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!