Hacks: SRAM / Shimano Drivetrain Mix & Match Special Edition

With the dizzying number of new parts, groups, and compatibilities, trying to figure out what parts you can keep of your old kit can be maddening. Here are a few compatibility setups/hacks that may just keep you from having to buy a whole new drive train.

The video above comes from a German bike tuning company, Fantic 26. They offer SRAM 10 speed Gripshifters for sale that are labeled as modified to work with either 9 speed SRAM or 9 speed Shimano rear derailleurs, but still offering 10 speed shifting. In the video a 10 speed Gripshift shifts a 10 speed XTR rear derailleur with a 10 speed SRAM cassette and XX crank. Clearly, it’s hard to tell how well it shifts from a video but considering that they’re selling the shifters, it probably works well enough.

Check out a Zee 10speed-9 speed hack and SRAM XX ring theory after the break.

Have a SRAM 9 speed drivetrain but want a clutched derailleur? Over on Pinkbike’s forums, the user who goes by jwick posted some very interesting pictures with a 10 speed Zee  and XTR shadow plus rear derailleurs running on a 9 speed drivetrains with a SRAM shifter. The catch is that 10 speed and 9 speed Shimano systems have completely different cable pull ratios, so they aren’t cross compatible.

To overcome the issue so that he could run Shadow + derailleurs with SRAM 9 speed shifters, jwick made a 6mm spacer from a square brass nut that sits on top of the old cable clamp with a slot for the cable cut into it. Using a longer pinch bolt, the spacer apparently adds enough length to the lever arm that it works with 9 speed SRAM shifters. Apparently, jwick claims to have been running it with the XTR Shadow + derailleur above for 6 months without issues. In addition, there is a pretty detailed thread over on MTBR on the various Shimano 9 speed/10 speed compatibility issues. Now it just needs to be updated for 11 speed…

Nice work.

Finally, we got a tip from Johnny to check out Marco Aurelio Fontana’s Cannondale over on Jonas’ blog. It certainly looks like it is running an XX1 crank or rings on a standard 10 speed Type 2 rear derailleur. We would assume it is running an XX1 chain to take advantage of the special tooth profile on the crank to keep it from coming off without a front chainguide. There are rumors that Trebon has been testing a CX version of XX1, so it’s interesting to see the 1x drivetrain potentials popping up. If the 11 speed chain works well on 10 speed cassettes, or better yet, a 10 speed chain works well on the 11 speed chain ring, it will be even easier for riders who want to try out a 1x drivetrain with the XX1 rings or crank.


9 thoughts on “Hacks: SRAM / Shimano Drivetrain Mix & Match Special Edition

  1. Erm …. to run a Zee in 9spds you don’t need that brass spacer. I’ve got a Zee running a 9spd cassette/chain using a regular SRAM X9 9spd shifter, and it’s completely fine. I’ve ran that setup on my DH bike for something like 6 months and it hasn’t faulted me yet, all 9spds are good and so far, I’ve tried to put as much power as I could on all 9 speeds, and it just didn’t slip, it stayed just fine.

  2. I remember that when the new gravity stuff came out, it was noted that shimano included long enough limit screws to take the saint and zee mechs down to 6 gears if need be

  3. SRAM has already said that the xx1 crank can be run with a 10spd chain. While not as secure as their 11spd system, the varying width of the chain ring teeth do provide better security over traditional chainrings, especially using a clutched derailleur. A lot of the world cup guys have been running that setup since the end of last season. Check out florien Vogel’s Olympic bike, it’s photo 9 in the gallery. http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/09/mtb/mountain-bike-tech-roundup-from-eurobike-2_252504

  4. Yup, I’m running the Zee RD + X9 9spd setup as well. Been using it for more than 6 months and there is no need for the spacer. Shifts well and I never had any problems when I raced it.

  5. I can’t recommend the FANTIC26 modified shifter. I had two sets, one for XX der and another for XTR M980 der. At both some gears are jump over after around 2.000 – 3.000 miles 🙁
    The fantic26 shifter worn out very very fast.

  6. “Clearly, it’s hard to tell how well it shifts from a video but considering that they’re selling the shifters, it probably works well enough.”

    You havn’t been in this game very long have you?

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