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Couple of weeks ago I landed hard on my left side in a small crash. Son and I were doign some urban freeriding on campus last Sunday when I noticed I only had 7 speeds on the back instead of 8. Somewhere in the middle of the range it would always miss a shift. Did it coming up or down the range. That's when I noticed my derailleur wasn't handing perfectly vertical any more. It had a slight tilt to it.

So I make an impromptu hanger alignment tool out of a piece of square tube and a M10x1.0 bolt using some Mitotuyo calipers as the gauge. I was about 10mm different from one extreme to the other. I bent it a bit and got it to within about 2-3mm. Checked the shifting and it still missing a gear in the middle of the range. Upon closer inspection the derailleur cage now has about 3mm of play in and out of the body which is way larger than normal. Not sure if this is a result of the crash or just the result of a 21 years of service and thousands of miles but I guess it's time to retire her.

I've been using a DeoreDX rear derailleur since the early 1990's. I've looked on Ebay at some used ones but I'm actually contemplating using this as an excuse to try a 1x10 setup (Looking at M6000 Deore setup). I've already updated the old gal with a shorter stem (80mm down from 130mm) and have been trying 720mm wide riser bars and dropped the SPDs for some platforms.

How finnicky are 10 speed setups to derailleur hangar alignment? Should I go borrow the right tool and get it perfectly square?

 

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I've had no issues setting up 10 or 11 speed Shimano stuff. I think it's more reliable than 8 or 9, it really works incredibly well.

I think you'll be blown away going to a clutch derailleur. It's significantly better.
 
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