Ask a Mechanic 10 and 11-speed compatibility

Published on October 31st, 2014 | by Daniel

Ask a Mechanic | 11-speed Drivetrain with 10-speed Rear Wheel

Question: Rolando wants to know: Can I use my extra wheelsets that have 10-speed cassettes in my bike with 11-Speed Shimano Dura-Ace? From: Rolando

Answer: Your 10-speed wheels can work with your 11-speed system; but because 11-speed freehub bodies are wider than 10-speed, and because the spacing on 11-speed cogs is slightly different, there are a few special things you have to do to make it work.

First, you’ll need to replace your 10-speed cassettes with 11-speed units, minus a cog. For example, if you have an 11-28 11-speed cassette, you will need to remove the 12-tooth cog. Now you’ll need to readjust your lower limit on the rear derailleur to prevent it from shifting into the spokes (where an 11th cog would be if you had one). Some minor cable tension adjustments may be required as well to compensate for small differences in chainline between hubs.

If you plan on switching back and forth between a wheel with a complete 11-speed cassette and another wheel with a 10-speed freehub with the modified 11-speed cassette I described, there is a way to make the limit adjustment you’ll need to do each time very easy.

Just place a mark on the head of the screw and a corresponding mark on the derailleur that shows the position of the screw when using the 10-speed wheel. Then make another mark on the derailleur to show the position of the screw when using the 11-speed wheel. With these marks you never need to fiddle with the limits and retune the derailleur with each wheel swap; just turn the screw to the right mark and you are all set.

If you needed to make any cable tension adjustments between the two setups you can use the same marking method on the cable barrel adjuster.

Welcome to our Ask a Mechanic column where our expert mechanics Daniel Slusser and Greg O’Keeffe answer your bike maintenance questions. If you have a question for us, please post it on the Art’s Cyclery Facebook Wall or e-mail Daniel directly at daniel.slusser@artscyclery.com. To see more great how to videos click on the highlighted link to subscribe to our YouTube channel and stay up to date on each episode of the Art’s Cyclery/VeloNews Ask a Mechanic Series.

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About the Author

Daniel

Slusser is a professional bicycle mechanic with over ten years of experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from HSU and a master’s degree in history from Cal Poly. When he is not riding, wrenching, or writing he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.



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