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So we have two basically the same looking and working derailleurs: Shimano u6000 and m5100. They have different pull ratios. The question is if friction shifter would allow me to mix "old" Deore derailleur with "new" Cues cassette?

The cassette is what has the most new features from new groupset (the durability, because it's thicker and made of steel, as well Shimano says that it shifts smoother for some reason).

So the final combo would be friction shifter + rd-m5100 + cs-lg400 (11-51t).

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  • If the parts are compatible (your premise), a friction shifter can in theory replace any indexed shifter given it can pull enough cable and hold the tension. If the setup will perform to your satisfaction is another question. I have no experience with this, but it's just common sense. Any index shifter is just a shifter with predetermined steps of cable pull. The friction shifter is analogue in the sense there are no predetermined steps. You set the cable pull exactly as you like within the range limits.
    – WornChain
    Oct 24, 2023 at 22:25
  • What's your reason for mixing and matching like this? You needed a new cassette, and the cues one seems better/cheaper than the conventional one? Notice "thicker and more durable" also directly means heavier.
    – Criggie
    Oct 24, 2023 at 22:32
  • Just my two cents: Is it worth to sacrifice the indexed shifting goodness just to get this setup working? Moving to 11-speed friction shifting doesn't sound like an overall improvement of the build, other than that it works with the cassette.
    – DoNuT
    Oct 25, 2023 at 7:07
  • @DoNuT friction is amazing. Try it once, and you will never need anything else. It usualy solves all compatibility headaches that Shimano founded for the users. Oct 25, 2023 at 10:09
  • @Criggie The difference in cassette weight (Deore/Lg400) is around 100g. Derailleurs differ about 50g. Also, if you buy a more expensive LG 600 or LG 700, if I remember correctly, it weights about 600 g, just the same as an aluminum Deore. Oct 25, 2023 at 10:29

2 Answers 2

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Friction shifting is the glue that may allow this to work.

Since the pull ratios are all different, there's no way to get it working with parts from different groupsets. Your only option would be all 11 speed, or all CUES.

Your rear derailleur has to have enough horizontal movement to cover the whole width of the cassette but not hit it.

The one potential downside I see is that 11 speed chain is narrow, so you won't get a lot of "tolerance" on the shifter position. It may feel twitchy and hard to settle onto a specific cog in the cassette.

Also, without a good firm level of friction/resistance, the wire may move subtly to put you out of gear (though this is a general setup thing for any friction shifter)

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    Could we also predict that any friction shifter meant for the HG standard will work for any HG cassette? (no matter if it's 9, 10, or 11 speed). Because those derailleurs are supposed to cover the full freehub/casette width, right? So it could be any derailleur meant for HG cassettes with a long enough cage? Sorry, I'm just trying to cheat Shimano's compatibility nightmare. I might switch one day to gearbox because it's really annoying and ancient. Oct 25, 2023 at 10:21
  • @guyfromthesun I think you're right - it will probably work fine with a friction shifter. If you implement it, do please come back here and add an answer post of your own. I'm honestly interested how it will go.
    – Criggie
    Oct 25, 2023 at 11:58
  • @guyfromthesun gearboxes and IGHs exist, but they have their own problems. However that's a bit of a big topic for comments and too wide for a question. Consider joining Bicycles Chat and asking there.
    – Criggie
    Oct 25, 2023 at 11:59
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Technically yes, but if the amount of travel allowed by the shifter is not sufficient you won’t be able to access all gears. But the experience is unlikely to be better than an indexed system.

That being said the u6000 derailleur costs more or less the same as one m5100 cassette, so its cost will be recovered “fast” - depends how often you need to replace them, but mid drive e-bikes eat the small sprockets quite fast. So why not change the shifter and the derailleur as well to have a full cues system?

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  • That's true. The problem right now is the availability of the U6000. For EU citizens, ordering it from China is the best and only option, I believe. Also, someone might already have a working M5100; why not use it? I'm currently wondering if should I wait until 2024 and hope that I can still squeeze the last seconds out of my drive train or try to upgrade it with what's available now. Oct 25, 2023 at 10:07
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    @guyfromthesun bike-discount.de seems to have almost the whole CUES range in inventory.
    – Rеnаud
    Oct 25, 2023 at 10:09
  • @guyfromthesun Also, I can perfectly see the reasons to keep a working 5100 (I also hate to discard working components, but on the hand a combo 5100 shifter/derailleur could more easily find a second life than a shifter alone), but on the other hand, given the level of the expense, the trade-off is largely in favour of having something that works "as intented". Note that the 5130/8130 ranges are not hard to find as well. The equivalent of the 5100 would be the 8130, though, but if you don't use the largest sprocket, the 5130 can work as well.
    – Rеnаud
    Oct 25, 2023 at 12:22

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