Interchange Shimano & Campy 11-Speed Cassettes, Save Your Wheels

Interchange shimano and campagnolo 11 speed cassettes so you do not need new freehub

Our friends over at Wheelworks in New Zealand compared the cog spacing of Shimano and Campagnolo 11 speed cassettes to determine if you could mix and match the bits in a drivetrain.

Why do such a thing? Simple: to keep your current wheels. Shimano’s 11-speed cassette requires a wider freehub body, which means potentially redishing your wheels or, more expensively, a new wheelset. Campy’s, however, fits on a standard freehub width, although you will have to get a Campagnolo specific freehub body. So, it’s not a totally free upgrade, but if you’re dropping all your spare change on the new group, any money saved on making your current high end wheels work with it is good.

The benefit for those with Campy groups is an increased selection of gear combinations. Click through to see what Tristan from Wheelworks had to say about their comparison…

Here is a visual look at a Campangolo (left) and Shimano (right) 11 speed cassette. The short story: These two cassettes should be interchangeable giving Campagnolo riders more cassette size options. It could also mean people with wheelsets where there will be no 11 speed Shimano option could use the Campagnolo conversion and run a Campangolo cassette with their Shimano 11 speed drivetrain.

Measuring cassettes is hard work – the tapered and shaped cogs mean it’s hard to find a consistent reference point. Instead I thought a visual comparison would be easier – this is taken with the longest lens I have (150mm) to reduce lens curve as much as possible, and is inline with the top two cogs. The two parallels which the cassettes are resting on are not square to the camera because they need to support the 25t Campagnolo cassette cog and the 11t Shimano. Both cassettes are fitted to freehub bodies and torqued to spec to ensure they’re suitably compressed.

We asked how it performed, and he replied:

Parking-lot rides of either combination works fine – even so far as that with White Industries T11 hubs on both wheelsets the cassettes are in the same position and there was no gear-tuning required between wheels. The Shimano bike is a customers so I’m not able to give it a proper ride, but there is nothing which makes me think it won’t work well in the field.

Anyone else tried this? Leave a comment and let us know how it worked!

Comments

Rick - 12/12/12 - 11:50pm

Shouldn’t it be technically possible for 9070 to be programed for 10 speed? If people can hack an iPhone, I would think someone would be able to program this.

Pancakes - 12/12/12 - 11:54pm

Rick-

My understanding is that the determination happens at the derailleur, so if you put an Ultegra Di2 rear derailleur on an otherwise 9070 bike, it’ll do 10.

Jayson - 12/13/12 - 12:16am

What is this post saying even saying? With the OLD of 11 speed Campy and Shimano hubs being different now, how can we expect the shifting to be predictable, precise, and efficient. Any bike can be suitable on a test ride. This hypes 11 speed, nothing else.

Moove - 12/13/12 - 5:22am

This should make it possible to compare shifting function of the cassettes, all else equal.
My bet is that the Shimano cassette will shift better.

Nick - 12/13/12 - 7:50am

Moove, I believe system integration plays heavily at this echelon of components. It’s likely the shimano cassette will shift best when used with a 9000 group while it’s entirely possible the campy cassette will shift best with the SR11 group.

dgaddis - 12/13/12 - 8:36am

Jayson – the point is, if you have a Shimano drivetrain and existing wheels that can be used with Campagnolo, you can use a Campy freehub body and 11spd cassette with the new 11spd Shimano Dura-Ace. You don’t need new wheels.

And if you are using 11spd Campy you can now use Shimano 11spd cassettes for more gearing choices.

carl - 12/13/12 - 9:21am

I’m still unclear as to what this article is saying. If you have wheels with interchangeable FH bodies, yes, you can change back and forth from Campy to Shimano. We all know that. Are you saying that the cog spacing on the cassettes is close enough that you DON’T have to change the cassettes for 11 speed?

RobO - 12/13/12 - 9:26am

Just using the above visual as a test it is plain to see that there is at least a millimeter or more difference between the two cassettes. That would by itself be a big enough difference for this not to work in a sufitient manner for the level of components that you are refering to. You’ve got to pay to play.

The Goats - 12/13/12 - 9:29am

Looking at how close the spacing is on the photo what comes to mind is that a floating top pulley would easily allow for any differences. This is exciting, I love Campy stuff but have allways shy’d away due to non compatability with my Shimano wheels. Loving the idea of Campy/Shimano sameness in cassettes some day. Have allways wished Campy would have adopted Shimano cassette specs as I think it would have helped grow their market share.

Goats

Ashley K - 12/13/12 - 9:29am

The Italians design something for there groupset. The Japanese did the same with 9000. If you mix the groups I promise you will be damaging parts that are very expensive.

Dockboy - 12/13/12 - 10:22am

This could make Neutral Support’s wheel-changing job a bit easier in a couple of years, if SRAM follows suit with the 11s trend. Handy. Also, Campy has 11s cassettes that cost less than 9070, so you can set up a training wheelset with a cheap cluster.

Erich - 12/13/12 - 10:25am

I’m with The Goats on this one. I wish there was a single freehub body standard between the big 3, but as the optimization of drivetrain components continues, I see that becoming less and less of a possibility. More to the point, I also think that the spacing looks close enough here that you could futz with the shifting a bit and get it working passably well without needing new wheels. That could be great news for the early adopters of Shimano 11, as their risk is limited to just buying a new drivetrain, albeit a pricey one, and not new and likely expensive wheels to boot.

Mindless - 12/13/12 - 11:46am

They seem off by a mm.

Mindless - 12/13/12 - 11:51am

And now we have a new MTB standard for 11sp (10 to 42). Wonderful.

Can somebody just pick one. This new Hope one that allows for 9t cog would be fine. Yeah, and 142×12 rear for all.

steve - 12/13/12 - 12:16pm

Shimano will offer software to program the new Di2 for 10-speeds, so no worries

Your Face - 12/13/12 - 1:09pm

Yes, but what about interchanging old school campy and shimano seatposts?

Pancakes - 12/13/12 - 1:52pm

@Your Face

That’s how you short out your shifters.

greg - 12/13/12 - 2:04pm

what is most odd is that the shimano cassette has the narrower spacing, even though it requires the longer freehub.

Andrew - 12/13/12 - 2:21pm

Once again ‘bike’ people questioning logic put right in front of their face, why? because of good corporate propaganda from Shimano and the like. Good job to Wheelworks for giving half decent evidence. Will a campy cassette with a shimano chain/rd work well… probably not as well as a complete shimano gruppo, but if it works then it will save (a very few people) a lot of money. Comments like “I promise you will be damaging parts that are very expensive” sound like they came right out of the mouth of some Shimano PR person… Let me remind you that Shimano parts aren’t made of ice where Campy parts are made of fire.

Sam - 12/13/12 - 3:16pm

One problem is that Campy cassettes hang over the end of the freehub. This is only applicable to that small segment that has enough $$$ for 9000, but doesn’t want to spring for new wheels….or wait probably not even them. If you have a rear wheel with White Industries H3 or a Mavic wheel and Shimano 10 speed drivetrain–this COULD save you a couple bucks. Who switches from Campy 11 speed to Shimano? Unless they have one of the very few Shimano 11sp compatible hubs(almost no one yet, and WHY if you’re running Campy) it would be impossible to switch to the Shimano 11sp body for the(non-existent) gear combo advantage. Didn’t Campy make a 11-29 cassette before Shimano? Now they BOTH offer the same number of cassette options.

If you have Campy and hate it you should swap to Shimano freehub body, lose a gear, sell the group, and buy Dura-Ace 9000 or Ultegra DI2. The advantage to Dura Ace 9000 is not 11 gears–10 is easily enough–it’s the best front shifting(rivals DI2) of any cable-operated group. The chainring compatibility is a nice bonus. If you get the Dura Ace 9000 11-25 or 12-28 and drop the 16t cog it gives you a nice range of gears with full compatibility with rear hubs.

Scott - 12/13/12 - 3:27pm

It seems to me that if I’m spending that kind of coin on an 11spd kit I wouldn’t be satisfied with good enough for a “parking lot” ride. Cool to see people like wheelworks trying out new things but if I’m pounding up a hill and drop a bunch of gears I don’t want to have my knees slammed into my stem when my chain miss shifts on me.

Bikerumor is a bit misleading with their title. I think they forgot to add a question mark to the end as it seems the jury is still out.

Marceire - 12/13/12 - 8:14pm

FYI, I am running the wheels manufacturing campy 11 cassette that fits on a shimano freewheel body.
It’s basically a modified ultegra cassette. (Using it on my Madfiber shimano spline wheels)
After a very short, initial break-in period it’s working exactly as well as my SR 11s cassette.

So, I am fairly confident that if the spacing between the rings is the same you should have no problem running a shimano 11 with your campy drivetrain.

James - 12/13/12 - 9:09pm

I was told by a very reputable Shimano employee that 11 speed cassettes are 100% cross compatible. My guess is they will work better with each other than any Wheels Manufacturing or American Classic Cassette. Take that for what it’s worth, but that was the advice I was given by a friend.

guy - 12/14/12 - 1:57am

If you’re really dropping this kind of coin on either of these groups, buck up and buy new wheels as well. Or maybe hold of for a few more paychecks until that becomes realistic. Counting your couch change to buy the newest high-end group is indicating a serious priority issue. Not that there’s something wrong with that condition (we all suffer from it once in a while), but spending that chunk of change warrants doing something right the first time IMO.

RoadieManila - 12/14/12 - 3:22am

Now i can confidently use the KMC X11SLs on my DA9000! :)

yippa - 12/14/12 - 6:22pm

So here’s another option to throw in the mix. If I have a wheelset with shimano/sram style 10spd freehub body and I buy a Wheels Mfg 11spd Campy conversion cassette I can keep my wheels, my freehub body and just get this new cassette to make my current wheels compatible with 11spd DA9000. This is something I’ve been thinking about for the last week or two and reading this article makes me think it should probably work. Any thoughts?

Sam - 12/24/12 - 5:51pm

Yippa–>Campagnolo basically cheated when they designed their 11 speed cassettes–the largest sprocket is dished over the spokes. The cassette can rub the hub shell and/or the derailleur cage can rub the spokes. There’s been a lot of compatibility issues with that system, but most companies have found ways around them. Like I said earlier your best option, to get the better FUNCTION of Dura Ace 9000–not necessarily 11 cogs, is to omit one loose sprocket. You’re then free to mount the group on any bike.

Phil - 05/12/13 - 10:43am

I have Campy Record 11 speed EPS. Love it. I use 32 spoke Stans Alpha 400 tubeless clincher rims. Problem is that I also am pushing 235 lbs. and I’m tough on rims. I’ve been told – no idea if correct – that the Dura Ace tubeless clincher rims are the best tubeless rims going for a heavy rider (I’m way over Campy weight limits on their two-way fit wheels). So – I’d like to run the Dura Ace wheels with my Campy EPS.

My question – anyone make a conversion hub body that allows a Campy 11 speed cassette to be used on the Dura Ace wheels?

I’d settle for finding tubeless rims (that are stronger that the Stans 400 tubeless rims – and they are about as strong as anything I found when I built my wheels) and rebuild the wheels. I cracked two of the Stans Alpha 340 rims – that’s why I started using 400′s. I think I just cracked one of those. I really want to stay tubeless – not go to some 36 spoke tubed wheel.

Jim - 10/27/13 - 5:28am

Folks thought I would add a bit of compatibility info – I have just fitted an shomano Ultegra 6800 rear derailleur, with Campag Chorus 11 speed Ergopowers ad the front derailleur is campag. So I would note the following:

• Campag and Shimano 11 speed are completely interchangeable – shifters cassettes etc
• The Shimano 11 spped chain is just a 10 speed chain there is no difference!
• I am running a 10 speed double Sram crank and it works fine with 11 speed
• I have 11 speed wheels but the Shimano 11 speed cassette fits straight on to my Mavic Askium which are shimano 9 / 10 speed – they always needed a spacer so no wheels needed if you are running Mavic!!
J

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