A complete guide to rear derailleurs

Is it time to upgrade or replace your derailleur? Do you sit awake at night worrying about what a tooth capacity is? Or have you ever simply wanted to know absolutely everything there is to know about buying a rear derailleur? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

  • SRAM and Shimano front derailleurs explained
  • How to adjust a rear derailleur

While we certainly don’t recommend you break out this hot derailleur chat at your next party, this is undoubtedly useful information if you’re looking to buy or upgrade a rear derailleur.

We must stress that this article only covers rear derailleurs because including front derailleurs would make this guide far too unwieldy. Plus, if you’re to believe SRAM, the front derailleur is dead anyway.


Which brand of derailleur should I buy?

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best not to mix and match drivetrain components from different brands. While things like cranks, chains and cassettes are largely interchangeable between brands, shifters and derailleurs generally speaking aren’t.

  • Buyers guide to road chainsets

In brief, Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo all use different cable pull ratios (the amount that a derailleur moves for every millimetre of cable pulled through by the shifter), and mixing parts will result in very poor shifting.

How many gears does my bike have?

  • How to replace a bike cassette

Derailleur compatibility explained

  • Buyers guide to road groupsets

Shimano derailleur compatibility

  • All 11-speed Shimano road components are inter-compatible — you could for example use a Dura-Ace 9000 derailleur with a pair of 105 5800 shifters
  • All 10-speed road components are inter-compatible — you could for example use an old Ultegra 6600 derailleur with new, Tiagra 4800 shifters
  • Current 9-speed road components are backwards compatible with older 9-speed road and mountain bike components, excluding the aforementioned exception
  • All 11-speed Shimano mountain bike components are interchangeable — you could for example use a XTR M9000 derailleur with a pair of SLX M7000 shifters
  • All 10-speed Shimano mountain bike components are also interchangeable — you could for example use an old, 10-speed XTR M986 rear derailleur with new, Deore M610 shifters
  • Current 9-speed Shimano mountain bike components are compatible with older 9-speed road and mountain bike components, excluding the aforementioned exception
  • Mountain bike groupset buyers guide
  • Shimano Dura-Ace vs. SRAM Red

SRAM derailleur compatibility

  • 7-/8-/9-speed SRAM components are all inter-compatible, regardless of whether they are road or mountain bike parts
  • 10-speed SRAM components are inter-compatible, regardless of whether they are road or mountain bike parts — for example you could run road shifters with a mountain bike rear derailleur
  • 10- and 11-speed SRAM mountain bike components are not inter-compatible
  • 10- and 11-speed SRAM road components are inter-compatible — meaning you could run a 10-speed, SRAM Red rear derailleur with a pair of SRAM 22 shifters
  • How to convert your bike to a 1X drivetrain

Campagnolo derailleur compatibility

  • All 8- and 9-speed Campagnolo groupsets before mid-2001 used the same pull ratio and are compatible with each other. This generation of parts is often referred to as ‘Campy old’
  • After mid-2001, Campagnolo started using a revised pull ratio for its newer 9-speed kit, and these and all 10- (and 11-speed) groupsets from this period are inter-compatible — for example you could run an Athena derailleur with Record shifters

What cage length derailleur should I buy?

Derailleur cage length quick guide

Derailleur tooth capacity explained

Clutch derailleurs explained

  • How to adjust a Shimano Shadow Plus rear derailleur

What do I get with a more expensive derailleur?




You can read more at BikeRadar.com

How to ride tree roots on the trails

Except on the most sunbaked summer days, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter wet roots riding natural trails. Now firmly settled in to autumn it’s time to get your technique dialled.

  • Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you
  • Quick exercises to get you fit for mountain biking

Roots are the Russian roulette of trail obstacles — you never know which direction your bike is going to go after hitting those shiny snakes of doom! But there are some fundamental skills that’ll help you best manage the unpredictable nature of wet or polished roots…

1. Focus

Look ahead, not down at the roots. Your natural Jedi-like senses will kick in and the phenomenon known as target vision — looking where you want to go, not at the obstacle you want to avoid — will help pull you through.


2. Speed

Reducing the time your tyres are in contact with roots reduces the chances of you slipping on them. Speed will help you go over, rather than slide along, them. Only go as fast as your ability allows — session a section, building up speed gradually.

3. Weight

Unweighting your bike helps — the lighter you are, the less effect slippery roots will have. If you can’t unweight your bike then practice bunnyhopping and manualling on the flat before transferring those skills to rooty sections.

4.  Attack

The angle of attack is important. If you can, approach roots square on — the more acute your angle of approach, the higher the chances are that the roots will force your tyres to slide off course.

5. On course

6. Body position

Set-up tips

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

SRAM claims victories in retail pricing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (BRAIN) — U.S. visitors to European-based e-commerce sites like Wiggle and Chain Reaction have seen something new when they searched for SRAM products in recent months: nothing

Rocky Mountain Pipeline 750 MSL first ride review

If you’ve been into mountain bikes for a while, Rocky Mountain’s Pipeline probably rings a bell. The original Pipeline ushered in the freeride movement under Rocky Mountain’s unheard-of-at-the-time, factory-sponsored, non-racing Froriders team. The Pipeline is often credited as one of the first bikes that truly allowed riding up, then getting seriously nutty on the way down. 

  • Are 27.5+ bikes faster than 29ers?
  • The best mountain bike lights

The new Pipeline slots into the new 27.5+ category. It’s a niche that’s still trying to figure some things out, like tire width, for example. WTB got the game rolling with 3.0in rubber, but then Schwalbe and Maxxis got going with 2.8in meats, and recently 2.6in is becoming a thing. 


That seems to the hallmark of 27.5+ bikes, the fact that they’re not purpose-built for a certain micro-niche of riding, but are excellent at mountain biking, plain old, out on the trails, goofing around mountain biking.

Rocky Mountain Pipeline spec overview

  • Smoothwall carbon main frame with alloy rear, 130mm travel
  • SmoothLink rear suspension
  • Ride-9 adjustable geometry and shock progression system
  • BC2 pivots
  • RockShox Yari RC, 150mm
  • RockShox Monarch RT Debonair 
  • Shimano XT shifter/rear derailleur
  • Race Face Aeffect SL Cinch cranks, 28t
  • Alex XM35 rims w/ Maxxis Rekon EXO 27.5 x 2.8in tires
  • RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post, 170mm

Rocky Mountain Pipeline frame and equipment

First things first, the carbon Pipeline bucks the ultra long front center trend. The XL size I rode has a 620mm top tube, which falls as a size Large for most companies. The short feeling front end is compounded by a very steep seat angle, ranging from 73.7 – 75.5, depending on where the Ride-9 adjustment is set. 

Mitigating plus-size tire bounciness while preventing sidewall squirm is the crux that befalls big tires. A single psi makes a big difference. I’ve been experimenting with psi, talking with other riders, and bugging demo fleet mechanics to learn what works. With that in mind, I started the tire pressures at 17psi front and 18psi rear, and bled some out on subsequent rides.

Rocky Mountain Pipeline ride impression

Rocky Mountain Pipeline 750 MSL price

Rocky Mountain Pipeline 750 MSL vs. the competition

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Salsa offers Brooks 150th Anniversary Warbird gravel bike

MINNEAPOLIS (BRAIN) — Salsa worked with Brooks England to produce a limited edition Warbird bike in honor of Brooks’ 150th anniversary. Bregan Koenigseker, marketing consultant at Brooks England, said, “Brooks is proud to work together with Salsa on the Dashing Bikes 150th Anniversary project

Shimano’s bike business sales down 19 percent this year

OSAKA, Japan (BRAIN) — Shimano pointed to weak sales in Southeast Asia, Japan, China and South America as contributors to another steep decline in bike product sales. The company’s sales through the first nine months of this year were down 18.8 percent according to figures released this week

Carolinas Dealer Tour, Day 2: Infrastructure connectivity a challenge as Charlotte cycling community grows

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (BRAIN) — On its final day in Charlotte, Bicycle Retailer’s Carolinas Dealer Tour covered a wide range of shops and a sizable geographical area as it traveled from Uptown Charlotte to the city’s southern reaches.  The group was fortunate to have local advocate Jordan Moore, who formerly ran the bicycle program for Sustain Charlotte, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing the city’s sustainability challenges, guide us through the city as we navigated city streets and a maze of greenways to visit four shops. The tour covered about 28 miles on day two.  As the group made its way east toward the first shop of the day, Espada Bicycles, we saw firsthand the challenges cyclists face making safe connections to the city’s greenways, its sole separated bike lane and other designated lanes as they ride from outlying neighborhoods to Uptown Charlotte.  Moore said the city is working to improve connectivity, including a push to build a separated bikeway along Trade Street, which would connect Uptown with the 4-mile-long Little Sugar Creek Greenway — Charlotte’s longest and busiest.  And, an expansion of the city’s Lynx Blue Line light rail train currently underway will include the addition of several more miles to the rail trail network that connects Uptown with neighborhoods southwest of the city center. The easterly expansion into the redeveloped North Davidson, or NoDa, neighborhood and others should greatly improve connectivity to Uptown and the rest of the city.  Steve Maleski, who owns and operates Espada Bicycles in NoDa, is looking forward to the rail trail completion, which he anticipates will bring even more riders and commuters past the store.

10 reasons to love winter cycling

Frosty mornings, quiet trails, and the sheer joy of a hot drink after a cold ride are just three of the simple pleasures that are to be found in bike riding through the winter months. 

  • BikeRadar’s guide to winter riding
  • Complete guide to winter road cycling
  • 8 essential mountain bike skills to master this winter

1. Bright, cold, frosty mornings

First and foremost, there’s nothing like riding on a perfect winter day. It’s hard to beat cycling through the countryside with frost coating leaves and trees, your breath clouding the air, and the bright sunshine lighting everything so it looks like it’s in a David Attenborough documentary. 


2. Unexpected wildlife encounters

Since a lot of your riding is likely to occur in the dark over winter, your chances of coming face to face with nocturnal wildlife is all the greater. Is that looming dark shape ahead of you a bush, or a resting cow? Expect to see your lights reflected back in the glinting eyes of various animals, and strange noises overhead. It’s a little frisson of danger and excitement to what might otherwise be fairly tame trails. 

That said, if you do happen to ride regularly where the wildlife is a bit more bite-y than the UK, where the worst you’ll have to watch for is a rampaging badger, it’s probably worth exercising a little caution depending on when and where you go out.

3. You get REALLY good at washing your bike and kit

One of the downsides of winter riding, whatever type of cycling you do, is the wear and tear that builds up quickly by riding on gritty, muddy trails, and the endless washing machine loads of manky kit. That means that washing your bike after every ride is all the more important, so expect to get your post-ride routine down to a fine art; off the bike, quick hose down (both bike and rider), wet kit in the washing machine while you clean off the bike, lights on charge, oil the chain, and you’re good to go again. 

  • How to clean your bike quickly

4. You’ll need more kit

  • Best winter cycling clothing: a buyer’s guide

5. It’s oh so quiet

6. You’ll burn extra calories

  • 6 ways for cyclists to burn fat faster

7. You’ll get tougher

8. You’ll appreciate hot food all the more!

9. The joys of the humble brag 

10. Winter training holidays

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Subscribe to What Mountain Bike and get a pair of Bliss Minimalist knee pads

Subscribe to What Mountain Bike magazine and for a limited time only we will send you a bonus pair of Bliss Minimalist knee pads worth £39.99!

  • Best mountain bike: how to choose the right one for you
  • The best mountain bikes under £750

The key features:

  • Flexible shock absorbing ARG knee padding
  • Armourgel® absorbs and dissipates 80% of impact energy
  • Close to body fit

Each issue of What Mountain Bike contains more reviews of the latest bikes and gear than any other magazine on the planet.


We’re mountain bikers first and foremost so we know how important it is to get the best gear possible with your hard earned cash. That means you can get on with enjoying your riding, safe in the knowledge that you are using the best gear possible.

Subscribe to What Mountain Bike here!

*Terms & conditions: This offer is for new UK subscribers to the print edition paying by Direct Debit only. Gifts are subject to availability. Please allow 60 days for delivery of your gift. You will receive 13 issues per year. Your subscription will start with the next available issue. If at any time you are dissatisfied please notify us in writing and we will refund you for all unmailed issues. In the unlikely event your selected gift is unavailable, we reserve the right to send an alternative gift. *16% discount is based on buying six issues at UK shop price. Offer expires 15 November 2016.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

Two cruiser crusaders launch custom cruiser company