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As good as Shimano gets
While 11-speeds are amazing, to be perfectly honest, we'd be just as excited to have the Shimano Dura-Ace RD-9000 11-Speed Rear Derailleur in an 8-speed iteration. The reason is simple -- the RD-9000 is the physical form of everything that we love about Dura-Ace. Persistent innovation, superior reliability, and near-perfect shift quality -- these are the hallmarks of Dura-Ace, and they're all presented here, with the RD-9000. In even plainer speak -- this is Shimano's finest mechanical rear derailleur to date.
To start, we should explain Dura-Ace 9000's main shifting goal -- easier action with a shorter stroke at the lever. To achieve this, it required a revision of the leverage points on the derailleur's body. You'll notice that RD-9000's cable anchor bolt rests at more of a forward angle than on 7900. This not only creates more leverage, but it also strengthens the pull, eases the actuation, and thus helps lessen the shift stroke.
For this iteration of Dura-Ace, you can also expect to see the return of the carbon cage and p-body. The construction complements the beautiful forging and assists in 9000's six gram weight reduction, but mainly, the carbon reduces vibratory interference and produces a light, crisp shift over the cassette. In fact, Shimano fanatics will immediately notice the focus paid to making a slight alteration to the feel of the shift. As we all know, Dura-Ace tends to snap the chain up the cassette, but it feels like it drops the chain from cog-to-cog on the way down. Now, the RD-9000 creates an equal, positive sensation regardless of the direction of your shift, or the size of the sprocket that you're shifting to.
And we'll tell you now, that you have a large cluster at your disposal. Not only can you expect to apply an equal lever-force at the top and bottom of the cassette, but the Dura-Ace rear derailleur can handle up to a 28 tooth sprocket.
All in all, Shimano claims that the new rear derailleur system creates a 47% reduction in shifting effort over 7900 at the lever. And to round things off in the efficiency department, the RD-9000 is pulled by Shimano's proprietary, polymer-coated shift cable. Shimano's new cable nearly eliminates mechanical drag, and further enhances shift accuracy. Altogether, the minimization of stroke and required effort creates a shifting experience on-par with the accuracy found in Di2 systems.
The Shimano Dura-Ace RD-9000 11-Speed Rear Derailleur is available in one size and one color. Please note that it has been designed for use with Shimano's PTFE derailleur cables and exclusively for the Dura-Ace 9000 component group.