Menu

Drivetrain compatibility hidden in plain sight

  • By Lennard Zinn
  • Published Sep. 18, 2013

Just when we all thought that the idea of compatibility between drivetrain components from various manufacturers was hopelessly quaint, along came 11 speeds, and we have compatibility of the most generous kind once again. Compatibility of wheel changes between any manufacturer’s wheels and cogs is something that those of us who raced before indexed shifting were accustomed to. Now, according to my testing, that is again the case with all 11-speed road cogsets.

I road-tested three 11-speed wheels on three bikes with current 11-speed drivetrains from the three big road component manufacturers: a titanium frame with Shimano Ultegra 6800 11-speed components, including an Ultegra 6800 11-speed chain; a magnesium frame with Campagnolo Super Record 11-speed components, including a Campagnolo Record 11-speed chain; and a steel frame with SRAM Red 22 11-speed components, including a SRAM Red 22 11-speed chain.

I used three 11-speed rear wheels across each of the frames: an Ultegra tubeless wheel with an Ultegra 11-28 cogset; a Fulcrum Racing Zero tubeless (2-Way Fit) wheel with a Super Record 12-25 cogset (as well as a Xentis tubular wheel with a Record 11-25 cogset for a brief ride on all of them); and a Zipp 303 wheel with a SRAM Red 22 cogset. I rode each of these wheels in a variety of terrain on each bike to test all of the gears. For some anal fine-tuning, I turned the barrel adjuster maybe an eighth of a turn on some of the setups, but I really didn’t need to even do that. Had I just gotten a wheel change in a race with any of those wheels, I could have raced as hard as I wanted with nary a shift hesitation or skip and essentially perfect shifting.

So, the answer to this question from Witold that I received after my September 3 Technical FAQ column is most unequivocally yes.

Dear Lennard,
Reading this in your latest Technical FAQ (Drivetrain compatibility for 10- and 11-speed):
“However, there is a fix for those with wheels that are not convertible to Shimano 11-speed freehubs but that offer Campagnolo freehubs (as you might imagine, Shimano is not one of those). You can install a Campagnolo freehub body on your wheel and get a Campagnolo 11-speed cogset. It will shift fine with a Shimano or SRAM 11-speed system.”
I am just wondering if, instead of buying a conversion kit to 11-speed (Shimano/SRAM) in ZIPP 188 (beyond black 2012 model) and redishing the wheel, all I need to do is to purchase Campagnolo ZIPP 188 freehub and use Campy 11-speed cassette?

Will this be enough to have an 11-speed system working perfectly with Shimano DA9000 groupset?
Thanks, Witold

FILED UNDER: Bikes and Tech TAGS: / /

Lennard Zinn

Lennard Zinn

Our longtime technical writer joined VeloNews in 1987. He is also a framebuilder, a former U.S. National Team rider, and author of many bicycle books, including Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance and Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, as well as Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes and Zinn's Cycling Primer: Maintenance Tips and Skill Building for Cyclists. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Colorado College. Readers can send brief technical questions to Ask LZ.

Catch every stage of the Tour

Subscribe to the FREE VeloNews weekly newsletter