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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
putting together my first road bike, and am trying to figure out what the best cage length to use-ultegra ss or gs? it seems that the max front capacity on the ss magically went up from 14t to 16t when shimano started producing compact cranks (different online sources are stating different max front and total capacities). is everyone using a short cage for a 50-34 crank, or is the medium cage a better option?
 

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Ultegra RD-6600 SS total capacity is 29 teeth; GS is 37 teeth.

The capacity you need is your (largest front - smallest front) + (largest rear - smallest rear).

You'll find that the SS will do just fine with the commonly used cassettes. Even if your setup is a couple of teeth over, chances are you'll be OK. If you're over the limit by much, you could let the chain hang a little slacker than normal in the small-small combo, which you're not going to use much anyway.
 

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Scooper said:
I don't know about Shimano, but with a 50-34 compact, Campy recommends the medium cage RD for the 13-29 sprocket set. That's what I've got.
Now come to think of it, that should've been my recommendation as well. Just get the GS and be ready for everything, including the day when Shimano comes out with their 29 max teeth cassette. The GS shifts just as well as the SS and weighs only a few grams more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thanks for the info, so there really isn't a performance loss using a medium cage rd? i've got a medium cage on my 1x9 mtb, and it seems to shift a bit nicer than my standard long cage on my full-suspension mtb. then again, that may have to do with chain length. any thoughts? as far as the capacity discrepancies, some of the online retailers were claiming the front difference on an ultegra ss rd to be 14t, but the shimano site says 16t.
 

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cjn1014 said:
thanks for the info, so there really isn't a performance loss using a medium cage rd?
Many people will tell you that a longer cage shifts slightly slower than a shorter one. But given that the upper jockey wheel (which does the shifting) is as close to the cogs on a long cage as it is on a short cage, it's hard to see how that can be true.

I have no advice on the front derailleur capacity. As a matter fact, I have ignored that number for many years and haven't had a front problem yet in alll my various setups.
 

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I run a 34-50 compact with a 12-27 cassette. I was using a short cage rear derailleur, but decided to switch to a long cage to see if shifting improved, and yes, it did! When I had the short cage, there was some hesitation when shifting from the 12 to the 13 and from the 13 to the 14. Once I switched to the long cage, the hesitation ended. If you are going to max out the rear derailluer's capacity, as my compact did with the 12-27, I would recomend going to a medium or long cage. Other than adding a few grams of weight, there seems to be no downside.
 
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