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Converting XT/SLX Shadow mechs to short cage?

MarkDH

Monkey
Sep 23, 2004
351
0
Scotland
Hi,

I've been running Shimano road mechs on my DH bike after getting sick of everything I bought from SRAM falling to bits. While I've found them pretty tough, I've still managed to hit the cable clamp bolt on them and bend it up into the cage, which adds a lot of friction. Add to that the need for quite a big loop of exposed cable and a tendency to rattle of the chainstay and I'm looking for an alternative.

If money was no object I'd just get the Saint M810 and be done with, but £80 from CRC is a lot to justify on something that could die the first ride out. SLX/XT are more sensibly priced, but even the medium cage looks pretty lengthy, something I don't really want. Then I remembered seeing a pic somewhere of a custom mech someone had made with an MTB cage and a SS lower arm section from a road mech. If I could get an SLX mech for £35 and stick on the shorter arm from an old road mech that would be ideal, but I don't know if it's possible. The arm on my road mech seems to be riveted on or something, and I don't know if prising it off would wreck it. If I got it off, I don't know if it would fit on an SLX/XT, or if the arms are removable on them?

Any advice on this?

Cheers
 

scottishmark

Turbo Monkey
May 20, 2002
2,122
22
Somewhere dark, cold & wet....
Advice: avoid. I've already had an XT Shadow and an SLX Shadow give up me and had the joy of having to fix a Saint Shadow on the trailside at Glentress. Basically, the tension spring design seems flawed, and XT/SLX are not servicable.

I'll get my £5 for this advice next time I see you ;)
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,274
1,650
Seattle
You can always just drill a new hole for the pulley bolt, and dremmel off the extra bit of cage.
 

MarkDH

Monkey
Sep 23, 2004
351
0
Scotland
XT is not removable, I don't believe the SLX is either.
Damn and blast, wish I could remember what the set-up was on the pic that I saw, I'd like to know how they did it as well.

Mark, you know as well as I do that Gnartress places unrealistic strains on bike and body. I'm sure if a Saint rear mech even made it halfway round the G'tress blue route it could handle a complete season of WC racing without a problem. :)
 

4xBoy

Turbo Monkey
Jun 20, 2006
5,698
813
Minneapolis
Damn and blast, wish I could remember what the set-up was on the pic that I saw, I'd like to know how they did it as well.

Mark, you know as well as I do that Gnartress places unrealistic strains on bike and body. I'm sure if a Saint rear mech even made it halfway round the G'tress blue route it could handle a complete season of WC racing without a problem. :)
YOu can make the New XTR shadow a short cage with saint parts.

Sicklines did it. I have done it also, but it isn't cheap.
 

Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
3,723
1,973
UK
and had the joy of having to fix a Saint Shadow on the trailside at Glentress. Basically, the tension spring design seems flawed, and XT/SLX are not servicable.

I'll get my £5 for this advice next time I see you ;)
and you can buy me a 4pack of beer with it.

Don't remember you even gettin your hands dirty when "you" fixed Kris's mech

:(
 

Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
3,723
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Damn and blast, wish I could remember what the set-up was on the pic that I saw, I'd like to know how they did it as well.
If my (ropey) memory serves weren't pretty much all older road and mtb mech's (105& LX upward) cages removable so should be interchangable.

they're a bit of a bugger to put back together, one of those 3 pairs of hands or a bench mounted vice kinda jobs.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,881
1,130
Vaguely on topic, does anyone have any opinions on whether the new shadow mechs are in the same league of durability / construction quality as the old road mechs?

I've seen some complaints on the new saint mech developing play, which is very unlike shimano parts of old. Wondering if the new XTR falls in the same boat.

I've been running a 7800 dura-ace shortcage for about 4 years now and it's still mint mechanically, I have a new saint 810 mech as well but haven't run it long enough to compare - though it does seem flimsier to me.

If my (ropey) memory serves weren't pretty much all older road and mtb mech's (105& LX upward) cages removable so should be interchangable.
I was under the impression that cages were only removable on XTR/dura-ace (and now saint) mechs, fairly sure that has always been the case. Open to correction though.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,274
1,650
Seattle
Vaguely on topic, does anyone have any opinions on whether the new shadow mechs are in the same league of durability / construction quality as the old road mechs?

I've seen some complaints on the new saint mech developing play, which is very unlike shimano parts of old. Wondering if the new XTR falls in the same boat.

I've been running a 7800 dura-ace shortcage for about 4 years now and it's still mint mechanically, I have a new saint 810 mech as well but haven't run it long enough to compare - though it does seem flimsier to me.



I was under the impression that cages were only removable on XTR/dura-ace (and now saint) mechs, fairly sure that has always been the case. Open to correction though.
Nah, some of the older XT stuff had removable cages too.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,881
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Fair enough, I presume that was a fair while ago though? I'm vaguely sure even the M750/M760 series didn't have removable cages, maybe it was before that.
 

HAB

Chelsea from Seattle
Apr 28, 2007
11,274
1,650
Seattle
Fair enough, I presume that was a fair while ago though? I'm vaguely sure even the M750/M760 series didn't have removable cages, maybe it was before that.
I'm pretty sure it did. I could be wrong though.
 

MarkDH

Monkey
Sep 23, 2004
351
0
Scotland
Vaguely on topic, does anyone have any opinions on whether the new shadow mechs are in the same league of durability / construction quality as the old road mechs?
Having slept on it (this is a life changing decision afterall :rolleyes: ) I think the medium cage XT would probably be fine. A bit longer than I'd like but I doubt it'd be a problem. I'd also be interested in hearing more Shadow tales of woe and/or joy.
 

Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
3,723
1,973
UK
not even playing the same game as an old road mech never mind league, Udi
Shadow is GASH IMO!
I got an XT shadow when they were pretty new and it bent in the uplift truck after it's 3rd run (no trail damage, simply from resting against another bike during transit), the spazzy "X" part was the culprit and it bent back scarily easily by hand.
 

Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
3,723
1,973
UK
I was under the impression that cages were only removable on XTR/dura-ace (and now saint) mechs, fairly sure that has always been the case. Open to correction though.
haven't all cages been removable?, there's a little 2mm? grubscrew you need to remove to pull the whole cage/spring assembly out of most pre-shadow mechs and some older ones again it was a bolt behind the top jockey wheel.. couldn't say what mtb cage will fit what road mech tho.
Sorry, can't remember fully how shadow cages fit, but they must all be removable surely?
 

MarkDH

Monkey
Sep 23, 2004
351
0
Scotland
Shadow is GASH IMO!
Gary you're killing me here, that's not what I wanted to hear! Don't know what to do now, road mechs are OK but the bolt is too exposed, and I'm not going SRAM again. Maybe I could try it, and if the mech dies I could claim on warranty or something?
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
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Gary - does that grub screw actually let the cage pop out? I didn't think it did, but I could be wrong. I do know on the higher end mechs (XTR, Saint, DA) there's a big 5/6mm allen screw that lets the cage come off (and be swapped etc).

If anyone's looking for an alternative, the setup I've been running forever now is a road mech (DA 7800 shortcage - tiny) with an avid rollamajig. The mech is very high quality compared to the newer stuff which seems a bit flimsy, has been crashed into rocks many a time and I've had no dramas with it.

You can get the rollmajigs here and there, ebay sometimes, and it'll wear out every 2 years or so but not too hard to replace.

Also not sure what you mean by bolt exposed, but nothing really sticks out on them... I have the shadow saint on my spare DH bike, and nothing on the road mech seems to be exposed much more significantly - and I'm pretty sure the road one will take more abuse to boot.
 

big-ted

Danced with A, attacked by C, fired by D.
Sep 27, 2005
1,400
47
Vancouver, BC
The medium cage Shadow SLX on my AM bike has been fantastic. Super durable. Snappy, solid shifting. No complaints at all. The Saint on my DH bike? Garbage. Utter garbage.
 

TomBigmac

Chimp
May 31, 2009
58
0
After receiving my new Glory frame I realised I couldn't really run my Dura Ace mech because of the cable loop involved (internal chainstay routing), I've been running a short cage XT bodge from 2 old mechs for a couple of months while I wait for SS Saint Cages to arrive. I only run 6 speed and this wouldn't be possible on a full cassette anyway because the jockey wheel can't come any closer to the frame than 7th/8th. It's just an Ultegra Short Cage (drilled for more spring tension and grinded down a bit for clearance) running a 10t top jockey wheel instead of 11t, again, for clearance. The 'Shadow' cages have an offset top jockey wheel unlike the normal mechs. So far it's worked flawlessly and I'm finding it hard to justify buying a new mech.

 

MarkDH

Monkey
Sep 23, 2004
351
0
Scotland
Gary and Udi: I'm talking about the cable clamping bolt. Every mech I've knackered has had this bent up and into the mech. I've bent it out again but it's never quite the same and affects the shifting. The Shadow mech having the bolt round the back appeals to me.

Big Ted: SLX is exactly what I was looking at today. Read a few reviews saying that it's heavyish but pretty sturdy, I think it could be the one.

TomBigmac: That looks ace. :thumb: No idea why Shimano don't make a short cage XT. Oh wait, it's so you buy the more expensive Saint. :think:
 

scottishmark

Turbo Monkey
May 20, 2002
2,122
22
Somewhere dark, cold & wet....
Big Ted: SLX is exactly what I was looking at today. Read a few reviews saying that it's heavyish but pretty sturdy, I think it could be the one.
I'll give you my "I told you so" in advance.........

I dropped off 4 stairs and mine gave up completely - was about 5 rides old


Now that I've gone all pro-active on you I'll just laugh if it goes wrong ;)
 

troy

Monkey
Dec 3, 2008
882
474
Hi ! It's my 1st post here . Here is mine XT Shadow with SS cage .

To make it work , You need :
-spare (non shadow) outer plate assembly (it was from Shimano Tiagra der. in my case)
-inner plate from your shadow type cage (xt)
-p-tension spring from shadow der. (because this one from tiagra is too short)
-saw
-2mm or 2,5mm(i don't remember) and 4mm drill
-M5 screw tap

Now You have to take Your outer plate and cut off some excess material (red area) :

Then You have to drill a 4mm(dia.) about 2cm deep (it depends of your screw tap , how deep should it be)hole in the center of this red pin

Next thing , You want to do is to make a thread in this 4mm hole using M5 screw tap .
Next step - find 2 small holes near red pin (from the picture above) . 1 of them holds the p-tension spring 2nd one is for tension adjustment . You have to drill 1 more hole on the opposite side using 2/2,5 mm drill (from the left : new hole-red pin-stock holes). If You would use stock holes to tension the spring , You would not be able to close the whole mechainsm ( there would be too much tension on the spring ) .
Now :
-put p-tension (from xt shadow) spring in the der body
-take Your outer cage
-install 2nd end of the tension spring in 2/2,5mm hole (with outer plate in 12 o'clock position , linke on the drawing)
-twist the cage around the der. body counter-clockwise (for proper tension) pushing it in at the same time into der. body
-screw the bolt , to lock outer plate in der body

Take inner plate from xt shadow and do this :

Install the pulleys using screws from non shadow der .

Sorry for my english , but I'm not from eng. speaking country : )
 

Steve M

Turbo Monkey
Mar 3, 2007
1,992
45
Whistler
Sorry for my english , but I'm not from eng. speaking country : )
"sorry for my merely almost-perfect english, but my first post on this forum was probably one of the most useful things anyone's ever posted here" :) Top job mate.
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,881
1,130
Troy - awesome post! So just to confirm, shimano road cages that install via grubscrew (I presume dura-ace won't work? or will it?) are compatible with XT shadow mechs, and the main modification you have to do is drilling/tapping that pivot to accept a screw to hold the "outer" cage plate as you call it?

Gary - I stand corrected, the picture above clearly shows the grub screw taking the cage out like you said. Clearly I've been sucked into too much highend stuff and haven't owned enough XT!
 

MarkDH

Monkey
Sep 23, 2004
351
0
Scotland
Troy, again, wow, great set of instructions there. :thumb: Personally I don't think I have the tools at the moment to do that, but I'm sure someone with a precision drill set-up, thread taps etc. will certainly be able to do it.
 

troy

Monkey
Dec 3, 2008
882
474
Thanks guys .

Udi - unfortunately Dura Ace cage won't work . It has a different (don't know how to call it) pivot . Tiagra/105/Deore/some der. from Ultegra group should work. You have to check tech docs , on shimano site :
http://techdocs.shimano.com/techdocs/index.jsp
There are some exploited views of rear derailleurs .
Main modification You have to do is drilling and tapping that pivot . You have to do that , because red area from the 1st drawing(in my previous post) and upper pulley rubs against the xt shadow main body , so You have to cut it off and mount Your pulley somewhere else . This new hole accepts a screw to hold an upper pulley and inner plate (like in a unmodified shadow type derailleur) .
Difference between shadow and non shadow cage :
 

broke(n)

Chimp
Mar 20, 2007
17
0
Great post, Troy.

But what I want to know is if there's any way I can put the short cage from my flogged out (shadow) saint der. onto a shiny new XT one?
 

Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,881
1,130
No, but you can put it on a shiny new XTR one. The top-end gear (saint and XTR) uses a large bolt that screws in to hold the cage assembly, and should be swappable (both need to be shadow).

The pic was linked earlier, but in case you missed it - here.
 

troy

Monkey
Dec 3, 2008
882
474
broke(n) it is possible but it would require some custom made pivot . Like this :

Ofc. i don't know if it will work but... You can try : )
 

broke(n)

Chimp
Mar 20, 2007
17
0
Thanks troy, seems feasible but those sorts of skills are beyond me!

Re the xtr, should be swappable or is swappable? The sicklines post from ages back suggested that it wasn't straight forward...
 
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Udi

RM Chief Ornithologist: “I Brake for Birds”
Mar 14, 2005
4,881
1,130
PM jvnixon on here, or email/contact sicklines directly I'd say. They are very helpful. Can't say myself since I haven't done it.
 

4xBoy

Turbo Monkey
Jun 20, 2006
5,698
813
Minneapolis
I did swap the cage on a XTR with a saint one, pretty easy to do.

Get an old shift cable before you start and pull the cable through to set the derailleur in the biggest cog.

Take the back plate and two jockey wheels off.

Take the small phillips screw out of the back of the cage that limits the cage rotation, then remove the front bolt holding the cage to the body.

Install the new cage rotate once to get tension, then install the small phillips screw.

It will probably make more sense when you take one apart, I didn't take pics. when I did it.