A few months back I got it into my head that I’d really like to see how a SRAM X9 or XO rear derailleur might work mated to my Campy Ergo shifters. Our Record long-cage rear derailleur has always worked with up to an 11x32t cassette, but struggles a bit in the 32t as the jockey wheel and 32t cog are close enough to generate some chatter. Given how slow we’re going in our 32t x 32t alpine gearing, that chatter can be a bit annoying to me, so it’s got to be twice as annoying to Debbie and anyone riding as slow as we are on super steep climbs. Now, let me say that while I’m not ready for us to make the move to a 34t cassette, it would be nice to have the added capability. Yes, I’m well aware that by using a Jtek shiftmate a Shimano rear derailleur can be mated to the Campy Ergo 10 shifters, but that just hasn’t been an appealing option to me for some reason: call it being Shimano’d out.
I knew our friend Todd Shusterman at daVinci Design in Colorado had developed a replacement cable guide for and modified SRAM X7 and X9 shifters that allowed the use of a Shimano/SRAM 9 speed cassette with Campy & Shimano 10 speed shifters. A model that would support Campy / Shimano 10 speed shifters with 10 speed Shimano / SRAM cassettes had apparently been in the works but was still not available, so that wasn’t really the solution I was looking for either.
I decided to drop Ryan Guthrie at Jtek an Email to see if they’d developed a Shiftmate to support SRAM rear derailleurs and, at that time, the answer was still no; just not enough demand. Well shoot. [UPDATE: I must have mis-communicated with Ryan, as you can now see in the comments that our friend David has been using the Shiftmate Straight with Campy/SRAM for some time now!] So, I decided to hold pat with what I had and see what might come along as time passed. Again, our shifting performance with the Campy Record RD was effective and I wasn’t really looking to solve a big problem, just exploring options and tinkering to see if I could optimize our transmission package.
OK, fast forward to last week as I was shopping around looking to replenish my parts bins when I stumbled over some Shimano XTR derailleurs on close-out. That got me thinking about the SRAM thing again and I’ll be darned if I know what possessed me to revisit Jtek’s web site. Something did and son-of-a-gun if they didn’t have a new Shiftmate that — you guessed it — supported SRAM derailleurs and Campy Ergo 10 shifting. [Update: Same as above, I apparently overlooked this so it’s not as ‘new’ as I thought.]
The model is called the Shiftmate Straight and as you can see from the photo at right, it’s an in-line model that builds on the same single cam lobe shiftmate concept. There are three different models that allow both road and off-road Campy & Shimano shifting systems to work with SRAM rear derailleurs. I’ve since been in contact with Ryan and now have the model 5S in my hot little hands ready to go on the Calfee.
The long pole in the tent is a SRAM XO rear derailleur that should be here on Tuesday evening, along with my 10-pack of spare tubes. Again, I got lucky and was able to find the XO rear derailleur for about 1/2 of MSRP which is also what made the whole science project viable. And, yes… it’s the XO rear derailleur with gold and carbon accents which confirms that I’ve slowly drifted back into full-blown vanity mode. I blame a lot of recent and ongoing change and anxiety for the temporary insanity and simply hope that what in theory should work does so in the real world. I’ve become a HUGE fan of SRAM based on our off-road tandem experience (XO twist shifting and XO rear derailleur are absolutely flawless) and I’m really quite enamored with the whole business story behind US-based SRAM Corp.
More to follow…
In case anyone has previously done business with the Guthrie family at Jtek, Ryan’s dad Jay lost his battle with cancer this past July. I was not aware of this until I visited their Website this past week. So good to see Ryan has been able to step in. Life throws some nasty curve balls at some of the nicest people… just doesn’t seem fair.