Wolf Tooth Tanpan Mates Shimano Road Shifters with Mountain Derailleurs

Wolf Tooth Tanpan Mates Shimano Road Shifters with Mountain Derailleurs

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Looking for extra low gearing on your Shimano road bike and frustrated by the lack of quality options? The Wolf Tooth Tanpan is a new product that will finally enable riders using Shimano road components to get ultra- low gearing on their bikes effectively and without using esoteric compromised mixes of components.

We have received many inquiries from Shimano riders asking whether it is possible for them to get lower gearing. For Di2 bikes, we have a good solution in the form of the K-Edge derailleur conversion that will adapt the Di2 rear derailleur to work with an 11-36 cassette. However, for those with cable-actuated Shimano drivetrains were limited to a 30 tooth low gear for 10 speed riders while 11 speed users could go to a 32 tooth low with use of a GS derailleur. While items like the Wolf Tooth RoadLink sometimes expanded the range of a derailleur, it wasn’t a consistent solution for all frames and drivetrains and still wasn’t low enough for many folks.

What about just installing a mountain bike derailleur to your 10 speed or 11 speed Shimano drivetrain to allow for a bigger cassette? You used to be able to make this work with a Shimano 9 speed pre-Shadow rear derailleur and 10 speed shifters, with a little rejiggering of how the cable attached to the rear derailleur. However, since Shimano went with the Shadow rear derailleur design, and now Shadow+, this has not worked well at all. Oh, it could be made to work okay at some points on the cassette, but it would then work poorly elsewhere. If you are good with inconsistent shifting at best, you can go that route, but I wouldn’t be satisfied with the result personally.

Wolf Tooth TanpanThankfully though, there now appears to be a true solution in the Wolf Tooth Tanpan. The Wolf Tooth Tanpan changes the cable pull ratio, so that the road shifters can now work with Shimano mountain bike rear derailleurs, preferably the latest Shadow+ design. The Wolf Tooth Tanpan works in a fashion similar to that of a brake “travel agent”, used to adapt short pull brake levers to long pull cantilever brakes calipers many years ago. The Tanpan alone will allow you to use a Shimano Shadow+ rear derailleur with your Shimano road shifters and thus 11-36, 11-40, and even 11-42 cassettes become possibilities on your Shimano equipped road bike, all while keeping your double chainring crankset.

The Wolf Tooth Tanpan will be available at the end of March for a very reasonable $40. If you have been longing for lower gearing on your bike equipped with a 10 or 11 speed Shimano mechanical drivetrain, we now have the answer for you. Stop in or contact us for more information.

About Jim

After almost thirty years as an attorney, Jim decided he was ready for a change in 2007. After being a Fit Werx client for years, Jim started working with us as part of an internship and he went full-time at Fit Werx in early 2009. In the summer of 2010 Jim assumed the Service Manager role for our Vermont location and is now a mainstay. Whether he is helping a rider find a good road ride in the area, fixing a pesky bottom bracket issue, or carefully building up someone’s new bike to their positioning numbers, Jim is an accomplished technician, a great resource and here to help.

Find out more about Jim Here

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3 Responses to Wolf Tooth Tanpan Mates Shimano Road Shifters with Mountain Derailleurs
  • tom

    How has the tanpan worked out? Is it the “true solution” that was anticipated?

    • Ian

      Hi Tom,
      The Wolftooth Tanpan and the J-Tek Shiftmate do what they say. While finite derailleur adjustments become more crucial, they do allow the combinations that they list to work. While shifting will not be quite as snappy as a full “factory” system, they shift just fine for most folks and it has been great to be able to offer so many gearing options.

      • tom

        I went ahead and used a 11-spd tanpan with a XT CS-M8000 11-42 cassette, XT RD-M8000 SGS derailleur, and Ultegra ST-R8020 shifters. I am pleased with how it works, I wish I didn’t wait so long to try it.

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