Shimano 12 Speed Shifter With SRAM Rear Derailleur

Not many people understand the nuances that go into bike modding or customization. Not all shifters, gears, and derailleurs are compatible with each other. Some might be compatible but offer lackluster performance. 

Wondering about the compatibility of Shimano 12 speed shifter with Sram rear derailleur?

Yes, Shimano 12 speed shifter will work with Sram rear derailleur. But you might need to do some tuning. To consider rear derailleur compatibility we have to consider shifter cable pull and rear shift ratio. All these considered, the aforementioned pair can work together. 

Still wondering about what else matters for shimano 12 speed shifter and Sram rear derailleur compatibility? Follow us to the article because we did the research for you!

Understanding Shimano 12 Speed

Shimano introduced new Hyperglide+ 11 and 12 speed MTB standards in 2018. They have a XTR M9100 rear derailleur. It has a 12 speed shifter. And these are considered by many as the best shimano gear shifter.

Shimano 12 Speed Shifter With SRAM Rear Derailleur

Source: aprilsales

The  XTR M9100 rear derailleur only functions with a matching shifter and Hyperglide+ 11 and 12 speed cassettes.

Rear Derailleur Compatibility

Rear derailleur compatibility is a little tricky. Modern bicycles mostly have index shifters. Index shifters working are pretty complex. 

Simply put, index shifters function with a specific number of clicks. Per gear change, it is one click. Each click moves the chain from one sprocket or chainring to another.

In order for all these to work, some things need to be in tune. Firstly, the Shifter cable pull must be of the right length. Shifter cable pull is the length of cable that is used to pull or release the shifters with each click. 

Up next is the rear shift ratio. The rear shift ratio is the space that the rear derailleur moves laterally. This is measured per 1 millimeter of cable movement. 

If the rear derailleur moves for 4 mm for 2 mm of cable movement, then the rear shift ratio is 2. It is the same for both pulling and releasing. 

Rear sprocket spacing is the last important element that needs to be tuned. One more thing is proper cables and housing. It is not directly related but it is still important.

Here we keep mentioning rear derailleur compatibility. But what actually matters is how in tune the shifter cable pull is with rear sprocket spacing. If you have installed it properly, one click of the indexed shifter will shift precisely one gear at the rear. Shifting one gear means one sprocket.

Compatibility of The Sram Derailleur With The Shimano Shifter 

SRAM derailleurs and Shimano derailleurs are compatible with each other. It is because of their similar features. They are both 12-speed. 

The derailleurs also function over basically the same range of gears. So we can say that they are compatible. Sram Shimano compatibility chart may help us see the compatibility more clearly.

Even after the compatibility, you will need the guide pulley of the SRAM derailleur to be in the right position. It will have to be about where a Shimano system would want the derailleur to be.

But remember that if you use AXS, you cannot combine the derailleur and shifter. 

Other issues with SRAM Eagle shifters might also surface. Although, you might be someone that prefers the SRAM cable-actuated stuff. Because of the ergonomics and tactility they offer. 

The derailleur and the shifter must have compatible configurations. This is true for almost every index-shifting system to exist. Some of those combinations of Shimano 12-speed shifter and SRAM derailleur is given below.

Shimano 12 speed shifterSRAM Derailleur 
Shimano 12 speed shifter.SRAM XX1 cassette
SHIMANO XT SL-M8100 12-Speed Shifter, BlackSram MTB Gx Type 2.1 Long Cage Rear Derailleur

Is It Compatible with the Chain?

While working with drivetrains and shifters, we cannot ignore chains. If the whole installation process is not done properly, the chain will fall off frequently. This is true for incompatibility as well.

Generally, when the cassette and chain are made by the same manufacturer, drivetrains shift the best. This is because there are specialized shift ramps present on the cassettes. These are specially made to engage with designated chamfers on the given producer’s chains. 

Also, remember that the length of the Chain and b-tension are codependent. For example, say you set the b-tension, and after that, you shorten the chain by a link. This will make the jockey wheel become more distant and be in the wrong position.

Using Shimano 12 Speed Shifter with the wrong chain length can result in interesting outcomes.  This is true for using the 12-speed shifter and/or B-limit adjustment too. The results may include:

  • There may be no “Hyperglide” shifts. This could be technically defined as the engagement of the chains with the two cogs. This happens at the time during shifts to a harder gear. It is also the reason for those really smooth shifts under heavy load.
  • Sometimes the shifting might be really slow. It may even take multiple revolutions of the crank in order to shift completely.
  • There may be over-shifting to a harder gear. This is caused by the chains sometimes jumping an extra gear. Then rapidly climbing back up to the right cog.

Is the Mixing Approved By Shimano And Sram?

We have already established that Shimano 12 speed shifters can go with Sram rear derailleurs. But are our methods approved by the brands themselves? Or will the mixing get you into trouble the next time you visit their repair shop?

There should not be any trouble waiting for you in the repair shops. But Sram does not support the mixing. Meanwhile, Shimano is more open to the situation. 

Shimano has made a direct statement on the matter. In it, they did mention the risks of mixing products that have not been tested together. And they said they do not know what may be the outcome of such mixings. 

But their statement sheds light on the capabilities of Hyperglide. They highlighted what the system can and cannot do.

They also emphasized the compatibility of the system. If everything is accounted for, there should not be any problems. Even other mixings like sram shifter with shimano brakes are possible.

Sram has never made any direct statements regarding the matter. But from what can be gathered, they prefer if nobody messes with their ecosystem. They think their products are best used with their products. 

That is all we have!


Will SRAM derailleur (mech) work with Shimano shifters?

The SRAM rear derailleur (mech) is mostly unusable with a Shimano shifter. This is without exceptions. The reason being cable pull and shift activation ratios are mismatching. Shimano 12 speed pull ratio plays an important role here. The two systems do not have them in the proper ratio setting.

Can I use Shimano 11 speed components with 12 speed components?

Yes, you can use them. But it is a little complicated.  Shimano manufactured EW-SD50 to EW-SD300 adapter. This adapter lets you connect an EW-SD50 wire and an nEW-SD300 wire. With this, you can create a connection between 11 speed and 12 speed shifters.

Why is my chain falling off?

Sram clutches giving up might cause your chain to fall. Improper installation of Sram or Shimano shifter and derailleur might also be the reason behind your chain falling off. Be sure if your 12-speed cassette SRAM compatible with the drivetrain and shifter or not.


So we can see that a Shimano 12 speed shifter with Sram rear derailleur is a viable option. If you want them to go together that is. 

The shifter and the derailleur being from different manufacturers does create some difficulties. But this can be overcome. The compatibility is the result of both of them being very similar to each other.

That’s it for today! Happy tuning!

Leave a Comment

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

Scroll to Top