Mix'n'match Shimano rear derailleur - XTR, XT and Zee

Mix'n'match Shimano rear derailleur - XTR, XT and Zee - 229g total weight

I needed a clutch derailleur to go 1x for my Trance X 29er build.  I raided my derailleur spare parts bin and came up with this franken-derailleur:

  • XTR M980 link, top knuckle and parallelogram;
  • XT clutch mechanism from XT Shadow Plus rear derailleur (not sure on exact model);
  • short cage from 10 speed Zee rear derailleur.

Total weight: 229g.


I needed a rear derailleur in a hurry and this certainly beat running down to the LBS.

There is, however, another perfectly sensible reason (at least for the Zee bit of this derailleur) and that is: you can't buy a lightweight Shimano clutch rear derailleur with a short cage.  The only short cage options are Zee and Saint (both about 270g).

By why run a short cage? 

Well, you want to run the shortest cage you can get away with.  That way the derailleur is tucked up as much as possible.  You also get to run a shorter chain.

But can I use a big cluster?

Surprisingly yes.  The short cage is good for 29t capacity.  That means on a 1x system you can use up to an 11-40T cassette.  That's what I've got on in the picture.

Related articles:

Shimano XTR 11 speed rear derailleur - M9000

Quick facts:

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).

Shimano XTR RD-M980 10 speed rear derailleur

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

Shimano Zee Rear Derailleur

Comes in two different versions:

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 derailleur spare parts