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Shimano XT Shadow Plus RD-M786 Rear Derailleur

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Item # SHI0604

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  • Silver, Medium Cage ($59.95)
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Item # SHI0604

Direct connect.

When Shimano introduced its Shadow line of derailleurs, it was a big departure from the norm, but it offered better clearance and enhanced shifts due to a re-positioned B-knuckle. This, however, required an additional link. While sufficient, there's a growing trend of simplifying mountain bikes -- both in favor of reduced weight and reliability. Thus the introduction of the new direct mount standard for Rear Derailleurs found here on he XT Shadow Plus RD-M786.

If you're still using traditional hanger, the RD-M786 comes with a link installed so it's backwards-compatible. The direct mount, however, eliminates the need for the link, effectively reducing flex, wear, and weight -- all good things to mountain bikers. On compatible frames, the system also allows easier wheel changes with thru axles. Another big change is the stabilizer switch trickled down from XTR and Saint derailleurs.

When engaged, this switch helps to eliminate chain slap and dropped chains by increasing spring tension. This is a valuable option for suspension systems that require chainstays and pivots located close to the rear deraileur. the RD-M786 retains all the last models improvements, including the direct cable path. Your shift housing can enter the stop on the derailleur without the traditional loop of excess housing that often was the victim of contamination and a source of poor performance.

Shimano uses tried-and-true aluminum components in the XT derailleurs. All of the knuckles, linkage plates, and cage sides are made from it. So while it may lack the wow factor of the carbon fiber-laden XTR Shadow, it's more affordable, and if you've been running XT derailleurs as long as we have, you'll know that you'll get plenty of mileage out of it.

The RD-M786 is available with two cage lengths -- Long (SGS) and Mid (GS). The length of the cage determines the overall chainwrap capacity, or how big of a tooth difference it can accommodate between the biggest gear and the smallest gear. Total difference can be found with this equation: big chainring minus small chainring plus largest cog minus smallest cog.

For example, the long cage (SGS) option will work with a 24/32/42 chainring configuration (18t difference) plus an 11/36 cassette out back (25t difference). This meets the maximum chainwrap capacity of the long cage derailleur (43t). The mid length Shimano XT Shadow Rear Derailleur RD-M786 cage (GS) has a chainwrap capacity of 35t and could be used for a single or double ring/bashguard set-up as the 11/36 (25t difference) plus the 24/32 chainring (8t difference) does not exceed its range.

  • Aluminum construction
  • Chain clutch
  • Works with direct mounts and traditional mounts

Tech Specs

Cage Length:
long, medium
43 T
Recommended Use:
mountain biking

Reviews & Community


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Sweet Shifting

    I upgraded to this derailleur after my last one broke. The installation was fast and easy, and my bike is now shifting flawlessly. Highly recommend this product!

    Smooth and no chain slap

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Smooth and precise shifting is what you get when you buy this derailleur. the clutch helps reduce chain slap so your drive drain stays quiet while hammering throw rock gardens. You can easily run this derailleur on a make shift 1 x 10 system.

    Light, Crisp Shifts, A Touch$$

    • Familiarity: I've used it several times

    I bent my SLX derailleur and bought this to replace it. The XT weighed in 40g less than the SLX. Shifting and clutch operation seem comparable between both of them. --No chain drops with clutch engaged with a 1x10 set up. 32t in front and 11-40t in the rear. Mid cage is the correct size. Set up was easy. Now I just need to drill a hole in my derailleur hangers so maybe that will bend next time instead of the derailleur!!

    Superb Shifting

    • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

    Excellent shifting. Reasonable weight. Clutch mechanism makes shifting a little on the stiff side. It is the only thing keeping me from rating it 5 stars.


      I've been riding with an M780 for the last few years, but from time to time, I'd suffer from an occasional chain drop. Well, that is no longer the case with the M786. Once that clutch is activated, say goodbye to drops!

      I went with the GS mid-cage for my 1x10 setup which uses an 11-42t cassette with a NW 32t front.

      Any issues so far after going with the mid-cage?

      Solid choice

      • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

      I've had three of these and i'm very happy with this kit. The shadow takes out the chain slap and the changes are smooth. I run this 1x10 with a Race Face narrow wide up front and a 11x34 XT cassette and XTR shifter. In my opinion the XT cassette, XT rear der and xtr shifter cannot be beat.

      Can I run a medium cage on a 22/36 front with a 11-36 cassette? Thanks!

      Yes, the medium cage will work perfectly on a double ring front. The long cage is generally only used when you're running a triple up front.

      Avg. ride time: 3h 24m per week
      • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

      XT Keeps it consistent

      • Familiarity: I've used it several times

      Had to replace the rear derailleur, and there was no need for xtr. this thing works great!

      Unanswered Question

      I have an ald K2 3000 MTB with a stock Deore XT RD-M750 rear derailleur, which seems to be too worn out to cover the gear range. Will this work as a replacement? Thanks.

      will this work on my dura ace 7800 10 speed?



      No more chain guide

        The clutch mechanism really eliminates chain slap and chain drop. I was able to remove my front chain guide and bash guard on my 1x10 setup and have not had any drops. Awesome.

        I plan on doing a lot of steep hill climbing this year and it's been suggested that I use a mtn bike rear derailleur on my road bike to get a 1-1 gear ratio. Would this derailleur be a good choice?

        The Shimano Xt rear derailleur will not be compatible with your road shifters. The pull ratio between Shimano's newer road and mountain groups is not cross compatible.

        never drop your chain again

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

        I used to drop my chain 3-4 times per ride. I ride pretty aggressively - a blur LTC (5.5" travel bike) on rocky terrain. used to have the non-clutch version of this derailleur. upgraded to this, haven't dropped my chain since. literally.

        surprisingly good

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

        my last 2 derailleurs were shimanos, and those broke pretty soon after i got them, so i gave shimano one more chance before i switch to SRAM, and apparently they heard me. this is one of the best derailleurs I've had, the shifting is really smooth, but you do need to adjust it now and again. solid, i would recommend it.

        Trying to figure out whether I need medium...

        Trying to figure out whether I need medium or long cage for my 1x10 setup. Chainring = 32t, Cassette = 11-42 (11-36 with 17t removed and 42 added on top).

        Best Answer

        Super late answer but... Medium would be fine. Short would probably be better but they don't make one.

        Like a Ninja

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

        Bought the medium cage silver when I got rid of my big ring and went to a 2x10 setup. It matched up fine since I have XT everything else as far as the drivetrain is concerned. Easy to set up as well, just had to find the right manual online though.

        Ive ordered the XT Shadow 10spd long cage....

        Ive ordered the XT Shadow 10spd long cage. I have 9 speed so I figure that will work ok. I can't get the derailleur to shift the full range. I have backed off the stops all the way. What is up? Is it the wrong deraileur? I have the triple chain ring configuration.

        My experience has been a 10 speed shimano derailleur will not work properly on a 9 spd cassette with 9 speed shifters.

        This derailleur only works with 10 speed shimano systems. At a minimum you will need a new 10 speed rear cog, 10 speed chain, and 10 speed rear shifter.

        I too wanted to use the Shimano Shadow Plus clutched derailleur but then saw it only came on the 10 speed version. I read that it will work with a 9 speed if you use a SRAM 9 speed shifter. I have not confirmed this myself, but do a search and you will see, here is one reference

        Avg. ride time: 3h 4m per week
        • Average ride time is based on Strava activity over the last 3 months. Give your reviews credibility by connecting your account.

        It's Everything Expected from XT!

        • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

        I upgraded from an XT without the Shadow clutch to this and it's sweet to not hear that chain beating my chainstays to death. The shifting is what you would expect from the XT Group...smooth, crisp and responsive. But the clutch is the icing on the cake.

        Do everything

        • Familiarity: I've used it several times

        I've said this before. XT is the workhorse of mountain biking. Not only is it durable but it is respectable. I'd put it on my own bike if I wasn't such a weight weenie.