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Shifter derailleur incompatibility on 9 speed Shimano

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Shifter derailleur incompatibility on 9 speed Shimano

Old 10-20-19, 03:19 PM
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Chuckles1
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Shifter derailleur incompatibility on 9 speed Shimano

I wanted to get some lower gears on my 2007 Fantom Cross. It came with 9 speed 12/26 and 39/48 rings on 130 BCD crankset, so I couldn't put smaller ring on. It has Tiagra shifters, ST 4500 I believe, and came with RD 5600 (105 10-speed) derailleur. I've often read that all Shimano 9 speed shifters and RD are compatible, so... I bought and installed CS-HG400-9 (11/36) and Alivio RD-M4000 SGS 9-speed derailleur. After straightening hanger and much adjustment, it still won't shift properly. Shifters are not pulling enough cable. The 9-speed road shifters aren't compatible with 9-speed MTB derailleur. What's my best option at this point? I really want those lower gears, but don't want to spend a fortune on an old but beloved bike.
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Old 10-20-19, 04:01 PM
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From what I know, your ST-4500 shifters should work with the 9 speed cassette and Alivio RD-M4000 RD. However, if the RD is marked Dyna-Sys (what Shimano went to on the 10 speed MTB RDs), then it wont work; cable pull was changed for the 10 speed Dyna-Sys MTB shiftes/RDs. Also, Shimano changes the cable pull in the 10 speed Tigras shifter (ST-4700) so they wont work with older 10 speed road RDs, Did you take this opportunity to install new housing and cables? Dirty cables can really cause problems. Best of luck.
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Old 10-20-19, 04:18 PM
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We have three bikes in the house that are 9 speed road shifters and 9 speed MtB rear ders with 9 cog Shimano cassettes and they shift well and index across the range.

My solution for lower gearing is to lessen the rings and try to maintain the close ratio steps of a less wide cassette. But the large ring size for many of my bikes is only 46T. A 110 (x 74 as I like triple rings) crankset gives me what I like. Andy
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Old 10-20-19, 04:34 PM
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If those are the actual model numbers of the shifter and rear derailleur, there should not be a compatibility issue. I'm not sure if it matters on Shadow RD's, but is the cable on the correct side of the pinch bolt?
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Old 10-20-19, 04:43 PM
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Is the RD-M4000 attached properly?

The 'bracket axle unit' or 'b-link' on shadow derailleurs needs to be in a horizontal position.
I've seen people incorrectly attach shadow derailleurs with the 'bracket axle unit' in a vertical position, they had shifting problems.




Last edited by cobba; 10-21-19 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 10-21-19, 09:55 AM
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Thanks for suggestions

The b-link is horizontal and the little post is fit tight against the b-screw indent of hanger. There is no groove for cable in the pinch bolt assembly, but it seems designed to run cable over inboard side where it clamps and the loose end is directed away from spokes by a tab on lower end of assembly. I had to shorten the cable housing with dremel cutoff tool, but cable operation is smooth and easy. Hanger measured within 1/16" at top, bottom, front and rear points, relative to rim braking surface. I clamped cable with shifter in full out (high gear) position and chain on 2nd smallest cog, turned crank so chain slipped onto smallest cog, and used cable adjuster on RD to snug it up enough so it shifts from high gear to next gear. It shifts through three gears, then requires a second click on shifter to go to 4th smallest cog. Then it shifts ok up to second largest cog, but shifter wont pull beyond that. I'm pretty much convinced the RD simply requires more cable pull than the shifters were designed for, since the old cassette I removed has identical spacing of cogs to the new 11/36. This was my one fear when I took the leap and ordered parts.
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Old 10-21-19, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cobba View Post
* The RD-5600 had a barrel adjuster where you could adjust the shifter cable tension, the RD-M4000 doesn't have this feature but on mountain shifters they do have a barrel adjuster where you can adjust the shifter cable tension.
The RD-M2000, M3000, and M4000 each do have barrel adjusters on the derailleur. Starting with the M6000 Deore series, they don't have them at the derailleur, and you'd need one either at the shifter or inline somewhere.
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Old 10-21-19, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuckles1 View Post
It shifts through three gears, then requires a second click on shifter to go to 4th smallest cog. Then it shifts ok up to second largest cog, but shifter wont pull beyond that. I'm pretty much convinced the RD simply requires more cable pull than the shifters were designed for, since the old cassette I removed has identical spacing of cogs to the new 11/36.
If I'm reading this correctly, the shifter won't shift into the largest sprocket because you'd already used up the "9th shift" with the double shift to get it into the 4th smallest sprocket, right? Have you verified the spacing on the cassette is uniform? If you have a caliper, have you measured the center-to-center sprocket spacing on that transition that requires a double shift? The RD-M4000 has Shimano's "standard" cable pull ratio, so it should be compatible with your shift levers.

I would check the cassette spacing and also the alignment of the derailleur pulley cage with vertical. Any cage tilt either left or right from vertical could cause indexing issues.
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Old 10-21-19, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
The RD-M2000, M3000, and M4000 each do have barrel adjusters on the derailleur. Starting with the M6000 Deore series, they don't have them at the derailleur, and you'd need one either at the shifter or inline somewhere.
Yep, my mistake, I must of been thinking of the 6000 model.
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Old 10-21-19, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuckles1 View Post
There is no groove for cable in the pinch bolt assembly, but it seems designed to run cable over inboard side where it clamps and the loose end is directed away from spokes by a tab on lower end of assembly.
Like this?



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Old 10-21-19, 07:32 PM
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When you check the alignment on this, you need to not only check the derailleur hanger itself, but also the end of the b-link that the rest of the RD bolts on to it.

That b-link bends pretty easily. Iíve had to straighten the one on my XT. Luckily the derailleur alignment tool bolts in to the b-link just like it was a derailleur hangar.
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Old 10-24-19, 09:06 AM
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OP replies: Shimano road shifters do not work with new MTB derailleurs

I took the advice to call Shimano. I got through to a CS guy in under 3 minutes, so am pleased with that. He says road shifters won't work with the MTB derailleur because [as I can verify firsthand] they have different cable pull ratio. I asked if that is true for 9-speeds, and he said it is. He said I need a Sora road derailleur to work with my road shifters, but that they are only specs for up to 32 tooth max. The Shimano PDF for current gear says the Sora GS will handle 34 tooth cog, but I've read posts from people who say it works on 36 tooth. So that's what I'm going to try. I also ordered new Ultegra cable housing. I figure it can't hurt, as originals have 20,000 miles or so of wear.
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Old 10-24-19, 10:03 AM
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Is the cable attached the same way as in the photo I previously posted?

Your second post sounds like you've attached the cable on the inboard side but it should be attached to the outboard side as shown in the photo.

There is no groove for cable in the pinch bolt assembly, but it seems designed to run cable over inboard side where it clamps and the loose end is directed away from spokes by a tab on lower end of assembly.
Attaching the cable on the wrong side of the pinch bolt would affect the shifting.

I took the advice to call Shimano. I got through to a CS guy........He says road shifters won't work with the MTB derailleur because [as I can verify firsthand] they have different cable pull ratio. I asked if that is true for 9-speeds, and he said it is.
Some combos won't work, a lot will work.

Do some reading, there's plenty of people that dill disagree with CS guy......

https://www.google.com/search?q=shim...bikeforums.net

.

Last edited by cobba; 10-24-19 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 10-24-19, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Chuckles1 View Post
I took the advice to call Shimano. I got through to a CS guy in under 3 minutes, so am pleased with that. He says road shifters won't work with the MTB derailleur because [as I can verify firsthand] they have different cable pull ratio. I asked if that is true for 9-speeds, and he said it is. He said I need a Sora road derailleur to work with my road shifters, but that they are only specs for up to 32 tooth max. The Shimano PDF for current gear says the Sora GS will handle 34 tooth cog, but I've read posts from people who say it works on 36 tooth. So that's what I'm going to try. I also ordered new Ultegra cable housing. I figure it can't hurt, as originals have 20,000 miles or so of wear.
I've really got my doubts with that advice. I ran ST-4500 brifters with a 9 speed Deore derailleur for years. Shifting was perfect once it was set up correctly. That was with a 12-25 cassette. In addition to the other advice, check the b screw adjustment.
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Old 10-25-19, 08:33 AM
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I sometimes suspect that the real issue is communication (and not between the lever and der). Having called Shimano tech many times, and being a lifer in the LBS scene, I still find it sometimes challenging to describe the problem I am seeking help with. Especially when not in person with the bike in front of both parties. It is so easy to twist/reverse a stated relationship and not know it. Andy
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Old 10-27-19, 08:53 AM
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If you have a chance to reconsider in the future, dropping the chainring size is the most effective way to reduce gear range, as someone else had also mentioned. I have 24/44t double on a 74/110 bcd crank. 20t spacing is doable, but requires a chain catcher. You'll also need to check that the Rd can handle the increased chain capacity. FD setup will also have less tolerance and needs more time to setup but works fine. Youll get chain rub on the outer few cogs when on the small chainring but those gears are not needed since they overlap with the big big combo.

SRAM yaw FD works really well without trim and I can use my Shimano shifter since I only need 2 positions. I could also use the trim position on my Shimano shifter but it's unneeded on my setup.

I find even stock 11-34t 9 speed cassette to have too big of spacing. On my old bike I had 12-34t 9 speed. It was a stock 11-34 and I think I dropped the 11 and added the 12 or 13. On my new bike I mixed my own 12-34 10 speed cassette to get closer 8-13% spacing at the high, up to 14% at the low, and 20% at the lowest, using 3 different Shimano cassettes. Some series mix well while some do not work at all together.

Next time I would use Miche cogs as they can be custom ordered for the same price as 3 Shimano cassettes.
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Old 10-31-19, 07:03 PM
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Happy ending

Although it was no doubt true in the past, it is no longer true that Shimano 9-speed road shifters work with 9-speed MTB derailleur. As my original post described, I tried to use my road shifters with an Alivio MTB derailleur, and found the shifters don't pull enough cable to move the derailleur from gear to gear.

Shimano CS rep. told me road and mountain 9- speed have different cable pull ratio, and he is correct. I ordered a Sora road derailleur and installed it, and it works properly. So folks should stop saying all 9- speed gear is compatible; I can attest that it isnít, at least for the models in my O.P.

When I had the Alivio MTB derailleur on the bike, I had to shorten the shifter cable to try it, so going back to a road shifter required a new shifter cable. But I was fortunate to be able to return the Alivio for a refund, so I didn't get burned too badly overall. And most importantly the Sora works just fine with my 11/36 cassette, even though it's only spec'd for 34t max.

So the project was a belated success and I've got an 11/36 instead of 11/26 cassette. By the way, the spacing of cogs is identical on the MTB cassette that is now installed as it is on the road cassette I removed. I held them together and eyeballed it; they're perfectly aligned.
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Old 10-31-19, 10:01 PM
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If the cable was attached properly to start with, I don't think thread would exist.

I've seen posts where people had done the same thing that you did with a mountain derailleur and mountain shifter, they couldn't get the derailleur to shift properly till they attached the cable to the outboard side where it's supposed to go.
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Old 11-01-19, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuckles1 View Post
By the way, the spacing of cogs is identical on the MTB cassette that is now installed as it is on the road cassette I removed. I held them together and eyeballed it; they're perfectly aligned.
What I referred to was the spacing of gear ratio between cogs. Not the physical spacing between cogs. The spacing of gear ratio between a 11/36T and 11/26T with the same number of cogs will not be identical since you are dividing a wider gear range among the same number of cogs.
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Old 11-01-19, 10:07 AM
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The info from the CS rep still does not smell right to me, and I still suspect there was some other issue with the first RD (cable attachment or bent b-link). I am open to being proven wrong, but so far I am highly skeptical.

Think about it: If newer 9 speed MTB and Road shifters/RDs have different cable pulls, that means either.....

a) Shimano changed the pull ratio for 9 sp MTB. In this case, then current 9 sp MTB shifters/RD would be incompatible with older ones.
b) Shimano changed the pull ratio for 9 sp Road. In this case, then current 9 sp Road shifters/RD would be incompatible with older ones.

If either of these things were the case, there would have been a huge amount of confusion and hoopla, online boards would be full of questions about it, with bike shops ordering the wrong parts to replace 9 speed shifters or RD's. I have searched and not found any documentation or industry news about Shimano changing the pull ratios for either MTB or Road 9 sp. The only case I am aware of with Shimano screwing with compatibility within a given speed/use group is 10 speed Tiagra (a 10 speed road group not compatible with other 10 sp road groups) and that is well documented and easily verified online.

So what else could explain your situation?

A) Cable attachment: if you do an image search of "shimano alivio rd-m4000" (which is what you say you had) every picture that shows the cable attachment shows it on the OUTSIDE (away from the cassette) of the pinch bolt. You had yours on the inside, correct? This would totally explain your issue.

B) Bent b-link: While it is unlikely that a new one wold be bent, you never answered my question (either here or in the other place you posted this) about whether you used your hangar alignment tool to check if the B-link was bent.

I am willing to be educated with new information on this, but so far I am not seeing it. I am thus far more inclined to believe you either attached the cable wrong, or had a bent b-link than to believe that after 25 years, Shimano quietly changed the pull ratio of 9 speed for no apparent reason without telling anyone.
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Old 11-01-19, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by tomtomtom123 View Post
What I referred to was the spacing of gear ratio between cogs. Not the physical spacing between cogs. The spacing of gear ratio between a 11/36T and 11/26T with the same number of cogs will not be identical since you are dividing a wider gear range among the same number of cogs.
I don't think that would make a difference in what he was experiencing.
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Old 11-03-19, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
The info from the CS rep still does not smell right to me, and I still suspect there was some other issue with the first RD (cable attachment or bent b-link). I am open to being proven wrong, but so far I am highly skeptical.

Think about it: If newer 9 speed MTB and Road shifters/RDs have different cable pulls, that means either.....

a) Shimano changed the pull ratio for 9 sp MTB. In this case, then current 9 sp MTB shifters/RD would be incompatible with older ones.
b) Shimano changed the pull ratio for 9 sp Road. In this case, then current 9 sp Road shifters/RD would be incompatible with older ones.

If either of these things were the case, there would have been a huge amount of confusion and hoopla, online boards would be full of questions about it, with bike shops ordering the wrong parts to replace 9 speed shifters or RD's. I have searched and not found any documentation or industry news about Shimano changing the pull ratios for either MTB or Road 9 sp. The only case I am aware of with Shimano screwing with compatibility within a given speed/use group is 10 speed Tiagra (a 10 speed road group not compatible with other 10 sp road groups) and that is well documented and easily verified online.

So what else could explain your situation?

A) Cable attachment: if you do an image search of "shimano alivio rd-m4000" (which is what you say you had) every picture that shows the cable attachment shows it on the OUTSIDE (away from the cassette) of the pinch bolt. You had yours on the inside, correct? This would totally explain your issue.

B) Bent b-link: While it is unlikely that a new one wold be bent, you never answered my question (either here or in the other place you posted this) about whether you used your hangar alignment tool to check if the B-link was bent.

I am willing to be educated with new information on this, but so far I am not seeing it. I am thus far more inclined to believe you either attached the cable wrong, or had a bent b-link than to believe that after 25 years, Shimano quietly changed the pull ratio of 9 speed for no apparent reason without telling anyone.
I agree as well. We mix road and MTB 9 speed, old and new all of the time in our shop and have never had compatibility issues...
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Old 11-04-19, 01:43 PM
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Every bike I own is 9 speed with the "newest" being a 2001 Trek/Lemond. I'm happy with 9 speed and have appreciated the interchangeability between road and mountain, so this issue is fairly important to me. To satisfy my curiosity I called Shimano and talked to Jordan ( a customer rep). I was told that the Alivio RD-M4000 cable pull ratio is different than previous 9 speed derailleurs. This is because it went to the "shadow design". It will not play with older 9 speeds.
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Old 11-04-19, 02:05 PM
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Again, Shadow has nothing to do with cable pull. Shimano has not changed the cable pull of 9 speed rear derailleurs. Shimano has never been a fan of mixing and matching parts and their standard response is to say it is not recommended.

I am currently running a 9 speed Deore Shadow rear derailleur with 10 speed road shifters(which have the same cable pull as 9 speed MTB and road shifters) with no issues. The cable is attached to the outside of the pinch bolt, BTW.
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Old 11-04-19, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mitchmellow62 View Post
Every bike I own is 9 speed with the "newest" being a 2001 Trek/Lemond. I'm happy with 9 speed and have appreciated the interchangeability between road and mountain, so this issue is fairly important to me. To satisfy my curiosity I called Shimano and talked to Jordan ( a customer rep). I was told that the Alivio RD-M4000 cable pull ratio is different than previous 9 speed derailleurs. This is because it went to the "shadow design". It will not play with older 9 speeds.
Uugh....

The problem I am having here is that I want to be able to take a customer repís word as authoritative, but then they say something so stupid that I have to seriously wonder if they just make it all up as they go along.

I am not saying it is impossible that the pull ratio was changed for this one group (they did it on Tiagra), but the explanation as to why is utterly absurd. There are a whole
mess of Shadow RDs that use the standard 7-8-9 MTB 7-8-9-10 Road pull ratio.

If they did change it, what did they change it to? Is it a Dyna-Sys 10 speed ratio?
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