WolfCage Install and Tech Page
The WolfCage is a derailleur cage is a modified inner derailleur cage (facing the bike) and eccentric upper jockey wheel for Shimano 11 speed rear derailleurs that improves chain wrap and derailleur capacity. This is required for 11-49 cassettes (11-42 with the Wolf Tooth GC49) and also improves shifting and drivetrain life on other wide range cassettes. This plot shows it best, as the closer you can get to the lower right, the better you drivetrain will shift and the longer it will last. You can see what a DRASTIC improvement the WolfCage is for wide range casssettes:
The WolfCage installs in a couple minutes and simply replaces the stock inner cage and upper jockey wheel. You will not need to break your chain or remove your rear derailleur from the bike!
When do I need a Wolf Cage?
Wolf Cage is REQUIRED when using a Shimano 11 speed rear derailleur with the 11-49 cassette (GC49+11-42). This upgrade kit can be found here.
What other times is the Wolf Cage useful?
The Wolf cage also provides advantages when running various "wide range" cassettes. See the plot at the top of this page, and here is a quick list:
- the 10-44 XX1/XO1 GCX44 modified cassette
- the e13 9-44 and 9-46 cassettes
- the Shimano and Sunrace 11-46 cassettes
Do I need a WolfCage for the 11-49 SRAM setup (11 speed rear derailleur and SRAM, Sunrace, or shimano modified 11-49 cassette)?
No, your 11 speed rear derailleur will work great with the 11-49 and no modifcations (other than a longer chain).
Congratulations, and welcome to the world of the WolfCage! All told, installation should take less than 1/2 hour. Please read this entire process before beginning. If you are unfamiliar with the tools, parts, or procedures listed below, please take your bike to your local Wolf Tooth dealer for installation.
Before diving in, you'll need the following:
- 2.5, 3, 4, and 5mm Allen keys
- Chain tool
- Torque Wrench with 3mm bit
- Removable thread locking compound (Loctite 242 or equivalent)
- Chain-specific master link or single-use replacement pin
- Master link pliers
- Shock pump
- Mild solvent cleaner
- Use compatibility chart to ensure WolfCage and derailleur compatibility. Fit is not universal.
- Do not exceed published derailleur capacity. Exceeding capacity can lead to severe drivetrain damage or loss of chain security and bicycle control.
- Correct chain length is extremely important to both shifting performance and durability. Too-short chains can cause severe drivetrain damage while too-long chains will decrease shifting performance and chain security
- Most chain manufacturers recommend a new chain pin or quick-disconnect link each time a chain is removed. Unless designed for re-use, reinstalled links can be compromised and fail prematurely.
Follow the images below on your device or print out the steps at the bottom of the page.
- Mount bicycle in workstand.
- Remove the rear wheel
- If upgrading, install wide-range cassette or Giant Cog cassette extender in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions
- Break chain and remove from derailleur
- Size chain:
- Without threading through rear derailleur, place chain on largest cog and largest chainring.
- Add or remove links such that chain is 2 links (one inner, one outer for one inch overall) longer than the minimum required to accommodate big-big combination.
- Remove chain from chainring.
- Use 3mm Allen key to remove top and bottom derailleur pulley screws and with them the inner derailleur cage plate and derailleur pulleys. This can be done with the derailleur on or off the bike. (hint: leaving it on the bike and shifting to the biggest gear with no wheel in the bike puts the derailleur in a very accessible position)
- Take note of lower pulley orientation prior to removal as the pulleys are directional. The lower pulley will be reused in re-assembly.
- Screws may be different lengths: take note of original position when removing.
- Use rag and mild solvent to clean derailleur and pulleys.
- Set aside inner derailleur cage and top pulley. These will not be used in reassembly.
- Apply drop of threadlocker to threads of each pulley screw.
- If separate, install eccentric “tophat” pulley axle in WolfCage pulley as shown, with tophat brim on facing blunt side of pulley (the side of the pulley that covers the outer bearing race)
- Install top pulley screw through top countersunk hole in WolfCage and tophat in recess as shown. Screw will help to align eccentric mounting holes.
- Loosely assemble WolfCage, top pulley assembly, and top pulley screw to derailleur.
- Thread lower pulley screw through derailleur cage, lower pulley wheel, and into lower threaded WolfCage hole.
- Use torque wrench and 3mm bit to tighten each pulley screw to 3.5Nm
- Re-route chain through derailleurs and around chainrings normally and connect ends.
- Shift to highest gear (outermost position) and reinstall wheel.
- Adjust B-tension:
- Carefully begin shifting derailleur to lowest (largest) cog.
- If top pulley wheel begins to interfere with cogs, add B-tension before moving to next gear.
- In lowest Pull rear derailleur body rearward to release pressure on B-screw.
- Adjust B-screw so that, when the derailleur is released, top derailleur pulley sits as close as possible to top cog without rubbing or 'rumbling' while pedaling.
- Important: On full-suspension bicycles it is important to check the impact of chainstay growth on the drivetrain (hardtail installations may skip the following):
- Shift derailleur to largest cog (and largest chainring, as applicable).
- Taking note of starting pressure, use shock pump to remove all air from rear shock.
- Fully compress rear suspension, noting if compression is limited by chain length or shock travel
- If chain is limiting factor, add two links (one inch). Otherwise leave chain length as previously set.
- Reinflate shock to starting pressure.
- Shift to highest (smallest) cog and verify that chain is under tension in all positions. If chain is not under tension, do not ride and revisit derailleur capacity specifications.
- Adjust shifting normally.
- Remove bicycle from stand.
- Go for a ride.