SRAM NX 11-speed shifts like s$$t after installing 11-46 cassette- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    SRAM NX 11-speed shifts like s$$t after installing 11-46 cassette

    My fatbike has the 11-speed NX RD and shifter and came with a SRAM 11-42 cassette and KMC chain. It never shifted butter soft (I have a 10-speed GX as comparison) and sometimes the chain seems to hesitate some revolutions before switching cogs.

    in the past I had re-adjusted and installed new cable (optislick and SP42 housing). That made it a bit better. That was about 100-200 miles ago.

    I installed an 11-46 sunrace CSMX8 cassette and a SRAM 1110 NX chain and the above problem seem much worse. I realize the RD is rated for 42T only and with 46T I'm above spec and should expect degraded shifting. But the large cog isn't problematic at all, it is all the other gears that cause problems.

    I tried the following:
    - verified chain link is in the right direction
    - the chain doesn't seem directional, but the labeling is outside.
    - B-Gap is adjusted per SRAM manual to ~15mm on large cog. There is quite a bit of B-screw length left.
    - chain is correct length (4 links overlap per SRAM, which was the exact 114 link chain length it came in)
    - barrel adjuster is as good adjusted as I can. Sometimes the problem is up-, and sometimes in downshifting. Once the chain catches on the cog, it stays there solid, no ghost shifting etc.

    I have my suspicion the shifter pulls the cable a bit different depending on how fast I push the shift paddle. When up-shifting I push and quick release and may have the problem. But when I push in, and release only after a second, it seems to shift fine. Unlike shimano, SRAM doesn't have instant release. But I see the RD moving a tiny bit when I push the small lever in, and move the rest upon releasing that lever.
    Upon downshifting (pushing large lever) a bit overshifting seems to help. Obviously the shifter may not be the problem, but would explain why it was weird before my upgrade.
    Another one time weird thing happened with that shifter today. I started in largest cog and clicked a few times to up-shift (small lever). but it didn't shift at all. i had to downshift (large paddle) a time and then the up-shifting worked. But that only happened once today. However, makes me suspicious of the shifter. the bike has a bit over 2,000 km if i had to guess.

    My other suspicion is that the chain (it is the lowest level SRAM 11-speed chain) may be prone to shift not that well. Unfortunately my original KMC chain was too short. I kind of don't think the cassette is at fault.

    Obviously the out-of spec RD with 46T may be the problem. But I read from others that the NX RD should work with 11-46T.

    The RD-hanger looks straight and the RD cage seems to sit straight. I don't have a hanger straightener tool, but I didn't do anything to bend the hanger between my upgrade.

    I have about 1-2 days of snow left before it thaws, so I don't want to take my fatbike apart just today. I have a spare RD-hanger, and I also have an XT 11-speed shifter and RD (for a different bike upgrade) and a Shimano chain... so technically I can throw parts at the problem till it resolves. But if someone could advise if any of my components is more or less likely to cause this, that would narrow it down.

    I'm fine if installing that XT RD is the solution since that is rated for 46T, but don't want to do that before I excluded the other possibilities.
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  2. #2
    NedwannaB
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    Suscribed. Thinking same cassette switch with my new NX drivetrain. Do plan to put on an xo1 shifter though.
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  3. #3
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    I noticed that riding in warmer (closer to 32F) temps the shifting at least was as good as before my upgrade. So the cassette and chain are likely generally OK.

    I don't have a hanger-alignment tool, but replaced the hanger with the spare hanger. On casual observations they looked the same, but it seems i had to re-adjust the limit screws. So there is a chance the hanger was bent.

    While I had the cable loose, I also observed that the cable and housing are clean, have no frayed parts etc.

    Cassette is also solid (no wiggling) and was torqued to 40Nm.

    shifting is kind of OK, except upshifting from 2nd (40T) to 3rd gear doesn't work. I have to shift to 4th gear and back to third. Downshifting (inwards) works fine. No matter what i adjust, it doesn't work well while all other shifts seem to work fine. the issue appears in the stand and while riding. the only way to make that upshift possible is by turning in the shifter barrel, but that makes all other gears suck.

    I also flushed out the shifter to no avail.

    My suspicion is that the RD is a bit bent, or that the shifter has an issue in that gear range. It also can be that this is just part of the out-of-spec operation with 46T. Although the problems happens at smaller cogs (40T and below).

    Unless someone has another idea, my next step would be to put on that XT shifter and RD and see how that works.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    I don't have a hanger-alignment tool, but replaced the hanger with the spare hanger. On casual observations they looked the same, but it seems i had to re-adjust the limit screws. So there is a chance the hanger was bent.
    I've tried to eyeball hangers by bending them with just an axle screwed in. While it does work on things like 6-7-8spd, things need to be more precise as you go up in speeds.

    On 10-11-12spd, but even on 9spd stuff i've had a few instances where the hanger looked perfectly straight to my eye, but I could only get the shifting perfect after aligning the hanger with an actual aligning tool.

  5. #5
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    I got a derailleur hanger alignment tool. Even the new hanger was a bit off and i bent it in correct position. This improved shifting somewhat, but not substantially. i still had problems up-shifting and had to overshift and shift back etc.

    So it must be RD or shifter.

    I installed the XT shifter and RD. And it shifts perfectly!
    Well, only in the stand so far since I haven't had time to ride.

    Obviously the RD could be bent a bit, but I can't really tell without a new RD to compare - it doesn't look bent. It is also possible the shifter wore out enough to shift imprecisely. I doubt my problem is related to the out-of-spec cassette since the RD has plenty of B-screw left and the problem happens in the sub 40T cogs.

    I have had SRAM for all my recent bikes. I love the XT so far, I especially love the instant-release and the double-upshift.
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  6. #6
    NedwannaB
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    Quote Originally Posted by HerrKaLeun View Post
    I got a derailleur hanger alignment tool. Even the new hanger was a bit off and i bent it in correct position. This improved shifting somewhat, but not substantially. i still had problems up-shifting and had to overshift and shift back etc.

    So it must be RD or shifter.

    I installed the XT shifter and RD. And it shifts perfectly!
    Well, only in the stand so far since I haven't had time to ride.

    Obviously the RD could be bent a bit, but I can't really tell without a new RD to compare - it doesn't look bent. It is also possible the shifter wore out enough to shift imprecisely. I doubt my problem is related to the out-of-spec cassette since the RD has plenty of B-screw left and the problem happens in the sub 40T cogs.

    I have had SRAM for all my recent bikes. I love the XT so far, I especially love the instant-release and the double-upshift.
    Still subscribed. Hoping to run the 11/46t cassette on this SRAM bike and not switch over to xt drivetrain.
    Ripley V1 XC/Gravel Adventure rig
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  7. #7
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    Having the exact same issue only it's with a brand new NX rear 11 speed derailleur that was a warranty replacement for an NX that the pulley wheels wore off of. The shop did the dumbest thing. They replaced the derailleur cable, but not the housing at the time of the replacement. Here's the even stranger thing. I ran the stock KMC chain, NX, shifter & derailleur for 8 months solid with a Sunrace 11-46 cassette with no issues until it started not wanting to drop from the 46 tooth down to the 42. Looked at the derailleur, realized the pulley wheels were shot & the knuckle that bolts it to the frame had slop & got a warrantied model. That is when the mechanic replaced the cable & derailleur, but not the cassette, cable housing or shifter.

    So the brand new identical 11-46 Sunrace cassette and a brand new mid-grade SRAM chain have the same issue of suddenly not wanting to drop off the 46 tooth. So the only 2 things it could be are the SRAM chain or the thumb shifter. I'm thinking it's the shifter since NX is so freaking cheap. Guessing maybe there is a groove inside it or something bound up that's gotten past that big dust flap that is not letting the cable release all the way.

    I can tug very lightly on the derailleur itself and it drops down immediately to the 42 & will happily shift down and back up the cassette. It behaves as though there is gunk inside the cable housing. But cable binding shows across virtually every gear.

    The only other thing it might be is that mid-grade chain, but have never had a problem with any brand chain. Only problems running only gears or chains with new ones.

    I am gonna try to find a cheap NX that someone pulled off an OEM bike and replace that next.
    I am not a "Role Model"

  8. #8
    NedwannaB
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    I ended up using an e13 9-46t cassette and it worked fine.
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