Monkey Upgrade


I put some new bling on my Karate Monkey.

36 teeth

It’s a little hard to make it out in the picture, but it says “36t” on the big cog.

That’s the much ballyhooed Shimano SLX HG-61 cassette. With my monkey’s mountain triple (FC-M460) cranks, I have stupendously low gearing (in inches):

106.8 77.7 53.4
91.6 66.6 45.8
80.1 58.3 40.1
71.2 51.8 35.6
61.0 44.4 30.5
53.4 38.8 26.7
45.8 33.3 22.9
40.1 29.1 20.0
35.6 25.9 17.8

The lowest gear is 17.8″ For most people, this is probably insanely low, but I am not like most people.

I am fat, lazy, and slow. And I live in a mountainous area. I suspect that low gear will see lots of use.

Shimano say you need a fancy “Shadow” derailleur to make this cassette work. Shimano are full of it.


This is just a regular Deore derailleur. I screwed the B-tension screw all the way in, and it fits. Just barely.

Shimano also warns you that the 22/36 combination can generate so much torque that you might damage your rear hub. They then suggest that you should buy one of their fancy 29er-specific rear hubs.

I think I have the hub situation well in hand already.


I took it for a test spin around the block today, and everything seems to work. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to take it out to the woods this week and see if I am able to spin up some hills that I have had to walk up before.

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