Compatibility of shifters with Shimano Deore derailleurs

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rodolfoc

New member
Hello,
I have a Kona Sutra SE 2022 with a drop handlebar, microshift end bar shifters and Shimano Deore derailleurs (front is 3 speeds and rear is 10 speeds, SGS). I am considering replacing the drop handlebar with a straight bar, and as I understand, I also would need to get new shifters and brake levers.
Shimano makes Deore shifters for road, mountain and trekking. I know that the road shifters have a different pull ratio than the mountain shifters, so,
my first question is: do the mountain bike shifters have the same pull ratio as the trekking ones, and would either be compatible with the Deore shifters? Any advantage for having the trekking one?
Another question is: what are the main differences between the Deore XT M8000 and Deore M6000? Would a Deore M6000 10 speed be perfectly adequate and compatible with the Deore derailleur?
Any advice on brake levers?
Thank you!
 
Solution
Hello,
I have a Kona Sutra SE 2022 with a drop handlebar, microshift end bar shifters and Shimano Deore derailleurs (front is 3 speeds and rear is 10 speeds, SGS). I am considering replacing the drop handlebar with a straight bar, and as I understand, I also would need to get new shifters and brake levers.
Shimano makes Deore shifters for road, mountain and trekking. I know that the road shifters have a different pull ratio than the mountain shifters, so,
my first question is: do the mountain bike shifters have the same pull ratio as the trekking ones, and would either be compatible with the Deore shifters? Any advantage for having the trekking one?
Another question is: what are the main differences between the Deore XT M8000 and...
Hello,
I have a Kona Sutra SE 2022 with a drop handlebar, microshift end bar shifters and Shimano Deore derailleurs (front is 3 speeds and rear is 10 speeds, SGS). I am considering replacing the drop handlebar with a straight bar, and as I understand, I also would need to get new shifters and brake levers.
Shimano makes Deore shifters for road, mountain and trekking. I know that the road shifters have a different pull ratio than the mountain shifters, so,
my first question is: do the mountain bike shifters have the same pull ratio as the trekking ones, and would either be compatible with the Deore shifters? Any advantage for having the trekking one?
Another question is: what are the main differences between the Deore XT M8000 and Deore M6000? Would a Deore M6000 10 speed be perfectly adequate and compatible with the Deore derailleur?
Any advice on brake levers?
Thank you!

Hi,

You are moving from drop bars to flat bars, but already have MTB Deore derailleurs. That should make the transition simpler, apart from brakes (on that I'd need more info).

I'll try to answer all your questions as best as I can, but feel free to post a reply if you need any additional info. I'll enumerate them, for easier reference. Let's start. :)


1. Do the mountain bike shifters have the same pull ratio as the trekking ones?

Generally speaking, yes.

"Trekking" and "MTB" shifters use the same pull ratio. However, Shimano (to name just that one, largest, manufacturer) makes many different city/"urban", trekking, and "gravel" groups, so the more correct answer would be "yes, but **see the fine print**." :)

The details are in my bicycle parts compatibility articles.

2. Are trekking and MTB shifters compatible with the Deore derailleurs​

Generally, yes.

If the number of speeds is matched, in most cases they will work.


3. Is there advantage in using trekking parts?​

Yes, some.

Trekking (city/urban...) parts do have some advantages. Notably: style and certain gear ratios. For example, if you decide that triple cranks are impractical and want a double (for whatever reason), 46-30 teeth cranks don't come in an MTB version (or a "strictly" road version for that matter) - only in "gravel" and "trekking" groups.

My personal opinion, based on my knowledge and experience, is that of all the Shimano groups, Deore (MTB) is the toughest, most durable, and most robust. By "Deore" I mean the "basic" one, not the XT / XTR versions (with those, you pay more for lower mass, and often less durability).


4. What are the main differences between the Deore XT M8000 and Deore M6000?​

Briefly: Deore XT M8000 groupset is lighter, more expensive, and arguably less durable compared to the Deore M6000 groupset.

Another important difference to consider is that the XT M8000 is an 11-speed groupset, hence the M8000 shifters will not work nicely with a 10-speed cassette.
Rear derailleur compatibility article section 7 explains it in a bit more detail.


5. Would a Deore M6000 10-speed be perfectly adequate and compatible with the Deore derailleur?​

Yes.

I would expect the M6000 10-speed shifters to work fine with a 10-speed Deore derailleur matched with a 10-speed cassette (and a 10-speed chain, of course).

6. Any advice on brake levers?​

What kind of brakes do you have (or plan to mount if you are swapping them)?

V-brakes, Cantilever (rim brakes), road caliper (rim brakes), hydraulic rim brakes (Magura and the likes), mechanical disc brakes, and hydraulic disc brakes all have different lever requirements, generally.

Relja BrevityIsNotMyVirtue Novović
🙃
 
Solution
Hi Relja,
Thanks for responding so quickly.
My deore derailleur simply says "shimano deore" but based on the pictures I have seen on the internet, I think it is the Deore RD-M4120.
So, you think that if I get the shifters, the Deore SL-T6000 would be good ones?
As for the brakes, they are mechanical ones, TRP Spyre C. What levers do you think would be appropriate?
Let me add that my main reason to consider switching from drop bars to flat bars is that with the drop bars I do get some wrist discomfort. I am going to read your article on bike fit, and maybe make some adjustments, but if it doesn't work, I will swap the bars and see if things improve. I am in decent shape, but at 66 years of age, and planning some touring, comfort is more important than speed or aesthetics.
By the way, since your knowledge is so broad, do you have any recommendations for touring handlebars? There are hundreds of options, with different rises, sweeps, etc, etc.
Also, I would like to say that I have watched a couple of your videos already and they are excellent, with some of the most clarity and detail that I have seen anywhere.
Thank you for all your help and educational videos and articles.
Brevity may not be your virtue, but deep knowledge and clarity is :) :)
 
Hi Relja,
Thanks for responding so quickly.
My deore derailleur simply says "shimano deore" but based on the pictures I have seen on the internet, I think it is the Deore RD-M4120.
So, you think that if I get the shifters, the Deore SL-T6000 would be good ones?
As for the brakes, they are mechanical ones, TRP Spyre C. What levers do you think would be appropriate?
Let me add that my main reason to consider switching from drop bars to flat bars is that with the drop bars I do get some wrist discomfort. I am going to read your article on bike fit, and maybe make some adjustments, but if it doesn't work, I will swap the bars and see if things improve. I am in decent shape, but at 66 years of age, and planning some touring, comfort is more important than speed or aesthetics.
By the way, since your knowledge is so broad, do you have any recommendations for touring handlebars? There are hundreds of options, with different rises, sweeps, etc, etc.
Also, I would like to say that I have watched a couple of your videos already and they are excellent, with some of the most clarity and detail that I have seen anywhere.
Thank you for all your help and educational videos and articles.
Brevity may not be your virtue, but deep knowledge and clarity is :) :)

Thank you for the kind words. :)

1. Shifter and derailleur compatibility​

Yes, I would expect the Deore SL-T6000 shifters to work fine with the Deore RD-M4120 rear derailleur.

2. Road mechanical disc brake lever recommendation​

As far as I know, TRP Spyre C brakes are road bicyle mechanical disc brakes. Hence, they will not work nicely with standard V-brake flat bar brake levers (you'd get a wonderful firm feel at the levers, but when you try to make an emergency stop, the brakes will just be gently slowing you down, instead of really braking).

By far the best (at least in my opinion & experience) option for brake levers are the (now discontinued) Shimano STX-RC levers!

Shimano STX-RC brake levers


Thse levers can be set to work either with V-brakes (the "L" position as shown in the picture above), or with the road brakes/cantilevers/road calipers/road disc brakes etc. (when the brake cable pivot is set to the lower "H" position - as in "high mechanical advantage").

I have one pair on my commuter bike, and one pair in reserve. :)
Used bike parts market is a good place (ebay is a globally known one, craigslist etc.) - they go from $20 to $40 and are the best brake levers ever made.

Ebay link for Shimano STX-RC brake levers

For the new ones, Shimano Tiagra BL-4700 (Shimano website link) should be OK. They too can be adjusted to work with either V-brakes or road bicycle brakes (including the road mechanical disc brakes).

They are cheaper, new, than the used Shimano STX-RC levers, which speaks volumes about the quality of both brake lever models. :)

3. Comfortable handlebars recommendation​

For me, drop bars are the most comfortable. Why I think that's the case:

When I stand and raise my arms to be in front of me (parallel to the ground, 90 degrees to my body), in a relaxed way, my hands are more vertical (thumbs pointing up) than parallel (thumbs pointing towards each other).

That is the kind of a grip that drop bars provide (flat bars force me to keep my hands parallel to the ground).

Now, the problem I often see people have with drop bars (and handlebars in general) is that they are either too low, or too far away relative to the saddle.

The second most common problem is the handlebar angle (bar ends pointing to the ground too much usually but not always).
My article about road (drop) bar adjustment.

Finally, drop bars that are too wide is another relatively common problem.

In other words, as you said to be planning, I agree that it's worth checking the existing handlebar and bike setup, before swapping anything (even if money is not a problem, huge changes make it more difficult to fine-tune the optimal comfortable setup).

Note that moving the saddle forward usually increases shoulder, arm, and hand discomfort, as it puts more load on them (it is counter-intuitive).

All that being said, for a touring handlebars, I would give this a try:
BBB Cycling MultiBar OS BHB-30OS Trekking Bar (bike24 webshop link)

That "elephant ear" shape provides a lot of different hand positions, and in addition to finding the most comfortable one, it often helps to change hand positions during a ride. It also lets you get a more upright, or a more leaned forward riding position (like road drop bars hand position transitions).

Particular model is less important - as long as it's a decent quality, and the mounting diameter fits your stem (stem clamp diameter standards) - though I would swap a stem for an "oversized" standard if my current one is the "old" 25.4 mm (1").

I hope I've explained more than I've confused. :)

Let me know if you have any more questions.

Relja
 
Hi Relja,
Sorry I couldn't respond sooner. I traveled all day yesterday (Pennsylvania to North Carolina) to see my family for the holidays.
I am curious, what is so special about the Shimano STX-RC levers, quality, durability?
I will read more of your articles in the next few days, and try some fit adjustments on my bike, before doing any changes.
Once again, many, many thanks for responding so quickly, for your recommendatios and for sharing all your knowledge.
Rodolfo
 
Hi Relja,
Sorry I couldn't respond sooner. I traveled all day yesterday (Pennsylvania to North Carolina) to see my family for the holidays.
I am curious, what is so special about the Shimano STX-RC levers, quality, durability?
I will read more of your articles in the next few days, and try some fit adjustments on my bike, before doing any changes.
Once again, many, many thanks for responding so quickly, for your recommendatios and for sharing all your knowledge.
Rodolfo

Hi Rodolfo,

There's no rush. :)

Why are Shimano STX-RC levers so awesome?
  1. They are very rigid.
    Flex is not welcome in any component of the braking system (apart from tyres, of course). These levers were designed with hollow, but curved cross-section so they are very rigid, without being too heavy.
  2. Ergonomy.
    The shape is perfect. Comfortable for longer and stronger braking. And short enough to be used with two fingers only, without pinching the other fingers, even if the leve travels further than ideally (pad wear, or similar scenario).
  3. Universality.
    They cen be set to work with either V-brakes, or Cantilevers/road brakes.
  4. Robust, reliable, indestructable.
    I fall down a lot. :) Sure, it is important that I don't break anything, the bike will get fixed. These levers are not prone to breaking or bending (less prone than most I've used, to be more exact).
  5. They look cool.
    It goes without saying that this is by far the most important criteria. :) OK, jokes aside, I really love the slightly retro and elegant look.
If they were still made, I'd also joke abot getting a 10% "cut" for every pair sold. :)

The standard, official & obligatory BikeGremlin's 10% bite  :)


Relja
 

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