4 Feb 2016

4th February 2016 Wolftooth Roadlink fitting.

Thursday 4th 33-34F, +1C, white frost, sunny, very light wind. I started early on the trike after lifting it onto the Lidl workstand. Removal of the Camper saddlebag complete with Abus U-link [boat anchor] eased the lift with my recent back problems in mind.

Swapping the Goatlink for the Shimano B-link went easily.  Sadly it resulted in an even worse cable blockage problem by the trike's axle reinforcement loop. My earlier optimism was obviously misplaced. It wasn't the Goatlink's fault since it was never design for this unique purpose. No doubt I could have filed away the projecting stop to tip the M8000 anticlockwise but thought it best to move swiftly onto the Roadlink.

So off came the XTM8000 rear derailleur with the Goatlink attached. I undid the pulley cage bolts to save breaking the chain. Removing the pull ratio changing, swinging lever and clamps took a couple of minutes more. Then I was ready to hang the Roadlink and Campagnolo 11 speed Athena rear derailleur. Again I dropped the lower pulley and slacked off the top one to save breaking the chain. I threaded the chain through the cage and then refitted the lower [tension] pulley.

The image shows the Roadlink in place on the brazed-on, Trykit rear hanger. The Roadlink lowers the Athena rear derailleur by 23mm to cope with the abnormally large, 36tooth sprocket. The Athena 11sp. can cope with a 32t but collides straight into a 36 tooth sprocket without the Roadlink's help. The Athena mechanism folds up automatically under its spring tension to ensure that the smaller sprockets aren't left behind. The arrows are supposed to indicate the importance of pushing the Roadlink and rear derailleur fully forwards to their stops before the twin hanger screws are tightened fully. 

It should be noted that Wolftooth do not suggest that Campagnolo equipment and their rear derailleurs are supported. They were obviously not able to examine every possible combination of equipment while developing the Roadlink. It's stated purpose is to allow Shimano, road, rear derailleurs to use much wider range cassettes. They also suggest that medium cage road mechs are optimum and the Roadlink is not intended for triple chainsets. 

The gear cable had been badly bent by my earlier pull ratio experiments. So needed a lot of slack taking up after fitting the cable to the Athena and clamping it up. I had to replace the rear outer loop with a much longer one to replace that used on the M8000. Fortunately the cable began to recover its straightness once the tension was put on it by the rear derailleur. Never cut off the gear cable until the job is completely finished and you have checked everything at least twice.

Indexing was still hesitant at first as I waited for the cable to relax its unwanted bends. I fiddled with the various screws and cable tension to see if it would help but was just being too impatient. Indexing relies critically on the cable tension. Though tension is not really the correct term because it changes little. It is the precise length of the cable which matters.  Indexing takes up and releases fixed lengths of cable in precise steps. This all takes place at the lever but the rear derailleur must move laterally to match the steps in cable length.  

The Athena B-screw still needed to be fully tightened to draw the top pulley closer to the cassette. Running large chainwheel to largest sprocket still had some chain slack. So I removed two links and that really helped to bring the pulley up to the cassette as the mechanism rotated under the increased chain tension. The only 11speed joining link I had was a Sram and the chain was a Shimano. The link seems reluctant to reach its correct position in the slots but may improve when ridden. 

I still wasn't happy but couldn't see how to bring the top pulley really close to the 36t sprocket teeth. Low, blinding sunshine didn't help which ever way I turned the trike around the stand. Finally I slackened off the Roadlink and Athena hanger screws and the mech instantly folded up nicely. I remembered reading about this on the Wolftooth Roadlink instructions. Though typically I had not bothered to read them properly before starting work. Nor had I remembered to check the Roadlink was pushed fully forwards against the stop when fitting it without any chain tension.

REMEMBER: The Roadlink and rear derailleur must be rotated forwards as far as possible before tightening both hanger screws! Only then should you attempt to check chain length, tension, B-screw adjustment and indexing! Remember also to grease the screws before assembly. Stainless steel may not rust but threads have a nasty habit of  sticking fast over time.

Though still not very warm outside I am keen to have a ride to see how the Roadlink has helped the indexing on the 11 speed, 11-36tooth cassette. The sun is still shining with light winds so it is still a great day for a ride. I did a four mile ride to test it out. Much improved over the M8000. Though still lagging occasionally. No phantom changes on the largest sprockets any more. Rode 12 miles to a bike shop only to find it had closed down. Bit of a headwind on the middle leg for a total of 27 miles.
Click on any image for an enlargement.


No comments:

Post a Comment