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I'm building up a drop bar bike and working with sram for the first time.

The issue I've run into is that a local shop advised me that the indexing for the sram 11 speed road line and the mtb line was the same. So I've got a complete gx drivetrain (cassette, rear mech, crankset) hooked up to a sram s-500 bar-end shifter (which I have now been told is incompatible).

It should also be noted that I have trp hylex brakes so brifters aren't the ideal solution in this case.

I'm trying to salvage this build and it's been suggested that I just buy an apex rear derailleur and swap it out, but I'm concerned about it's compatibility with the 10-42t cassette (SRAM XG-1150 GX 11 SPEED).

If I could go back and do it again I'd just buy the complete road group with brifters and use mechanical brakes, but I'd like to avoid re-selling what I've got if possible.

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    Batman's suggestion below of just getting a Jtek unit is the good approach here. There are also derailer extenders such as Wolf Tooth roadlink, but 42 is out of its capability. – Nathan Knutson May 26 '17 at 18:40
  • If the shop told you it would be compatible and you bought it from them, they should at least take the incompatible bits back. – Batman May 26 '17 at 20:33
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I think you have two options:

  1. According to Zinn, you can use an Exact Actuation (not X-actuation) Rear Derailleur with the shifter, but I don't think there are any that take such a big cassette. So, you'd probably have to get a new cassette too.

  2. Use a JTEK Shiftmate 9. A Shiftmate is basically a pulley that you shove into the derailleur or shifter which adjusts the cable pull between two systems. The Shiftmate 9 takes a SRAM 11 speed road shifter and a SRAM 11 speed mountain derailleur and a Shimano/SRAM/Campagnolo cassette and makes them work together when you hook up the Shiftmate into the derailleur. Note that this is likely going to be a special order item made by a small company in the UK, and not cheap (looks to be ~41 USD on SJS Cycles; there are other retailers world wide, though).

  • Thanks @Batman! Do you have any experience using the Shiftmate. I've heard both positive and negative reviews. – Evan May 26 '17 at 20:54
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    Not particularly. Its pretty much your only choice afaik if you want to keep your components (as Nathan Knutson pointed out in the comments, there isn't a derailleur extender on the market that fits this cassette size). I think a lot of the bad reviews are probably due to in a large part mis-installation (which also happens with travel agents and stuff), though. It's a simple enough mechanism. Note that both travel agents and shiftmates are niche devices -- the user base is really quite small, and while some people spec'd their bikes knowing they'd need them, a decent amount probably didn't. – Batman May 27 '17 at 2:02
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    Late, late addition. Been using the shiftmate solution for about and year and it's working well. Thanks @Batman! – Evan Apr 3 at 17:18
  • Thanks for the update, @Evan! Always good to hear things work. – Batman Apr 5 at 0:04

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