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.


  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?

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.