SRAM Centera

SRAM Centera main image

This SRAM Centera derailleur is one of the DI.R.T. designs that SRAM inherited from Sachs.

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 - which gave SRAM something to offer the majority of the market, while it gradually built the population of riders using its proprietary 1:1 actuation.

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.

Despite this history, 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 SRAM 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
  • plain-ornery pulley wheels in an alarming shade of red
  • the words 'SRAM 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
  • unbranded pulley wheels
  • an outer pulley cage plate that is only branded 'DI.R.T.'.

Unlike it's higher-end siblings, there is no mention of Sachs anywhere.

  • Derailleur brands: SRAM
  • Categories: SRAM - DI.R.T.
  • Country: USA, manufactured in France
  • Date of introduction: 1998
  • Date of this example: unknown (inner cage stamped PO)
  • Model no.: unknown
  • Weight: 275g
  • Maximum cog: 32 teeth
  • Total capacity: 40 teeth
  • Pulley centre to centre: 86mm
  • Index compatibility: 7/8/9 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
SRAM Centera additional image 01
SRAM Centera additional image 02
SRAM Centera additional image 03
SRAM Centera additional image 04
SRAM Centera additional image 05
SRAM Centera additional image 06
SRAM Centera additional image 07
SRAM Centera additional image 08
SRAM Centera additional image 09
SRAM Centera additional image 10
SRAM Centera additional image 11
SRAM Centera additional image 12
SRAM Centera additional image 13
SRAM Centera additional image 14
SRAM Centera additional image 15
SRAM Centera additional image 16
SRAM Centera additional image 17
SRAM Centera additional image 18
SRAM Centera additional image 19
SRAM Centera additional image 20