Almost no matter where you live or what style of riding you prefer you have likely clapped your mountain bike derailleur cage against an errant stick or stone. One of the most technically complex and equally important parts of our bikes hangs quite close to the ground, and I for one have certainly destroyed my share of them. So long as the chain isn’t mangled it’s usually possible to single-speed the bike and turn toward home, but I would prefer a tougher and shorter cage to begin with.
The innovative Italian duo of Mattia Moraschi and Mirko Plebani, who make up MPM Tech, had a similar thought. In 2016 they took to their respective garage-laboratories to figure out how to make it happen. The resulting contraption is a sturdy CNC-machined, 7075 aluminum Exchange cage and pulleys. The Exchange is said to be far stronger and a tad shorter than a stock cage, saving rides from catastrophe and adding bling to the bike with twelve bright color options. Additionally, the 18t lower pulley is said to roll smoother than a traditional 14t, and the added teeth spread the stress-load of the chain out for added durability.
In addition to the cage hanging further from trail obstacles and the enlarged pulley reducing wear and drag, test riders have shared positive feedback about their shifting with the stiff Exchange installed. Italian enduro superstars, the Lopato Brothers, along with the Fulgar Cycles Pro Team have been banging this alloy cage into everything they can and they say it holds up well.
According to Moraschi, customers can swap their cage out in a matter of minutes, and there is no need to resize the chain. The Exchange is available on their webpage for €149, which is less than a few backup derailleurs — particularly if you run a SRAM AXS drivetrain. At the moment they only have SRAM-compatible cages available, but Shimano cages should be out sometime in September.
MPM Tech is also designing and making chainrings, through axles, stem spacers, and other components in their north Italian factory, with plans for a stem and crankset in the future. Stay tuned!