Sachs Centera (58 1100 409 204)

Sachs Centera main image

This Sachs Centera derailleur is one of Sachs' famous DI.R.T. designs.

DI.R.T. (note the weird placing of the full stops) stands for DIrect Response Technology. The DI.R.T. designs were extremely innovative, with two composite knuckles, a composite outer parallelogram plate and a composite inner pulley cage plate. That's a lot of composite for the time, and it made these derailleurs fiendishly light. They also had a pretty straight cable run and a groovy curvaceous look. Finally they were Shimano compatible - sounding the death knell on Sachs' proprietary ARIS system.

Did they change gear well? I would say that they did - although many home mechanics, who were not used to the straight outer cable run, were not careful enough about the length of outer cable required. Get this right and these gears worked well, possibly very, very, well. Get it wrong and they were dogs.

Were they a commercial success? Possibly not. They acquired a reputation for being fragile, with numerous macho dudes claiming on the, then newly fashionable, internet that they had smashed their DI.R.T. derailleurs to pieces in this way or that. I have to say that I didn't notice more smashed DI.R.T. derailleurs than smashed Shimano derailleurs, so I am mildly dubious about this claim. I do think that the DI.R.T. derailleurs looked fragile, and that plastic and pressed aluminium possibly does not look as comforting as polished or anodised aluminium forgings.

Most of all these derailleurs were not cheap (particularly the higher end ones). The biggest downside of the DI.R.T. derailleurs was that it was hard to convince customers that a plastic and pressed aluminium derailleur was a luxury item that should cost as much as one constructed of polished or anodised aluminium forgings. These derailleurs were no only light in weight, they were also light on Bling.

The Sachs brand was, of course, taken over by SRAM. And despite the supposed fragility, and despite the fact that it does not chime with SRAM's foundation myth, it might be true to say that there is more of the Sachs DI.R.T. DNA in, say, a SRAM X-0, than DNA from SRAM's own, contemporary, SRAM ESP 900.

The Sachs Centera was the base model of the DI.R.T. range, featuring:

  • a steel inner parallelogram plate.
  • a hex cable clamp nut
  • a steel outer pulley cage plate
  • a steel b-pivot bolt
  • a rivetted parallelogram that could not be disassembled
  • standard pulley wheels in red
  • the word 'Centera' prominently written on the b-knuckle
  • a round badge on the p-knuckle with the letter 'C' for Centera
  • adjustment screws that can be turned with a Phillips head or a flat bladed screwdriver
  • pulley wheels that are branded Sachs
  • an outer pulley cage plate that is branded 'Sachs' and 'DI.R.T.'.

The Sachs branding is notably discreet. Perhaps they knew that the takeover by SRAM was in the offing.

  • Derailleur brands: Sachs
  • Categories: Sachs - DI.R.T.
  • Country: Germany, manufactured in France
  • Date of introduction: 1997
  • Date of this example: possibly 1998 - the inner pulley cage plate is stamped ‘O8’
  • Model no.: 58 1100 409 204
  • Weight: 267g
  • Maximum cog: 32 teeth
  • Total capacity: 40 teeth
  • Pulley centre to centre: 86mm
  • Index compatibility: 7/8 speed
  • Chain width: 3/32”
  • Logic: top normal
  • B pivot: unsprung
  • P pivot: sprung
  • Materials: largely composite with a steel inner parallelogram plate and outer pulley cage plate
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