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Compatibility [05] Front derailleurs

Updated: 27/09/2019.

This post explains bicycle front derailleur compatibility of various makes and models. For a detailed explanation of front derailleur (FD in the rest of this post) mounting systems, cable routing and capacity, read this article: Front derailleur.

FDs differ in several categories (they are all explained with pictures in above linked FD article):

  1. Mounting: braze on, clamp mounted, or direct mounted
  2. Cable routing: top pull, bottom pull, or bidirectional pull (double pull)
  3. Big front chainring teeth number that FD is designed for and mounting angle
  4. Number of front chainrings: double vs triple
  5. FD cage rotation relative to the clamp position: high clamp, low clamp, or the new Shimano side-swing
  6. MTB vs Road FD
  7. Number of speeds (number of rear sprockets and chain width) FD is designed for
  8. Exceptions


1. Mounting

FDs are made for mounting on frame fixed braze on, or come with clamps for mounting on the seat tube. If FD comes with a clamp, seat tube diameter must match the clamp diameter. A newer standard, used on mountain bikes is the direct mount, it is explained at the end of this chapter.

If a frame comes with a brazed on FD mount, in order to mount a clamp on FD, the frame mount must be removed (cut off). In some (rare) cases the clamp can be put above/below the frame mount, so it can stay, as long as it doesn’t interfere with FD movement and proper mounting relative to the front chainrings.

Frame with a front derailleur braze on holder.
Frame with a front derailleur braze on holder.

Standard clamp (and seat tube) sizes are:
1 1/8″ (28.6 mm)
1 1/4″ (31.8 mm) and
1 3/8″ (34.9 mm)

If a FD is a braze on type and the frame doesn’t have a FD hanger (or the frame hanger is too low/high for the size of front chainrings used), a separate clamp can be bought so that FD can be fixed to it. This is a much more universal type of FD.

Front derailleur clamp. It is used when a braze on front derailleur needs to be mounted on a frame without derailleur holders.
Front derailleur clamp.
It is used when a braze on front derailleur needs to be mounted on a frame without derailleur holders.

Direct mount FDs can often be fitted to a frame without direct mount attachment holes using an adapter, enabling the FD to be secured by a (threaded) BB shell. There are also adapters for frames with a round seat tube cross section of a standard width, so that a direct mount FD can be attached to them.

Frames with exotic seat tubes (either by cross section that isn’t round, or by diameter that varies from the three standar sizes), often have FD mounts made on the frame. If, for any reason, those mounts can’t be used (damaged, or not fitting the FD at hand), an adapter can be used – held in place by the BB shell – for frames with a threaded BB at least.


2. Cable routing

There are FDs that have a cable attached from below, from above, or from any of the two. Frames usually have only one type of cable routing.

Double pull FD. Enables routing from either side. Here, two cables are routed, from the top and from the bottom. Of course, only one cable is mounted in real life - either from the top, or from the bottom. Never two! :)
Double pull FD.
Enables routing from either side. Here, two cables are routed, from the top and from the bottom. Of course, only one cable is mounted in real life – either from the top, or from the bottom. Never two! ๐Ÿ™‚

With double routed FDs this isn’t important, but for the other models, if the FD’s cable routing doesn’t match the frame design, there is a special adapter that can reverse the cable direction.

FD cable routing adapter. Enables reversal of cable routing to the front derailleur.
FD cable routing adapter.
Enables reversal of cable routing to the front derailleur.

In the picture above, the frame has cable routing so that FD cable comes from above. FD is designed for bottom cable routing. The adapter with a wheel onto which the cable is placed is mounted on the seat tube below the FD, so that the cable can go over it and up to the FD. Everyone is happy. ๐Ÿ™‚

Almost all the road FDs have bottom pull cable routing, while most MTB FDs have either top, or dual cable pull. 


3. Teeth number (the size) of the largest front chainring a)
and mounting angle b)

a) teeth number

FD is curved in order to align with the curve of the largest front chainring. A typical MTB chainring has 42 teeth, while road bike chainrings often come with 53 teeth. A smaller chainring requires the FD to have a much more curve in order to align (and vice versa).

Well placed FD that perfectly aligns with the chainring shape.
Well placed FD that perfectly aligns with the chainring curve.

Imagine in the picture above that the FD cage is shaped to match the middle chainring. It would have to be mounted either too high, or it’s rear part would bump into the big chainring, since it has too sharp a curve.

FDs are usually made to match chainrings with 42, 48, 50, or 53 teeth. If FD and large chainring are mismatched for a couple of teeth, there’s no problems, it’s close enough. If, however, a difference is large, the following problems occur:

  • Chainring has a lot more teeth than the FD is designed for: like explained above. FD will have to be mounted too high, which will make shifting slow, poor and might cause chain rub on the rear lowest part of the FD after shifting onto the smallest chainring.
  • Chainring has a lot less teeth than the FD is designed for: front part of FD will be correctly positioned, while the rear part of the cage will remain high up, and the chainring curves sharply down. It will not align. This will not hurt shifting, but will cause a lot of chain rub on the FD cage – as soon as some shifting gears in the rear sprockets causes minimal amount of cross chaining.

b) mounting angle

Seat tube angle (onto which FD is mounted) is usually about 70 degrees for road bikes, while MTBs usually have a bit steeper seat tubes, around 65 degrees. If a FD designed for more vertical tube is mounted on a tube that has a lot steeper angle, the effect will be similar to that of placing a smaller chainring designed FD on a lot bigger chainring. And vice versa.

A FD designed for a lot steeper tube is put on a more vertical one. The rear part of the cage is too high, even though FD is mounted at the correct height.
A FD designed for a lot steeper tube is put on a more vertical one.
The rear part of the cage is too high, even though FD is mounted at the correct height.

Similar problems can occur if the mounting position isn’t correct – happens on some special, or custom built frames.

A frame on which, because of the low rear axle, FD must be placed a bit behind the seat tube. A specific case.
A frame on which, because of the low rear axle, FD must be placed a bit behind the seat tube.
A specific case.

If a FD is a braze on mounted type, this can be corrected with made adapters:

Adapter for changing FD angle to a steeper one and for moving it to the rear.
Adapter for changing FD angle to a steeper one and for moving it to the rear.


4. Double vs triple

FDs are made in two variants: for double and for triple front chainrings.

Double vs triple FD
Double vs triple FD

Double FD will work with a triple chainring if the difference in teeth number between the smallest and the largest chainring is rather small (which defeats the purpose of a triple chainring though). For example a 34-42-48 chainring. Also, if the operation (movement) of the FD is limited to the two largest chainrings, it can work OK.

Triple FD will work on a double chainring if the difference in teeth number between the chainrings isn’t bigger than 12. One can “get away” with 14 as well, but the lower difference, the better.

Compact cranksets, with two chainrings that vastly differ in size (usually 34-50 combination) will work well only with double FDs with the curve appropriate for the big ring size (50 to 52). Even when using a double FD, it is best to keep the tooth cound difference up to 16 (like with 34-50, or 36-52 chainring combinations).


5. High clamp, low clamp, or side-swing

With older standard for FDs, the cage is below the mount, so that FD cage swings below the FD body. These are the high clamp FDs. Low clamp is a newer Shimano system meant for MTBs with rear suspension. FD cage is practically in line with the mount. This leaves more room for mounting the rear suspension to the seat tube. Previously used terms for this were bottom swing (for high clamp) and top swing (for low clamp), but with the introduction of Shimano side-swing system (explained at the end of this chapter), these terms are no longer precise enough.

If the bike has no rear suspension, or there is enough room for a standard FD below the suspension, it is irrelevant which type of FD is mounted (as long as it’s suitable in terms of other explained criteria – angle, size etc.).

The newest Shimano system is the side-swing, where the cage rotates sideways. These FDs can be clamped with a high clamp, low clamp, or using a direct mount system.

Shimano Side-Swing front derailleur
Shimano Side-Swing front derailleur


6. MTB vs road FD

Shimano road and MTB FDs have different cable pull ratio – that is the amount of FD movement for each mm of cable movement. This means that MTB FDs might not work well with indexed road shifters and vice versa.

With double chainrings, this issue can be fixed with adjusting limit screws and it could be made to work. With triple chainrings, it is harder to get it to work properly. However, FD cage is a lot wider than the chain and triple FDs have just 3 positions, so depending on particular shifter – FD combination, even that can sometimes be made to work OK.

Having said all this and in spite of officially different cable pull, all the FDs almost always work OK with all the shifters, regardless whether it is road, or MTB. Exception are the Shimano 11 speed road FDs and Shimano Tiagra 4700 10 speed FDs – they have a (vastly) different cable pull (and cable anchor arm), so they are not compatible. So, while this will not shift perfectly, especially with triples, it is worth giving a try and seeing if it’s good enough for one’s criteria – if what one has on hand are mismatched road and mtb shifters and FDs. If it doesn’t work satisfactory, the cheaper option is to find a FD that matches the shifter.


7. Number of speeds

The last AND the least important.  ๐Ÿ™‚

FDs are made for a certain number of speeds, i.e. number of rear sprockets. The more speeds, the narrower the chain. There are FDs for 6 to 8 speeds, then for 9, 10 and 11 speeds. Cage width is made to match the planned chain width.

FDs for 9 (left) and 10 speeds (right)
FDs for 9 (left)
and 10 speeds (right)

However, since the chain moves left-right on the rear sprockets, FD cage is a lot wider than the chain. That is why it is possible to mount a 10 speed FD and use it with a 6 to 8 speed chain.

FDs are very forgiving in terms of speed number (even in terms of manufacturers), so they can be mixed and matched. One of the few pieces of equipment where it is possible to change a Campagnolo 10 speed with a Shimano 8 speed and it all works.

When a FD for more speeds is put on a chain for fewer speeds, the only bad effect is more chain rub. Since the FD cage is narrower, smaller angling of the chain (when changing gears at the back) will cause it to rub the FD cage. With indexed shifters, a trimming option can help, while with friction shifters this is not an issue.


8. Exceptions

Exception to this rule are Shimano 11 speed road FDs. They will not work very well with anything but Shimano 11 speed road shifters and Shimano Tiagra 4700 10 speed road shifters. Same goes for Tiagra 4700 FDs. Newest Campagnolo 11 speed system: Revolution 11+ (older one is Revolution 11) also requires matching (Revolution 11+) shifters and derailleurs. The reason for incompatibility lies in different cable attachment and amount of needed cable pull per gear change. Why was something that had already worked “fixed” has probably more to do with the marketing, than with the engineering department of the company.

Another exception is the new โ€œgravelโ€ group (with hydraulic brakes): Shimano GRX. Caple pull wise itโ€™s the same as Tiagra 4700.

Related post – Front derailleur:

Bicycle front derailleur (FD). Types of front derailleurs, frame mount standards, FD compatibility...
Bicycle front derailleur (FD). Types of front derailleurs, frame mount standards, FD compatibility…

Compatibility posts are also available in eBook (printable and Kindle) and paperback editions on Amazon:

Bicycle Drivetrain Compatibility on Amazon
Bicycle Drivetrain Compatibility on Amazon
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29 thoughts on “Compatibility [05] Front derailleurs”

  1. Excellent information – thank you. Have been hunting the internet for answers on FD angle of inclination / curve to match front chain ring – and at last found the answer I needed .

    Reply
  2. Thanks!! Do you think a Shimano Sora R3000 FD will work with 36/22 or 38/24 chanrings? The FD limit is 46T

    Reply
    • It won’t work brilliantly, since the larger chainring is a lot smaller than what the FD is designed for.
      The fact that smaller chainring is also smaller than anything one would generally expect on a road double (34 is general, while 30 is the absolute minimal) certainly doesn’t help.

      Having said that, depending on one’s criteria of “good” (or “good enough”), it can be OK. Especially if (front) shifting under load is avoided (though that’s generally always advisory, but in this case even more so).

  3. Hi, I have Shimano Tiagra 4700 2×10 shifters and I need to use a top pull FD, but for road doesn’t exist…I see the Salsa fargo is using tiagra shifters and deore fd-m6025…is it correct?

    Reply
    • As far as I know, it’s not a perfect match, but for 2x drivetrains, it should work (4700 shifter will, as far as I know, pull more cable than needed per shift, but FD limit screws will keep it from oveshifting).

  4. Then If I will use any 2x shimano FD with tiagra 4700 road, playing with the screws It will work..not perfectly but works..isn’t?
    Even if the FD is a dyn-sis technology?

    Reply
    • It depends on your criteria. In my experience, for 2x, almost anything can be made to work OK. Not perfectly, as good as it possibly can – in terms of fast shifting, especially if attempted under (slight) load, but OK.

      However, I haven’t tried every possible combo, so can’t bet my life on it, sorry.

      Either way, do let us know what combo you end up making and how well it works.

  5. Hi, Hope you can help. I have bought a Calibre Stitch hybrid bike which i like, apart from the chain rubbing the front derailleur Claris) in a few gears when the chain is over angled. I have a spare front Altus, which has a wider gate. Do you think this would be compatible, and solve the rubbing problem?
    Thanks
    Chris

    Reply
    • If all is properly adjusted, having the chain rub when “severely cross chained” (as in – using the largest 2-3 rear sprockets from the largest front chainring and/or using the smallest 2-3 rear sprockets from the smallest front chainring) is a nice, harmless warning that your choice of gearing is not very good for the chain.

      I suppose that going with a wider cage FD can help eliminate that, or at least make it audible only for the very extreme combos (like the last 1 rear sprocket at the opposite side from the used front chainring, not 2-3 sprockets).

      Altus is not a perfect match for the Claris shifters, but it could be made to work satisfactory (depending on one’s criteria), especially with double front chainrings (with 3x it’s a bit more of a hassle). But it would be solving a problem that doesn’t really exist. Like using poor brakes, because a bicycle goes hardly when brakes are applied (sorry, can’t think of a better example).

  6. Thanks for that. I think i will just live with it, and take note when its rubbing, and change to a more appropriate gear.
    Regards
    Chris

    Reply
  7. Hi, Maybe you can help me out.
    It seems there is too little information around yet about 12 speed stuff. However, Iโ€™m trying to hack together a 2X12 system for a 29+ Drop bar frame for extended off-road touring (probably using 2.5โ€- 3.0โ€). Iโ€™m a Campagnolo user and have worked out everything except for the front derailleur / chainring combinations. Iโ€™m thinking Iโ€™d like somewhere from 19-120 gear inches. Jtek make a shift mate for Campy 12 – Shimano MTN 12. So with the Shimano 12s 10-45 rear cassette Iโ€™d need a 42-28 or 40-30 chainring or thereabouts (boost spaced 104-64 spider on Race Face cranks). This leaves me with a quandary. How do I get a derailleur to work with a 12 speed Campagnolo shifter over teeth that are that size? The smallest chainrings that Campagnolo suggests for the Chorus front derailleur are 48-32. Could this derailleur be modified to work? (Angled shims, Band on adapter for boost spacing). Would the Shimano 2X12 derailleur work better even though itโ€™s specced for 36-26 chainrings. Is the pull of the Campagnolo 12 shifter going to be able to move the derailleur into the right position? Iโ€™m so lost.

    Thanks for the write up btw. I learnt more about the front derailleur from this post than all the previous things Iโ€™ve ever read.

    Reply
    • Hello,

      I’m afraid that I can hardly say anything you don’t already know – sorry. But won’t waste too much of your time (the reply is still under 10 pages long ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

      Firstly I have to make a disclaimer: I live and work in Serbia, a rather poor, devastated country, so don’t see much of the new stuff – until it becomes the old stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚
      My estimates from charts, specifications and manufacturer inquiries are usually correct, but think it’s fair to point out for stuff that I haven’t personally tested.
      To make things even worse, Campagnolo is like a unicorn here: everyone knows it’s nice and cool, but no one’s actually seen it! ๐Ÿ™‚
      OK, being a mechanic, I get to see a few – more than the “normal” cyslists (if there is such a thing ๐Ÿ™‚ ), but still not very much.

      Secondly, I’d give myself the liberty to add, even if not asked, that for touring I’d go with simpler, more robust stuff – like friction shifters and fewer cogs at the back.
      Using triple front chainrings.
      This easily provides wide enough gearing ratio, with gears still being “tight” enough so that the desired gear ratio is always available.
      Another advantage of such systems is they work flawlessly with practically any chain (or cassette for that matter) that you throw at them (this can matter in case of a malfunction while away from any well equipped store).

      OK, with all that out of the way:
      I would expect 42-30 to work OK with a derailleur for 48-32. If fast shifting under load is not needed (like when racing), and if one’s criteria of fast/smooth front shifting is not too strict, it would probably work OK. I’ve mix-matched road 50/53 large chainring double FDs with MTB cranks and had them do just fine – especially with the doubles.

      For mixing Shimano FD with Campagnolo shifter – I haven’t tried that, so will have to look up the manufacturer specs (if there are any cable pull specs) and see. I would bet a beer that it can be made to work, with a double, but can’t say for certain, unfortunately.

  8. Hi,
    Thanks for great content on the site! I have a bit of conundrum with my front mech setup, hoping you would be able to help maybe?
    I’m looking to build a CX bike around an old frame which is equipped for a top pull cable routing. I find it extremely hard to find a fitting FD
    – CX70 (top pull) seems to be good candidate, but it proves extremely hard to get (at least based on my attempts so far – either out of stock, or even when sellers claim they have this, in the end they delay and decline the order…) and then also I’m worried about compatibility – would it work with Tiagra 4700 shifter? (Shimano claims compatibility with 10 speed groupsets, but apparently 4700 has different pull ratio than previous ones…)
    – secondly, Ultegra FD-8000 claims to be “Dual Pull” which would mean both bottom and top; 105 and GRX seem to share the construction and also claim “more cable routing options” but any setup instructions only show the bottom pull setup – so how is that in real life?
    – finally another option would be to engage some MTB derailleur which more commonly come in top pull, but then again would that work OK with road shifters (Tiagra 4700 or 105 7000 series)?

    Thanks in advance for any insights on this!

    Cheers,
    Tomasz

    Reply
    • Shimano’s compatibility charts are given on their website and are usually quite conservative – meaning that whatever they say will work, works.

      4700 front shifter (as well as their 11 speed road shifters) pulls more cable than the other Shimano’s front shifters. For doubles, FD limit screws can help so one can make it work OK (depending on one’s criteria of how good it has to be for it to be considered “OK”).

      Stated “more cable options” means that the FD accepts both the “naked” cable, and the cable that comes with housing, all the way to the FD (the FD has a housing stop built in). However, for all I know, in order for that FD-8000 to accept top routed cables, one would need to use an adapter.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions.

      Relja

  9. Good day,

    Just wanted to know if the old 105 fd(5800) is compatible with the new 105 crankset (r7000)?

    Thank you in advance!!

    Reply
  10. Hi I just broke my cx70 on my CX bike so need a new top pull front deraulier with 31.8mm clamp but as metioned above a new cx70 is hard to obtain now.

    I have 105 STI 5700 shifters

    A run an altus mtb rear mech and it works perfect, this made me think try a mtb front mech also.

    48t big ring 34t small ring double 110bcd road crank.

    Read else where online that a XTR mtb front one may work for cx but there a a multitude of models, any advice what models of FD to try?

    How about:

    https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/product/component/deorext-m780/FD-M786.html

    Thankyou.

    Reply
    • I live in a country that is war/crisis torn and impoverished. So getting proper parts is often difficult – both because they aren’t available, as well as because of the price. Hence – I would try with whatever is at hand (old spare parts, trashed donor bikes etc.). FD-s aren’t too picky, especially if handled properly, with friction shifters. ๐Ÿ™‚
      The point of this is that what I would do (and perhaps recommend) might not be the optimal choice for everyone. Now to the question at hand – what are the options?

      If in a position to order a new part, I would use what’s the most optimal choice.
      FD you linked is for 66 to 69 degrees chainstay angle (which is the angle between the seat tube and the chainstay).
      While most road FD-s are for 61 to 66 degrees chainstay angle.

      So that would be a deciding factor for me. To choose one that fits the bike best.

      As for compatibility – most Shimano road double FD-s are designed for 52 to 46 largest chainring, and can handle 34 toothed small chainring. The up-to 10 speed ones (apart from Tiagra 4700 FD-s) should work perfectly fine. There is no reason to go with an MTB FD if you already have road shifters – unless it matches your frame better.

      If the angle is over 66 degrees – the FD you linked should be OK.
      If the angle is 66 degrees, or smaller, I’d go with 10 speed 105 FD (5700 series, or older), or, if on a tighter budget, Sora 9 speed one:
      https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/product/component/sora-r3000/FD-R3000-B.html

  11. Hi Relja, When I looked on the map, I realized I was most likely passing by your shop during my many visits of my friends in NS. Well, next time I will stop by ๐Ÿ™‚

    I would like to ask you few questions:

    I am riding 3×9 XT set on my 2009 GIANT Reign X0 (my old reliable friend). Now, the time to change both FD and RD came again, but this time I can not find 3×9 XT in the stores here (Slovakia) anymore. BTW: My Crankset is 42-32-22.
    FRONT DERAILLEUR
    The only options I found here for FD is 3×11:
    XT FD-M8000 pre 3ร—11 Side-swing. I can lead the cabe to the FD from the front, so that is fine and according to what you said 3×11 should be fine for 3×9 too. The only problem seems to be the 2 mm narrower cage. I kind of hope to find a way to make it +2mm wider…. ?

    More importantly:
    REAR DERAILLEUR
    I would like to get a cassette with 40T (or max 42T). https://tinyurl.com/y6hnto85
    But the only 9sp RD I foud still available is XT M772GS. I was trying to find the SGS model, but no succes. According to the official document the 772 RD can handle max 34T. Is there any solution to this?

    I was also considering to change to 10sp instead, but than I realized, that I will probably face the same problem as with 9sp – According to the official document the 10sp RD can handle max 34T. So I thought to use 11sp RD with 10sp shifter – but from your other article I realized it wont work either.
    Full 11sp, seems to me to much and to expensive…. and I would like to keep the 3-crank in the front.

    Is there a way to make the cage of the new FDs little wider? Would it be better to keep looking for original 3×9 FD?
    What do you think about the 9×3 or 10×3 with 40T option?
    Would you please have any other suggestion?
    THANK YOU.

    Reply
    • Hi,

      There’s my phone number on website contact info, so even if I’m not at the shop, feel free to contact me (Viber, WhatsApp, call, SMS…) when you’re in the neighbourhood. ๐Ÿ™‚

      – Front derailleur –
      I would rather choose a lower end model (or, to be more precise, a “less top-end model”), like Deore, or Alivio, instead of buying an “11-speed” XT.
      Narrower cage will cause the chain to rub a bit sooner, when cross-chaining. So, for example, when on the big up front, now you might get away with no chain rub except when on the largest sprocket at the back. But with a narrower FD cage, you can expect to get some rubbing even when on the 2nd largest sprocket, or even the 3rd. Such cross chaining (big up front – 3rd largest at the rear) is not considered as “severe cross-chaining” by today’s standards, even though it’s not a perfect/very good combo.
      However, apart from that, I wouldn’t expect any more serious problems with the narrower chain. Though I’d still go with cheaper, quite good and durable Deore FD, preferably for 9, or 10 speeds.

      – Rear derailleur –

      Short answer:
      WolfTooth, or similar product sold by a less known (Chinese) brand can help. You can see it here:
      Video showing it installed on an 11-speed bicycle
      Video description has a link to on-line store, showing what the product looks like (though I would encourage shopping and supporting local bicycle stores).

      Longer answer:
      Shimano is often quite conservative when noting derailleur limits. So, for example, Shimano Alivio RD-M3100-SGS has the limit of 36 teeth (with a total chain-wrap capacity of 45 teeth).
      Depending on your frame’s current RD hanger design, if you screw in the B screw (almost) all the way in, you might see it nicely going over the 40 T chainring. 42 would be pushing it a bit too much, requiring the RD hanger extension (noted in the “Short answer”).

      There’s also a “trick” of screwing the B-screw the other way round, so its head is facing the RD hanger, making it push the RD even further, but I think that’s a bit more likely to bend the screw, or damage the small “lip” on the RD hanger that the screw hits into, pushing the derailleur. Similar goes for replacing the B-screw for a longer one (I think it’s an M3, or an M4 screw, would have to measure and check to be sure).

      “Philosophy” answer:
      I fail to see the point of having more than 34 teeth at the back, with a 22 T smallest front chainring. Even for muddy riding conditions, or loaded touring.
      So would advise giving a 34 teeth a try, if you haven’t already and found it not low enough gearing.

      As far as 3×10 goes, I prefer 3×7 with friction shifters: it’s super cheap, super durable, can use practically any modern multi-speed chain (tried from 6 to 10 speed chains on such setup so far, all worked fine). Good 2nd hand Shimano friction shifters, the ones made of steel/aluminium are practically indestructible, and very reliable. 7 and 8 speed chains are much cheaper. Same goes for 7-speed cassettes – cheaper, and there are 11-34 and 12-34 options available. And, with some spacers improvised from any old cassette, they fit 8-9-10-11 speed Shimano MTB freehubs (and road freehubs as well). Video explanation of 7-speed cassette on an 8-9-10-11 speed freehub.

      Relja

    • THANK YOU, Relja. I am clear now: I would keep all the components in my set as they should be – 3×9. The only think now is the cassette – i will grab either Deore CS-HG400 11-36T or Sunrace CS-M980 11-40T. I also found the clamp to make the RD bit longer: https://tinyurl.com/y3lpbzgz just in case the simple RD tunning would not help…

      I am using the 11-34T XT cassette, I remember when I installed my first 34T cassette I could noticed the difference from previous 11-32Ts – most of my trips are in the forest with quite steep hills. I do not know of anyone using 40T cassette on 22T crank, so I do not know how this would work, neither I know if the 36T would bring the desired effect. So both will be a kind of blind shots…

      AND, thank you for you invitation. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Hi Relja,

    Greetings from Spain. Thank you so much for all this technical info.

    Today I ‘succeeded’ mixing a Shimano GRX 400 10 speed FD with a Claris 3 speed shifter, 2 speed crankset and 9 speed chain.

    This GRX FD has features and adjustment bolts I never saw before at any front derailleur. It was little bit complex to assembly and adjust.

    I shortly tested on the turbo trainer. Let’s see how it works outdoors.

    Again, thank you for all this info.

    BR

    Diego

    Reply
  13. Pozdrav Relja,

    I am totally lost and helpless…. For more than a week I am trying to figure out what is happening.
    1 new out of box RD XT M772 – 9sp
    2 new out of box Cassete SunRace – 9sp (Tested also with previously used XT 9sp cassete with the same results)
    3 new chain HG93
    4 new out of box bowden and cable
    5 new out of box DEORE 9sp shifter (Tested also with previously used XT 9sp shifter with the same results)
    Sum Total: not able to make it work flawlessly. It is jumping over one of the cogs, the shiftig is not exact.

    3 prophesionals + me, where trying to make it work, they (we) didnt succed.
    Of course hanger was checked right from the begining.

    Absolutly frustrating. Would yu have any idea, what is going on here. Perhaps a bunch Gremlins are involved here, what do you thing? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Pozdrav ๐Ÿ™‚

      This video in Serbian shows and explains most of the possible problems (and troubleshooting) when tuning derailleurs:
      ล telovanje menjaฤa bicikla

      When things like this happen, especially if I can’t even see the bike, I recommend starting “from the top”, testing even the “silly things” that “of course are correct” – sometimes mistakes happen even to the most experienced. So:

      1. Check the cables and housing – are they routed properly, are the housings for shifters (not for brakes).
      2. Is the cablee attached where it should be at the derailleur? Is it attached after the shifter has been shifted all the way to release the cable for as much as it can?
      3. Is the cassette tightened properly, without wiggling on the freehub?
      4. Is everything else tightened properly (RD, RD hanger, even shifters, wheel itself, in the dropouts)?
      5. RD B-screw position – is the top RD pulley wheel close enough to the cassette?
      6. Are the H(igh) and L(low) RD limit screws set properly – can the RD move all the way?
      7. Does it cause problems even when the chain is not crossed?
      8. Chain lenght of the new chain – is it optimal?

      Additional things to think about:
      When do the problems occur – only when pedaling with force, when riding in whichever way, or on the stand as well (with no rider on the bike)?
      Is there only one particular sprocket that gets skipped/problematic, or does it happen on several different sprockets? Are those several ones also always the same few, or does the problem happen all over the cassette?

      Relja

  14. Thanks!! Do you think a Shimano Sora R3000 shifter will work with 36/52 chanrings? The FD is deore

    Reply
    • I would expect it to work fine.
      Would be more worried about the Deore FD with a 52 largest chainring – expecting it to have to be set a bit higher than it is optimal, to prevent FD cage from hitting the chainring, since it has a sharper curve, since the cage is shaped for smaller front chainrings than 52 (so it has a smaller curve radius).

  15. I’m trying to replace an old XT Triple (22-32-42) 9 speed front mech. Will a Shimano 10 speed work ok? If not MTB specific, what about a Tiagra Triple? I currently run a Triple (26-36-46) 9 speed on a road bike with STI, but would the same front mech work with MTB LX 9 speed STI?

    Reply
    • FD should match the cranks (chainring size) – as explained in chapter 4 of this article.
      And it should match the shifter’s cable pull (see chapter 8).

      I’m not sure what kind of shifter and cranks are used on the bike we are talking about. Or planned to be used with the new FD.
      If it’s 26-36-46, with 9 speed Shimano road STIs, then I’d expect any triple FD for 6 to 9 speeds, that is designed for largest chainring of 44 to even 50 teeth to work acceptably well. This covers most road and MTB FDs.
      10 and 11 speed road FDs won’t work very well.

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