Compatibility of groupset parts cross-generation

slimboyjim Posts: 367
edited November 2014 in Road buying advice

I'm a mountain biker who has got into road riding for a bit of fitness and commuting. Having recently given up my borrowed Allez I've purchased a frameset and I'm trying to build it up on the cheap with second hand parts. My strict budget has already been blown out the water so I'm looking at spending as little as possible now...

Now, before you get worried, I do realise that there can be compatability issues between brands - a Shimano shifter would not offer the same pull as a Sram one so the derailleurs are specific. However, in my quest to find cheap bits I'm getting a bit confused about whether I can use a 2010 Sram shifter with a 2014 Sram derailleur for example.

Is there any good compatability resources out there to establish what will work with what, or should I just take the hit financially and try and get everything from a similar groupset / year even if it costs more?

Sorry if that is a bit generic but I'm not sure on what parts I'll be using yet. I fancy giving sram a go as I like the idea of their doubletap shifting system and have a force FD, but then I'm quite a Shimano fan from my real bike ;-) and have a 105 RD, so can still go either way at the moment.

Thanks for the help!



  • meesterbond
    meesterbond Posts: 1,240
    I don't know of any specific resources as the permutations would be enormous and there's always a grey area where different components can be made to work with each other but perhaps not as well as if they were from the same groupset.

    That said, unless there's a really good reason not to, if you stick with the same manufacturer (and same number of gears) for mechs and shifters you won't go too far wrong. Chainsets are far more fussy about the bottom bracket than the make of chain / gears and brakes are reasonably generic (although worth checking about the amount of cable pull from the levers). Also, SRAM and Shimano tend to play a lot better together than either with Campag.

    All of that advice is very generic though, there are plenty of exceptions.

    The other comment I'd make is that (personally) I find Shimano easier to work on than SRAM and Campag needs some different tools so that bike tends to go back to the LBS if there's anything serious needing doing. SRAM FDs in particular can be a pain in the backside to get working properly, in my experience.
  • Thanks for the reply. I thought it would make sense that a 10 speed sram or shimano shifter would probably be compatible with previous generation stuff, but it scared me seeing all this stuff sold as compatible with only the same groupset. Second hand it would be my fault if anything doesn't work and therefore could be an expensive mistake, but common sense would say there is unlikely to be any significant difference in cable pull between systems (ignoring 9/10/11speed derailleur)... It was me being greedy seeing all this tempting red/force stuff on eBay and upselling myself needlessly!
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    There are various 'fixes' (hubjub) between Campagnolo and Shimano, but SRAM cable pull ratios are completely different. As said, stick to one brand and the same number of gears and generally you'll be OK. One exception is Shimano 10 speed road and MTB - again, different cable pull ratios.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..