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The simplest solution is always the best, right? Well, as it applies to modifying 10 speed derailleurs to work with wide range 10 speed cassettes that might just be the case. Just before Frostbike we caught wind of a new product from Lindarets that had nothing to do with high performance socks or apparel. Listed only as a collaboration with Wolf Tooth Components thus sticking to the Lindarets ethos of American made, American sourced products, the teaser was a good one. We had no idea what to expect.

Cassette adapters like Wolf Tooth Component’s GC are great since they greatly expand the range of the drivetrain without having to invest in all new parts. However, the added B-tension needed for Shimano derailleurs needed to clear the large cogs results in reduced chain wrap which leads to poor shifting. Focusing on the chain wrap issue, Lindarets paired up with Wolf Tooth Components to produce the new GoatLink – a replacement intermediate link for Shimano derailleurs. Claimed to greatly improve the chain wrap on modified drivetrains, the GoatLink is a simple, affordable solution to the wide range question…

wolf Tooth components lindarets goat link derailleur adapter (6)

According to Marc Basiliere the founder of Lindarets, the idea for the GoatLink came to him during an endurance mountain bike race while he was following behind a fellow rider. Marc commented that his derailleur seemed nearly vertical which as most of us know will affect the quality of the shifting as the upper pulley is moved farther away from the smallest cog. In the end, the answer seems quite simple – add a new intermediate link to the derailleur that moves the derailleur into a better position. The resulting placement of the derailleur eliminates the need to drastically thread in the b-tension screw which means better shifting.

Optimized for Wolf Tooth Component’s 40 and 42t Giant Cogs and Drop Stop Rings, the GoatLink will also be compatible with any 11-40 or 11-42 ten speed cassette. WTC is working on their own derailleur cages that will offset the pulley, but Marc feels that the GoatLink is the answer for Deore, SLX, and XT derailleurs while full cages will be the XTR solution, mostly given the price for the GoatLink at just $19.95.

Technical Details from Lindarets:

Chain Wrap at 11t: 

  • 40t:  Improved by 69%
  • 42t:  Improved by 53%

Free Chain at 11t:

  • 40t:  Improved by 25%
  • 42t:  Improved by 19%

Compatibility:  The GoatLink is compatible with all Shimano 10s Shadow+ rear derailleurs that make use of the Direct Mount intermediate link to mount to standard derailleur hangers.  Direct Mount-native hangers and SRAM derailleurs are not supported.  Shimano eleven-speed derailleurs are not supported at this time.

Discussion: All improvements are based on nominal Shimano-specification derailleur hanger geometry.  An unmodified Shimano rear derailleur adjusted for the appropriate Giant Cog serves as the baseline (0%), and an unmodified rear derailleur adjusted for a 36t top cog as the target (100%).  Due to variations in derailleur hanger geometry, chainstay length, chainring size, B-screw adjustment, and suspension configuration, individual results will vary.

wolf Tooth components lindarets goat link derailleur adapter (3)

wolf Tooth components lindarets goat link derailleur adapter (4) wolf Tooth components lindarets goat link derailleur adapter (7)

As a collaboration between Marc at Lindarets and Wolf Tooth Components, the Lindarets designed piece will be manufactured by WTC in Minnesota. Precision machined from 7075 aluminum, the link will include a stainless steel bolt and assembles in most cases with only a 5mm allen wrench and without having to remove the chain or cable and housing. It is mentioned above, but the link is only compatible with Shimano rear derailleurs that are compatible with the new direct mount standard. The giveaway is the width of the intermediate link at 8mm, since the previous generation used a narrower link. Also any frames that use the new new direct mount from Shimano are not supported.

Lindarets Wolf Tooth Components Goat Link weight (1)

Weighing in at 20g, the GoatLink certainly won’t qualify as a huge weight penalty. Likely the first of a few exciting new products we see out of Lindarets, the GoatLinks are available for preorder and will be sold through both Lindarets and Wolf Tooth Components for $19.95.

41 COMMENTS

  1. @Jason,
    Maybe you don’t realize that many of the large advancements in MTB over the years came from individuals and small builders. And most of those didn’t ”fit” with existing parts at the time.

    Paul Tuner with the original RockShox lead to major geometry changes to accomodate the height and performance of suspensions forks.

    Keith Bontrager with the original linear rim brakes that require levers with a different ratio for best performance.

    The list goes on. Point being that ideas like these advance the sport and commonly benefit the sport as a whole.

  2. How does this compare to using a Shimano direct mount hanger? Does a 42T cog still have chain wrap issues when using the direct mount hanger?

  3. Interesting. I have the one up rad cage on my XTR 1×10 setup and it has helped the shifting greatly. I wonder if this along with the rad cage would help improve shifting.

  4. Adding the weight into the article seems kind of silly, considering that you have to remove a piece of roughly the same weight to install this one…

  5. @paul – We completed the same analysis as above on our 42T ring, XTR M986 RD and RADr cage. The results are as follows:

    Chain Wrap at 11t (this affects cassette life):
    Improved by 98% (~equal to stock)

    Free Chain at 11t (this affects shift performance):
    Improved by 120% (better than stock)

    I hope that helps.
    Jon @ OneUp

  6. Surely the issue here is that this just moves the rear mech away from the cassette, helping with 40T and 42T shifting but leaving the top jockey wheel a long way from the 11T because the cage still pivots round the top jockey wheel “axle”, The RAD cage moves that pivot meaning the top jockey wheel can stay closer to all the gears. I’m not saying it doesn’t work but doesn’t it just avoid the need for the longer B screw? I never really got the shifting smooth until I used the RAD cage.

  7. i have the rad”r” cage fine but at 35$ it’s almost as expansive as the deore it’s mounted on plus it’s not a very simple installation (not very difficult either).
    Nice ocmpetition product.

  8. All,

    Thanks to you and Zach from Bikeroumor for your interest. We’ve spent a lot of time and energy working on this (literally hundreds of CAD iterations and several generations of physical prototypes) and are excited by the reception it’s receiving. Please bear with us as we try to answer everyone’s questions here- if you’d like more detail, please feel free to reach out via the “Contact” form at Lindarets.com.

    Marc

  9. Sam,

    The improvements listed are based on the effective location of a Direct Mount-native hanger- that’s where the stock Direct Mount link places the rear derailleur when used with a standard hanger. So, anyone using a DM-native frame will see the same wrap issues as everyone else.

    Unfortunately, a DM-native hanger locates the rear derailleur well outboard of a standard hanger, which makes a DM-native GoatLink very difficult to make work. I hope that helps!

    Marc

  10. Xyphota,

    We did provide the weight- because we figured that someone would ask. For XTR and XT owners, there will be a *slight* weight gain, SLX owners will see a similarly slight weight savings.

    Marc

  11. MuddyDave,

    We’re actually seeing the opposite. While you can always (sometimes with the help of a longer B-screw) get a rear derailleur to clear the 42, the hesitation there is largely the result of the big 36-42t jump, can be felt on XX1 drivetrains as well.

    The side effect of cranking on the B-screw is that you’re unwrapping the chain from the cassette, throughout the range. The reduced engagement leads to very fast wear and the added distance compromises shifting It’s not possible to match Shimano chain wrap and free chain numbers with only a link replacement- but the GoatLink isn’t anywhere near as invasive or as costly as a full-blown cage replacement. We do close the wrap difference by 53-69% and the free chain difference by 19-25%, though- which is nothing to sneeze at. Hope this helps!

    Marc

  12. Why should we install this over a RAD or RADr cage? Those give shifting performance like the derailer was engineered to go 11-42, and allow completely normal b-pivot tension. The top jockey wheel also moves up and down to track the cassette as shifts are executed. All this while maintaining compatibility with engineered derailer hangers…

  13. @Eric Hansen

    Elsewhere, these guys have mentioned they’re working on cage like the RADr, & have mentioned they see this as a cheaper, easier to install option for people who don’t want to go the cage route.

  14. This is cool. I’m mostly through a 1×10 conversion on my cross bike, and was noticing yesterday that if the intermediate link looked more like this, it would improve chain wrap and cable arm clearance. It isn’t a complex part, either, and I was considering making one myself, but these guys may have saved me the trouble.

  15. Eric,

    Groghunter nailed it- we can’t physically match Shimano chain wrap and free chain numbers with only a link replacement- but the GoatLink is considerably less expensive and much easier to install. There’s room for both- it really comes down to your budget, shifting preferences, and willingness to dive into the guts of your rear derailleur. Hope this helps!

    Marc L

  16. @Alex K: It doesn’t help because it is a derailleur sub-part (like a pulley, cage or pivot bolt), not a hanger adapter. The bit it replaces is a factory derailleur component, just slightly smaller (and pitched differently). SRAM derailleurs rotate around the hanger, Shimano has pushed the pivot back in their latest generations. They also introduced a “Direct Mount” standard that puts the offset in a revised hanger geometry, since we’re basically using hangers designed around drivetrains from 20+ years ago.

  17. Marc, I have a Specialized Epic which has a traditional hanger.
    If I want to use the goat link on my xt 786 10 speed rear dérailleur
    What would I do? Just remove the b link on the rear dérailleur
    And replace it with the goat link?

  18. I just bought 4 of these babies at Lindarets website. WTC is sold out.
    I’ve been holding out on installing my OneUp Radr cage and 16T cogs on all our bikes. This makes it a must.

    FYI-While running a jacked up B-tension screw on 42-11 1X setup. The wrap issue on lower gears is real and caused me to skip while doing a standup sprint not long ago. Went right over the bars. Not fun.

  19. Chad,

    Yup! I’m assuming that you’re running a 11-40 or 11-42 cassette, right? You may need to pull a circlip off of the far side of the B-bolt, but that’s as complicated as it gets. Once installed, you’ll want to back the B-screw off by ~6-8 turns to get the top pulley back to a more normal position relative to the top cog- nothing you wouldn’t have to do when installing a new derailleur.

    Marc

  20. Chasejj,

    Thanks for your order! It sounds like you found out the hard way that poor engagement at the bottom half of the cassette can wear a chain/cassette pretty we’ll get you fixed up just as soon as they land.

    Marc

  21. Bill,

    That’s a great idea! I don’t have any blue hangers, but anyone on the fence can use the code “BIKE&TEE” (no quotes) at checkout to preorder a Goatlink and get a Rocks Belong tee for $40.

    Enjoy!

  22. Got 2 questions:
    Is it usefull to install this if you got a RADr cage fitted allready?

    Are different colours available in the near future?

    Gr

  23. i have 11 speed dura ace 9000 component on my road bike with 11-28 cassette /short cage derailleur, is this goat links help to get 11-32 cassette ? any input ? thanks

  24. Use with extreme caution!!

    The product was professionally Installed with Shimano D/A 11 and Ultegra 36t cassette.
    It worked well on the flats, but once climbing the link snapped. To my chagrin, the collapsed derailleur was damaged beyond repair.

    In contrast, my new Ultegra long case works flawlessly.

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