July 20th, 2021
FE Sports

Meet Carbon - Ceramic HOLLOWcage®

The new era of silent oversized derailleur pulley cages is here.

For nearly seven decades, rear derailleur cage has not really changed much. Same old fashioned two-plate construction with very small bearings in the middle of the plastic pulleys, held together by two bolts.

HOLLOWcage ® changes everything. Our revolutionary mono-plate design is the quietest, best shifting, aerodynamic cage design created to date.  It is the dawn of a new era for rear derailleurs.

Sounds too good to be true? At the launch of our GRAPHENlube many thought the same. 
Our HOLLOWcage ® has a carbon-polymer mono-plate construction with bespoke, oversized, full ceramic bearings and the most advanced silencing pulleys ever created. 
It is offered in 5 different lower lockring color options: black, gold, red, titanium and PVD rainbow. The upper lockring and cage color is black only.  

The entire cage weighs 71g and is offered at AUD $999.99 / NZD $1149.99

Why is our HOLLOWcage so special?
It is super silent
The shifting is as good as with the original Dura-ace cage.
It saves more watts than any other cage
It’s more aero than the OEM cage and other oversized cages. 
One of the lightest oversized cages on the market. 

The new era of silent pulleys. Meet the Silent Xring Pulley ™ 
Does it bother you when you ride in really quiet scenery but you can still hear your bike’s chain engaging the pulleys? This familiar clunking noise has been accompanying us on every ride for decades. It’s time for a change. 

Common polymer pulleys are fairly loud, this has always been a norm. Aluminum pulleys are even worse as the material radiates the sound more than any polymer, making them louder.
We are introducing a completely new generation of pulleys, which are able to reduce the sound level by 12-14dB when compared to stock Dura-Ace pulleys. This corresponds to roughly 60% of the noise reduction. Practically speaking, the cage becomes almost silent. 

We use a patent-pending solution, our special xring rubber suspended bands, that dampen the chain impact on the guide pulley teeth, therefore eliminating the engagement noise, which is the single biggest contributor to overall drivetrain noise. 

From now on, your ride is going to be more silent than it used to be and you will hear sounds that you haven’t noticed before. It's the new era of derailleur cages.

Flexible cage is better than a stiff one.
Contrary to common knowledge, flexibility is good as it allows the cage (and therefore lower pulley) align better with the angle of the chain when using the higher gears of the cassette. This means less friction (and less Watts lost) as the pulley doesn’t have to fight against the chain itself. Shimano has partially solved this issue by bending the lower part of the cage slightly outwards, to align better with the chain when using top of the cassette range. We have taken a different approach and eliminated one part of the cage altogether, creating a mono plate cage that can dynamically adapt to the chain angle.


Stiffer guide pulley, Not cage, means better shifting.
Many companies try to convey that a stiffer cage is a better shifting cage. But the single most important factor that impacts the shifting is the upper pulley itself. Since the upper pulley is mounted directly to the rotating pivot axle, the flexibility of the cage plays very little role.  It’s the upper pulley that moves the chain left and right enabling gear change, so making the upper pulley really stiff allows for greater shifting precision.  Most oversized pulley cage systems use very small bearings, with a lot of lateral play at the teeth which in turn provide poor, sloppy shifting. HOLLOWcage, unlike other pulley cage systems, use abnormally large, bespoke, full ceramic bearings that make the pulleys incredibly stiff. Lower bearing alone is actually big enough to fit 11T pulley inside of it. 


The problem of shallow teeth.
One of the main shifting issues, apart from pulley stiffness alone, stems directly from the low teeth profiles. Low teeth simply can’t move the chain effectively left or right when you change gear. They are the only points of contact with the chain, but for some bizarre reason, the majority of oversized pulley systems come with very shallow teeth profiles. This is the major contributing factor to oversized pulley cages shifting badly.  HOLLOWcage uses very tall teeth of the upper pulley which gives the best possible shifting precision. 


Oversized cage is actually more Aero.
There is a general belief among the riders that oversized cages are less aerodynamic. Their larger surface area, when compared to OEM cages, must result in some power losses, which would offset the gains generated by the bigger pulleys. We have tested the market-leading cage as well as the original Dura-Ace cage in a bespoke wind tunnel, designed for smaller objects. HOLLOWcage proved to be more aerodynamic than the OEM (DA cage) as well as the other leading brand. However, the absolute difference is relatively small, proving that a bigger cage will not set you back and cause any meaningful Watt losses, no matter which cage you use.   

The game of Watt saving.
There are four main components to the savings that oversized pulley system can provide.  Bearing quality and its lubrication, the number of teeth in the pulleys, the cage spring tension and the ability of the lower part of the cage to align with the chain. We are using bespoke, shielded, oversized full ceramic bearings that are actually lightly greased not oiled (nor dry). The difference between special grease and oil is only 0.01W in real-life conditions, under load, despite the fact that one pulley can free spin and another not at all with no load present. What we gain is great durability and reliability at a cost of 0.01W. Bearings, contrary to common assumption, are not the place of big savings (0.03-0.1W between high-quality bearings). It’s the companies that sell them want you to think they are by comparing them to Acera level pulleys.  
While most of the oversized pulley systems have very similar pulley sizes, the biggest savings mostly come down to the spring tension and the ability of the cage to adapt to the chain line. There is a linear correlation between spring tension and the power losses generated by the cage. Shallow pulley teeth paradoxically require higher spring tension to maintain reasonable shifting quality. 

HOLLOWcage is using lower spring tension than any other cage on the market, while still providing excellent shifting thanks to the unique combination of pulley stiffness and tall teeth profiles. In addition, it is the only cage that can dynamically adapt to the variable chain line, minimizing friction at the lower pulley. 

View HOLLOWcage HERE - www.fesports.com.au/Shop/c_2243_5194/absoluteBLACK/Derailleur_Cages