RoadLink Tech Page

Wolf Tooth RoadLinks are simple devices that re-position 10- and 11-speed Shimano road derailleurs to enable the use of wide-range cassettes.  They are an ideal solution for riders looking to convert their road, gravel, cyclocross, or commuter drop-bar bike to the simplicity and reduced weight of a single front chainring or for riders with double chainring bikes that want lower gearing for those ultra-steep climbs. 

 

Below, we will cover Gear Range, Derailleur Capacity, Compatibility, Specs, and FAQs.

Gearing Range Improvement:

Here is a plot showing what gear ranges can be achieved when using a RoadLink. Note that the 1x setups with 11-40t cassettes have nearly the same range as the double setups, with the only downside being bigger jumps between gears.  This might not be ideal for your Tuesday Night Worlds group ride, but it is something to consider for all-road or gravel.

 

Explanation of Derailleur Capacity:

As mentioned above, RoadLinks relocate Shimano 10- and 11-speed rear derailleurs to positions optimized for wide-range cassettes.  What the RoadLink does not do is expand the capacity of your derailleur. What is capacity, you ask?  Capacity is a measurement, in teeth, of how much difference the derailleur can absorb between big-big and small-small chain positions.  Capacity is dictated by the geometry of the derailleur and varies by derailleur model and cage length. Shimano publishes derailleur capacity for every derailleur that they make: it is critical to find and understand your derailleur’s capacity before attempting to expand its gear range.

 

To calculate the capacity needed for a given gearing combination use the following formula:

(Biggest Chainring - Smallest Chainring) + (Biggest Cassette Cog - Smallest Cassette Cog)

 

Example 1     11-34 Cassette with mid-compact 50/36 chainrings

          Using the formula above:  (50 - 36) + (34 - 11) = 14 + 23 = 37

A derailleur with a capacity of 37t or greater is required.

 

Example 2:   11-36 cassette with 46/36 touring chainrings

Using the formula above:     (46 - 36) + (36 - 11) = 10 + 25 = 35

A derailleur with a capacity of 35t or greater is required.

 

Example 3:   11-40t cassette with any single chainring

Using the formula above:     (46 - 46) + (40-11) = 0 + 29 = 29

A derailleur with a capacity of 29t or greater is required.

 

RoadLink DM Compatibility

  • Compatible only with Shimano Direct Mount compatible 11-speed rear derailleurs
    • R9100-generation Dura-Ace
    • R8000-generation Ultegra
  • Compatible with standard derailleur hangers only
    • Direct mount derailleur hangers are not supported
  • 11s Cassette Compatibility
    • 11-36t:         Recommended
    • 11-40t:         Recommended
    • 11-42t:         Acceptable
    • 10-42t:         Not Supported
    • 11-46t:         Not Supported
    • 9-44t: Not Supported
  • Will improve performance 10-42t 11-speed cassettes- but not to factory levels.

RoadLink (Standard) Compatibility:

  • Compatible only with Shimano 10- and 11-speed rear derailleurs
    • Not optimized for or recommended for use with other brands.
  • Do not exceed published derailleur capacity: equipment damage or personal injury may result.
  • 10s Cassette Compatibility:
    • 11-32t: Not required
    • 11-34t: Recommended
    • 11-36t: Recommended
    • 11-40t: Acceptable
    • 11-42t: Not Supported
  • 11s Cassette Compatibility:
    • 11-32t: Not required
    • 11-36t: Recommended
    • 11-40t: Recommended
    • 11-42t: Not Supported
    • 10-42t: Not Supported
    • 9-44t: Not Supported
    • 11-46t: Not Supported
  • The RoadLink is compatible with ten- and eleven-speed Shimano road derailleurs and shifters.
  • The RoadLink mounts only to standard derailleur hangers.
  • Double chainrings are only supported when chain capacity allows
  • Triple chainrings are generally not supported
  • Direct Mount-native frames are not supported.   
  • Due to the lack of a clutch mechanism on Shimano road derailleurs, secondary chain retention (front derailleur or chain device) may be needed, especially for rough- or off-road use.
  • Due to variations in derailleur hanger geometry, chainstay length, chainring size, B-screw adjustment, and suspension configuration, individual results will vary.
  • While rare, some frames’ derailleur hangers do not meet Shimano's B-tab length specification. For frames whose hangers exceed the 7.9mm dimension pictured below the hanger may be filed to allow RoadLink use.
     

RoadLink FAQs:

  1. Can I use a 10-speed mountain bike rear derailleur with road shifting?  

No.  Modern Shimano mountain and road derailleurs require a different cable pull.  Use our Tanpan to allow the use of Shimano mountain rear derailleurs with drop bar shifters

  1. Can I use the RoadLink on my mountain bike derailleur?

No.  The GoatLink and GoatLink 11 are specifically designed for Shimano mountain rear derailleurs.

  1.  Can I put a longer cage on my short cage rear derailleur?  

Yes, you can and it effectively increases the capacity of a short-cage rear derailleur.  While we cannot provide guidance on this modification, installation is fairly simple and cages are available from a number of sources.

  1.  Can I use this to make an 11-42 cassette work?  

See compatibility listings above.

  1.  Can I use the RoadLink with Campagnolo rear derailleurs?

The RoadLink was optimized for use with Shimano rear derailleurs and has not been tested for use with other brands so we cannot recommend its use.

  1.  Can I use the RoadLink with SRAM rear derailleurs?

The RoadLink was optimized for use with Shimano rear derailleurs and has not been tested for use with other brands so we cannot recommend its use.