Tech FAQ: Derailleur Compatability and an Unyielding Debate on Yielding

  • By Lennard Zinn
  • Published Nov. 29, 2011
  • Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:52 PM EDT
2011 BC Bike Race: Dietsch's Bike

Dear Lennard,

You may have answered this question previously, but I cannot seem to find the right archive, so here I go again: Shimano has recently come out with a 10-speed off-road group. Previous generations of rear derailleurs used to be backwards compatible with 9- and even 8-speed and worked with STI shifters too, for ‘cross use. Is that still the situation or have they changed the cable pull ratio?

To pass the wintertime blues, I started messing around with a newish XTR rear derailleur with the intention of converting it to a short cage. I made the rounds to a couple of knowledgeable shops in my town and they could not give me a firm answer as to whether I can do so or not.


Dear Ray,

With the advent of its 10-speed MTB drivetrain, Shimano has changed the cable pull ratio, and it is no longer cross compatible with previous generations of Shimano MTB or road drivetrains. I actually have discussed this here: http://singletrack./tech-faq-what-about-1×9-or-10.


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Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn

Our longtime technical writer joined VeloNews in 1987. He is also a framebuilder, a former U.S. National Team rider, and author of many bicycle books, including Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, as well as Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes and Zinn's Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College. Readers can send brief technical questions to Ask LZ.

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