Sort of hidden amongst the new products on display at the Wolf Tooth Components booth at Interbike, was the latest product to come out of their collaboration with Lindarets. Those with a keen eye would have noticed the mountain bike that was running Shimano XTR 9000 components, but with a SRAM XX1 cassette that was also running the WTC GC 44 adapter.

While we were able to spot the new GoatLink 11, Marc was holding off on the specific details until now. As many pointed out in the comments section, running Shimano components with a SRAM cassette can be done without any modifications to the drivetrain. But for Lindarets, just partnering the two different groups didn’t result in shifting that met their expectations. The point of the GoatLink 11 was to bring the performance up to the level that it should be for the components involved. After extensive CAD work and nearly a year of testing, GoatLink 11 is a go…

GoatLink11-01_1024x1024 GoatLink_11_Improvement_Plot_1024x1024

Just like the other Mountain bike specific GoatLink, the 11 replaces the standard B-link on the derailleur in order to optimize both free chain and tooth engagement. According to Lindarets, with the GoatLink installed free chain is within 1% of a standard Shimano set up and engagement is improved by 27%. But that’s only part of the story since the GoatLink 11 was designed with wider range shifting in mind. Because of that, the GL11 drastically improves shifting function when running a 10-44 or even a 10-45t cassette.

Like the other GoatLinks, the 11 is machined in Minneapolis by Wolf Tooth Components and weighs 19 g with hardware for an 8 g net weight addition. This “V2” eddition eliminates the steel B-Tab pin and includes a stainless steel bolt. The GoatLink 11 is available now for $27.95. For more information check out the Q&A from Lindarets below.

Compatibility and Technical Details (From Lindarets):

Cassette

Range

Free Chain

Chain Wrap

Notes

11-40

264%

M9000 Stock

11-42

282%

 

 

M8000 Stock

11-45

309%

36%

-8%

11-46

318%

32%

12%

10-42

320%

99%

27%

XX1/X01/X1

10-44

340%

32%

-9%

10-45

350%

28%

-7%

Not Optimized

9-44

389%

26%

-8%

Not Optimized
  • The GoatLink 11 is compatible with M8000 (XT) and M9000 (XTR) series eleven-speed Shimano rear derailleurs.
  • The GoatLink 11 mounts only to standard derailleur hangers.
  • Double chainrings are not currently supported
  • Triple chainrings are not supported.
  • Direct Mount-native frames and SRAM derailleurs are not supported.
  • All improvements are based on nominal Shimano-specification derailleur hanger geometry. An unmodified Shimano rear derailleur adjusted for the specified cassette serves as the baseline (0%), and an unmodified rear derailleur adjusted for a 40t 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.

Question & Answers (From Lindarets):

Q: I heard that XXTR works OK without modification- why bother?

A: In short, we wanted better than just OK. When you’re spending $845 (XTR/XX1) or even $515 (XT/X01) for a chain, cassette, shifters, and derailleurs, they should work really, really well. That goes doubly so for shops- no one wants to send a customer out the door with equipment that doesn’t live up to its potential.

Q: Should I use the GoatLink 11 when running an XT 11-42 cassette with an XTR rear derailleur?

A: No- it doesn’t make enough of a difference for us to recommend the GoatLink 11 for this application.

Q: What’s so special about a 10-42?

A: The issue isn’t so much clearing the largest cog (though the GoatLink 11 certainly helps when we get up to 44s and 45s)- it’s keeping the top derailleur pulley close to the cassette across the entire range. While Shimano’s system was designed for 11-40t cassettes, SRAM’s XD models are 10-42.  By the time you get into the bottom cogs, an XT or XTR top pulley is 10mm (30%) further from the cassette than it was designed to be. Because the chain is engineered to be flexible, this extra difference, or free chain, makes shifting noticeably less precise.

Q: Who makes an 11-46t cassette?  That’s huge!

A: No one… yet.  But it sure would be nice to be able to use your existing derailleur and shifter should one hit the market, wouldn’t it?

Q: Why does engagement go down sometimes?

A: Shimano components are designed to work fantastically within their intended ecosystem.  Unfortunately, that makes it really hard to make them do other things.  We felt that the minor decrease in engagement was an acceptable tradeoff for improved shifting- but wanted consumers to be able to come to their own conclusions.

Q: Can I use this to run a double with my 11s cassette?

A: That’s something we are continuing to test.  We hope to have more information by the time M8000 SGS (long cage) rear derailleurs are widely available.

19 COMMENTS

  1. Ah. You’ve added the comments section. In which case…
    “Q: Can I use this to run a double with my 11s cassette?

    A: That’s something we are continuing to test. We hope to have more information by the time M8000 SGS (long cage) rear derailleurs are widely available.”

    You should run Shimano 2×11 system with a GS derailer. SGS is for 3x systems.

  2. Huh that’s cool. I run an XTR M9000 derailleur and shifter with an X01 cassette and a KMC X11SL DLC chain on my hardtail and it works fine without a link.

  3. Sully,

    Once you have the part, you’re right- the modeling is easy and the design for manufacturing slightly less so. The real work is in modeling the entire system and the optimization of the mounting location given a number of competing goals (chain wrap and free chain for several different cassettes, interference, and link stiffness). That’s what separates something that improves shifting from something that makes it worse. That is also why we’re pretty upfront and specific about what will work and how well given a specific combination of components.

    Marc

  4. @seraph I think that’s the point. If you’re fine with fine, then fine. If you’re used to SRAM then it probably isn’t that big a deal. But a well set-up, well-maintained Shimano drivetrain is a thing of beauty. The cheap, full-length housing that everything is coming with nowadays doesn’t help.

  5. It seems like this would be a logical extension (pardon the pun) for road cassettes too. Right now for a Dura-Ace 9070 derailleur, you’re limited to a 11-25 or 12-25 cassette. If you want to run a bigger cassette you need to switch to an Ultegra derailleur. By extending the drop out, albeit not as dramatically, couldn’t you simply add a shorter version of the GoatLink?

  6. Eric,
    The issue with the GS is that it doesn’t have the cage swing needed to handle the extremes in chain length (bib-big and small-small) with some of the wider-range cassettes listed. Shimano doesn’t even recommend the 11-42 with a double- when combined with suspension travel it just doesn’t have the capacity to reliably take up that much slack. And this is even though Shimano’s XT doubles only have 10t gaps between small and large.

    So we’re thinking that the SGS, which is designed for triples, has enough capacity to handle a wide-range cassette and a more common (26-38, say, or a 22-36 for touring) double. I have an XTR SGS here that looks good- but we need to be more confident before making an official recommendation.

    Marc

  7. Rixter,

    We actually make a product that’s designed for road derailleurs – the RoadLink. It works great with DA as a one-by with up to a 11-36t or 11-40t cassette, but the SS cage just isn’t long enough to handle the difference in chain length between a 50×36 and a 36×11. For that you’ll still need to go Ultegra (or do some cage swapping).

    Marc

  8. I’m currently running 10-42 with an XTR long cage derailleur and 22/32 rings up front (29″ wheels).
    I have occasionally run another wheelset with the shimano 11-40 cassette and never noticed a difference in shifting quality.
    Maybe I am insensitive – Wolftooth is saying that the adjustment necessary to use the 10-42 results in degraded shifting on the small cogs ?

  9. @seraph I have the same setup and it shifts ok but not as well as XO stuff. XTR M9000 has a lot more chain slap the XO as well. Also the pulleys teeth were so wide I had to sand them down a bit.

  10. Preston,

    Do you re-set (back out) your B-screw when swapping to the 11-40? If not, you may want to give that a shot- it will allow the top pulley to follow the cassette more closely and you should get better shifting when on the Shimano cassette.

    Marc

  11. Math Man,

    I was with you initially (it’s quick & easy to divide high by low), but there has been some back and forth on this and it’s technically more correct to divide the differencebetween high an low by the low. The logic that convinced me was that a single 16t cog would have a range of 0% ((16-16)/16) rather than 100% (16/16). Apparently it’s more correct to go with “Percent Relative Range” and divide by the mean, but I feel that underplays the very large difference between a 9-44 (132%) and 11-40 (114%). We’ll have to let the math majors weigh in.

    Marc

  12. Thanks Math Man for the correction. Also can an 11-45 or 11-46 work on a SRAM long cage Force or Rival. If not, I hope you guys are ready to make me a link.

  13. Would the M9000 GS work well with the Goatlink 11 when running 1×11 and a 10-42 cassette? Or do you need the M9000 SGS (long cage) because the cassette is so large?

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