3 Feb 2016

3rd February 2016 Wolftooth Links arrive.

Wednesday 3rd 39F, 4C, heavy overcast, raining steadily and very windy. Early rain with falling winds are forecast with yet more [probably empty] promises of brightening to sunshine after lunch. The WolfTooth Roadlink and Goatlink from Bike24 have arrived. I thought I'd better order an example of both in case one of them was unsuccessful.

Fitting a clamp to the chainstay allowed the introduction of a cable adjuster. Something which was missing from the XTM8000 rear derailleur. Most road derailleurs have a cable adjuster. But not, apparently, MTB rear changers. The extra degree of adjustment is handy with my hybrid cable runs.

I spent some time today tuning the XTM8000 RD indexing with the trike up on the workstand. It was much better today than last time. Showers, heavy at times all day. Afternoon ride for 15 miles. It stayed dry for my ride but the roads were saturated with loads of puddles. The weather forecast is better for tomorrow.

My favourite option with the Wolftooth  links is to try and use the Campagnolo Athena 11speed rear derailleur with the Roadlink. The Athena can already manage a 32t sprocket so the 23mm extra drop will allow the cage to clear the much larger 36t sprocket. Such an option removes the need for any pull ratio change. So I can remove the horribly amateur swinging arm behind the bottom bracket and return the trike to a "normal" Campagnolo 11 gear indexed set up.

This image shows the dimensioned WT links in comparison with the Shimano MTB XT B-Link. I used a vernier caliper to measure the distance between the mounting holes and then added the 10mm bolt diameter. It was not easy to measure accurately but the figures are close enough.

The finish on the WT products is superb but unlikely to be seen without grovelling on one's knees with magnifying glass. What do you mean you do that all the time? Those with work stands can admire their WT links in relative comfort, of course. 

Both sides of the links are shown but they have not been organized into their proper orientation. Note how I have had to file off the cast stop on the B-Link to allow the XTM8000 to fit on my trike. Withe unmodified B-link the M8000 jammed up against the underside of the axle reinforcing loops. Removing the cast tab did not cause the rear derailleur to misbehave. Nor did anything unscrew when the fixing bolts were fastened sufficiently tightly.   

The cranked, WT Roadlink is designed to extend the range of normal road rear mechs [with mid-length cages] to allow sprockets up to 36teeth. Offering a really low gear with almost any normal road chainset. Single and double chain-rings are supported but not triples because most road mechs won't have the total chain wrap capacity. The extra large sprocket has to be accounted for in calculating the RD's capacity. The mechanism has to be able to run large chainring with largest sprocket and still maintain chain tension when on small-small. The image is borrowed from the Wolftooth-Lindarets Roadlink webpage.

Meanwhile the Goatlink is designed for MTB changers like the XTM8000 providing sprocket capacity up to 42 teeth or more. It also pushes the RD further back. So that the rear wheel on a bike can be dropped out and changed much more readily. Normally the axle would get in the way as th wheel dropped. WolfTooth also claim that chain wrap on the cassette is also improved over the B-link.

Ideally I would really have preferred a shorter link than the Shimano B-link, but it might just work with the M8000 to push the cable behind the reinforcing loops.  

The image shows how the cable entry is pushed back by the Goatlink's 12mm extra  length compared to the Shimano B-Link. This will hopefully free the cable from bending on the rear reinforcement loop. Though the Goatlink option does not remove the need for a pull ratio change to be able to use the M8000 with the 11 speed Ergo levers. 

 Click on any image for an enlargement.


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