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2x mullet drivetrain?

Old 08-16-21, 01:34 PM
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rivers
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2x mullet drivetrain?

This might be better posted in the touring section, but thought I would try here first. Feel free to move it if needed

On my gravel bike I am running Shimano 105, with an FSA 46/30 crankset. The cassette is an 11-32 with a 105 short cage derailleur. Technically, I’m already exceeding the rear derailleur capacity by 2 teeth. When I’m fully loaded, I don’t really have a low enough gearing for my liking. Over the winter, I want to experiment with lower gearing. If I wanted to put an 11-40 or 11-42 cassette on the back, what are my most cost effective options?On my gravel bike I am running Shimano 105, with an FSA 46/30 crankset. The cassette is an 11-32 with a 105 short cage derailleur. Technically, I’m already exceeding the rear derailleur capacity by 2 teeth. When I’m fully loaded, I don’t really have a low enough gearing for my liking. Over the winter, I want to experiment with lower gearing. If I wanted to put an 11-40 or 11-42 cassette on the back, what are my most cost effective options?

Last edited by rivers; 08-19-21 at 03:30 AM.
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Old 08-16-21, 02:21 PM
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Medium cage derailleur with road link. You might not be able to use big/big or small/small
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Old 08-16-21, 02:39 PM
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What I gather is that you want to experiment with lower gearing over the winter.

As mentioned- a roadlink with a medium cage 105 will help. There are examples over the last 6 years of 105 GS cage rear derailleurs with a roadlink handling an 11-40 cassette. The 105 GS RD has a total capacity of 39t. Your setup would be 45t. There is some fudging with Shimano as they seem to post conservative numbers. At worst, the chain would be a bit slack if you are in the small ring and small cog. Why would you be in that combo though?...just dont use that odd combo and you will be fine. That is what Elvo was saying- you may not be able to use it due to chain slack.
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Old 08-16-21, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rivers View Post
This might be better posted in the touring section, but thought I would try here first. Feel free to move it if needed

On my gravel bike I am running Shimano 105, with an FSA 46/30 crankset. The cassette is an 11-32 with a 105 short cage derailleur. Technically, Iím already exceeding the rear derailleur capacity by 2 teeth. When Iím fully loaded, I donít really have a low enough gearing for my liking. Over the winter, I want to experiment with lower gearing. If I wanted to put an 11-40 or 11-42 cassette on the back, what are my most cost effective options?On my gravel bike I am running Shimano 105, with an FSA 46/30 crankset. The cassette is an 11-32 with a 105 short cage derailleur. Technically, Iím already exceeding the rear derailleur capacity by 2 teeth. When Iím fully loaded, I donít really have a low enough gearing for my liking. Over the winter, I want to experiment with lower gearing. If I wanted to put an 11-40 or 11-42 cassette on the back, what are my most cost effective options? gravel bike I am running Shimano 105, with anOn my gravel bike I am running Shimano 105, with an FSA 46/30 crankset. The cassette is an 11-32 with a 105 short cage derailleur. Technically, Iím already exceeding the rear derailleur capacity by 2 teeth. When Iím fully loaded, I donít really have a low enough gearing for my liking. Over the winter, I want to experiment with lower gearing. If I wanted to put an 11-40 or 11-42 cassette on the back, what are my most cost effective options? FSA 46/30 crankset. The cassette is an 11-32 with a 105 short cage derailleur. Technically, Iím already exceeding the rear derailleur capacity by 2 teeth. When Iím fully loaded, I donít really have a low enough gearing for my liking. Over the winter, I want to experiment with lower gearing. If I wanted to put an 11-40 or 11-42 cassette on the back, what are my most cost effective options?
I'd probably go with a multi-ring GRX derailleur, RD-RX400 or RD-RX810. Possibly w/ roadlink if needed. Both of these are pull-compatible with Shimano's 11-speed road drivetrains, and since they have longer cages than the GS-cage road derailleurs, more gears in your small ring will remain useable without the drivetrain going slack.
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Old 08-17-21, 09:25 AM
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I have a GRX 600 46/30t front, 11-42t cassette with my GRX 400 rear + GoatLink when I know I'll be doing some mountain trail climbing and will spend most of my time in the 42t cog. When just normal riding I default to my 11-36t GRX 400 cassette (which is in-spec), leave the GoatLink in place and just adjust the B-screw and tension screw when swapping the different sized cassettes. I'd try the 11-36t first for best performance and if that doesn't work, you can go 11-40/42t + GoatLink/hangar extender. Only issue is that smaller cog performance isn't as smooth, but worth it if you plan on serious climbing. With the 30t front and 42t rear, I can hang easily with MTB'ers on the steep uphill trails.

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Old 08-18-21, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by rivers View Post
On my gravel bike I am running Shimano 105, with an FSA 46/30 crankset. The cassette is an 11-32 with a 105 short cage derailleur. Technically, Iím already exceeding the rear derailleur capacity by 2 teeth. When Iím fully loaded, I donít really have a low enough gearing for my liking. Over the winter, I want to experiment with lower gearing. If I wanted to put an 11-40 or 11-42 cassette on the back, what are my most cost effective options? ...
Have you actually compared the various gear setups? Try this: Bicycle Gear Calculator

A 46-30 crank with an 11-36 cassette being shifted by a RD that is within spec for the (or really close, maybe 1-2 teeth beyond the spec'd capacity) will give you a low gear that is ONLY 3 gear inches taller than an 11-42 cassette with a way out of capacity RD hanging from a Wolf Tooth extender that gives poor shifting performance on the smallest 3 or 4 cogs of the cassette. People make it work, I guess because they think ~3 gear inches is worth it. A far easier, and less hassle free, way to get the climbing performance you seek is to run the largest in spec (or close spec) cassette you can, and go up hill more.
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Old 08-18-21, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
will give you a low gear that is ONLY 3 gear inches
That's a misleading way to frame the difference. What matters is the ratio between two gears, since that's what's proportional to the impact that the change has on your torque and cadence. 3 gear inches off a 120-inch gear isn't dramatic, but 3 gear inches off a 20-inch gear is six times more significant. A 42T cog is 17% larger than a 36T cog, and that's nothing to scoff at.

When I switched my gravel bike from an 11-28 7-speed cassette to an 11-32 8-speed cassette, this moved my low gear from ~22.5 inches down to ~19.5 inches. That's about 3 gear inches, but it was very significant, allowing me to ride climb much less conservatively since I no longer need to save my legs as much for the steepest spots.

Have you actually compared the various gear setups?

I have several friends who had gravel bikes with 2x11 drivetrains and cassettes of 11-34 or thereabouts, and then tried out 11-40 or 11-42 cassettes. All of them have kept the big cassettes around.
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Old 08-19-21, 12:37 AM
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I get that 3 gear inches is relatively "greater" at the low end than the high end. I guess I just don't grasp why running an out-spec cassette with a hanger extender that allows a larger cog at the expense of crap shifting performance on the top 3 or 4 cogs is desirable. I guess my years of cycling have led me to embrace that there is a point where the diminishing returns of ever lower gearing is better offset by stronger legs and better conditioning...to each their own.
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Old 08-19-21, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
I guess I just don't grasp why running an out-spec cassette with a hanger extender that allows a larger cog at the expense of crap shifting performance on the top 3 or 4 cogs is desirable.
How much experience do you have actually riding these kinds of systems?

Several of my friends have near-identical fit to myself. When I've hopped on their bikes with these kinds of setups, they admittedly weren't as snappy as a narrow-range racing drivetrain, but I wouldn't call it "crap shifting." It works.

I guess my years of cycling have led me to embrace that there is a point where the diminishing returns of ever lower gearing is better offset by stronger legs and better conditioning...to each their own.
Why stop at 30-36? Why not blame anyone who has trouble on a given hill for needing a gear lower than 34-34? Or 36-28? Or 42-21? Or go full Henri Desgrange and accuse people of being geriatric if they want variable gearing at all? People have made the same argument that you're making right now, all throughout the history of cycling, with regards to all manner of ratios that are broadly accepted today to be absurd to place as hard limitations.
If you don't know someone's talent, and life circumstances, and hills, it makes no sense to put a foot down and make any kind of firm stance as to what gearing they ought to have use for.

Can any hill can be conquered by adequate strength for a given gear? Yeah, sure. But any combination of strength and gearing can be conquered by the right hill. Things things are all interdependent. No matter how good you get, there's a hill that will push you beyond your limits, or at least beyond what you can ride anywhere near optimally. At some point it becomes unreasonable to blame the cyclist for not having enough leg torque.
I definitely don't think it's reasonable to tell a cyclist to let their routes be governed by Shimano's spec sheets, when it's completely trivial to just not have that constraint.
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Old 08-19-21, 03:49 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Quite a bit to think about. Now to address a few points. For normal everyday gravel riding, the gearing I have is fine. It will get me up pretty much anything in the UK when I'm not carrying additional weight. I want lower gearing for when I am bikepacking, and have an extra 10 or so kilos of gear strapped to my bike. I can still make it up now, but it's a grind. I hate grinding and much rather spin my way up, especially if I've got several 40-50 mile days planned. And if I head into Wales, Devon, or Cornwall I will have a bit more climbing than in my local area. Plus, I'm doing it for fun, I don't want to suffer. I save the suffering for time trials.
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Old 08-19-21, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
How much experience do you have actually riding these kinds of systems?

Several of my friends have near-identical fit to myself. When I've hopped on their bikes with these kinds of setups, they admittedly weren't as snappy as a narrow-range racing drivetrain, but I wouldn't call it "crap shifting." It works.


Why stop at 30-36? Why not blame anyone ....
Enough experience to know that using a RD way out of spec is less desirable than within spec, or pretty close to it since Shimano is notoriously conservative in their specification.

As for the rest, those are your words and your argument. My point was quite clear. In the end, each bike is our own and if someone is comfortable setting up their equipment and using it in that manner, more power to them.
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Old 08-19-21, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by rivers View Post
Thanks for the replies. Quite a bit to think about. Now to address a few points... I'm doing it for fun, I don't want to suffer. I save the suffering for time trials.
Totally understandable, it was never my intent or idea that people should suffer. I just don't have a lot of faith in using equipment far beyond it's intended use, off-label if you will. Instead of trying to use a road RD out of spec, have you considered using a MTB RD and utilizing something like the Wolf Tooth Tanpan to get the cable pull to match up to the road levers?
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Old 08-20-21, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Badger6 View Post
Totally understandable, it was never my intent or idea that people should suffer. I just don't have a lot of faith in using equipment far beyond it's intended use, off-label if you will. Instead of trying to use a road RD out of spec, have you considered using a MTB RD and utilizing something like the Wolf Tooth Tanpan to get the cable pull to match up to the road levers?
No, as I didn't know such things existed- hence the reason for my post. Thank you, will look into it.
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Old 05-20-22, 07:52 AM
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It's be about 10 months since I posted this thread, and I have finally gotten around to installing a 2 x mullet drivetrain on my gravel bike. I have a 46/30 chainset in the front and an 11-42 in the back. I'm running a deore rear derailleur with a jtek shiftmate to change the pull ratio.

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Old 05-20-22, 08:43 PM
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I'm running 46/30 crank and 10-42 cassette on our tandem, with GRX di2 derailleur and RoadLink DM. Shifting is outstanding - across the large and small cogs. My understanding is that the GRX 810 derailleur is functionally the same so should handle the 40 or 42 tooth cassette just fine.
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