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Long Cage vs. Short Cage

Old 02-19-15, 06:39 PM
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Long Cage vs. Short Cage

Hello I just purchased and specialized Seqouia with a bad rear derailer. One of the plastic wheels and the bolt is missing, I have a few questions about fixing this. 1) If I buy the Shimano wheels will they come with the bolts? 2) it is a Tiagra RD-4400, I know a 4400, 4500, or 4600 will work but how do I know if it is a short or long cage? The Specialized website says long but the person helping me at the bike store was adamant it should be short. The parts are relatively inexpensive on ebay I just want to make sure I order the correct one. Thanks, Garrett.
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Old 02-19-15, 06:48 PM
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A long cage will almost always work. A short cage needs to have enough wrap capacity for the range of front and rear gears. Google derailleur capacity. The person at the bike shop should know WHY it needs to be long or short, and explain that to you. There is NO situation where a derailleur has to be short cage.
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Old 02-19-15, 07:11 PM
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RD cages are measured by the on-center distance between the pulleys. A short cage will be 50-55mm, a medium, about 75mm, and a long about 85mm or more.

So measure yours and you'll know. You might also check your chain take up needs -- the sum of the differences in sprockets, ie. 39/53 with 12/28 = 14t + 16t = 30t total. A short cage is usually rated for 27t or so, but there's fudge room of a few teeth, If your take up needs are more than 32t, you would have been better with a longer cage.

As for the pulley bolt. They don't come with the screw, but are typically M5 (5x.8) which you can buy at a hardware store. Buy a stainless screw that's a bit long and saw to length. Otherwise, stop in at the shop, since they should have a screw they can take off a bent derailleur in their scrap bin.
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Old 02-19-15, 08:58 PM
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Usually a road double will use a short cage, a road triple or MTB double use medium cages and a MTB triple will use a long cage. Of course if the drivetrain has been customized you may need to start counting teeth.
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Old 02-19-15, 10:05 PM
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This particular bike is a triple on the front and the center to center distance of the pulleys is about 72mm. But unfortunately there is no medium option just long and short.
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Old 02-19-15, 10:15 PM
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Short will not work with a triple.
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Old 02-19-15, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by garrettpen
This particular bike is a triple on the front
Shimano GS is what you need in the Shimano road groups. FWIW, Shimano SS = "short" cage (typically used on road doubles), GS= "medium" cage (typically used with road triples, mountain doubles, and mountain 1 x ), SGS= long cage (typically used on touring triples and mountain triples).
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Old 02-19-15, 10:35 PM
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I was unaware of the SGS model in that case I'll go with the GS. Thanks, for everyones input!
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Old 02-19-15, 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by garrettpen
I was unaware of the SGS model
SGS are in the Shimano mountain bike groups, not in the Shimano road groups.
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Old 02-20-15, 03:01 AM
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Originally Posted by garrettpen
1) If I buy the Shimano wheels will they come with the bolts?
No, the jockey wheels have a different part number to the screws.

Exploded diagram with part numbers: https://www.paul-lange.de/support/sh...D//RD-4400.PDF

2) it is a Tiagra RD-4400, I know a 4400, 4500, or 4600 will work but how do I know if it is a short or long cage?
It will be stamped on the derailleur what it is.

Short cage = RD-4400-SS
Long cage = RD-4400-GS


The Specialized website says long but the person helping me at the bike store was adamant it should be short. The parts are relatively inexpensive on ebay I just want to make sure I order the correct one. Thanks, Garrett.
Are you buying a new derailleur or a replacement jockey wheel?
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Old 02-20-15, 06:22 AM
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It is stamped RD-4400 but there is no suffix (thus my confusion). I found a whole derailleur on ebay for $19 shipped, the wheels were about $10 + $3 for the bolt so I think the whole derailleur route makes more sense.
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