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3x8 speed to 11 speed conversion

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    I took a spare frame, and stuck a hub and 11-40t cassette and test fitted (didn't ride) a pile of derailleurs I have.

    The M640 Zee DH is-too small, needs to be the FR version. Both are SS cage. Budget DH rated part. Strong compact and affordable clutch type derailleur. I like this for urban.

    Deore M5120 GS. This looks to be lower level of the M7000 SLX that's on the bike. Which was good up to 51t. Shimano specifically lists it as 2x10, and 1x11 compatible. Sometime Shimano says 10s and 11s don't interchange???? 10s road and MTB are different. 11s swaps ok. Tiagra is oddball all around.

    Deore M5130 A Linkglide part. Similar to the 5120 except 13t idlers. Shimano says Linkglide only, but others disagree. Shimanos "group think" means cassettes and shifters are different (9/10/11s) but word on the street is that it's 11s iscompatible. 9s and 10s need special cassete and shifters. I'll need to ride this one to find out.

    Sunrace M9 (M900) ( speed old Shimano 8-9 speed cable pull ratio, This is going to far from the cassette unless it's in the 46-52t range. Sunrace does make 9s cassettes in that size. Stiff spring 13t idlers and non adjustable clutch.

    Now we're (or at least I am) getting into Rapid Rise (low normal) derialleurs. I only have actual RR shifter for 8s. But 11-40t 1x 8s is what I run.

    XTR M960 GS rated for 11-36t runs fine on 11-40t with a longer B screw. A little pricey bit not actually that rare due to DH racing use back in the day. NOS is very expensive.

    Deore LX (son of XT) M580 SGS Looks to be the same geometry as the XTR. I'll need to get a longer B screw to try this. The 11-32t rating might be because Shimano didn't offer 11-36t cassettes yet when it came out?, or in that group. I pulled this off of the 3x8 XC bike. The long cage might allow this to work with a huge cassette with an extended hanger, But I have plenty of better option w/o that.

    Now here is where it gets hardcore Rapid Rise ( Rabid Rise?) There are 2, 10mm x 135mm through axle mounted RR derailluers. This format came and went. replaced by 12x142mm. So hubs are scarce to do this.

    Saint M800 GS. King of the hill. No derailleur hanger to bend or break. 380G weight. Designed for banging into stuff. Forget about the Saint hubs for this. Oversized Saint only Centerlock rotors.
    11-36t rated ( nothing bigger at the time).

    Hone M600 ( I don't own this one) SGS is all I can find. Basically an axle mounted XT (My best guess) Budget DH part. Common and inexpensive on Ebay.

    Hubs for these things

    There is a Zee 10x135mm through bolt hub available. FH-M640. This is a current production part. Since the through bolt derailleurs are historic parts, this is probably for bolt on axles to stiffen up 135mm suspension bikes. Centerlock brakes only. I know there are 6 bolt adapters, but they don't work with alloy spider brake rotors like the RT-86 Icetechs I'm using.

    The Koozer MX490 Pro. Taiwanese aftermarket hub. This has been around a while. It has a fan club at MTBR. All sorts of end caps including 10x135mm through bolt. Standard size sealed bearings.72 click freehub ( Zip tie quiets that right down). Steel and alloy freehub shells available.

    There are Hope and DT options available also.

    The Saint/ Hone axle bolts need to be 174mm long. Some vendors try to get around $100 each. Or make your own out of 10mm steel rod 10x1.0mm thread.

    So I have an M800 Saint derailleur, a ZEE 10x135mm through axle hub, and a 10mm Saint axle bolt on the way. The Zip Tie mod is pretty good. But I have 20 years of RR shifting habits.

    The thing keeping me from going back to RR is the 1x11 XC bike. No 11s Rapid Rise derailleurs or shifters. I'm not giving up without a fight. But if I can get the XTR to shift 11 gears I'm going to do it.
    Last edited by Retrorockit; 04-25-2024, 04:53 AM.


    • Mike_V
      Mike_V commented
      Editing a comment
      The rapid rise M580 is all I could find new and it is limited seemingly be cage length as is the M960 and I just resolved to using smaller sprockets.
      I know that longer cages exist from various manufacturers installed on other (high normal ) assemblies (some which I have) but I'm not interested enough to experiment with rebuiding any

    • Mike_V
      Mike_V commented
      Editing a comment
      Very interesting, Thanks I didn't understand the mechanical modifications referred to by your hanger and link comments until viewing this video by Calvin Jones:
      How many links does it take to attach a rear derailleur? One? Two? Three? The world may never know...except Calvin DOES have an answer! Join him as he solves...

    • Mike_V
      Mike_V commented
      Editing a comment
      Again Thanks !, this is the first I read about derailleur hanger extensions and am now learning about increased range provided by the modified geometry that will benefit our single ring eBike mid-drives. I'll buy a Wolf Tooth for my M960 and experiment with it cassette configurations & chain brand & length.
      Last edited by Mike_V; 04-25-2024, 05:22 PM.

    I may have to make my own longer bolt on axle for my XT hubs. But I'm leaning towards the NOS RR Saint M800 GS. No hanger. It threads right onto a longer 10mm axle.


      I am trying to follow along with your documentation as I plan my current build however: As I do what I'm looking at to tune my ride is my wide variety of chain collection.
      Like finding $ after the wash, today I cleaned up a little used KMC qty. 57 large link marked "X" NARROW (?).
      All these collected have I'm sure proprietary dimensions, run of the mill standards (?), sideplates, features, I'm sure
      What I will do is try their designs ( their sprocket limits ) and and my trial chain lengths.
      Last edited by Mike_V; 04-22-2024, 09:28 PM.


        I have 3 things going on at once here.
        The 1x11 XC bike which is pretty much done unless I make the move back to Rapid Rise. Parts on the way. But there may be a good reason Shimano went to the SRAM derailleur ratio for 11 speed.

        Getting the Ebike up and running again. I t wadded up the chain inside the derailleur. Probably me throwing a Rapid Rise multiple downshift at too low of a speed. I've been shifting like that for 20 years. Too busy with the other 2 projects, and trying to figure how to get the M800 Saint on there.

        The White ENO Freewheel Mod for my brother in NYC to Beta test. He operates at the parts changer level of mechanical skill. So it will have to be a bolt on and ride setup. I've got the freewheel kit sorted out. He got excited when I mentioned shifting when stopped. I haven't decided whether to go with a clutch derailleur for him, or Rapid Rise. But no bling or it will get stolen, and crash worthy factors in also. The M800 would be perfect for him except for the learning curve to R&R a rear wheel, and how to get locking lugnuts for it.

        If you're looking for Rapid Rise stuff. search images, and open the source. Lots of expired links, but also foreign bike shops that don't sell on Ebay. RR was (is) popular in place where people actually commute on 1x8 bikes. UK , Eastern Europe, etc. This wasn't common here until long after RR was discontinued.

        The ENO Front Freewheel mod is on the XC bike now. I started a thread at MTBR for it since it's not an Ebike. 4k views, almost 0 comments, but I haven't gotten flamed there yet.

        This does the same thing as the Mid Drive Cassette Zip Tie Mod.
        I've got enough seat time on this mod. I think I can bring it forward on it's own. It came out of another discussion here which rambled around some. ( The mod

        I'm not sure how many of my builds you actually want to follow?
        Last edited by Retrorockit; 04-23-2024, 05:27 AM.


          I tried the 11s chain on the 1x8 BBSHD and just went back to 8 speed chain. It didn't seem to last any longer in my crosschained application, and turns out to be a little fragile. It side stepped ina Shimano 3020 Acera derailller. Fixed that then it sidestepped the ilder chain guide, and idn't recover. It seems to be piched or twisted in a couple places. I think the thinner plates just are not for me.