Shimano XT Shadow+ rear derailleur with short cage

Shimano Shadow+ rear derailleur fitted with Zee short cage

There are various iterations of the Shimano XT 10 speed rear derailleur .  However, none are available with a short cage like what the Zee rear derailleur has.

Luckily, its possible to swap the Zee short cage directly over to a Shimano XT Shadow+.  Cage mounting, spring and clutch mechanisms look identical. Weight is 248g (saving around 22g over the Zee rear derailleur.

Shimano Shadow+ rear derailleur fitted with Zee short cage on scale at 248g

Why short cage?

Short cage is all you need for a 1x drivetrain on an 11-36t (or even 11-40t) rear cluster.  What are the benefits:

  • slightly shorter chain;
  • short cage less likely to get damaged.

How its done

Cage swap is fairly straight-forward:

  • remove inner plate by unscrewing jockey wheel bolts - if you've got genuine Shimano jockey wheels, take note of which one goes on the top and which in the bottom (supposedly they are different);
  • remove clutch mechanism cover by unscrewing the three small allen head bolts that hold it on - make sure you don't damage the seal;
  • insert a 4mm allen key into the center of the clutch mechanism and unscrew the outer cage.

Related articles:

Shimano XT shadow axle bracket unit

width is 4.6mm;

Shimano XTR 11 speed rear derailleur - M9000

Quick facts:

Shimano XTR RD-M980 10 speed rear derailleur

Weight: 180g for long cage (SGS) version.

Shimano derailleur spare parts

Shimano Zee Rear Derailleur

Comes in two different versions:

Shimano XTR Di2 M9050 11 speed rear derailleur

This has got to be one of the most expensive rear derailleurs you can hang off the back of your MTB (and part of the super expensive XTR Di2 group).