11 Speed Derailleur With 9 Speed Shifters: 4 Major Factors!

As cyclists, we always want to reach max speeds and performances. But, with the growing intricacies in the cycle market, that can be a tough decision.

Especially as the all-new 11-speed derailleurs are out. People often wonder whether they can mix and match it with the popular 9-speed shifters.

But worry not! By the end of this article have a clear understanding of whether these are compatible. We’ve covered all the factors pertaining to this issue.

So, can you use an 11 speed derailleur with 9 speed shifter?

The short answer is, no. But if you want this system to work, the pitch and pull needs to be equal. And multiplied by the ratio. The compatibility of them also depends on manufacturers. The shifters compensate for the non-linear movements. Another thing you need to think of is chain compatibility. 

Did you get your desired answer? I know that’s not everything there is regarding this query. 

So, why don’t you get your heads wrapped around the whole topic from here. Because I’ve covered all the underlying factors of this topic. 

Now, without further ado, let’s delve right into it!

Can You Use 11 Speed Derailleur With 9 Speed Shifters?- 4 Factors That You Should Know!

Now, if you’re an avid biker, you’ll know every bike is different. This is why every bike is unique in terms of structure, design, and also performance.

This makes it really difficult to mix and match your bike with new parts. Your derailleur might have a different cable pull, your index shifters can be incompatible. The possibilities of incompatibility are multifarious.

But the idea is not totally disposable. As it’s been said by many great people “ If there’s a will, there’s a way ”. You can actually make this ungodly mix work with some tweaks. 

On that note here are some 11 speed derailleur to pick from-

No worries! I’ve picked some 9 speed shifters as well, for your convenience.

Hope you’re done with your picking and shopping. It’s time now to learn how to make them work together.

Therefore, let’s look at some of the factors upon which the compatibility depends. 

Factor 1: Friction or Index Shifters

The type of shifter you use determines whether you can run 11-speed derailleurs with 9-speed shifters.

Unfortunately, with indexed shifters, you can not most likely run this configuration. For indexed shifters, you need derailleurs and shifters of the same speed.  

However, friction shifters will normally work with this configuration. These shifter’s functionality doesn’t change with mismatched derailleurs. Friction shifters can also run 11 speed derailleurs with 10 speed shifters.

In fact, some users also run vintage 5 speed shifters with 9 speed cassettes.

So, friction shifters are the way to go for this change. 

11 Speed Derailleur With 9 Speed Shifters: 4 Major Factors!

Source: NSMB.com

I’ve never personally used friction shifters. But I have seen some of my pals using them. 

From that experience, SPORTLIMIT Sunrace friction shifters are one of the best friction shifters.

However, I must warn you, this requires some decent practice to adjust to.

Factor 2: Cable Pull, Shift Ratio, and the Cog Pitch

In this segment we get down to the nitty-gritty details of the configuration. In order to determine if you can use 11-speed shifters with 9-speed shifters, follow this equation.

Cable Pull x Derailleur Shift Ratio = Cog pitch

But before explaining this equation, I’ll give a brief description of the aforementioned variables.

Cable Pull

When we click the shift lever, a certain amount of cable is pulled in or released. The shifter performs this releasing or pulling mechanism. This is called cable pull.

Shift Ratio

By definition, it’s the derailleur’s side-to-side movement in relation to the cable pulled.  

Cog Pitch

The distance between the center of the cassette’s cog to the center of the next is called cog pitch.

Great, now that you know what’s which, you can apply the equation. Look online for your parts to figure out what your cable pull, shift ratio, and cog pitch are. You can find your derailleur’s shift ratio on sever rear derailleur guides

Once you have all your numbers, match them to the equation. The product of the cable pull and shift ratio should equal the cog pitch. If it does, you can run an 11-speed derailleur with 9-speed shifters. 

Factor 3: Manufacturers

The compatibility will also vary based on your manufacturer. As we said, every manufacturer makes cycles of different designs and rations. For example, newer Shimano Models are normally not cross-compatible. 

Up to the 9-speeds, everything in Shimano’s line was cross-compatible. They had a 1.7 shift ratio on everything. So, the compatibilities of most derailleurs and speed shifters were easy to determine. But in newer models cable pulls are different.  

However, for brands like Campagnolo, this configuration is very much possible. They have the same cable from 9 to 11 speeds. 

When determining compatibility carefully check the manufacturer’s compatibility chart. Sunrace derailleur compatibility chart is available online.

Some brands show a plethora of other problems too, such as loose left arm cranks.

Factor 4: Dirt Or Debris In The Cable System

Sometimes incompatibility of derailleurs and shifters stems from built-up dirt in the cable system. This may sound absurd, especially if you’ve matched ration. But hold on!

11 Speed Derailleur With 9 Speed Shifters: 4 Major Factors!

Source: REI

Pent-up dirt in the cable system disrupts the proper motion of the derailleur. Such a problem is noticeable in the shimano rear derailleur as well. 

If the derailleur’s motion is slowed, your bike starts ghost-shifting. All of a sudden you’ll notice yourself in the wrong gear. Such abrupt changes can lead to injuries. 

Checking these 4 factors should give you a clear idea. Whether you can actually run this configuration. 

I would like to close off by reiterating, that there are no clear yes-no answers. This is when mixing and matching. 

You have to manually check the 4 aforesaid factors to see if it’s possible. Because in today’s complex market, compatibility varies from brand to brand. 

Why Do People Want to Use 11 Speed Derailleur with 9 Speed Shifters?

The core reason for mixing and matching is to achieve higher speeds while saving costs. You can definitely go for 9-speed derailleurs to match your 9-speed shifters.

If you think mixing matching is a big hassle, you should get yourself a 9 speed derailleurs. Here are some of the best picks that are available online.

But the newer 11-speed derailleurs might lure you as it provides higher top speeds.

If your shifters are compatible, you can save so much money than buying an 11-speed shifter. Not to mention the added bonus of increased speeds.

Alternatively, you can also get 52/36 to get a speed boost. The 52/36 in comparison with 50/34 grants you 5-7% increased top speed. 

In case, you do want to buy a new 11-speed shifter, check out our recommendations!

These shifters provide rapid and precise shifting performance. They are sure to satiate your need for speed. Hope this helps!

If all this seems a tad too tough for you, don’t hesitate to consult with professionals. After all, bike parts can be expensive. You don’t want to spend your money on incompatible parts! 


What speed shifters are compatible with the 8-speed Derailleur?

The good thing about the 8-speed Derailleurs is that they’re versatile. They are compatible with all 8 and 9-speed shifters. They are also compatible with every 10-speed shifter with the exception of the 4700 Tiagra. These 8, 9, 10-speed shifters have the same cable pull ratio. (Expect 4700 Tiagra)

What is Actuation?

In biker terms, actuation refers to ‘Derailleur Shift Ratio’. By definition, it’s the side-to-side movement of the derailleur. This is relative to the cable pulled. We can observe that outdated Shimano models have an actuation of 1.7. So, if the Shimano cable is pulled 1 millimeter, the derailleur moves by 1,7 millimeters. 

Is it okay to use any shifter with Shimano derailleur?

Till the 9 speed shifter you can use any shimano derailleur. They all have the same shift ratio and that’s the reason behind their compatibility. However, beyond that you should not use any other shimano derailleur. Make sure you use the same speed shifter and derailleur.


And with that, we’ve reached the end of our discussion. That’s all we have on ‘11 speed derailleur with 9 speed shifters’. We hope this article has been able to be of value to you.

If you found this article interesting, feel free to browse through the others.

Until then, take good care of yourself, and of course, your cycle.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top