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Wolf Tooth Components RoadLink
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- Material: [main body] 6061 aluminum, [bolt] stainless steel
- Compatibility: Shimano/SRAM 10/11-speed, Campagnolo 10/11 speed
- Recommended Use: maintenance
- Manufacturer Warranty: 1 year
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The founders of Wolf Tooth Components in Minneapolis got started with the goal of shaking up the componentry offerings on the market currently using their shared engineering and manufacturing backgrounds. Small parts like the RoadLink define that mission pretty well; the oblong aluminum and steel bit was created specifically to offset the position of a rear derailleur to make space for a wider one-by mountain bike cassette. No, the RoadLink doesn't aim to displace all order in favor of cobbled together Franken-bikes. It only works with road derailleurs, but 9-, 10-, and 11-speed one-by or double drivetrains from the major players are all fair game in terms of compatibility. Whether you want a wider gear range on your racing bike for the upcoming 'cross season or are seeking simplicity for your gravel adventure bike with a few extra granny gears, the RoadLink brings two opposing sides together to result in a win for everyone.
Color: Shimano | Size: 11-36/11-40t
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I had an 11-32 with a compact on the front. I thought the 32 would be the maximum I could go up to, I wasn't enjoying cycling and just thought that's the way it would be. A cadence of 40 going up anything above an 8% grade with a heart rate at 165+. I could power through for about an hour, then be absolutely screwed for the next 3 hours. Not fun at all.
....Enter the Wolf tooth, along with the 11-42t mountain bike cassette and a new chain.
The product should be advertised better, I would absolutely wear a cycling jersey promoting this product. I had no idea it was possible to extend the gears above 32t. It's like a well kept secret, cycling with a 34 front chainring and a 42t is a completely different cycling experience....It's actually fun to spin at a cadence of 80+ up an 8%+ grade and a heart rate at 145-155. It's great and not torture anymore.
For all the reviewers saying it doesn't shift well.....That isn't the product, it's a bad installation, incorrect indexing. The people complaining need to fork out the extra cash and take it to a mechanic.
The shifting works just like it did beforehand, smooth. For info the bike is a Cube Attain with Shimano 105 groupset.
I used this to make my 105 short cage work with an 11-36, coming from a 12-30. The front double was also converted to a single. It's only been one bike ride, but setup was pretty easy - I flipped my B screw and bolted everything on. Only had to bring in the high a little bit and shifting was OK. It is not quite as sharp as it was pre-RoadLink, due to the length, but it's acceptable. I am experiencing sloppier/missed shifts on the smaller cogs, but I figure I can do some adjusting to clean that up. So far, so good! I hope that the increased length doesn't cause my bike's integrated-into-the-frame hanger to bend out of alignment more easily, or snap off. I'll update this if I'm unable to get the gears to operate as nicely as I'd like - I'm very picky about shifting and there's nothing worse than taking off from a busy intersection, or somewhere else potentially hazardous, and you have a sudden and unexpected gear change while cranking the pedals for your life.
UPDATE after a little under a year of use:
Shortly after writing the first part, I made some adjustments and shifting is just fine. It seems to be 50/50 whether it'll get all the way into the "10th" gear (the smallest one) since I had to do some tuning to prevent it from running the chain off the sprocket and jamming it between the smallest gear and the frame. So, yeah, you'll lose a touch of fineness that comes with the 105 group, but it's nothing terrible. Running a single chainring has overall been a huge improvement, and I'm sure if consumers weren't so mis-information "More is Better" oriented, more bikes would come this way from the get-go.
I don't think you could do any more than a 42t max cassette. With the b screw on the link there is a limit to how far you can screw it in before it ceases to be effective. Only about half the screw, at that point the screw starts going off the edge, but it is just enough to make 42. The 40 max of the road link specs is definitely the safest bet, but you can push to 42 in my opinion.
This ends up putting the derailleur cage a lot closer to the ground. If you swipe a curb in the biggest cog you will probably bust your derailleur. I don't know that it would have a pedal strike situation in a corner because it is so close to the wheel. 42t is probably again the biggest practical cog, because if you go bigger eventually on a road bike wheel your derailleur cage will hit the ground. Plus the fact if you cant ride a 42 gear, you can walk faster up the hill.
I may just slap on the 46-30 chainring by Absolute Black and replace the stock 50-34. I may not use all the low gearing but its nice to know its there when the road goes vertical. Why grind at 40rpm when you can spin at 90