OneUp Components RAD Cage
In the mid-1990s there was a brief period where a wave of colorfully anodized derailleurs, cranks, and brakes hit the market, produced by small operations looking to enter the burgeoning mountain bike scene. The demand for rasta colored cranks has long since subsided, and the drivetrain marketplace is currently dominated by two major players, but there has been a recent resurgence of unique solutions designed to allow riders to reap the benefits of a wide range 1x setup without shelling out an exorbitant amount of money. OneUp Components was one of the early entrants with the introduction of their 42 tooth cassette cog that surely had more than one person wondering 'Why didn't I think of that?' The company recently introduced their next drivetrain accessory – the RAD cage.
The RAD cage is the missing piece of the puzzle for riders assembling a wide range 1x10 drivetrain with a medium cage Shimano rear derailleur. What does it do? Once installed, the shape of the cage shifts the upper pulley wheel slightly rearward from the stock positioning, which eliminates the need to rely on a maxed out B-tension screw to coax the derailleur into reaching a 42 tooth cog. This type of pulley wheel positioning is similar to what's found on SRAM's XX1 11 speed derailleurs, although the RAD cage doesn't offset the pulley wheels quite as much. The revised positioning also allows the chain to wrap further around the cassette, which is claimed to improve chain retention and to help spread pedalling loads over a greater number of teeth. The cage is constructed from 7075 aluminum, and has markings to indicate which holes to use for either XT, SLX and Deore or XTR derailleurs during assembly. Note: The RAD cage is only
compatible with Shimano medium cage derailleurs. Colors: black, green. Weight: 26 grams. Price: $35.00 USD. www.oneupcomponents.com Installation / Ride Report:
If you're slightly mechanically minded, OneUp's claim that installation of the RAD cage takes less than 15 minutes is completely accurate. Armed with a set of hex wrenches and a Phillips head screwdriver, it's a relatively simple process to remove the stock cage and replace it with the RAD upgrade. OneUp's step-by-step instructional video
is well done, and certainly worth a watch before you dive into this project. I ran the cage in conjunction with OneUp's 42 and 16 tooth rings installed on a Shimano cassette, which creates the following tooth pattern: 11-13-16
, with the bold indicating the positioning of the cogs that replaced the 15t and 17t ones that were removed.
Once installed, setting up the rear derailleur is the same as it would be with a traditional cassette and cage. The RAD cage negates the need to max out the B-tension screw, allowing the derailleur to sit closer to the position it was designed to be in at the upper range of the cassette. Of course, it's worth mentioning that Shimano doesn't endorse modifications of any kind to their components, and you shouldn't expect to be able to warranty your RAD equipped derailleur should something go wrong. That being said, I'd imagine most riders are willing to take the risk in order to gain the wider gear range.
On the trail, shifts from the 36 tooth to the 42 tooth cog were quick and precise, without any hesitation, and there was no grinding from the derailleur's upper pulley wheels in the easiest gear. Shifting through the rest of the cassette was spot on as well, with no odd jumps in the gear progression as the chain moves up the cassette. In a blind test, it's unlikely that you would be able to guess that the cassette and derailleur have been modified in any way – the shifting performance is that flawless. Pinkbike's Take:
|When you look at the numbers, it's hard to justify spending the money to upgrade to a 1x11 setup versus converting your existing drivetrain into a wide range 1x10. You may not get quite as wide of a gear range, but realistically, it's the easier, 42 tooth cog that most riders are looking for, not the 10t cog that's one of the selling points of an 11 speed drivetrain. For less than the price of SRAM's least expensive 11 speed derailleur, it's now possible for riders to create their own wide range 11-42t cassette ($90), install a RAD cage ($35) if they have a Shimano rear derailleur, bolt on a narrow wide chainring ($45) from any number of manufacturers, and end up with a highly effective 1x drivetrain. I'm not a math whiz, but those numbers sure make sense to me. The cost of 11 speed drivetrains is slowly trickling down, but it's taking longer than expected, and there's still not an option for those who want to ditch the front derailleur without shelling out a hefty chunk of change. That's where companies like OneUp and a handful of others come in, meeting a need that the two big players haven't responded to yet. It's a throwback to twenty years ago, although I'm still waiting for the return of rasta colored cranks and anodized purple everything. - Mike Kazimer|