Do you need a clutch rear derailleur?

Simon Smythe wonders whether road riders need to avoid chain slap in the same way mountain bikers do

Ultegra RX

Shimano’s road developers have traditionally borrowed from the company’s mountain bike tech: as far back as 1989, the Japanese company took the internals of its Rapidfire shifting system and created the first STI — arguably the biggest game changer in road cycling of the last 50 years.

Now Shimano has just launched the Ultegra RX clutch derailleur, a roadgoing version of its Shadow Plus system, testing it earlier this year at the cobbled Classics with the Trek-Segafredo team, whose RX-equipped bikes appear in Shimano’s PR photographs.

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Simon Smythe

Simon Smythe is a hugely experienced cycling tech writer, who has been writing for Cycling Weekly since 2003. Until recently he was our senior tech writer. In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.