I have a SRAM Red 22 group set that has a standard crank (53/39), and I also own a SRAM Red 10 speed crank with compact chainrings. I'll be doing some climbing soon and would like to use the compact that I have already. I can't swap just the chainrings due to different BCD sizes (130 on the 22 and 110 on the 10 speed).

Can I use the Red 10 speed crank (and compact rings) with the rest of the Red 22 group set, or do I have to bite the bullet and buy compact chainrings?

  • No matter how you move the chain rings the derailleur has to deal with it.
    – paparazzo
    Jun 9, 2014 at 0:16
  • If the cranks are made for the same bottom bracket type, all you have to do is swap the cranks and adjust the FD. If not, you're better off swapping the chainrings.
    – Batman
    Jun 9, 2014 at 0:20
  • does this question not just boil down to being able to mix and match 10- and 11-speed components? In general the answer is no, at best you'll end up with a fudge that won't run well.
    – PeteH
    Jun 9, 2014 at 11:04
  • 1
    @PatrickQuirk - that's the easy bit! Think of the chain as "king", all the rest of the drivetrain is built around the width of the chain. 10-speed, 11-speed (and 9-speed, fwiw) chains all have different widths, and so pretty much the whole mechs are incompatible. I have heard that you can "get away with" incompatibilities with e.g. chainrings - people out there say they've done it and it broadly works - that's what I meant by fudge
    – PeteH
    Jun 9, 2014 at 12:33
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    lol! as a practical alternative, think about going up to 28 on your cassette. I'm not at all a strong cyclist, I run standard 53/39 on the front, but I can conquer most climbs with a 12-28 cassette at the back. You need to check your derailleur can handle it, might need to swap it out for a long cage, but a mate of mine runs an sram groupset (not sure which one) and he got away with it.
    – PeteH
    Jun 9, 2014 at 12:41

1 Answer 1


If they use the same bottom bracket, it's at least worth trying. While 9,10,11 speed chains are different widths on the outside, they are the same width on the inside so there is a reasonable chance that a 10 speed front crank will work with an 11 speed chain.

I have successfully used 10 spd cranks and rings with a 9 speed chain. I see two potential problems with the swap you want to make.

  1. Your front derailler is not designed to work with 50/34 rings and it may not shift well.

  2. The slightly wider gap of a 10 spd crankset may get the 11 speed chain caught in between the chainrings.

Two is the killer problem, take the crank and 11 speed chain and see if it getting caught between the rings is a real problem. If not, it's worth a shot. You won't break anything by trying it and you'll have to decide if you can live with the changes in shifting performance.

  • According to Zinn here(2nd question down), SRAM didn't change the width between chainrings on 10 and 11 cranksets. The teeth are the same width, so it's likely that you won't have the second issue. Guessing using available info here, but might as well give it a shot.
    – RobW
    Nov 24, 2014 at 3:24
  • Egh, follow up. SRAM recommends not mixing chainrings because the chainrings themselves are shaped to space the 11s farther apart, as Fred says. The crank dimensions are identical.
    – RobW
    Nov 24, 2014 at 3:32

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