Is 11 Speed Shifter With 12 Speed Derailleur Compatible?

It feels so good with experimenting with your bike, isn’t it? Sometimes it makes your riding experience more enjoyable. While experimenting with your bike, a few confusion can knock on your mind. One common confusion might be-

Is it possible to pair 11 speed shifter with 12 speed derailleur?

Yes, it’s possible to mix an 11-speed shifter and 12 speed derailleur if you’re on budget! But it needs some adjustments. However, the shifter and the derailleur of the same brand are more compatible. Another thing to note, you’ll need some adjustments with the cassette and the derailleur.  

So, let’s dig into the article to have the proper idea. And also about how to adjust the 11-speed shifter with 12-speed derailleur.

Does 11 Speed Shifter Work with 12 Speed Derailleur?

You need to know something before mixing different speed derailleurs and shifters. It’s really important to know about the brand you are using. Otherwise, it can be a mess.

I’ve had a discussion in my cyclist club about using two different speed shifter and derailleur. There are two different opinions about mixing the 11-speed shifter and 12-speed Derailleur. 

Some of the users don’t like to mix it up. Because they claim they face some issues with mixing up different speed shifters and derailleurs. 

Then again there are some users who claim it’s ok to mix it up. But while mixing up there are some basic customizations needed. 

There’s another concern. If the shifter and derailleur are from the same brand there’s less adjustment issues. Even if they are at a different speed.

Shimano and SRAM are the two dominant manufacturer in the market. However it’s better not to mix between two different brand. Because they have their own speed ratio compatibility.

So it’s better to match between Shimano 11 speed shifter and 12 speed derailleurs. You can mix-match them without much worries.

If you want to mix 11-speed derailleur with 10-speed shifters, using the same brand is easier. 

Suppose you’re using Shimano shifters with Shimano derailleurs. Even though the speed ratio is different they will just work fine. But let’s say you trying to mix Shimano with SRAM with different speed ratios. Then you might face some issues. 

In this case, there is also a major concern with the cassettes. The speed ratio of your cassette also plays a huge role. Especially when you’re mixing shifters and derailleurs with different speed ratios.    

Because the manufacturers use different speed values in their products. They will not be compatible and make your ride more unstable.

But no worries at all. Because we are here to make the perfect adjustment for you. There is also a piece of good news for you.

A 12-speed cassette with sram derailleur can also be compatible. That depends on whether you can adjust them well or not.

But hold your horses! There are some shifters and derailleurs that can work in different ratios. 

Let me suggest to you some SRAM 11 speed shifters with 12-speed derailleurs. These just work fine with each other. 

These are probably the best 11 speed shifters derailleurs in the market. Don’t believe us? Take a look by yourself then-

This build features SRAM NX rear derailleur with 11-speed shifter.

Before getting into the installation process, you also should check the cons of mixing two different speed shifter and derailleurs. 

Cons of Mixing 11 Speed Shifter with 12 Speed Derailleur!

Though you can mix an 11-speed shifter with a 12-speed Derailleur. But there can be some cons to these. Which may bother you if you are a perfectionist.

  • It can create issues in a long marathon run. 
  • It can create problems while swift cornering.
  • May not be properly adjusted with your existing cassette.
  • The chain should also be adjusted with the speed ratio.

Other than these there shouldn’t be an issue with mixing these. 

Installing Same Brand’s 11 Speed Shifter with 12 Speed Derailleur [5 Easy Steps]

We have talked about the 11-speed shifter and 12-speed derailleurs adjustments, right! To get a smooth ride experience you need to ensure the perfect adjustments. 

To make the perfect adjustment, you need to make sure of the compatibility of the bike’s parts. For the 12-speed derailleur, you can choose different speed cassettes. Shimano Deore 11-speed cassette can be a great option for that. 

Generally, if you are on a budget the 11-speed cassettes are perfect for you. But when you’re using a 12-speed derailleur then it will be wise to choose 12-speed cassettes. This can be a little expensive but it will adjust greatly with mtb 12 speed derailleur

It is pretty easy to set up the derailleur and the shifter. All you need is just a screwdriver. 

So, before gearing up why don’t you look at some of the best screwdrivers online.

So, let’s begin the setup for your 11-speed shifter and shimano 12 speed derailleur. 

Step 1: The Derailleur Setup 

It is pretty easy to set up the derailleur to the frame. You can directly set it up on the frame. Or you can also use a derailleur hanger

The derailleur hanger is a safer option to mount your derailleur to the frame. Because that is going to save your frame as well as the derailleur. 

Is 11 Speed Shifter With 12 Speed Derailleur Compatible?

Source: Mountain Bikes Review Forum

Step 2: Screw Up The Shifter  

The 11-speed shifter you are using should be screwed up to the handle. Try to measure your comfortable position before setting the shifter up. 

Otherwise, that will be going to make hustle for you afterward.

If it’s not in a comfortable position then it will create problems in intense moments. It will be really necessary to shift your gears while cornering. So, make sure the shifter is in an easily reachable position.

Is 11 Speed Shifter With 12 Speed Derailleur Compatible?


So, if you don’t have that in your desired position it can cause an accident.

Step 3: Trim The Cable Housing and Thrust 

It is really important to trim the cable housing. If it gets short to reach the derailleur then it might not work properly. It can create problems while changing the gear.

It can also create pressure on the derailleur. That can also create barriers to working the derailleur properly. So try to measure the cable first.

Then trim both your cable and housing at the perfect size. That will help you to operate your gear smoothly. Then thrust the cable into the housing to the derailleur. 

Make sure you get enough of your cable to route it to the derailleur.

Step 3: Route the Cable into the Derailleur

Route the cable into the derailleur. To make your life easier here’s a video on installing a front derailleur on your bike.

Don’t forget to tighten the bolt properly. If the bolt isn’t tightened enough that can be a problem.

In that case, try out these hex keys for small fixing of your bicycle-

Without tightening the bolt properly the derailleur won’t work properly. Let’s say you need to shift the gear frequently. Then the loose cable might not be able to handle it. 

Step 4: Adjust the Limit Screw and the B-gap Adjustment.  

This is the main part of this whole process. Because the limit screw helps you to adjust the cassette speed, derailleur speed, and shifter speed. 

So, try to adjust the limit screw as per your requirement. Then make sure the b-gap adjustment works fine with your cassette speed and the derailleur speed.

If you are done with it you are good to go.

Step 5: Give a Dry Run

After all the adjustments give a dry run to your bike. Don’t take it straight to the road. This will help you to get if there is any fault or not.

If there is any generally it can be solved with the limit screw and b-gap adjustment. So, if you find any fault try to fix it.

Now you are all good to take your bike on a trip. 

One more thing, don’t forget to maintain proper bike safety while riding your bike. 


Can I use 12 speed shifter on 11 speed cassette?

Yes, you can use xtr 12/11 speed shifter on an 11 speed cassette. Usually there isn’t any difference in indexing spacing between 11 and 12 speed. However, there are some differences at the derailleur end. So you can’t use a 12 speed derailleur on an 11 speed setup or vice versa.  

Does Shimano 12-speed fit on the 11-speed hub?

Yes, it certainly will. Shimano did an excellent job with backward compatibility. They just work quite well together. The new cassettes from Shimano and the freehub bodies are great for compatibility. So, there shouldn’t be an issue.

What is the difference between 11 speed and 12 speed?

The distance between cogs is narrower on the 12-speed cassette. Which has the same total width as the 11-speed. Because the derailleur does not have to move as far to change gears, shifting is “faster.” cadence plays a role in all of this. 


We hope you have got a clear idea about mixing 11 speed shifter with 12 speed derailleur! And there shouldn’t be any issues if you follow the setup procedure properly.

If there are any more questions please drop them in the comment section. 

Till then happy biking.

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