If there was one other trend at Taipei Cycle Show to contend with 27.5+, it was wide range cassettes and systems for mountain bike. We’ve already shown you Praxis’ new cassette, but it was far from the only new option.
Microshift, which is largely known for their smaller shifters and less expensive options found on youth bikes, offers quite a bit more than that, though. Their new Mega 40 cassette and derailleur jump head first into the wide range mountain bike drivetrain group with a systems approach. The tooth counts on the cassette use a very smooth growth rate from 11 to 40, are offered in both 10- and 11-speed options and the derailleur has a parallelogram that’s specific to this cassette’s tooth profiles, so it’s going to set up without a lot of fiddling.
The best part? It’ll integrate just fine into an otherwise Shimano based system to offer an inexpensive upgrade…
The cassettes use two different construction methods, offering a choice of weights and prices. All of them use steel cogs leading up to a 7075 alloy 40-tooth one at the top.
The differences are in the carrier. The lighter alloy models use an aluminum carrier for the larger cogs, which saves a considerable amount of weight. The all-steel ones use individual cogs and spacers. The new Mega 40 cassettes are the ones showing 40 as the top cog (obviously), and there are four total models – two 11-speed, and two 10-speed.
Weights are a little heavier than competing offerings, but the cassette is probably going to be $100 or less.
The long cage RD-M78L rear derailleur uses an offset upper pulley and specific parallelogram movement to pull itself smoothly along the surface of the cassette. It’s Shimano compatible, so you could easily drop the cassette and derailleur into any Shimano 10-speed system and increase the range without having to cobble together oversized cogs and maxed out B-screws. Derailleur weight is 206g.
Shifters are darn impressive, too, pushing through 5 cogs at a time. The only potential drawback is that the forward trigger to release cable only clicks backward, so you’ll need to be able to get your finger down there between the brake lever and the bar (as opposed to Shimano’s dual-direction movement or SRAM’s rear facing thumb push button). Shifting was crisp and precise on the demo setup shown at the top of this post, making us think this would be a cheap, easy way for non-brand snobs to convert to a 1×11 drivetrain.
From what we can tell, this derailleur is not likely to work with Shimano road shifters only because Shimano’s road shifters are not compatible with their current 10-speed MTB derailleurs due to cable pull differences. The cassette could work on either, but you’d need to make sure your derailleur will clear the 40T cog if you’re looking to build a gravel or cyclocross bike with a bit extra range.