Shimano Deore 12spd NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG
TEARDOWN | REVIEW

Deore M6100: (Almost) The Only Drivetrain That Matters

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major Unless Noted
Date Feb 16, 2021
Reading time

AJ Was Right

There is, unfortunately, no way to discuss what's beautiful about Shimano's entry-level 'real' mountain bike drivetrain without first eating a bit of crow and crowing a bit about what is ugly about it. I suppose this is as good a place as any to mention that for both what's botched and brilliant this drivetrain review is a sample size of one.

During an NSMB.com content meeting AJ was referring to his Shimano SLX review and, to paraphrase, how much better the drivetrain is with the addition of a Shimano XT shifter. It's not just the ability to punch up two higher gears with a single shift; the general feel at the shift lever is better as well.

It all makes perfect sense. A higher-end shifter delivering higher-end fit, finish, and performance isn't exactly newsworthy considering the M8100 XT shifter at 60 USD is double the price (+30 USD) of the M6100.

I've come around to AJ's way of thinking and if I was assembling my own min-maxed Shimano 12-speed drivetrain it would most certainly feature an XT-level shifter, an M6100 cassette & rear derailleur, and I'd choose a Race Face crankset.

Deore M6120 NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

I prefer the fit, finish, and function of an XT level shifter but wouldn't have considered it a necessary upgrade for most of the period that Deore M6100 was under review.

My change of mind came about in a moment, rolling out from the coffee shop on flat flagstones. All I can tell you is the shifter jammed. Fully jammed. No upshifts into a lower gear and hitting the downshift button the lever would move but no cable was released. My first thought was that I've obviously beaten the 'Does The Future Have Fewer Gears?' trope beyond death and the bike-gods were out to get me. My second thought was, "screw this, I'm going home."

In the end, I used a combination of cable tension and limit screws to make it a two-gear day. Pick a ratio for up, pick a ratio for down-and-across, and get out in the woods and have a good time anyways. There are lots of options to choose from with the M6100 drivetrain's spread of 10t, 12t, 14t, 16t, 18t, 21t, 24t, 28t, 33t, 39t, 45t, 51t. It didn't cross my mind at the time, but the choices I made (32x39 | 32x24) align with the range of most commonly used gears I pulled from my friend Duncan's AXS drivetrain for AXS Strikes Back. Whether it was beginner's luck or sage wisdom gained from years riding #1FG bikes, I'd choose these ratios again in the same circumstance.

Does The Future Have Fewer Gears NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

Dinglespeed ratio #1. Choosing a ratio for the way up. I ended up selecting a 39t paired with my 32t (round) chainring and that was great except where it wasn't.

Does The Future Have Fewer Gears NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG

Dinglespeed ratio #2. Choosing a ratio for the way down. I ended up selecting a 24t pair with my 32t (round) chainring and that was also great except where it wasn't.

So WTF happened? I wish I could explain it to you without it sounding ridiculous and made up. I'm not sure I would have believed it myself, having never experienced anything similar, but somehow, remaining 100% inside the shifter, when I shifted, the cable left its captured perch, performed a 180° turn, and jammed itself inside the shifter body. Luckily I took photos of the teardown as I went.

I took the shifter apart, removed the offending cable, reassembled it, and reinstalled it on the bike. It shifts as it did before with precision but not pomp. Between AJ's performance argument, my experiences with M8100, and this unexplained cable inconvenience I'm thoroughly convinced that that running an XT shifter with a Deore drivetrain is a perfect example of an investment in better performance and overall product experience.

Micro Spline

While on the subject of eating crow, I also have to say some good things about Micro Spline though I really do not want to. Frankly, Shimano has released the best driver for the worst reason. On the one hand, I really wish they'd stuck with the thirty-year-old, never did any harm, HG freehub standard over the addition of a 10t cog to their cassette. On the other hand, compared to the way cassettes eat aluminum HG freehubs or the vague installation of XD cassettes the MS system stays surprisingly fresh even against wear from those sharp, angry, independent higher-ratio steel cogs further down the cassette.

I'm not in any hurry to spend money changing out to Micro Spline drivers - especially not looking at the upgrade price for my Chris King hubs - but I'm going to begrudgingly admit that they do represent progress for those looking at a new bike with XD, HG, or MS.

microspline.jpg

I still think inefficient 10t cogs are silly, but I have to say I'm impressed with how much better an aluminum Micro Spline driver holds up compared to HG. Photo: Shimano

Race Face SHI-12

I'm not certain why Shimano couldn't have just covered regular, Boost, and SuperBoost chainlines by swapping out rings like SRAM, Race Face, and others have done. But for whatever reason, they have not, and instead are manufacturing M6100 cranks with multiple spindle lengths and additional spacers to take up the room between the bottom bracket cups and the crank arms.

Thanks to the longer axle, the Deore M6120 Boost cranks that Shimano sent along for the build have a 55mm chainline and 178mm Q-Factor versus the 52mm/172mm of the M6100 that are compatible with 142mm rear spacing and some 148mm Boost spacing. Thanks to an even longer axle, their Super Boost 157mm compatible cranks have a Q-Factor of 181mm.

Does Q-Factor matter? It totally depends on the rider. I, for example, prefer a wider stance even to the point of swapping pedal axles to get one. Does chainline matter? Here on the North Shore where most riders spend most of their high-torque time in their lower gears having a more inboard chainline is an awesome way to reduce wear and load on a drivetrain.

Shimano Deore 12spd NSMB AndrewM (12).JPG

Q-Factor 178mm | chainline 55mm | length 170mm

Race Face SHI12 Ring NSMB AndrewM.JPG

Q-Factor 180mm | chainline 52mm | length 175mm

I bring up the crankset for a couple of reasons. First of all, there is a plethora of SHI-12, 12-speed Shimano, chainrings available to fit any cranksets on the market. Don't worry titanium CaneCreek eeWings guy, even the SRAM 3-bolt standard is covered by the likes of Race Face and Wolf Tooth!

It's also the fact that Shimano isn't forcing OE customers to purchase their cranksets with drivetrains. There is lots of Race Face crank & ring spec showing up on 12-speed Shimano equipped bikes and this is a very good thing for a diverse, robust, bike industry. With everyone and their cousin making chainrings that work great with SRAM's EAGLE 12-spd systems, I'd love to see the other S-brand of drivetrains follow suit instead of continuing to pull a 90's Shimano.

My main reason for swapping to my personal Turbine cranks was to run 175mm arms instead of the Deore 170mm arms that Shimano provided, but for my own bike - where I'm paying for chains and cassettes - the chainline would certainly enter into the equation as well. I had a great experience using Race Face's SHI-12 chainring as well.

That HG+ Shifting

I have no proof that HG+ shifting was invented with e~bikes in mind, but they do have the power to turn what would normally be awful shifts into catastrophic failures by combining bad shifting underload with four times your maximum juice. Through months of testing, on two different bikes, in a wide range of conditions, I never once managed to have a bad shift.

I made plenty of ridiculous, stupid, disgusting shifts under load, that I would never put my own drivetrain through, in the name of science and despite being 'only' a Deore level drivetrain, the M6100 system performed flawlessly, before and after the shifter crapped itself. You can still feel that a bad shift is a bad shift, that an awful shift is an awful shift, and so forth. Hell, some of the shifts I put this drivetrain through made my wallet feel lighter until I remember the drivetrain wasn't mine. But, I had no dropped or broken chains and no pauses in performance.

Try and make good shifts. If you don't, Shimano HG+ absolutely has you covered.

Shimano Deore 12spd NSMB AndrewM (5).JPG

I've seen a few bent-bent cages from multiple levels of derailleur with the new Shimano rear derailleur architecture. This one has been solid after multiple hits. If you're going to peak at yours keep in mind they have some 'shape' from the factory.

Shimano Deore 12spd NSMB AndrewM (1).JPG

The all-steel Deore cassette is a winner over SLX (aluminum low/big cog) and XT (aluminum low/big cogs x 2) in my book. Most riders around here wear out the aluminum big cogs (SRAM or Shimano) way faster that the rest of the cassette.

I've seen a few bent cages from multiple levels of the new Shimano rear derailleur architecture. This isn't necessarily due to materials or design as much as how Shimano has roared back with tonnes of OE spec and also how long the cages are to accommodate their 10-51t 1x12 cassette setup. I was comparing a Zee derailleur (max 36t cog) the other day and it really puts in perspective how much longer a cage has to be to run a 51t low gear instead of a 36t.

I've smacked this M6100 derailleur off of enough stuff that I'm confident it's similarly durable to other Shimano 12spd derailleurs. The clutch mechanism came well lubed, is easily tuned, and shifting performance is very good. Like the cassette, I don't know that I'd justify the extra 20 USD for an SLX rear derailleur or a doubling in price to pick-up an XT. The XT is 40-grams lighter I suppose. I haven't tried every combination but to circle back to min-maxing, an XT shifter with a Deore rear derailleur and cassette is probably the winning concoction between feel, performance, longevity, and price. Based on my past experiences I'd be running the XT level chain as well.

I know why the SLX component group exists - hitting price points on complete bike sales - but I also don't understand why the SLX component group exists. Deore M6100 matches all its strengths, even looking at the four-piston M6120 disc brakes, and shares its one immediately notable weakness, which is the feel and performance of the shifter. Never mind the shifter issue I experienced, the performance of the M8100 XT shifter is just that much better.

In the spirit of min-maxing, especially given that the rear derailleur remains one of the most exposed and abused drivetrain parts, I would love to see bike companies finally ditch the upgraded-rear-derailleur program and instead deliver a difference with the shifter itself. Instead of an SLX bike, I would much rather see a Deore bike with an XT shifter and chain.

Banshee Titan NSMB Deniz Amajor (5).jpg

I'm as bad for lusting after luxury bike parts as the next rider, but I'd have to really work on a pitch to justify spending more on a drivetrain than what's shown here. M6100 cassette & derailleur, M8100 chain, Race Face SHI-12 crank setup. Photo: Deniz

Aside from my shifter issue, the Deore drivetrain has been faultless and excellent generally for the price. It presents a first-time opportunity for bike companies to hit bike price levels giving up virtually nothing in shifting performance. That cash can go into better brakes, forks, tires, or even wheels where it's going to be much more noticeable than a few grams here and there. Aftermarket custom build on a budget? It's hard to argue with a crate drivetrain for about 300 USD including cranks, chain, cassette, rear derailleur, and shifter. That's more like 330 USD once I add in the M8100 shifter and it's another c-note to jump up to a Race Face Aeffect R crankset and SHI-12 ring but it still adds up to less than what some cassettes cost these days.

I know plenty of riders on M8100 and M7100 setups but have only met a couple of folks who have time on M6100 thus far and I'm very curious to see how other folks' experiences compare to my own. EAGLE and SHI-12 are battling for supremacy at the high end of mountain biking, but performance per dollar in a current 2021 drivetrain, my experience says that M6100/6120 is still the only drivetrain that matters.

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Comments

YDiv
+2 Andrew Major Chad K
YDiv  - Feb. 16, 2021, 12:23 a.m.

Interesting note about decreasing chainline. Do you have any resources that might talk about this more in depth (ie how to achieve this)?

Could see this being noticeably useful for those who rarely use mini cogs to hit top speed.

Reply

Heinous
+3 Andrew Major JVP Mammal
Heinous  - Feb. 16, 2021, 3:14 a.m.

There’s a thread near the top of the gear forum about this right now!

Reply

Bikeryder85
+1 Andrew Major
Bikeryder85  - Feb. 16, 2021, 3:23 a.m.

Was just going to ask this myself!

Reply

casque_a_pointe
+2 Andrew Major Cam McRae
casque_a_pointe  - Feb. 16, 2021, 5:28 a.m.

If available for the cranks you are using assuming they are of the direct mount kind mount a non boost chainring. If using cranks with arms , chainring spacers with longer bolts can do the trick as well. Easy way to determine if your frame is compatible is to find the tightest spot between the chainring and frame, use a ruler and simulate a shift of 3mm of the said chainring. Most of the times it works with 30t chainrings, 32t can be tight fitting, above i don't know it's way too big for my legs to even think about it.

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mrbrett
0
mrbrett  - Feb. 16, 2021, 7:10 a.m.

Like what casque is saying, I have some scraps of material kicking around I use as feeler gauges - like if you wanted a 3mm narrower chainline you could take a 3mm thick scrap of plastic and see if it will clear, to save a little disassembly/reassembly. I have a few pieces in 2, 3, 5mm thick to test this.

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velocipedestrian
0
Velocipedestrian  - Feb. 17, 2021, 2:48 p.m.

Or if you don't, you probably have Allen keys in those sizes. Also good for that job.

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AndrewMajor
+2 AJ Barlas Martin
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 6:20 a.m.

So in addition to spacing the chainring inboard (respacing cranks, non-Boost ring on Boost or Super Boost bike, washers with chainring bolts - add spider to direct mount cranks as needed), I’ve been playing around with less gears and my cassette more centered on the freehub driver.

There are some obvious difficulties, like some massive jumps on my ‘Demi-SYS’ drivetrain because the cogs are riveted in pairs (I could ge a cheap cassette that comes apart in singles I guess) but as experiments go it’s amazing how much you can clean up the chainline and ditch extreme chain angles if your future has fewer gears.

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andrewbikeguide
+2 Andrew Major YDiv
AndrewR  - Feb. 16, 2021, 9:36 a.m.

The 3 mm difference in chain line means less lateral load on the chain, less micro grinding of the chain ring and the cassette cog teeth.

Shift the bike into the gear that used most of the time climbing and look at the chain line from the rear (or take a photo). Shift into the gear that is most commonly used for descending (for pedalling for short sections or cranking into a feature for most riders) and check the chain line (or take a photo).

If riders are honest with themselves and consider the time they spend between 50-52T and 28T (most of the ride time given the average S2S climb of 45 - 60 mins with a rolling gut punch of 6% to 25% grades) and the time spent actually pedalling (not pumping when standing on level pedals) in gears between 24T and 10T (12-20 minutes of descending involving about 2 minutes if pedalling for most riders).

Unless one is a racer or fast. If one regularly sees one's name in the top 10% of a Strava descent segment (or can keep up with or beat those kind of riders) then one is probably pedalling like a racer on descents and in this case a 'boost' chain line makes sense. The best chain line when producing high levels of power and less lateral load that is likely to contribute to a chain jumping off what ever flavour of NW tooth profile the rider is running (most riders this fast also know to run at least an upper chain guide).

The lower/ bigger/ easier gears (we really need to standardise the terminology of the cassette gears) are high torque, large/ long chain wrap and long duration of use gears and anything one can do to reduce these factors, as long as it fits in with the design of the bike/ line of the chain stays/ centred stance (shifting the chain ring line not running cranks out of centre), will lead to a longer lasting, crisper shifting drive train.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 11:39 a.m.

Absolutely the basis of my project Demi-SYS. Straightest chainline in highest torque gears.

Reply

hongeorge
+1 Andrew Major
hongeorge  - Feb. 16, 2021, 3:15 a.m.

If you have a BSA(threaded) BB, then one simple way is to move a 2.5mm spacer over to the non-drive side (if clearance between chainring and chainstay allows - although that's the case for every method).

Reply

Masacrejoe
+1 Andrew Major
Michael Klein  - Feb. 16, 2021, 4:59 a.m.

I use chainring spacers to achieve the same. It has the added bonus of making more space for the chain to sink in between the teeth without hitting the (Shimano 104bcd) spider arms.

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hongeorge
+1 Michael Klein
hongeorge  - Feb. 16, 2021, 5:19 a.m.

Yeah, works for bolted chainrings, but not for direct mount

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 6:13 a.m.

Where there’s clearance, I will run a non-Boost ring with a Boost rear hub to cheat a bit inboard.

Also where there’s room... There are spiders available for Cinch (RaceFace) and SRAM (NSB) to convert those cranks back to bolt-on. Currently on the Banshee I’m running a Cinch non-Boost spider.

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YDiv
0
YDiv  - Feb. 17, 2021, 12:41 a.m.

Hmm, weird. Watching SRAM's DUB installation video shows that the 2.5mm spacers are only used for 68mm shells... (which are road?).

Good tip though. Will just have to hunt for a non-boost ring I guess.

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Masacrejoe
+4 Andrew Major Sandy James Oates ManInSteel tashi
Michael Klein  - Feb. 16, 2021, 5:22 a.m.

I've been going the AJ-way since I build my first 1x10 speed bike 10 years ago (even before N/W chainrings): XTR shifters with whatever derailleur was available/on sale. The reason for XTR shifters, is that the old 10sp XT shifters had a plastic lever. My current setup is a SLX RD-M7000-11 GS Shadow+ middle Cage paired with the ten years old XTR 10sp shifter and a 10sp 11x46 Sunrace cassette. Although there's a 0.2 difference in ratio between an 11sp and a 10sp, it shifts so good, that I can't tell the difference from a 10sp/10sp setup.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Michael Klein Luix
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 6:09 a.m.

My wife and I use 10spd XT/XTR shifters with 11spd derailleurs at home (11-46t cassette) and with the clutches slight detuned they are excellent in every gear. 

When I talk (cheekily) about the only drivetrain that matters I’m referring to modern off the rack setups that would come on a bike. Lots of interesting opportunities out there to play with stuff. 

I’ve got a 9-speed XTR that I’ve brought back to life with a Wolf Tooth 10spd Tanpan. Not perfect but the perfect project.

Reply

the-chez
+1 Andrew Major
The Chez  - Feb. 20, 2021, 8:22 a.m.

Thank you for calling out bike companies for their archaic method of slapping an upgrade on the rear derailleur. Talk about useless and just showing what people see. I've always subscribed to the get the best shifter and whatever derailleur is feasible. My XTR 10 speed with a cheap XT shifter was still the smoothest there was. I also wish bike companies subscribed to performance vs bling.

I'm curious to hear more about this 10 speed Tanpan conversion though.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 21, 2021, 11:13 p.m.

My Demi-SYS drivetrain is a work in progress but I will say that the Tanpan is working beautifully. 9-Speed is the last time Shimano road & mountain groupsets played together interchangeably but because 10-speed road didn't change the pull ratio from 9-speed road that Tanpan that's intended to combine a 10-speed Brifter with a 10/11-speed mountain bike clutch derailleur works great with 9-Speed mountain. 

The Tanpan isn't cheap, but I had a 9-Speed XTR shifter that's been sitting in a drawer for ages and that Tanpan was certainly a relatively less expensive way to get XTR-level shifter quality. It has 9-clicks at 10-speed spacing but that doesn't matter because I'm running less cogs anyways. 

I was running 5-cogs but using a Dyna-SYS cassette where the lower gears are all clustered in 2s the jump from 3rd to 4th was HUGE. It shifted but it wasn't pretty. Now running 7-cogs with a 15-36t and a 26t/32t narrow-wide chainring selection up front. 

It's been a fun project. Short cage Zee rear derailleur and BEAUTIFUL chainlines.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Feb. 18, 2021, 4:17 a.m.

I'm another 10 speeder.  Current setup Zee mech, Shimano HG500 (11-42), XT shifter, XT chain(s) - rotating 3 of them.  Zee cranks (because they have stainless pedal inserts) and 32t Works round ring that plays nice with my pivot location.    I also upgraded my freehubs to Hope stainless steel as the cassettes eat Al freehubs. 

As long parts are available i'm going to keep running it as it's cheap and works well.

Reply

slimshady76
+2 Andrew Major MuscogeeMasher
Luix  - Feb. 16, 2021, 5:49 a.m.

Drew, the shifter issues aren't just happening to Deores. XT and XTR ones have issues with the downshifting ratchets. Also, derailleurs of all the gruppos have poorly sealed clutches which lead to water ingress and seizing, and rear hubs bind and skip because the ratchets loose lubrication.

It might beg to wait for a new iteration, as first and second generations of every single bike product seems to be a beta version.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 6:04 a.m.

Interesting. I have seen some seized clutches (not a % that I would have thought extreme) with the higher end derailleurs but this Deore derailleur was well lubed from the factory. Just picked up a fresh Zee derailleur for myself though and I have to say it’s impressively tight in every way for the money. 

Haven’t seen or heard of a single other 12spd shifter issue and I’ve worked on quite a few Shimano 12spd bikes in the shop. Where have you come across the issue with the shifter ratchets?

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slimshady76
+1 Andrew Major
Luix  - Feb. 17, 2021, 4:19 a.m.

Hey Drew, as Jan correctly points below the surface finish of the plate axle is where the old gruppos differ from the x100 ones. One of my best friends has a bike shop, and we normally have wet winters here in Argentina. Stream crossings are normal when you ride in our local trails (nothing extreme, just a couple splashes and the water never gets to BB/hubs heights), and as a result most of the 12sp RDs end up with equally corroded pulley cage/clutch axles. I've heard of the clutches coming too tight from factory and almost dry, which would surely contribute to the  premature wear on the plate axle because of water ingress.

I read at PB Shimano was shipping either new derailleurs or a replacement kit consisting of a new clutch cover, a new rubber gasket and the necessary screws.

Re. failing shifters: I will try to find out which brand of cables were used, but most of the ratchet issues I heard/saw happened on complete bikes, or in shifters purchased aftermarket, with their original cables already threaded in. However, the failure I'm describing isn't like the one you experienced. The one I brought in consists of the tiny spike/ratchet in the downshift lever becoming unable to grab the gear indexing plate because its tiny return spring is either too weak or breaks entirely, leading to a no-downshift shifter: You just push the downshift lever, but it never engages the indexing plate.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Luix
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2021, 7:08 a.m.

Thanks Luis! I have experienced the dry/too tight mechs. Particularly with M8100.

This M6100 derailleur I did back off the clutch a bit (see first look) but it was actually well lubed.

Very interesting with the shifters. Haven’t seen/heard of that at all but will keep an eye out. One of those cases where the spring would be replaceable if it was available but instead its warranty/buy a new one?

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slimshady76
+1 Andrew Major
Luix  - Feb. 17, 2021, 10:58 a.m.

In NA I've seen several cases of shifters being completely replaced on warranty claims. However, faulty kit is a big concern here in Argentina, as there is no official representation and warranty replacements are a no-go from scratch. This makes any repetitive failure to be wildly known by the biking community in a short  time, and gives bike nerds something to research about in native and foreign forums.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 8:02 a.m.

Also would be interested to know if the ratchet issues are happening with genuine Shimano cables v. aftermarket cables (per comment below).

Reply

jan
+1 Andrew Major
Jan  - Feb. 16, 2021, 2:20 p.m.

re: sticking derailleurs. In a bout of winter bike overhauls I recently rebuilt an M8000 RD and a M7100 RD. My 11s needed jockey wheels and my 12s group had been suffering from a "sticking" mech, or inability to upshift from the 51T. After replacing the 12s' cable and housing, chain, and tried friend's GX10-50 cassette for comparison - nothing was successful to fix my upshifts. 

AFAIK the clutch mechanism in Shimano 12s is the exact same as the 11s groups. It's three screws and a dab of grease and you're on your way. What was different was the exposure and wear on the plate axle. There was significant corrosion on the M7100 mech (3 months old) while the M8000 mech looked fine (3 years old). 

This is where I believe the shimano 12s mech design is flawed. The "sticking" can be solved (on a surface level) by loosening or fully turning off the clutch. The clutch however is not the culprit. The corrosion on the plate axle prevents the desired movement from the parallelogram (see page 35 of Shimano service doc DM-MARD001-03) . I took some light sand paper to the corrosion, soaked it in fluid film and it has been great ever since. I haven't read any "long term" review mentioning this issue in any major MTB publication, but I also know my experience is not an isolated event.

N.b. "flawed" is perhaps the wrong word because I probably spray my bike off with too much pressure. mea culpa.

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alexdi
+1 Andrew Major
Alex D  - Feb. 16, 2021, 6:12 a.m.

I installed the 5100 11S iteration of this drivetrain on a 26er Cannondale with 2" tires. Cage had to have been 4" off the ground. Good shifting. Surprisingly good for a 135 bike, though Boost would have been more efficient in the big sprockets. Tuning was a surprise-- this is only Shimano RD I've seen that wants a slack cable in the smallest sprocket, to the point where the cable isn't even resting flush on the guide. 6100 (also installed on an older 29er) appears to be the same group save for the 10T. 

Shifter throws are kind of long; definitely preferred my XX1 shifters. And I'm of two minds about the clutch. It works a little too well. Shifting into bigger sprockets on the stand is butter when it's off and noticeably difficult when it's on. I didn't notice it on the bike as much just spinning around and certainly wouldn't on a trail, though would have liked to have seen a tension adjustment.

But as you say: it's cheap as chips. I paid something like $200 for the RD, shifter, cassette, and chain, plus another $15 for a Shimano-compatible ring to pair with an existing double. I priced out Advent, discounted Box, etc.-- nothing came up a better value.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Alex D
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 6:25 a.m.

Thanks!

Yeah, really wanted to test 5100 back to back to compare performance/$.

Funny about cage clearance. My daughter’s Early Rider 20” has 8-spd BOX and the cage is so close to the ground in the low gears she’s in all the time she smokes it on everything (everything). She never uses the high gears so there’s a fix but I don’t want to put out for shifter, derailleur, cassette, chainring for the bike just to get a shorter cage.

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AlexJ
0
Aleksander Jaklik  - May 6, 2021, 3:48 p.m.

Little late to reply and it's a pity that Andrew hasn't clarified it to you, but of course it should be possible to adjust the clutch tension in RD-M5100 - just remove the 3 Allen bolts that hold the cover and there should be the usual adjustment screw, same as with M6100 and M7100 that also don't have the "quick access" plug as RD-M8100 does (which can be mistakenly left opened after finishing adjustment and let water and grime in, hah).

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jt
+1 Andrew Major
JT  - Feb. 16, 2021, 6:26 a.m.

I've seen the cable head pop out on Ultegra & 105 shifters, but never on a MTB group yet. PITA, but I haven't seen one explode the shifter, so there's a slight positive. I chalked it up to shifting without pedaling combined with the tight arc the cable has to take around the spool. 

Separate note, as soon as I saw the MS profile being trapezoidal as opposed to square, I knew Shimano won the freehub body race: Less expensive cassettes that won't gall into the hub body. Took 'em long enough to enter the fray, but slow and steady won the race.

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AndrewMajor
+1 JT
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 6:33 a.m.

Yeah, seen plenty of road shifter cable issues but have only worked on sorting a couple (mainly work on MTB) but this is the first MTB shifter cable issue I’ve seen or heard of... hopefully just a crappy fluke that NSMB got the bad egg.

I’ve decided to both wish all bikes where still HG and to grudgingly admit that MS is the better, and best, system from a survivability POV. In no hurry to race and swap drivers over, but I could see the day my single speed has a MS driver for sure.

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jt
+1 Andrew Major
JT  - Feb. 16, 2021, 6:54 a.m.

Definitely in the same camp. I know some of my wheels aren't supported any longer so hunting down a MS driver will involve seeing what other co's freehubs play nice with them, and if it makes sense financially to buy into the experiment.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 7:07 a.m.

I think have the time the axle parts will prove harder than the freehubs themselves! Had to mod an axle end to run MS with these Bontrager wheels until they could get me the proper cap.

Looked at the Chris King MS upgrade kit. Holy moly. Back to keeping an eye open for a stainless steel HG driver.

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fartymarty
+1 AJ Barlas
fartymarty  - Feb. 16, 2021, 6:47 a.m.

Andrew, 

Zee will run 42 at a push however you need to make sure you chain is the perfect length and bike will accomodate it. I run Zee + 42 on my Murmur and Krampus.

Also 1000% agree on double tap / multi release shifts.  I run XT on both bikes because of it.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 7:10 a.m.

Yes... it will also shift a 36t moved pretty far outboard before the chain hits the cable arm on downshifts.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Feb. 18, 2021, 4:21 a.m.

I'll have to give it a go when I get around to bodging a "Wide 5" setup.

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mrbrett
+1 Andrew Major
mrbrett  - Feb. 16, 2021, 7:24 a.m.

Andrew, I'm into the territory of picking nits here but have each of an 8100, 7100, and 6100 shifter in my household and have a theory about the cable end that was spat out. In your pic it looks like there is a slight taper on the cable end (so it's shaped like =>, rather than =). It looks like probably a Jagwire cable in the pic.

My shifters came with Optislick cables, with slightly more squared off ends. Any chance a cable end fitting situation is revealing itself? It wouldn't be the first range of shifters that's unnecessarily finnicky about details like cable end shape. I remember early 00s 105 and Ultegra shifters seemed to work better with Shimano cables than whatever the shop had kicking around.

I am attempting to attach a picture of a screen cap from the Shimano website.

Hopefully this is validation for the literal years I have spent being incredibly picky about details like this.

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AndrewMajor
+2 AJ Barlas Chad K
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 7:41 a.m.

It’s a non-Shimano stainless steel 1.1 cable from Weldtite. I’ve been using them in Shimano and SRAM shifters without issue for over 15-years. 

I’m 100% positive this is NOT the issue; however, if slight variations of shape in the cable head profile actually matter circa SHI-12 (rather than this shifter issue being a fluke) this would be one long f***-Shimano rant rather a simple disclosure of an issue I had testing M6100. 

Think about how ridiculous it would be if a slight variation in cable head profile caused shifters to commit suicide.

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NotEndurbro
+1 Andrew Major
Dustin Meyer  - Feb. 16, 2021, 7:57 a.m.

What if the shifter pinched the cable somewhere near the barrel adjuster? That could cause it to back the head out of its spot when you hit the release button to shift to a smaller cog. Once the cable is backed out, all hell breaks loose because who knows where it will jam up in there.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 8 a.m.

That’s in-line with my theory but I couldn’t  recreate the situation on the bench or riding the bike. It’s all good now (same brand of cable installed). This is my least favourite type of mechanical, because it’s all just guessing at the cause.

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martin
+1 Andrew Major
Martin  - Feb. 16, 2021, 8:23 a.m.

I'm sharing your views Andrew! I'm using a Deore M6100 cassette, SLX M7100 shifter, XT M8120 crankset and used an SLX M7100 chain last summer. I usually replace my chain ever season (around 500km). 

From what I've read online, it seems like the value sweet spot on chain resides on Deore or XT (more $ but seems more durable). What are your observations on those 12 speed chains' durability ?

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AndrewMajor
+1 Martin
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 9 a.m.

I used two chains with this drivetrain because the Banshee is so much longer than my Marin. The first was the Deore and I went for XT with the second. I cannot comment of comparable life from this process but I will say I think the XT shifted a bit smoother from fresh.

My experience working on Shimano 12-spd (aside from this test) is that the XT chain is the sweet spot for price, performance, longevity and where I’m happy to recommend M6100 to most riders I’d always suggest an XT chain with it.

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trumpstinyhands
0
trumpstinyhands  - Feb. 16, 2021, 8:33 a.m.

I've got a bike on order with the 'standard' pawl system Deore MS freehub body. I'm hoping that it will be more reliable than the XT one that I've had previously that would make horrific grinding sounds. People 50 meters up the trail would look around wondering what the hell the sound was. It would go away with a full strip down and lubrication of the 'do not take apart / lubricate' bits but always come back again. Deore hubs seem to be another area where 'min-maxing' makes sense.

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martin
+1 Andrew Major
Martin  - Feb. 16, 2021, 8:52 a.m.

There is a thread on mtbr talking about the XT 8100 rear hub issues which made me glad I went for a DT 350 hub. https://www.mtbr.com/threads/multiple-xt-m8100-hub-failures.1139315/ People had their hubs warrantied quite easily, but it's an annoying part to warranty.

I'm guessing the Deore doesn't use a variation of they Scylence system and will be stronger.

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AndrewMajor
+3 Martin 4Runner1 AJ Barlas
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 8:56 a.m.

There’s not a Shimano hub I would choose to put on my bike. The fact they’re making such an intense OE comeback on bread-and-butter mountain bikes makes me blah.

Ultimate min-max hubset is literally any j-bend thru-axle front hub and the nicest rear hub/wheel you can spring for. 

Bontrager Line Comp + ratchet upgrade is a great choice. Race Face Aeffect R is another in terms of complete wheels. 

DT-350 or I9 101 are both solid hub choices that are fully serviceable and won’t randomly strand you and aren’t designed to be run dry & rust out.

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alexdi
+1 Andrew Major
Alex D  - Feb. 16, 2021, 9:10 a.m.

I was definitely more enthusiastic about these hubs in mid-2018 when they were first announced. Some surprising failures in execution. The forum warnings to 'carefully open the hub and fettle these components with this specific grease' remind me too much of Mavic. The wheelset I'd planned to build around XTR will probably end up on DT again.

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AndrewMajor
+2 Alex D Luix
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 11:53 a.m.

Just laced the P321 hub into a 27” hoop for mullet setup and it’s still running really nicely. 

I think for me, having to make a choice, it’s still King hubs for life. Heavy yes. Expensive yes. Long break-in period yes. But they’re just so bomb proof and 5* engagement is quick enough.

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Ceecee
0
Ceecee  - Feb. 16, 2021, 9:37 a.m.

It broke. Otherwise faultless

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mammal
0
Mammal  - Feb. 16, 2021, 11:33 a.m.

Are you referring to the shifter?

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AndrewMajor
+1 Martin
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 11:50 a.m.

Assuming you’re talking about the shifter I’d like to think I did a pretty good job of addressing the issue and how it changed how I would spec/run the drivetrain?

Also, I’d like to think I clearly note that I don’t think their execution of crank/chainring/chainline is faultless.

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Ceecee
0 Luix Mammal
Ceecee  - Feb. 16, 2021, 12:44 p.m.

"Deore M6100 [M8100] [RaceFace Turbine]: (Not really) The Only Drivetrain That Matters"

'Aside from my shifter issue, the Deore drivetrain has been faultless and excellent generally for the price.'

Imagine being a newbie and confronted with all this. Did you know you can't use an 11-speed Shimano chain on a 12-speed chainring? That DT makes a steel freehub body for HG? SRAM could have made an 11-speed 11-46t HG X-Dome. The 1x war is a consumer nightmare

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AndrewMajor
+4 Martin Ceecee Velocipedestrian Mammal
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 1:09 p.m.

It may be that there is a dearth of content - particularly tech content - catered towards the mountain bike "newbie." Maybe it's something NSMB should look into? For the record, I'm certainly not attempting to cover that niche. In my experiences when it comes to bike parts riders fall into three categories.

1) folks who are going to pay the shop to do anything and just want a bike that works great.

2) folks that are going to work on their own stuff but stay within systems (SHI-12, Eagle, etc) or even specific groupsets (GX, XT) to ensure compatibility.

3) folks that are going to work on their own stuff who are either going to do the research or burn the capital to figure out what's inter-compatible.

Of those riders only category #3 needs to know that Shimano 12-speed chains/rings are specific to each other which is information that's easy to find for folks that don't immediately extrapolate it from the fact that companies are making specific SHI-12 chainrings. It's also pretty apparent if you try to put a non-SHI-12 chain on a SHI-12 ring regardless of the brand.

That said, I much lament the demise of the HG driver and the way we're voting with our wallets today to pay higher prices tomorrow. That's thanks to a proliferation of standards and the lack of aftermarket cassette options for XD and MS that are removing any downward cost pressure on SRAM and Shimano. If you're at all interested I did write a short piece about it.

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Ceecee
0
Ceecee  - Feb. 16, 2021, 1:27 p.m.

Oh, good, we agree. Here's to the two-party system: Almost The Only Drivetrain That Matters When You're Not Paying For It

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AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 1:36 p.m.

It might be more of an agree-to-disagree. If I was buying a complete off-the-shelf bike tomorrow it would have an M6100 drivetrain. I would be looking for a shifter upgrade on the floor and then do an XT chain at the first big service.

In terms of what’s coming spec on new bikes I think it’s the only drivetrain that matters to most riders if they’re being honest about their needs. Way more important to invest limited capital in brakes, tires, suspension (and frame).

That’s not how I personally buy bikes which is why I’ll likely be on 9/10/11 speed hybrids with HG drivers for years to come. That’s only relevant to a % of riders #3 who don’t have to have to new-new.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2021, 4:16 p.m.

I was thinking about your comments today and I missed an opportunity on this piece - maybe a future piece - to remind folks that you can always opt out of the two-party drivetrain system by going with a friction shifter

Suddenly cable pull ratios and cog spacing are meaningless. Doesn’t help a SHI-12 chain fit other rings, but opens up a lot of other inter-compatibility!

martin
0
Martin  - Feb. 16, 2021, 1:10 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

andyf
+1 Andrew Major
andyf  - Feb. 16, 2021, 9:45 a.m.

Ha! I guess I'm running a sort of inverse min-max drivetrain. Almost full M9100/9120 with an M6100 cassette. The M9100 cassette started making popping sounds after ~9 months and I replaced it with the M6100 on LBS recommendation.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 11:42 a.m.

Makes perfect sense. Highest load/torque cog in steel instead of aluminum. Most riders would probably be better off with M6100. Solid min-max choice.

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kperras
+2 Andrew Major Sanesh Iyer
Kenneth Perras  - Feb. 16, 2021, 12:05 p.m.

Given the time of year it is possible the derailleur, cable, and housing, or some combination are frozen. When the shifter ratchets downs, if the cable doesn't move with it then, that could be a problem. Something I've experienced before but only during winters.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 12:35 p.m.

Interesting idea. I always lube my housing/cables the same way and have never experienced the issue before (and haven’t after) but I don’t have any better explanation. When you’ve had it happen was it generally on older housing (possible water ingress?) v. fresh?

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YDiv
0
YDiv  - Feb. 17, 2021, 10:27 a.m.

A bit of a tangent, but on the topic of lubrication, how is the CK Silver grease holding up? Curious to hear if you noticed a large difference in drag for BBs or hubs.

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AndrewMajor
+1 YDiv
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2021, 4:21 p.m.

I’ve really appreciated the King blue grease in headset bearings and suspension pivot bearings. 

I don’t know if I can claim to have noticed a difference with the silver grease compared to other products I’ve been using in hub and bottom bracket bearings. But I do tend to use premium lubes in general.

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flattire2
+1 Andrew Major
Brian Tuulos  - Feb. 16, 2021, 12:29 p.m.

I don't mind the inefficiency of a 10t cog on a mountain bike.  IMO most riders when in the 10t cog, will have gravity assisting them anyways, so who cares about small losses.  Road bike = different story.

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AndrewMajor
+5 AJ Barlas Velocipedestrian Steven Hambleton Chad K Mammal
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 12:37 p.m.

I guess my rebuttal is where on an MTB is a 10t (or 9t) really a necessity v. an 11t? I mean, I use a 10t when I have one, only on the road mind you, but I don’t see it being worth all the effort (new drivers) to claim 500% gear ranges.

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stinhambo
+1 Andrew Major
Steven Hambleton  - Feb. 16, 2021, 3:52 p.m.

I'm hoping to stick to 10sp for as long as possible but the only choices are -

  • Source old Shimano 10sp SLX/XT parts
  • Microshift Advent X
  • Use Shimano 10sp/11sp Deore parts

Are Shimano still making 10 or 11 speed SLX/XT products any more?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 3:55 p.m.

Still making Saint and Zee. Just bought a new Zee rear derailleur for myself. I think it’s easily the best quality/$$$ derailleur Shimano has ever made.

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stinhambo
0
Steven Hambleton  - Feb. 16, 2021, 3:56 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

AndrewMajor
+1 Steven Hambleton
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 4:04 p.m.

Ah, no. 11-36t no problem. 11-42t on some bikes with perfect chain length and the b-tension cranked.

For the our 10/11 drivetrains using 11-46t 10-spd SunRace cassettes I’m hoping Shimano will keep making 11-spd XT for a while.

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velocipedestrian
+1 Andrew Major
Velocipedestrian  - Feb. 16, 2021, 8:16 p.m.

I'm hoping Zee will behave nicely with 11-46, when used with a Wolftooth Goatlink on a hardtail (no growth to account for).

I have the frame, XT shifter, Zee derailleur, non-boost crankset, ring and chain... Playing international shipping racing with some small parts before I get to test it out.

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stinhambo
+1 Andrew Major
Steven Hambleton  - Feb. 16, 2021, 8:17 p.m.

Post back here to let us know!

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 8:44 p.m.

With the Goatlink it will clear the 46t but, in my experience, the cage isn’t long enough to tension the chain from 11-46t. 

Would love to see/hear otherwise if your example bears more fruit! You can also ditch a few cogs off the high-end and you could probably set the chain for say the 15t and score 15-46t.

Masacrejoe
0
Michael Klein  - Feb. 16, 2021, 10:55 p.m.

I have this setup (XTR 10sp shifter, SLX medium cage (not ZEE after all, sorry) with Goatlink and SunRace 11-46) on a fullsuspension, but while it will run all gears perfectly I find that I have to “push through”/hold the shifter for longer to shift into the lower gears. If it’s your only bike you get used to it, but switching between bikes it gets annoying.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 10:59 p.m.

Interesting Michael, 

Is your chain under tension in the 11t when the bike is static or only with sag? In the 46t how much movement does the cage have to accommodate suspension travel? Bottom-out in the 46t is okay?

I would love to see some photos!

Masacrejoe
0
Michael Klein  - Feb. 18, 2021, 12:31 a.m.

Sorry I was wrong. I used to have a Zee derailleur on my full sus, but now it's a SLX medium cage. I've been almost exclusively riding my hardtail the last six months, so I forgot that I switched to SLX on the full sus (I guess more than a year ago). As I recall, I did this because even with a longer B-screw, I wasn't able to get the Zee running perfectly. I'm no mechanic though, so someone with better skills might be able to.

I guess it's no longer of the same interrest (now it's SLX and not Zee), but I'll take some pictures for you Andrew, if you want me to.

Masacrejoe
0
Michael Klein  - Feb. 18, 2021, 12:31 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 21, 2021, 11:06 p.m.

Cheers Michael,

Yeah, that makes perfect sense re. SLX. I'm quite happily running the Zee with a 36t but even then on the FS bike but it's hard to imagine it clearing even a 42t (haven't tried - lots of comments that it does work). 

I'm excited to see how Velocipedestrian's project turns out!

stinhambo
+1 Andrew Major
Steven Hambleton  - Feb. 16, 2021, 4:03 p.m.

Zee won't work with an 11-46T cassette though :(

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NeilCarnegie
+2 tashi Michael Klein
Neil Carnegie  - Feb. 17, 2021, 12:09 a.m.

You can mix match 11 speed mechs into your system which may not be quite what you want to do but isn't the end of the world either. 

Both my bikes are running Saint shifter, Shimano 11spd rear mech and the new 4100 11-46 10 speed cassettes. I know some folk dislike the gear jumps but I find them fine and they seem to wear very well. Super reliable, cheapish and lightish drivetrain. I'll not go to 12 unless forced now. 

It is a shame to loose short cage, but you do need the longer mech I think for it to work well out at 11-46.

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mammal
+1 Sanesh Iyer
Mammal  - Feb. 17, 2021, 10:09 a.m.

Yep, I had the same setup on my Giant Trance the season before last. Older SLX cage grafted to Zee derailleur with Goat link and 11-46 sunrace steel cassette (30t cog). Everything was tensioned well, and it wasn't the most rapid shifting, but you got used to it. Still have the parts around for when my GF's Giant needs love (she runs the exact same setup).

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sanesh-iyer
+1 Mammal
Sanesh Iyer  - Feb. 17, 2021, 10:49 p.m.

Man... I have a love of grafted Shimano cages too. I think I went through 3 cages on my saint derailleur...

sanesh-iyer
0
Sanesh Iyer  - Feb. 17, 2021, 10:49 p.m.

Man... I have a love of grafted Shimano cages too. I think I went through 3 cages on my saint derailleur...

flattire2
0
Brian Tuulos  - Feb. 17, 2021, 12:29 p.m.

Agree - Tight gear jumps are overrated.  I usually have to grab 2 gears at a time anyway.  So your gear ratio changed by 14% instead of 12%.  Big woop

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tashi
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian
tashi  - Feb. 17, 2021, 3:56 p.m.

I didn’t know about this cassette, thanks!

I’m reasonably content with sun-race 10-speed but will happily choose shimano if possible. 

Also super happy to find out that 11-speed Shimano works with 10-speed shifters.  My Radr-caged XT was tired when I put the cage on in 2016, I have no idea how it’s still functional... 

You can pry my 10-speed XTR shifter from my cold, dead hands!

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AndrewMajor
+1 Michael Klein
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2021, 4:24 p.m.

Other than the HG+ shifting under load (which I don’t care about but some folks love), I’d put my wife’s 10-speed XTR shifter | 11-speed XT derailleur (clutch de-tuned from stock) | SunRace cassette up against any big-range 1x system. It’s awesome.

fartymarty
+1 Andrew Major
fartymarty  - Feb. 18, 2021, 4:29 a.m.

That's why i'm sticking with Zee and 42 and grind it out on steep climbs.  I prefer the short cage as it's tucked out of the way.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 21, 2021, 11:03 p.m.

The difference in cage length between my Zee / 36t and the M6100 / 51t is astounding. Not surprising but still...

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casque_a_pointe
+1 Andrew Major
casque_a_pointe  - Feb. 16, 2021, 9:45 p.m.

Regarding the cable issue, once had that happened on a sram x01 11speed system,  the shifter paddles would move to a certain extend but nothing else was happening. The cable end dislodged itself from where it's supposed to rest. After examination the problem wasn't from the shifter ,nor the cable, nor the derailler but from the old and maybe a tad short housing that was creating too much friction in the system. By trying to downshift multiple gears into a harder gear (smaller cog size), the derailler return spring wasn't strong enough to push back the cable in the housing due to the friction, the derailler would barely move down, the cable end pop out from where it seated and jammed itself in the shifter. After replacing the cable and housing it worked as new and  still works today.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 16, 2021, 9:48 p.m.

That makes sense in that situation; however in this case the housing was ~ fresh and lubed. Made no change to housing for the rest of the SHI-12 test and still using the same housing with my own drivetrain.

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YDiv
+2 Andrew Major jaydubmah
YDiv  - Feb. 17, 2021, 12:58 a.m.

This drivetrain really starts to make more and more sense as time progresses.

SRAM Eagle is really nice in the beginning but there's a reason that people will replace their X01 cassettes with GX ones. The price is through the roof. Even the GX cassette is a whopping $300 CAD.

Compare that to Shimano... 300 will get you an XT cassette (almost top of the line!!) AND 75 dollars leftover that you can light on fire.

Bring that down to Deore, and the cost effectiveness of this drivetrain is pretty much unbeatable for most people (unless budgeting isn't a factor for you). Weight weenies be gone.

Really great piece. Sucks the shifter bugged out but seems to be an industry norm these days when it comes to mechanical things.

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NotEndurbro
+1 Andrew Major
Dustin Meyer  - Feb. 17, 2021, 6:49 a.m.

My experience has been that the machined xd cassettes last so much longer than the pinned cassettes that they are actually cheaper over time. This been primarily with 11 speed XX1 cassettes.

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AndrewMajor
+2 YDiv Chad K
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2021, 7:31 a.m.

Ah, the beauty of 11spd XX1 is the big aluminum cog is/was replaceable. With 12spd when it’s worn out the cassette is worn out. Basically want to choose a chainring size such that the 50t or 52t is a bailout gear only.

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YDiv
+1 Andrew Major
YDiv  - Feb. 17, 2021, 9:30 a.m.

Fair enough @Dustin, but as Andrew mentioned, this is the big pain in the ass with 12speed.

SRAM might say "LoWeR wEiGhT" - sure, and I guess there's more teeth to spread the wear but just take a look at people's cassettes and the majority (read: average joe) will still have the most wear on that 50t pie plate.

~ 2 Deore cassettes for the price of 1 GX, 4 for the price of 1 X01

Not only do you get more cassettes, the pie plate is steel. I think it's relatively safe to assume that you will get a longer lifespan out of something that's ultimately a consumable.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2021, 4:10 p.m.

If the aluminum low gear was still replaceable then X01 cassettes would even be possible to justify in terms of weight v. performances v. life. 

M6100 is the winner in the SHI-12 fleet for sure but it is a pig. IF the aluminum cogs on XT were replaceable separately for 1/3 the price of a cassette then the value of M8100 may come up.

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DanL
0
DanL  - Feb. 17, 2021, 2:12 p.m.

I'm in this position right now. The bike I picked up was all shiny srammy eagles and everything was bliss but now I'm looking down the wrong end of $370+tax for just a cassette and chain. Compared to  $326 for 6100 cassette, chain and XT shifter. BUT that also means another $140 for a microspline freehub which puts me into expense but means that the next cassette/chain will break even for me. As long as it all plays well with the X01 dub cranks I have.

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Recrider
0
Recrider  - Feb. 17, 2021, 2:22 p.m.

The otherwise all-Shimano 12 speed setup I have on my Full Stache is using the existing SRAM/Truvativ Descendant 6k 12 speed crankset and Shimano SLX 12 speed chain. The only change I needed to make was to use a SRAM missing link as the Shimano one did not play nice with the SRAM chainring.

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DanL
0
DanL  - Feb. 17, 2021, 3:49 p.m.

Ah, yes. I frigging hate the shimano links so much so that can only be a boon.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Feb. 18, 2021, 4:32 a.m.

KMC links work well with Shimano.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2021, 4:06 p.m.

In most experiences the SHI-12 chain will not play nicely with your SRAM ring. But, you could run a different 12-spd chain with and make your hybrid work.

I know there are mixed reviews, but I’ve good experiences with multiple iterations of the e13 XD cassettes (even though I think the 9t cog is silly marketing crap) and I like that the high-wear alloy cogs can be replace separately. They’re worth checking out as it saves you buying a driver.

If you do end up just getting another SRAM cassette consider if a smaller chainring would have you climbing in more ratios. Spreading the love around will certainly keep those cogs fresher.

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DanL
+1 Andrew Major
DanL  - Feb. 17, 2021, 5:55 p.m.

I think I won't be recovering from "HOW MUCH FOR A SODDING CASSETTE" shock that I got for some time as I'll always have the spectre of a $300 cassette hanging over me, even the E13. 
I'll talk to NSB about a chainring that'll suit my drivetrain, they've always steered me right. I just don't want to go back to the Shimano link.

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YDiv
0
YDiv  - Feb. 17, 2021, 4:52 p.m.

Thought about this a bit today. I think you could convert without needing to swap out the cranks.

Would have to be done using a OneUp switch direct mount carrier and chainring. To note, this would be the SRAM compatible carrier and the Shimano compatible chainring.

- This should work based on the assumption that there's no difference in the carriers other than the part that interfaces with the crank, but best to run it by the guys at OneUp to make sure.

Having said all that, you're most definitely down on upfront cost if you do this. However, I think it's worth calculating to see whether it pays off, because I think there's a possibility it does. Honestly it just depends how long you keep the bike for. Couple long term pros:

- The Switch DM carrier will make chainring replacement cheaper in the long run.

- Some money can be recouped by selling the XD driver.

- And of course, Shimano stuff is cheaper than SRAM.

As others have mentioned, the chain - chainring interface might see excessive wear if paired weird. Shimano talked a bit about it here

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AndrewMajor
+1 YDiv
Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2021, 5:21 p.m.

There are a few companies (Wolf Tooth for example) offering SHI-12 rings in the SRAM/CaneCreek bolt pattern.

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YDiv
0
YDiv  - Feb. 17, 2021, 9:56 p.m.

That is.... probably 10x easier haha. I guess only advantage of OneUp then is the lowered cost (assuming same durability).

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Recrider
+1 Andrew Major
Recrider  - Feb. 17, 2021, 12:52 p.m.

Digressing slightly, I thought I would share my recent experience with a Shimano drivetrain build on my 2018 Banshee Spitfire (boost dropouts). I purchased the SLX chain and rear derailleur with an XT shifter. Decided to try and reuse my existing M7000 non-boost 11-speed crankset with 30T SLX chainring to save some money and to achieve a more inboard chainline, which the Banshee would permit. Shimano 12 speed chain would not wrap around the 11-speed chainring. Had a new YBN SLA 12-speed chain (with their version of missing link) to hand, so tried that. Works a treat, cannot tell difference between this setup and the complete SLX setup on my Full Stache. Suspect SRAM chain will also work, not sure about KMC. Really liking the more inboard chainline with this setup.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Feb. 17, 2021, 2:51 p.m.

Any non-Shimano 12-spd chain will work with other N/W rings including Shimano 11spd. It’s just the SHI-12 chain/ring that need to be paired.

You loose the crazy shift-under-load ability of HG+ but if you’ve been riding bikes a while you don’t grind those shifts anyways (at least that’s my experience).

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Recrider
+1 Andrew Major
Recrider  - Feb. 17, 2021, 2:58 p.m.

That's a good point. I would have to say I can't really notice much difference between the Shimano or YBN SLA 12 speed chains on the Shimano SLX cassette, but as you suggest I habitually down power momentarily while shifting to easier gears, so may be more noticeable for those who do not.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - Feb. 21, 2021, 11:02 p.m.

I'm the same - learned over years and years of riding terrain where shifting under load means broken chains or worse. 

I had to actively change my brain to really test the advantages of HG+ and now that I'm back on a standard (older) Shimano drivetrain I'm very happy to say I reverted back to shifting properly right away. Even with HG+ I feel (no proof) that a drivetrain will last much longer practicing good shifting technique rather than just punching through a shift under load whenever I feel like it.

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