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Old 08-09-10, 11:46 AM   #1
HawkOwl
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Mix SRAM & Shimano?

In the process of changing the cassette on one of my road bikes I've encountered a difference of opinion between two shops.

One shop changed my old cassette (Shimano) for the new one (SRAM) with no comments. Just a routine bit of business.

The second shop, in another state, when asked to change my other road bike's cassette to the new ratios really gave me a lesson on why not to change to SRAM. The explanation was that SRAM and Shimano parts may work together but not as well as Shimano for all parts. Plus, SRAM in a Shimano drive train will increase wear and thus the parts will not last as long. Also, the reverse is true if the drive train was originally SRAM; don't put Shimano parts in it.

So, SRAM or Shimano stay in your brand. Don't mix or there will be increased wear and decreased function? Or, doesn't make enough difference to worry about?
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Old 08-09-10, 12:18 PM   #2
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I've been playing 'mix-n-match' with Shimano and SRAM for a few years, and had no issues. Mostly Shimano cranks, FD, RD, with SRAM cassette and chain.

I am also doing the 'unthinkable' by using MTB cranks and cassettes on my road bikes and tourer.
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Old 08-09-10, 12:29 PM   #3
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I have SRAM cassettes on 2 of my 3 road bikes while everything else is Shimano. Works fine. I believe that Shimano chains are better than SRAM chains though, so if I had a SRAM setup I would probably still use a DA chain. YMMV.
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Old 08-09-10, 12:54 PM   #4
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Swapping cassettes is fine. It's shifters and rear deraillers that you have to worry about compatibility if you mix and match. SRAM numbered shifters (X.7, X.9, X.0, etc) are not compatible with Shimano rear deraillers, and vice versa.
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Old 08-09-10, 01:09 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by badamsjr View Post
I've been playing 'mix-n-match' with Shimano and SRAM for a few years, and had no issues. Mostly Shimano cranks, FD, RD, with SRAM cassette and chain.

I am also doing the 'unthinkable' by using MTB cranks and cassettes on my road bikes and tourer.
Is that a fender bracket lashed with zip ties?
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Old 08-09-10, 03:30 PM   #6
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I am having a bike built up from scratch. I decided for no rational reason at all but only that it's blingy, to add the new Sram XX 10 speed cassette to my shimano drive train. Sure I could have used the Shimano XT cassette at $100 or so, but no, I wanted that $300+ Sram XX cassette - it's as pretty as a piece of jewelry.
I hope this is a wise decision!

In case you are wondering, this is for a road bike - I like to ride with a wider range of gears because I do so much touring. My current bike is 12-34. The new bike will only give me 32 but I'll live with it.

Badams - your road bike looks just like mine, I have the same XTR derailleur and cassette on the rear. After many years it's finally wearing out and I'm gouing to replace it with XT 10 speed (now that it's out on the market).
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Old 08-09-10, 03:37 PM   #7
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I am having a bike built up from scratch. I decided for no rational reason at all but only that it's blingy, to add the new Sram XX 10 speed cassette to my shimano drive train. Sure I could have used the Shimano XT cassette at $100 or so, but no, I wanted that $300+ Sram XX cassette - it's as pretty as a piece of jewelry.
I hope this is a wise decision!

In case you are wondering, this is for a road bike - I like to ride with a wider range of gears because I do so much touring. My current bike is 12-34. The new bike will only give me 32 but I'll live with it.

Badams - your road bike looks just like mine, I have the same XTR derailleur and cassette on the read. After many years it's finally wearing out and I'm gouing to replace it with XT 10 speed (now that it's out on the market).
What Shimano shifters do you have on the bike? There is some cross compatibility issues with Shimano shifters and read der. One of my bikes has DA 7800 with a XTR rear der. and the 11/32 XX cassette. It works great. But DA 7900 won't work with that version of XTR der. So I wonder if the new XT 10sp will work with the 7900 shifters. I guess you've checked that out.

My wife has SRAM Red with a XX rear der. and the XX cassette. It works flawlessly. It's a high end SRAM Apex. lol
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Old 08-09-10, 03:50 PM   #8
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What Shimano shifters do you have on the bike? There is some cross compatibility issues with Shimano shifters and read der. One of my bikes has DA 7800 with a XTR rear der. and the 11/32 XX cassette. It works great. But DA 7900 won't work with that version of XTR der. So I wonder if the new XT 10sp will work with the 7900 shifters. I guess you've checked that out.

My wife has SRAM Red with a XX rear der. and the XX cassette. It works flawlessly. It's a high end SRAM Apex. lol
On my current bike its Shimano Ultegra 9 speed shifters, brakes Crank and XTR cassette and derailleur. On the new bike it will be Ultegra 10 speed 6600 or 6700 (I forget which one)***shifters, brakes, Dura Ace Crank, XT derailleur and the Sram XX casette. A real "mutt" bike!

***I had this whole problem with matching the components - I don't like the new Ultegra with the space ship gray coloring. I want everything to be shiny silver which is why I had to get the Dura Ace crank arm (I hate the look of rhte new Ultegra crank). I know the 6600/6700 will work with everything... it's an old set that's brand new that a buddy sold to me.
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Old 08-09-10, 05:27 PM   #9
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Is that a fender bracket lashed with zip ties?
Yes, this MTB frame was not set up for fenders (or racks, or disc brakes).
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Old 08-09-10, 05:32 PM   #10
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I have SRAM cassettes on 2 of my 3 road bikes while everything else is Shimano. Works fine. I believe that Shimano chains are better than SRAM chains though, so if I had a SRAM setup I would probably still use a DA chain. YMMV.
The one big advantage I saw in the SRAM chains is their use of a quick link. Lots easier to work on, and I tend to switch things around a fair bit, so it was important to me. The 991 Hollow Pin is a MTB 9spd, which works great on my road and tour bikes.
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Old 08-09-10, 05:40 PM   #11
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SRAM Bifters and derailleurs and Cassette. Shimano Crankand, Chainring and BB. Look Pedals and Cleats. I did discover my Dura Ace Wheels wouldn't work with my SRAM Cassette. The newer Dura Ace wheels don't have that problem I understand but the 11-28 Sram didn't work.
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Old 08-09-10, 05:43 PM   #12
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Swapping cassettes is fine. It's shifters and rear deraillers that you have to worry about compatibility if you mix and match. SRAM numbered shifters (X.7, X.9, X.0, etc) are not compatible with Shimano rear deraillers, and vice versa.
Same thing on the road groups. Keep the shifters and derailleurs the same brand, but everything else can mix-n-match.

Chiming in on the chains thing, I've used Shimano, SRAM and KMC. All my bikes (8-speed Sora, 9-speed Ultegra/Dura-Ace mix, 10-speed 105/Ultegra mix, and 10-speed Ultegra) seem to like KMC the best. They seem to shift more smoothly, run a lot quieter and like SRAM, they come with a reusable master link. Better still, they can be half the price, if you know where to shop.

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Old 08-09-10, 06:23 PM   #13
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My last cassette switch, the shop put on a SRAM cassette and I swear, it's given me some problems in the smoothness of going between gears? Maybe I'm full of BS but next time I'm going to make, SURE I get a shimano cassette, just too see if my "gut feeling" was right, jmho, ymmv.
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Old 08-09-10, 07:29 PM   #14
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I stopped in a the shop that did the cassette change and asked them about it. They said they didn't mention the brand difference to me because in their experience over the years there just isn't any difference in the two. Sometimes someone will say one or the other will shift smoother but there isn't any functional or longevity difference.


That makes it unanimous. Everyone seems to think a person can mix and match SRAM and Shimano cassettes.

By the way in the end the shop in the other state is only charging $5 more for an Ultegra cassette than for the SRAM. So, just for giggles I'm going to have the Ultegra put on. Guess I'll have to give up a latte, eh?
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Old 08-09-10, 07:55 PM   #15
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Or put it toward one of those KMC chains!
Good tip, tsl! BTW what 9spd KMC did you like best?
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Old 08-09-10, 10:16 PM   #16
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Good tip, tsl! BTW what 9spd KMC did you like best?
Their plain gray ones are the cheapest and work just fine. (The Nashbar chains are the plain gray KMCs, but you can get KMC-branded for even less than Nashbar if you shop right.)

Since they are so cheap, lately I've been buying the prettier half-nickel plated X.93 series. I use the X8.93, X9.93 and X10.93. The outer links are shiny nickel, and the inner plates, which collect the dirt anyway, are plain gray.
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Old 08-09-10, 10:50 PM   #17
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When I built up the Lapierre I decided to give Wipperman Connex a try. So far so good even if a spare master link was a bit expensive. I have the SRAM cassette on my Mavic wheels and a Shimano Cassette on my Dura Ace wheels. It may be because the bike was built with the Sram cassette but I find it to be a bit smoother than the Shimano. But I doubt if I could tell if I didn't know what wheel set was on.
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Old 08-12-10, 06:25 PM   #18
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Just to chime in here late...I have SRAM Force shifters and derailers, SRAM Red crankset and Ultegra cassette and chain. Miles of trouble free riding. My Easton EA90 wheels are for Shimano and I tried to put on a SRAM Red cassette with no luck, that's why I went to Ultegra on the cassette.
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