9 speed clutch rear derailleur


9 speed XTR shadow rear derailleur fitted with clutch mechanism from XT shadow plus

There are several ways to get a 9 speed clutch derailleur.  The most popular is to use a Shimano 10 speed shadow plus rear derailleur like a Zee, Saint, SLX, XT or XTR in combination with a SRAM 9 speed shifter.

There is, however, another way.  You can use the clutch and cage mechanism from a broken shadow plus rear derailleur on your 9 speed shadow rear derailleur.  In my case, I've used my 9 speed XTR derailleur and substituted the lower knuckle for a shadow plus (with clutch) one from an XT rear derailleur.  The parallelogram mounting points and pin sizes are same between the 9 and 10 speed shadow rear derailleurs.

OneUp RADr cage

The derailleur cage from the donor XT shadow+ derailleur was trashed and also missing the inner plate, so to fix this I ordered a OneUp Radr cage which comes with both a replacement inner and outer plate.


9 speed XTR shadow rear derailleur fitted with clutch mechanism from XT shadow plus

Total weight with RADr cage and AEST ceramic bearing jockey wheels is 228g.

Note: once I fitted the RADr cage I noticed that it interfered with the rear parallelogram linkage.  A small section needs to be ground away to get the top of the cage to clear when in the smallest 11t cog.

Lower knuckle removal and re-assembly process

To swap lower knuckles between derailleurs requires the retaining pins to be pressed out.  The pins fit into blind holes, so the process is as follows:

  • drill a small hole (around 2mm) in the centre of the bottom of each link (take a look at the picture above, and you can see the holes drilled for this purpose);
  • use a suitable size punch to drive the both pins out;
  • take care not to lose the small o-rings that seal between the parallelogram links and the lower knuckle.

Note: you don't need to worry about the parallelogram spring, it is attached to the inner parallelogram link and the top knuckle only.

Re-assembly is the reverse process, but the pins have some raised splines on the outside end to secure themselves in the parallelogram - take care to position these in a slightly different location to where they were originally so they have some fresh material to bite into, thereby stopping the pin from coming out.

Related articles:

SRAM X.0 9 speed rear derailleur

weight: 198g;

SRAM X.7 rear derailleur

Rear derailleur tuning

Is it worthwhile?

Fixing a twisted rear derailleur

If you ride off-road its almost inevitable that at some stage you'll damage your rear derailleur. Bending it back into shape can be a little tricky. I have used the approach outlined below with good results:

Shimano Zee Rear Derailleur

Comes in two different versions:

XTR rear derailleur tuning

There's really minimal tuning available for the XTR RD-M972 shadow 9-speed derailleurs without breaking out the dremel and shaving parts down.