A popular brand of bicycle chain is 13-speed. However, most bicycles are 10-speed, with only a handful of bikes manufactured with 11-speed chains. There is a common misconception that using an 11-speed chain with a 10-speed cassette will cause problems. However, this is not the case. The two gears are not compatible and will not work together. While this configuration may seem strange initially, it is possible to use both gears without any issues. If you want to upgrade your bike’s gear system, upgrading to an 11-speed chain and cassette is a good option. In this article, you will learn about the debate over can i use 11 speed chain with 10 speed cassette? So, keep reading!
What is a bike cassette and how does it work?
A bike cassette is a group of gears included with a bike that allows the rider to change gears. A bike cassette typically consists of between 5 to 9 gears (including the most extensive and most minor), although some may have more or less. The front and rear sprocket on a bicycle is attached to the hub and spins on different-sized cogs within an inner and outer ring. The cogs are connected, so when one turns, they all turn. The largest cog is known as the ‘big’ cog and the smallest is known as the ‘little’ one. Hubs and freewheels come in both threaded and threadless models.
By adjusting these rings, one can shift between different ratios of gear teeth while riding. Most bike cassettes can be changed on the fly, but you must stop pedaling for a few moments, depending on the type. Some bike cassettes require the removal of the wheel to be changed, a process that can take a few minutes.
The various cassettes and their compatibility
The cassette is the cluster of gears on your bike which connects with the back wheel and allows you to change gears. There are three major types of bike cassettes: Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo. The first two are more common, but Campagnolo is a more expensive option with few advantages over its competitors. Here we will take a look at all three types of bike cassettes to help you get a better understanding.
Shimano cassettes are the most popular brand of cassettes used on bikes and as a result, they have emerged as one of the most well-known brands in the world. Their cassette designs have improved over time to account for more efficient and better gear changes, but some drawbacks still make them inferior to Campagnolo cassettes.
There are two main types of Shimano cassettes: Shimano 10-speed and Shimano 11-speed. Both of which are widely used in the market. Shimano 11-speed is an inexpensive choice for many budget-oriented cyclists, but it is also known for having issues with compatibility with specific hubs and bottom bracket systems. On the other hand, the Shimano 10-speed cassette has been around since the mid-1970s and is a trendy choice among most cyclists.
SRAM is another popular bike gear manufacturer that has gained much recognition over the last few years. Starting from SRAM’s first cassette, the Red, most brands now use the company’s cassettes in their line-up. The gearing is generally on par with Shimano and Campagnolo gear sets. Still, because SRAM has a more limited range of gears than its competitors (only 11-speed), some riders prefer other brands.
Campagnolo is still a very prominent brand that produces some very high-performing products, such as their chainsets and rear derailleurs. Their cassettes are one of the best on the market today but are also quite expensive. They have a wide selection of gears and often include a few different gearing options in the same cassette cluster. It is excellent for riders who like to change gears depending on the environment and conditions, but it may lead to some confusion for inexperienced cyclists.
There are two main types of Campagnolo cassettes: Campagnolo 11-speed and Campagnolo Record 10-speed. Both of them are unique in their way but most commonly used by experienced cyclists and racers. Campagnolo has been around since 1933, so you can expect these bike parts to be top quality.
How to use a cassette and chain with 11 speed bicycles?
The cassette and chain are installed on bicycles that transfer power from the pedals to the wheel. Usually made of metal, the cassette and chain will wear down over time with repeated use. The best way to prolong the life of this mechanism is to lubricate it before each ride. Follow the instructions below on using a cassette and chain with 11-speed bicycles.
Things you will need:
- Your bicycle (12-speed, 10-speed or 11-speed)
- Lube (detergent can work but is more likely to cause damage)
- Grease (ideally)
- Chain breaker (if necessary)
- Cassette tool (if necessary)
- Clean rag (optional but recommended)
Follow the instructions below on using a cassette and chain with 11-speed bicycles.
It was lubricating the Chain
Remove the link between the crank and the cassette. It is usually accomplished with a tool. The links should be removed correctly so that no gears are skipped when changing them. The first link will connect to the smallest gear on your cassette. Inspect the chain. If it is severely worn out, replace it. If there is some minor wear, clean it thoroughly with a rag and then begin to lubricate the chain.
Lubricating the Cassette
If the cassette is severely worn, replace it. If it is slightly worn, clean it thoroughly with a rag or some solvent. Apply lubrication to the cassette. Make sure that you coat all the components with lubricant. Replace all the links on your chain, except for one. Pull-on this link to ensure it is tightened correctly, then remove it from your chain.
Putting It All Together
Reinsert your chain into your cassette and slowly crank your bicycle. If the chain moves smoothly, you are good to go. If you have a chain breaker, put it between your chain and cassette and turn it counterclockwise for two complete revolutions before using the tool to break the link.
Removing the Chain
To remove your chain from the cassette, use your tool and turn the crank part that connects to your chain clockwise. It should take you to where it will no longer move. As you move it in this direction, make sure your tool does not slip and break a link on your chain. If you are using a cassette tool, use it to pull out the chain.
11 speed vs 10-speed chains
A speed vs chain debate is coming to a head in the bike community, with some riders claiming that 10-speed chains are not as fast as their old-school 9-speed chains. So which side is right? Read on for 11-speed vs. 10-speed chains and our take.
What’s the difference?
There are two main variations in chain-drive systems: 9-speed and 11-speed. The differences between the two are simply in the number of gears. 10-speed and 11-speed chains are the same, but only 10-speeds use a sprocket setup. The extra sprocket adds up to the total number of gears.
Ease of use is one major advantage of the 11-speed sprocket drive system. With one extra gear in the mix, you can make much smaller shifts while riding without resorting to downshifting and many more gear changes. Your bike will shift more smoothly, and you avoid unnecessary fatigue as well as damaging your drive train.
But is it faster?
Most of the debates about 10-speed chains vs. 11-speed chains deal with speed. The short answer is: yes, 11-speed chains are faster than their ten-speed counterparts. However, it’s important to remember that the difference between 10 and 11 speeds isn’t huge. It’s fairly minimal when considering how many speed options there are in modern-day drive trains.
Both 10-speed and 11-speed chains are narrower than their 9-speed predecessors. It allows bicycle designers to use smaller gears and get the same results. You can generally expect the same speed with a 10-speed drivetrain as you would with a 9-speed drivetrain, making 10 speeds an ideal middle ground between old school and cutting-edge technology. Maybe you worry about whether or not 10-speed is better than 9-speed, or you’re wondering whether or not a 10-speed chain will work on your 9-speed cassette, or you want to know the advantages and disadvantages of each. So, please check this article.
However, compared to 11 speeds, 10 speeds don’t have as much juice in them. Starting with an 11, you can make your shifts even finer without downshifting or adjusting for a wider range of gears. Shifting an 11-sprocket system to its smallest gear is just as fast as maintaining a high gear on a 10-speed system. This speed requires less effort so that you can go further and faster.
Pros and Cons of using 11 speed chains with 10-speed cassettes
The 11 speed cassette is one of a family of gear systems that use three chainrings in front and thus require a larger chain. The advantage of the 11-speed chain is that you have a better chance of finding an 11-speed cog for your favourite bike’s gears. Here are some Pros of using 11 speed chains with 10-speed cassettes
- Improved gear shifting performance
- Better chain life due to increased tension
- Improves the drivetrain’s durability over time
- No need for heavier and more expensive 10 speed chains
The disadvantage is the cost and availability, even though installing an eleven-speed system on a 10-speed bike is theoretically possible. Here are some Cons of using 11 speed chains with 10-speed cassettes
- They are more susceptible to stretching
- They are harder to fit
- They require a different shifting technique
Can I use 11 speed chain With 10 speed cassette?
There are a lot of people who are uncertain whether they can use an 11-speed chain on a 10-speed cassette. I need to answer the question: can you use a 10-speed chain on an 11-speed cassette? Yes. You need to find the right chain length for your bike. However, please note that this does not apply to derailleur setups.
If you’re using a 10-speed chain on an 11-speed or vice versa, you’ll need to consider the position of the front derailleur. Also, you need to know that the 11-speed chain has a smaller gap between pins than a 10-speed. Therefore, you can use an 11-speed cassette on a 10-speed chain if you don’t require the extra 5th gear for your bike’s function. However, it’s not advised because it wears out the chain quickly and leaves a gap in the pulley.
You need to consider numerous factors if you want to use an 11-speed chain on a 10-speed cassette. A big factor is the pulley design that’s used in the cassette. Chain compatibility depends on how many teeth are in each gear cog and chain pins. The 8-speed chain has a larger gap between the teeth than the 9-speed. It allows you to use an 8- or 9-speed chain on an 11-speed cassette. However, you can’t use a 10-speed chain on an 11-speed cassette as it doesn’t have enough teeth compared to the other two chains.
I think it is safe to say that you can use an 11-speed chain and an 11-speed cassette together. The cassette is not the same as a regular 10-speed, but I don’t think the chain will be able to cope with it. The size of your chainring and rear sprocket will change, too, so make sure you’re ready for that.
If you’re going to use a 10-speed cassette with an 11-speed chain, it’s going to be more difficult than usual because you’ll need both smaller cassettes and smaller chainrings on your bike. I wouldn’t recommend using an 11-speed chain with a 10-speed cassette, but I think it’s fine to use a 10-speed cassette with an 11-speed front chain ring and a 12-speed rear.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!