Shimano 12 Speed Cassette With SRAM Derailleur: Compatible Enough?

Making a custom bicycle is very pleasing. You get to experience beyond the horizon. But, there’s common confusion about Shimano 12 Speed Cassette mixing with SRAM derailleur.

So, can a Shimano 12 speed cassette with SRAM derailleur be set up on a bicycle?

Yes, setting it up is possible. But it gives rise to many issues. The most common issue is the shifter not working. If the case is that, you have to check if you are using the right derailleur. Secondly, the chain keeps falling off. You need to use a compatible chain with Shimano 12 speed cassette. 

These are just the tip of the iceberg. We have to explore deeper to get a complete idea of the topic.

So, let’s get started.

Do Shimano And SRAM Support Cross-Compatibility?

Shimano and SRAM are two completely different manufacturers. But are Shimano and SRAM cross-compatible?

With each offering a similar type of groupset, yes almost all components are cross-compatible. For instance, the Shimano chain does support the SRAM cassette and vice-versa.

Shimano 12 Speed Cassette With SRAM Derailleur: Compatible Enough?


However, you cannot interchange shifters and rear derailleurs. For example, the SRAM shifter and Shimano derailleur cannot be set together. You will face issues like slow shifting, gear shifter being stuck, etc.

The reason behind this is that SRAM and Shimano cables are built differently. For that reason, both manufacturers’ cables have different tension. As a result, shifters and rear derailleurs aren’t cross-compatible.

Is Shimano 12 Speed Cassette Compatible with SRAM Derailleur?

Yes, Shimano 12 speed cassette is compatible with the SRAM derailleur. According to the SRAM Shimano compatibility chart, you can also verify it. The main reason is that both manufacturers’ speed cassettes use the same technology.

Nevertheless, remember to use the SRAM 12-speed shifter. 

Now, you can set up your bike with the components without any doubt. 

But, it doesn’t end here. You may face issues with mixing up groupset. In the next step, I’ll mention some common issues.

3 Issues with Shimano 12 Speed Cassette with SRAM Derailleur

Now that you’ve set up by interchanging components you’re all set. Well, that’s not entirely true.

Most of the time, this custom bicycle will not cause any issues. However, there are 3 minor issues that can arise. These issues however are pretty easy to fix.

So, let’s see the issues.

Problem 1 of 3: Shifter Not Working

You are on your adventure with your custom-made bicycle. But alas! Your shifter is not working at all.

Well, it’s a common issue and many have faced it. It is as common as non-shifting di2 rear derailleur issues.

Problem 2 of 3: Chain Keeps Falling Off

Another common issue is that the chain keeps falling off. The issue is frustrating as you have to insert the chain over and over again.

Problem 3 of 3: Not Enough Speed

With this custom-built bicycle, you expect top-notch speed in any terrain. But, you may not hit the expected speed.

Shimano 12 Speed Cassette With SRAM Derailleur: Compatible Enough?


These are the issues you may face from time to time. However, don’t worry! They are all easily fixable.

Now, let’s troubleshoot and solve the issues in the next section!

Troubleshooting the Issues of Shimano 12 Speed Cassette with SRAM Derailleur

Facing any trouble with the setup? Don’t be upset.

Keeping every possible issue in mind, we’ve come up with their troubleshoots. In this segment, we’ll elaborate the troubleshoots for Shimano 12 Speed cassette and SRAM Derailleur combination problems. 

So, let’s read along!

Troubleshoot 1 of 3: Shifter Not Working

We’ve already mentioned that this is the most common problem of mixing any groupset. This problem exists too in Shimano 12 speed cassette with SRAM derailleur.

The issue arises if you are not using the correct rear derailleur with the cassette. Another reason can be you didn’t set the cable tension correctly.

Whichever is the reason, here’s how you can solve them:


Firstly, check if you are using the right SRAM rear derailleur. With the 12-speed, Shimano cassette, you should use an SRAM 12-speed derailleur. 

Using the SRAM rear derailleur with Shimano 12 speed cassette can solve the issue. 

Nevertheless, if the issue is still there, check the cable tension. In order to do that, turn the bolt on the cable clockwise or counterclockwise. Finely tune up the cable until you’re satisfied with its tension.

Cable tension on your bike should neither be excessively tight nor excessively loose.

Troubleshoot 2 of 3: Chain Keeps Falling Off

I am a sufferer of this problem, just like most other riders. After troubleshooting, I understood that the chain has to be compatible with the Shimano 12-speed cassette.

Another reason why you can have this problem frequently is due to using excessive lubricant. This reduces the friction of the chain, making it slip off.

Let’s solve the issue now!


To fix it, you need to use a compatible chain with the Shimano 12-speed cassette. Some compatible chains are listed below.

Also, check for excessive lubricant in your bicycle chain. Remove the old lubricant and apply it newly after cleaning the bike chain.

Troubleshoot 3 of 3: Not Enough Speed

You may be disappointed with the outcome as the bike didn’t hit the desired speed. Well, don’t be frustrated.

The issue will arise due to improper lubrication of the chain. 

Let’s see the solution to it.


You need to properly lubricate your bicycle’s chain. Also, don’t use an excessive amount of lubricant.

That’s all regarding troubleshooting the issues.

Shimano 12 Speed Cassette With SRAM Derailleur: Compatible Enough?


Maintenance Tips

Well, looks like we’re done with the troubleshooting. That should help you deal with most of the regular issues. But, for top-notch experiences, you need to follow some specific guidelines.

Below, some tips are given to properly maintain your bicycle.

Always Keep Your Bicycle Clean:

After riding in dusty terrain, you should always clean your bike. It is the first unwritten rule that any bike enthusiast should follow.

Check tire Pressure:

Tires are the main reason why your bike moves. So, you should always inspect the tire pressure. If needed, pump air to your tire.

Inspect the Brakes:

Brakes are very crucial. So, always inspect the brakes of your bicycle. Who knows, by doing so you may save your life someday!

And that’s all. However, if you’re looking to work SRAM derailleur with Shimano shifters, it won’t work..

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Do The Digits On Shimano Cassettes Indicate?

The digits on the Shimano cassette indicate the number of teeth. The first two digits indicate the number of teeth on the smallest sprocket. The last two digits indicate the biggest sprocket.

Can I Use Different Speed Cassettes On Shimano Freehub?

Yes, you can use different speed cassettes on Shimano freehub. This means any 9/10/11/12 speed cassette is compatible with Shimano freehub.

Is It Possible To Swap Out SRAM Derailleurs?

Yes, you can swap out SRAM derailleurs. Because SRAM derailleurs have the same cable pull ratio. So, these derailleurs are compatible.


That’s all regarding Shimano 12 speed cassette with SRAM derailleur. Now I hope you won’t have any more confusion.

Here’s a tip, engine oil is a good lubricant for bicycle chains.

Keep on riding!

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