Big cassette with Medium rear derailleur

If you want to increase the gear range of your Exploro SPEED with medium cage SRAM Force1 rear derailleur and 11-36T cassette, there are many options.

SRAM will tell you that 11-36T is as big as you can go. If you want to believe that, there are three options to still increase your range:

  1. 3T Bailout and Overdrive 9-32T cassettes have a bigger range than 11-36 (356% vs 327%). However we have stopped production on this cassette.
  2. e*thirteen makes an 11-speed 9-34 cassette
  3. Leonardi has a 9-36T cassette

Because these cassettes start with a 9T cog, they all need an xD or xD-R driver. Additionally, you have to decrease your front ring by 18% to keep the same top gear. As a result, you will also get a smaller climbing gear despite the biggest cog not being any bigger than on an 11-36T cassette. So to compare:

SRAM11-36327%Standard Exploro Speed cassette
3T9-32356%Can be difficult to find
e*thirteen9-34378%Can be difficult to find
Leonardi9-36400%Hard to find nowadays, mediocre shifting performance


But there is a second group of cassettes you can use to increase your range. And all you need to do is ignore what SRAM tells you about the 36T maximum cog spec for the medium cage Force 1 rear derailleur.

We’ve been testing all sorts of combinations in the lab and on the road, and we found you can use a much bigger cassette than recommended without a problem Here’s the list:.

SRAM11-36327%Standard Exploro Speed cassette
Shimano11-40364%Use 1 linkset less than recommended (single-speed chain length method, see below)
SRAM/Shimano11-42382%Use 1 linkset less than recommended (single-speed chain length method, see below)
SRAM10-42420%Needs xD driver & 9% smaller chainring for same top gear. Use 1 linkset less than recommended (single-speed chain length method, see below)


Why would you want to run a medium cage over a long cage? With the mid-range cassettes, a medium cage offers crisper shifting. It also gives you better ground clearance.


Single-speed chain length OFFICIAL method: Run your chain directly over your biggest (or only) chainring and your biggest cog. Do not run it through the derailleur. Take the chain length with the chains tight as you can over cog and chainring like this, and add 2 linksets (4 links, 2 narrow and 2 wide). Note that “as tight as you can” may not be very tight, because you always need to add links in pairs for 1x. So if the route around cog and chainring is just a tenth of a link longer than your chain, you need to add another “1.9 links” to make the chain whole again.

Single-speed chain length method HACK: The above is the official recommendation. For the big range cassettes in combination with the medium rear derailleur, you add only 1 linkset (2 links, 1 narrow and 1 wide) as described in the main article., instead of adding 2 linksets as mentioned in the official method. To avoid any confusion, this means with the hack, your chain will be shorter than with the official method by 1 linkset (2 links).