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Am I Crazy? - Long vs Short Rear Mech Cage for Racing

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Am I Crazy? - Long vs Short Rear Mech Cage for Racing

Old 12-01-21, 09:19 PM
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Chris O
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Am I Crazy? - Long vs Short Rear Mech Cage for Racing

OK, so my Ultegra 6800 rear derailluer died and my LBS only had the long cage RD-R8000 GS version in stock. To avoid delays I had them put it on. I've been getting into road racing and am now having regrets that this was a bad choice. Having a long cage is not very racy and kind of "Fred"-like. Is there any reason this matters or am I obsessing over nothing? Any issues with getting shorter SS cages and installing those on a derailleur that came as a GS?

Chris
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Old 12-01-21, 09:33 PM
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I've raced plenty, and I don't recall ever noticing anyone's derailleur.

As for your question about installing a different cage on a derailleur, I have no clue.
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Old 12-01-21, 10:03 PM
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None of your competitors are worrying themselves about what kind of derailleur you have.
If you feel that it has sluggish shifting and you're losing precious hundredths of a second in your races, I would just get the SS derailleur and swap them out. Keep the GS as a spare.
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Old 12-01-21, 10:16 PM
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Obsessively unimportant. Competitors might look at what you're running in regards to groupset but its only usually the most anal retentive that are paying attention to that level or will care and they're not worth worrying about. If you're so into looks that its a concern then obviously you should be trading up to DA and not toying with that low level stuff. Functionally it'll be unimportant so just go race.
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Old 12-01-21, 10:30 PM
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Your competitors will be looking more at your socks to see if they are the right length and match your kit.
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Old 12-01-21, 10:40 PM
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The long cage shift no different than the short cage and gives you additional cassette options the short cage does not, especially if you find you need a 11-34 for serious climbing, you wont have to worry about changing the short cage out.
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Old 12-02-21, 12:01 AM
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Check out the pro peloton gear (not crits on flat terrain). Many of 'em are using mid to long cage RDs now. It ain't the 1950s-'60s with 13-21 or, at most, 24T big cogs. Best way to accommodate those 32T or larger cogs is a rear derailleur with a longer cage.

That said, a couple of my road bikes have short cage RDs (Ultegra on one, Dura Ace on the other) and they handle up to 28T big cogs, no problems. Especially with the 39T or 38T small chainrings. I have a couple of older long cage RDs intended for 1990s mountain bikes and have tried 'em on one road bike. No problem, worked fine. It's a bit heavy, tho', an older Deore LX with steel cage. I don't recall anyone I rode with mentioning this particular abomination. They were probably distracted by the magnificently bright purple frame with atrocious brownish-gold logos on my old Trek 5900 OCLV.
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Old 12-02-21, 05:49 AM
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What CAT are you racing? Looks vs results may be more of a thing in the lower categories. Move on up if it bothers you.
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Old 12-02-21, 07:01 AM
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Remember the old idea that you race/use what you can afford to replace. Nobody's really looking at equipment out there in the trenches.
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Old 12-02-21, 07:04 AM
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Remember, only the guys behind you can see your bike.

Seriously though, no one gives a &$#* about your bike except you.
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Old 12-02-21, 07:23 AM
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Wear a crew length sock on the left, quarter length on the right. Folks who would be noticing your derailer are now transfixed on your socks. Different colors for the brave. Derailers today are so good you won’t know any difference in use.
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Old 12-02-21, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris O View Post
I've been getting into road racing and am now having regrets that this was a bad choice. Having a long cage is not very racy and kind of "Fred"-like. Is there any reason this matters or am I obsessing over nothing?
So the performance may be perfect, but its the image that you are concerned with?
I would think someone racing would be more concerned with performance.
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Old 12-02-21, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
I would think someone racing would be more concerned with performance.
And with that....

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Old 12-02-21, 09:13 AM
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Not to mention the training benefits of being able to ride more varied terrain more comfortably by being able to run a larger rear cluster with the GS.

FWIW, the older stuff like 6800 only really were meant up to 28t in the normal cage. The new "R" stuff with R8000 it is standard to fit a 30t cog with those RD's and cages. So the newer stuff is more like your "GS" cage than the "short" cage.

Ride it and enjoy.
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Old 12-02-21, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I wish I could un-see that closeup shot at :59.
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Old 12-02-21, 09:44 AM
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I get that you may think it Fredly when you see it, but as above I doubt anyone else will notice and it should not be a concern.

Ride more, worry less.
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Old 12-02-21, 09:52 AM
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If you had any of the 12 speed groups, there would only be one cage length. Campy, SRAM and Shimano only have one cage length for road bikes. Sram has a 33T and 36T capacity RD, but the cage length of 70.5mm is the same. I use the 33T model with a 36. No problem.
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Old 12-02-21, 09:56 AM
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So does the data you collect for your ride and race metrics support the perception you have that your performance before and after the DR change is suffering now? Otherwise it just seems you are hunting for excuses.

Still, if it bothers you, get the other DR on it's way and install it when it gets here.

Satisfying your mental part is also part of what it takes to win... or at least be up there near the front.
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Old 12-02-21, 10:13 AM
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I raced my first year with a triple and close freewheel. For club races I just left it as is. For open races I screwed in the inside FD limit screw to make it a double. No one ever said anything. The long cage derailleur? It shifted really well. I never thought about it.
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Old 12-02-21, 10:17 AM
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I'd swap it out just to be safe.
It's a slippery slope on the Fred scale.. if you start accepting a longer-than-necessary rear derailleur cage, what's next? Valve stem caps? MTB pedals? A couple of stem spacers suddenly seems OK, right?

Where do you draw the line? If you don't put a pin in this now, before you know it you'll be rolling up to the Cat 3 start line with a saddle bag and visible leg hair.
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Old 12-02-21, 10:46 AM
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If your drivetrain doesn't require the extra chain wrap capacity, there are a few very minor advantages to a short cage derailleur: a few grams lighter weight, and maybe a little more stiffness or durability. But long cages are sort of like the compact crank, which some years ago was considered a stupid offering for old ladies and weak beginning riders. Today many serious racers use them, and we have "sub-compact" or gravel cranks that are even smaller. Most folks are using wider range cassettes now, and smaller chain rings... and most observers don't care.

The velominati will never approve of things like long cage derailleurs, full finger gloves, or widely flared handlebars (let alone flat--gasp!--bars). Heck, it wasn't long ago they considered clincher tires unacceptable for anything but maybe a winter training bike. To be taken seriously by them, you needed tubulars no wider than 23mm, largest cog no more than 25 teeth (27 for hilly courses), and 39/52 or 39/53 chainrings. But they are silly and unrealistic people, and even their standards are changing.

For racing, you should use mostly the same stuff you'd use for regular training and recreational rides: whatever works for you, within the limits of the written rules, of course.
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Old 12-02-21, 11:17 AM
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Anyone who can write "I've been getting into road racing and am now having regrets that this was a bad choice. Having a long cage is not very racy and kind of "Fred"-like" with a straight face has already achieved Full Fred-dom. We Freds come in many varieties.

I'm afraid the op is too far gone to recover by changing a derailleur cage.
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Old 12-02-21, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
So the performance may be perfect, but its the image that you are concerned with?
I would think someone racing would be more concerned with performance.
Point taken. I love my bike and tend to obsess a little too much
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Old 12-02-21, 04:35 PM
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As mentioned above, you really should focus on your sock length. Earlier in the year you may have been able to get away with some legacy 4 inchers. With the change of season, you really don't want to show up with anything less than 6 inches, minimum.
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Old 12-02-21, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris O View Post
OK, so my Ultegra 6800 rear derailluer died and my LBS only had the long cage RD-R8000 GS version in stock. To avoid delays I had them put it on. I've been getting into road racing and am now having regrets that this was a bad choice. Having a long cage is not very racy and kind of "Fred"-like. Is there any reason this matters or am I obsessing over nothing? Any issues with getting shorter SS cages and installing those on a derailleur that came as a GS?

Chris
Buy this:

Shimano Ultegra 11-Speed Rear Derailleur - Race Pace Bicycles | Baltimore Bike Shop

And enjoy the 0.2 second faster shifts (assuming that you also use a small cassette).

To be pedantic, a GS is only a medium cage; an SGS is a long cage.

Last edited by SoSmellyAir; 12-02-21 at 09:09 PM. Reason: Further funnies.
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