Yeah, I know what you're thinking - NOBODY needs a rapid-rise... Well, I (and Sheldon Brown) LIKE them. My problem is thus: I'm running a Exage-8 downtube shifter on my Klein Navigator with a XTR-960 rear. The 960 (for some obscure reason) does NOT have a cable-barrel-adjuster on the derailleur (I guess the XTR thumb-shifter had one?).
I'd prefer NOT to use an inline adjuster, so I'm planning on switching out the XTR-960 for another flavor of 8-speed rear derailleur that will work with my index-downtube-shifter and will also have an integrated cable adjuster on the derailleur.
I do NOT need all the cage-length (range) that my current XTR provides, but I DO want to retain the "low-normal" or "rapid-rise" style. In fact, my total difference from lowest to highest gear is only 16 teeth (44 front with 12-28 rear).
Now to the question: Of the Shimano 8-speed compatible Rapid-Rise rear derailleurs, which is the best in terms of quality and reliability that will also include an integrated cable adjuster? Obviously, I need not stick exclusively with the XTR line, as Shimano also (unless I'm mistaken) made some ROAD derailleurs in the rapid-rise mode. Pile all the derision on that you wish - just answer the question . Thanks!
IT's pretty weird that XTR rapid-rise RD doesn't have a barrel adjuster. The XT and LX rapid-rise RD's do have barrel adjusters. So you could sell your XTR on eBay and buy an LX (and probably make money on the trade-off) or rig up a barrel adjuster on the XTR.
As HillRider noted, Shimano only offers the low-normal configuration in RD's designed for use with a wide range cassette. But "mountain" deraillers work fine on a road bike with a narrow cassette - I used an XT on my road bike with an 11-21 cassette for years - shifted perfectly (I'd built an 8-speed triple before road triples were common).