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Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur

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nameused Offline
Senior Member

Sacramento, California
Posts: 189
Joined: Oct 2010
Post: #1
Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
Ok so back in November I decided to upgrade my wheelset and the rear cassette to an 8 speed from a 7 speed. So to go along with this upgrade I bought SRAM x.4 trigger shifters (Shifters). The rear derailleur I kept the same, which is a Shimano Acera (Derailleur).

Since this switch I have never been able to get it to hit all 8 of the gears. It works on the biggest gear (34 tooth) and the smallest gear (11 tooth), but in the middle it always skips gears. I've tried to adjust the cable tension, the barrel adjuster and the b-screw, but it still won't hit all the gears. Currently I have 6 of the working, but it skips 2 of them.

I've been reading around online trying to figure something out, and noticed that some people say SRAM and Shimano components aren't compatible with each other sometimes.

Anyone have any ideas? I'm open to just about everything.

Oh yeah the gear cables are only 2 months old so I'm pretty sure that's not the problem.

Thanks!
Jan 31, 2011 02:02 AM
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JonB Offline
Senior Member

Wales, UK
Posts: 232
Joined: Nov 2008
Post: #2
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
SRAM +Shimano = PAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN!!!!!!!

You my friend have been mightily lucky, normally when one mixes SRAM and Shimano in mechs and shifters the result is the mech tearing itself apart.

The reason is that they pull at different ratios of cable to movement. SRAM is 1:1, which means the length of cable pulled is the same as the distance the derallieur moves up/down the cassette. Shimano is 1:1.something, meaning the derallieur goes further for the same length of cable pulled, hence why the combination of Shimano and SRAM tears itself apart.

Put that bike away in the garage until you've replaced EITHER the rear mech or shifter so both brands are the same!

(note: you CAN mix SRAM and Shimano on the front because both pull at the same ratio, it's just the rear that's awkward).
Jan 31, 2011 02:43 AM
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JohnV Offline
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Tampa. FL
Posts: 472
Joined: Jan 2011
Post: #3
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
Not sure about SRAM trigger shifters, but my hybrid came with SRAM grip shifters and both front and rear deraileurs are Shimano Altus components, including the cassette. Never had any issues with them and I've put over 1,000 miles in 6 months on that bike. Those shifters shift like a dream, sometimes better than the Tiagra components on my road bike.

HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
Jan 31, 2011 08:15 AM
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JonB Offline
Senior Member

Wales, UK
Posts: 232
Joined: Nov 2008
Post: #4
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
SRAM do an ATTACK series of trigger shifters and grip shifters that work on the same ratio as Shimano (and are therefore compatible). That's probably what you've got, and they tend to be found on entry level mtbs, hybrids, etc. where high performance isn't as important. I'm not saying they're bad, they're actually very good for the money I think but they lack the durability of more expensive models (which is important in the world of serious MTBing).
Jan 31, 2011 12:49 PM
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nameused Offline
Senior Member

Sacramento, California
Posts: 189
Joined: Oct 2010
Post: #5
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
(Jan 31, 2011 02:43 AM)JonB Wrote:  SRAM +Shimano = PAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN!!!!!!!

You my friend have been mightily lucky, normally when one mixes SRAM and Shimano in mechs and shifters the result is the mech tearing itself apart.

The reason is that they pull at different ratios of cable to movement. SRAM is 1:1, which means the length of cable pulled is the same as the distance the derallieur moves up/down the cassette. Shimano is 1:1.something, meaning the derallieur goes further for the same length of cable pulled, hence why the combination of Shimano and SRAM tears itself apart.

Put that bike away in the garage until you've replaced EITHER the rear mech or shifter so both brands are the same!

(note: you CAN mix SRAM and Shimano on the front because both pull at the same ratio, it's just the rear that's awkward).

Wow! I've been riding it for 3 months like that! Any idea what kind of damage I might have done to anything?

If I was to buy a new rear derailleur would this one be it SRAM X.4 Rear Derailleur Long Cage. Looks to be the one that matches my shifters and its a long cage to deal with my 3x8 gearset.
Jan 31, 2011 12:54 PM
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JonB Offline
Senior Member

Wales, UK
Posts: 232
Joined: Nov 2008
Post: #6
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
Check the rear mech for stress fractures and general damage. I don't think anything else will have broken.

That rear derallieur will be fine. Any SRAM mech with 1:1 ratios will be fine (so basically any X-series mech). You can mix and match the number in the X-series, they all work using the same system it's just the number denotes the quality (X4 being basic, X9 being ultra nice, X0 being ultra-light blingy carbon-goodness). To be honest you're better spending the money at the shifter end though as you'll notice the difference more (an x7 shifter with an x4 mech will feel a LOT nicer than an x4 shifter and an X9 mech; and is usually a cheaper combination), so just grab the X4.
Jan 31, 2011 02:54 PM
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JohnV Offline
Senior Member

Tampa. FL
Posts: 472
Joined: Jan 2011
Post: #7
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
(Jan 31, 2011 12:49 PM)JonB Wrote:  SRAM do an ATTACK series of trigger shifters and grip shifters that work on the same ratio as Shimano (and are therefore compatible). That's probably what you've got, and they tend to be found on entry level mtbs, hybrids, etc. where high performance isn't as important. I'm not saying they're bad, they're actually very good for the money I think but they lack the durability of more expensive models (which is important in the world of serious MTBing).

I guess that explains that. Smile Since I don't do MTB, I'm pretty happy with that combo on my hybrid.

HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
Jan 31, 2011 04:10 PM
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RobAR Offline
Veteran Member

Mountain Home, AR
Posts: 725
Joined: Sep 2010
Post: #8
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
JonB pretty much nailed it and I will try to make a condensed version of what he said... *deep breath*...

SRAMs X series is all dedicated to thier 1:1 pull ratio. From X.0 all the way down to X.3 and also anything with ESP as part of the model name. SRAM drlrs and shifters ONLY.

SRAM products that are Shimano compatible are any 2:1 ratio models that include MRX as part of the model name, Centera, and Attack in GripShift. The TRX trigger-shift models also work with Shimano drlrs.

The reason that your current set-up works in Hi & Low but not any other rear cogs is because the H & L Limit Screws are properly adjusted. It can't move beyond those points in either direction.
All the noise in the middle is incompatico noise.

I seriously doubt that you have done any damage beyond abusing the chain. Might consider a new one with the new drlr install.

Wheelies don't pop themselves. (from a QBP fortune cookie)
Jan 31, 2011 05:46 PM
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nameused Offline
Senior Member

Sacramento, California
Posts: 189
Joined: Oct 2010
Post: #9
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
Ok so I received my new rear derailleur in the mail today and installed it. My problem now is that it won't go into the highest gear (smallest one). I've tried adjusting the H limit screw, but it unscrews all the way before it lines up with the gear. Also it still skips a gear in the middle, but I figure that might be because it misses this first gear and throws it off a little. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
Feb 25, 2011 11:18 PM
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nameused Offline
Senior Member

Sacramento, California
Posts: 189
Joined: Oct 2010
Post: #10
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
I think my thread got pushed off the new posts list when the week changed haha. Anyways I rode it in the mountains last Saturday and I could get to the lowest gear I have, but it still won't let me get into that little gear in the back. Its been raining here lately, so I haven't gotten around to playing with it to see if I could get it to work. Trying to build up some ideas for when the rain lets up, then I'll go try some out. Smile
Mar 4, 2011 02:09 AM
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Darrenjs92ni Offline
Member

Northern Ireland
Posts: 85
Joined: Oct 2010
Post: #11
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
can you use SRAM cassettes with a shimano derailleur?
Mar 4, 2011 07:22 AM
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X-RAY Offline
Senior Member

western PA
Posts: 147
Joined: Aug 2010
Post: #12
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
i cant think of any reason why you couldnt.

Get on your bad pedalscooter and ride!
Mar 4, 2011 08:44 AM
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nameused Offline
Senior Member

Sacramento, California
Posts: 189
Joined: Oct 2010
Post: #13
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
(Mar 4, 2011 07:22 AM)Darrenjs92ni Wrote:  can you use SRAM cassettes with a shimano derailleur?

I have a shimano cassette with a sram derailleur, and I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't work.
Mar 4, 2011 11:32 AM
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Darrenjs92ni Offline
Member

Northern Ireland
Posts: 85
Joined: Oct 2010
Post: #14
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
(Mar 4, 2011 11:32 AM)nameused Wrote:  
(Mar 4, 2011 07:22 AM)Darrenjs92ni Wrote:  can you use SRAM cassettes with a shimano derailleur?

I have a shimano cassette with a sram derailleur, and I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't work.

i was just checking, i have been using a SRAM cassette with a Shimano derailleur for a good few months now.
Mar 4, 2011 02:14 PM
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RobAR Offline
Veteran Member

Mountain Home, AR
Posts: 725
Joined: Sep 2010
Post: #15
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
Unless it's XT or Ultegra, I actually prefer SRAM cassettes over Shimano, run with ANY chain, and good $$ value.
Your drlr has no clue what cass it is feeding chain to. It is the tooth profile on the cogs that gives results.

Wheelies don't pop themselves. (from a QBP fortune cookie)
Mar 4, 2011 04:57 PM
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nameused Offline
Senior Member

Sacramento, California
Posts: 189
Joined: Oct 2010
Post: #16
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
I'm still unable to get the chain to shift onto the smallest gear on the cassette. I adjusted the b-screw to where Alex says to in the video then tried adjusting the high limit screw but it won't move the derailleur far enough to the right to pop onto the smallest gear. Any help?
Apr 3, 2011 01:59 AM
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kimi Offline
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Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #17
RE: Mixing SRAM shifters and Shimano derailleur
I have a Trek 7200 that I bought used , it came with SRAM Max Comp Shifters (7sp grip ) and a Shimano Acera Rear Derailleur.

The bike had a pretty rusty handlebar and cables so I decided to replace them. Also I noticed when inspecting the bike that the front derailleur was so corroded it was amazing that it worked. so I decided to replace it as well. All went fine until I installed the new rear derailleur. I can not get it to move across the gears to shift at all ! Any Ideas what I screwed up ?

I am considering putting the old rear back on as it was not in bad shape ?
Aug 6, 2011 12:27 PM
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