Speaking generally, what things do you need to check about your bike (e.g. rear hub width and type, braze-on vs clamp on front derailleur attachment points, etc) in order to determine what groupsets are compatible with it?

Background/ specific example

I have a 2010 Specialized Tricross. It came stock with a 3x9 Shimano groupset with Tiagra shifters & front derailleur, and Deore rear derailleur. It's got about 10,000km on it now, all original parts (yes, I should have replaced the chain and casette long ago but that's a discussion I've already had elsewhere).

I am interested in upgrading the whole groupset, and am leaning towards Shimano 105, 10 or 11 spd. It feels like anything more than that is overkill for this bike. However, I'm not clear if I can just buy one of those groupsets and expect everything to play nice with my frame or are there a bunch of measurements I need to check against first. The only thing I can think of is crank length which I would match to the existing ones.

I'm hoping any answers are generic enough to apply to others in the same situation, but feel free to use my Tricross situation for examples :)


  • Are you planning on upgrading the brakes as well (sometimes brakes are included as part of the groupset)?
    – Ealhmund
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 17:41
  • 1
    Hi, forgot to mention brakes. In my particuarl case, this is a cyclocross bike with Cantilever brakes and from what I've seen most groupsets come with calipers (road style) brakes that would not be compatible. So I would most likely sell the brakes if they came with the groupset.
    – SSilk
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 18:14
  • 3
    You don't have to use the entire groupset. Cantilever and caliper brakes use the same cable pull so you can use the levers with each other. Note that this is generally not a cost effective procedure -- usually, an entire upgrade (esp. if the shifters have to be done) is better off by selling the bike and buying one with the upgraded stuff on it (usually also with a better frame).
    – Batman
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 18:31
  • As noted by Batman, unless you feel comfortable sourcing the groupset (in whole or in pieces) from the cheapest corners of the internet and install everything yourself, it would not be cost effective to upgrade the bike. So only take on this project if you want to spend plenty of time on it! (also budget for specialist tools to install the groupset) Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 9:05
  • You mention 10 speed 105: keep in mind that the cable pull of the shifters has changed. The rear derailleurs for road should be compatible within 7, 8, 9 and old 10 speed as one group, or within new 10 speed and 11 speed as one other group. If you want to upgrade some parts (for example shifter, but not derailleur) make sure you choose compatible parts. Alternatively, if you replace all now but want to upgrade to 11 speed later on keep this distinction in mind as well. Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 9:19

4 Answers 4



  • Front Derailleur attachment type: Braze-on or clamp
  • Bottom Bracket type: 68mm, BB30, etc
  • Freehub compatibility (does it work with 11-speed?)

General Notes: The freehub and bottom bracket definitely come into play if you're trying to move from Shimano or SRAM to Campagnolo (or the reverse). Aside from that, it's mainly an issue of if it works for 11sp (in the freehub's case) or does that company make a crankset in the correct BB spec (for the bottom bracket).

Specific to the 2010 Tricross: You should be able to get either a 10- or 11-speed Shimano 105 groupset for this bike and have it work fine, provided you:

  • Buy a crankset with a 68mm threaded bottom bracket (ie. not BB30, BB90, etc)
  • Buy a clamp-style front derailleur (if you even decide to swap front derailleurs...)
  • If going to 11-speed, ensure your wheelset's freehub is compatible with 11-speed

There are a lot of things to check when doing a swap of your groupset. Some things off the top of my head:

  • Hub/Freewheel compatibility: Since you are increasing the cassette size, you may have to get a different hub and/or freewheel. If the freewheel needs to be changed out, the new one may end up being a wider dimension, which will require a new hub that will keep the overall dimension of the hub/freewheel the same. On mountain bikes, you may also have to contend with different axle designs as well. i.e. through-axle vs. quick-release and different dimensions between chain stays.
  • Alignment of the chain-rings with the cassette: If you are changing the number of chain-rings or changing the spacing significantly, you will need to check that the spacing between the frame and rings is adjusted with shims on the bottom bracket or a new bottom bracket design entirely. If you have braze-on derailleur hangers, this is critical. If they are clamp derailleur hangers, there is some adjustment available.
  • Bottom bracket: Most groups sets include the bottom bracket. You will need to check that the frame diameter and fitment style (press-in vs. thread-in) will match the new bottom bracket
  • Shifters: Since brake levers and shifters are typically integrated on a road bike, you will need to replace them to accommodate the new indexing on the rear cassette and/or front chain-rings. Make sure that the new brake levers are compatible with your existing brake calipers. Should be pretty standard on road bikes, but mountain bikes and hybrids require some more investigation when using integrated shifters.

Overall, you have a much better chance of getting a compatible upgrade if you stick with the same brand and similar technology (cable operated brakes vs. hydraulic for example)

Note: As OP suggested, this answer was as generic as I could make it to fit other bike types/styles.

  • I think that around this time, there were a lot of wheels in service with Shimano free hubs that couldn’t take 11s cassettes. Replacement freehub bodies were often available, but not guaranteed. I think this is what you meant by cassette size in the first bullet. Generally, the freehub doesn’t limit the size of the largest cog that can be accepted, that’s more the rear derailleur.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Commented Mar 30, 2021 at 23:00
  • 1
    @weiwen-ng You are right, I was referring to the number of cogs, not the number of teeth on the largest cog. i.e. if you put an 11 or 12 speed cassette on, most likely the freehub will not be wide enough to accommodate it and you will need to purchase a new wheel hub and free hub that is wide enough to fit the new "hotness" Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 13:53

The 2010 Tricross Sport needs the following standards met to have a compatible group set.

  1. 68mm BSA (British Standard) threaded bottom bracket.
  2. 34.9mm top clamp, bottom pull front derailleur

Any SRAM or SHIMANO Road or Cyclocross group set will work if it meets these standards.

If you choose an 11 speed group, you will need new wheels, since yours are maxed out with a 10 speed cassette.

There is no freehub upgrade kit option, as some other wheels have.

You can get a set of SHIMANO WH-5800 11 speed 105 wheels for about $150-200.

For your purposes, the 11 speed 105 will be a good choice of groupset.

I hope that helps.

  • Is that $200USD? 1CAD = .77USD
    – andy256
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 3:21
I am interested in upgrading the whole groupset


If there's some mechanical issue, you need to fix it. Most likely, the appropriate fix is to replace a faulty component with a new compatible component, or perhaps even simpler: an adjustment to your current parts. No "groupset upgrade".

Based on your statement, it seems bicycle component manufacturers have converted you into what is called groupset religion.

Groupset religion = the belief that a component belonging to a particular groupset is compatible only with other components from the very same groupset.

If there's no mechanical issue, just ride your current bike. If you are employed, for the price of a new groupset, you can probably negotiate extra unpaid vacation during good weather and have more time to ride your current bike.

Don't throw away perfectly good parts just because there is a more expensive supposedly "better" part available.

Your 9-speed parts are not obsolete. I have on my touring bike 8-speed parts currently. Cassettes and chains are available even for my 8-speed system, and probably more readily available for your 9-speed system.

If you absolutely must upgrade something and have money to burn, buy some low rolling resistance high performance slick tires. They have much more impact on the performance of your bike.

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