Using Shimano 11 speed shifters with 10 speed derailleurs and 10 speed cassettes

Shimano XTR 10 speed derailleur with 11 speed shifter

The theory

The pull ratio for Shimano mountain bike 10 and 11 speed shifting components (shifters and derailleurs) are very similar (1.2 v's 1.1 respectively).  Basically, the 11 speed Shimano MTB shifters pull 3.6mm of cable per click.  10 speed shifters pull 3.4mm of cable per click.  Accordingly, to use this shifter as a 10 speed shifter (with one un-used click) with a 10 speed derailleur and cassette, we need to reduce movement at the derailleur arm by about 5.5%.

In practice

It works!  Basically, nothing is really needed to get this setup working properly (even though in an ideal world you want a 5% reduction in cable pull at the rear derailleur). Here's how:

  • install your 11 speed shifter and cable it up to your 10 speed rear derailleur;
  • put the shifter in the "11" (the smallest cog on the cassette);
  • adjust the bottom limit screw so the jockey wheel lines up with the smallest cog on the cassette;
  • install the shift cable so there's no slack;
  • use the shifter to shift up 9 gears;
  • adjust the top limit screw on the rear derailleur so it is not possible to do the 10th click on the shifter (preventing you shifting up into a non-existant 11th gear);
  • shift into the 5th smallest gear on the cassette and fine adjust the shifting so its crisp between gears 4, 5, 6  and 7 on the cassette.

Related articles:

Using 10 speed rear derailleur with 11 speed shifter and cassette

Facts and figures

Using a clutch rear derailleur with 9 speed (or even 8 speed!)

What is a clutch-type rear derailleur?

Modifying XT 9 speed cassette to use 40t range extender


Using 10 speed chain on 9 speed drivetrain

Can you do it?

Using a road front derailleur on a MTB to save weight

Dura-ace FD7800 front derailleur , plus Speen Umlenker , plus carbon cycles eXotic Carbon Front Derailleur Clamp with a few aluminium bolts thrown in for good measure weighs 82g.

Shimano Deore XT RH (rear) 9 speed shifter

What's it weigh?