What is there to be offered by a low end Shimano derailleur, sold at a price tag of only 20 euro? To be able to sell it for so little money, the Japanese had to do serious compromises regarding weight and material.
Even if it is significantly heavier, the Shimano Altus rear derailleur is in the same entry level league with the Acera range which also belongs to the Japanese manufacturer portfolio. And since we have brought the issue of weight in our discussion, we must say that with its 308 grams, Altus fails to seize a good position in a ranking according to this criterion. In fact, Altus is one of the heaviest derailleurs on the market.
This derailleur has been designed to be compatible with 7 and 8 speed cassettes, meaning that you will usually find it on low cost bikes but also on a few more expensive city bikes. If manufacturers of the first type of bicycle prefer Altus due to its low cost, we find it on city bikes because under normal use it does its job quite well.
If it’s sheer performance you are looking for, then Shimano Altus will give you neither fast shifting reprises, nor good shifting under heavy load. Not to mention that it’s rather brutal and noisy, due to the material used for its construction, including pulleys. However, if you connect it to a Sram Grip Shift then it tends to be a little faster.
A lot of plastic has been used to build Altus, jockey wheels included. Shimano used a larger lower pulley in order to reduce noise but also to allow using this derailleur with an oversize pulley.
The derailleur needs frequent adjustment if you use it on tough mountain tracks, as it completely dislikes shocks. In case of a jump, Altus will make even more noise, hitting the lower side of the chainstay.
It is very clear that you can’t obtain quality for a real low price, and besides the fact that it’s one of the cheapest derailleurs to be found on the market, it is one of the heaviest as well. We recommend it for city bikes, as it will have to take less stress. If you plan to ride in the mountains, you should better consider a higher specs derailleur, such as Shimano Deore.
Weight: 308 grams