A SickLines Custom XTR M972 Short Cage Derailleur

6/30/2009 : sicklines

, A SickLines Custom XTR M972 Short Cage Derailleur

Shimano XTR hasn’t come in a short cage configuration for some time (M952 days).  With the introduction of the Saint gruppo, Shimano most likely felt that the need for a short cage XTR derailleur  was no longer necessary but we felt it was time for a little customized one SickLines style and brought it back. Details inside.

, A SickLines Custom XTR M972 Short Cage Derailleur

While you can’t purchase a short cage RD-M972 XTR shadow derailleur, with some tinkering almost anything is possible. We mated a XTR RD-M972 shadow derailleur with a M810 Saint metal short cage.  The Shadow system works impressively well and using a Saint derailleur to get a short cage shadow derailleur might not be needed.

Compared to the XTR M952 derailleur, the newer Shadow XTR RD-M972 derailleur has some nice improvements

  • Low profile design
  • No chain stay contact
  • Direct cable routing
  • Stronger return spring

More and more riders are using short cage derailleurs.  1 x 9 and 2 x 9 setups are becoming more popular amongst some trail riders in an effort to simplify their rides a little bit.  Slalom / mountain cross riders also look for short cage derailleur setups given their tight drive trains, as well as downhiller’s who are looking for snappy shifts and a tighter drive train.  The resulting short cage custom XTR derailleur that is lightweight and quite purposeful for a wide variety of riders.


Manufacturer Model Year Real(g) Desc. Pic.
Shimano XTR M972 Short Cage Custom
, A SickLines Custom XTR M972 Short Cage Derailleur
, A SickLines Custom XTR M972 Short Cage Derailleur

, A SickLines Custom XTR M972 Short Cage Derailleur

Look to see our custom derailleur on an upcoming build as we try it out a bit more.  While you can’t buy a short cage XTR shadow derailleur, they do make it in a medium (GS) and long cage configuration (SGS) that you can purchase.  Learn more about the Shimano derailleur and their technology on the Shimano website.

One of our visitors, deejbike, sent in this information on how he performed this on his own.   Feel free to use it at your discretion

1. Remove original cage and pulleys from XTR M972 Mech. Make sure you leave the spacer and the plastic washer in place on the mech body with the spring exposed.

2. The next stage is to extend the mech spring, this must be done before you can wind the new cage into place. I achieved this extended position using a 2.5mm allen key through the cable routing held with a pull tie.

picture 1

3. With them mech in it’s stretched position now remove the threaded pin from the new cage with a cross head screwdriver.

4. Next tighten the main bolt pulling the cage into place.

4. Now with the new cage in place and the spring through the hole in the cage wind the cage back on the spring until the hole for the removed pin is exposed on the lower side of the bump on the mech body.

picture 2

5. Holding the complete mech with the spring wound tight refit the screw pin into the cage and release for it to rest on the mech body bump stop.

picture 3

6. Cut the pull tie and remove the allen key, now refit the other side of the cage and the pulleys making sure they sit so the chain line is straight.

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