The first question that comes to mind is “why?” Why spend the coin on Di2 only to run an antiquated derailleur. Turns out, it was sort of an accident, but it showed just how versatile Shimano’s Di2 system can be, even if it was unintentional.

“A customer of ours is training for RAAM and wanted Di2 but has to run a mountain cassette,” said Jason at Cycles Unlimited. “So, we started playing around with derailleurs, and the older XTR M971 has the same cage design as the Ultegra Di2. So, we could just pop it out and mount it to the road derailleur.”

“The funny thing is, as we were playing with the set up, I accidentally stuck a 9-speed cassette on there and was able to use their micro adjust feature on the Di2 to get it shifting perfectly. Now, though, he’s running a new 10-speed cassette on the bike. Basically, we just used Shimano’s built in adjustments and did some heavy adjusting of the B-knuckle and it works just fine.”

“It doesn’t work on all bikes. We tried it on a Scott Foil and it wouldn’t shift right. But on his Lynskey R420 ‘Green Monster’ it shifts just fine. Now he’s got push button shifting with an 11-34 XTR 10-speed mountain bike cassette. And we didn’t have to go with the K-Edge system.”

More pics below, including the complete bike with their weight saving switch to Revelate Designs frame bags for his 10+ hour training rides…


  1. Shimano is like Datsun/Nissan used to be in the 70’s/80’s, engineering all their gear so that interchangeability is possible.

  2. Would think that he could do with a significantly more aero wheels for such an event… Mavic R-Sys, while light and stiff are as aero as a brick wall…

  3. What the heck is going on on that bike really?! Frame packs rsys wheels u-i2 to a 9 speed? Someone just looked through a cycling magazine clipped a bunch of shit out then just pasted it together but in real life

  4. its very silly indeed….the saddle?? is that a bontrager ssr stem??? those horrible wheels that will definitely pop crabonfibre spokes all over rt 66. 10+ hour training rides….amazing bro

  5. I work at the shop this bike is serviced at, and the owner of this bike is an accomplished randonneur and probaby a more avid cyclist that most people reading this article. He works four days a week as an RN, and trains constantly during his three day weekend. He’s currently training in hopes of setting the RAAM record in his age group. This is the bike he will do most of his training on, and will ride during the race on segments of the course that feature much climbing and descending, and has a time trial build in the works for racing across the Great Plains and other very flat and straight shot segments. In regards to the saddle, Selle An-atomica makes a fine perch for one’s butt, and I’d much rather ride one of those for ten hour rides rather than some featherweight carbon fiber and plastic number. I wish James godspeed in his endeavors, and I’m glad he chooses Cycles Unlimited as the store to help him with the equipment he uses to achieve his goals in both training and competition.

  6. I commend whom ever owns this bike, I could never ride mountain pedals on a road bike for 10+ hours without my feet cooking from the heat.

  7. This bike isn’t a random mish-mash of parts. It’s a thought out machine for its intent(RAAM). Definitely unconventional, but that’s what they said of the very first aerobars that showed up in this competition as well.

  8. RAAM has approximately 170,000 feet of climbing over the course. Wolf Creek pass alone ascends approximately 3,000 ft in a little under 8 miles. So.. the hack to run an 11-34 cassette will serve him well when he ascends Wolf Creek pass knowing that he has a couple thousand miles left to pedal and maybe another 100,000 feet worth of climbing.

    Sounds like most of the previous commenters would be able to man up and do all that climbing with a 53/39 running a 11-23 cassette.

    However, I’m with this guy. When I ride in 2014 to fundraise for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, I’ll be running a 52/36 with an 11-32 cassette and have much appreciation for the small miracle that Di2 will run that without any hacks.

    I hope to see you out on course.

  9. I have found people that listen to me at Cycle Unlimited. I am 61 and looking at doing the RAAM at 63. I am sure we will go through many remodels of this bike, but for those that have not tried RUSA or Ultra Marathon Cycling don’t get to upset. I am looking for a bike set up that does not give nerve problems in the hand and feet, plus looking for a comfortable seat. This is the best set up so far. It will get areo bar shifter later this year and if Garmin puts out a Vector power meter it will have that. This bike has done a lot of miles and it is one of the most comfortable. Thanks guys at Cycle Unlimited in Springfield, Missouri for working on getting the most comfortable bike as we spent the next two years working toward the RAAM. Haven’t gone to wider rim wheels because of the cross winds in Missouri. I wish everyone happy biking and hope they get a great bike and mechanics like I have.

  10. Kudos to Cycles Unlimited for the support they are providing Jim. As a customer of Cycles Unlimited I can say that Ashley and his staff are the best! Good luck Jim and I hope our paths cross in SW Mo soon!

  11. Hi Joe, I have a Di2 group set for my road bike, could I take an MTB Derailleur and use it on my road bike? Would you recommend the XTR M971 quoted above or is there something else you would recommend?


What do you think?