
Cyclist turned music producer

Visiting South West Australia? Visit Crank n' Cycles!

by Weenie

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by mdeth1313

Fwiw, I've been using the rothshek pulleys since 2005 (approximately). They've been flawless.
Speedplay is the devil!

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