I have a 2016 Specialized Epic comp 29er mountain bike that has a 2x10 drive train. I’d like to upgrade to a 1x11 (instead of a 1x10 wide ratio) drivetrain to drop the front derailer and also make room for an internal dropper post routing.

I see complete kits for both SRAM or Shimano with what appear to be all the parts: crankset and single cog for the front New 11 gear cassette New rear derailer New gear changing switch + cable new chain

I’m nervous to drop the coin on a new set to find out it won’t fit? how do I know: 1) if my Specialized hi Lo hub is big enough to receive the 11 gear cassette? 2) that my frame is the right size to fit this? 3) is there something else I haven considered?

  • Its your coin, but its a lot of it just to get an internal routed dropper.
    – mattnz
    Oct 15 '18 at 19:15

Yes, it can be done, but you should consider what the cost of the components and tools or paying for installation would be vs a whole new bike.

You will indeed need a new crank, cassette, rear shifter and chain. May as well replace cables and housings at the same time.

If you have and will stay with Shimano, you might be able re-use the rear derailleur, as Shimano MTB 10 and 11 speeds use the same cable pull ratio, I believe. You just need to check that the derailleur can accommodate the largest sprocket size you will be using.

Unlike road systems, 11 speed MTB cassettes fit on 10 speed wheel freehubs as the largest sprockets can overhang the drive side flange and sprockets a little.

  • Thanks for your advice. I don’t have the cash for a whole new bike with a young baby at home. So, I’ll be keeping this bike for quite some time and just upgrading it a little at a time. The 1x11 and 1x12 kits I’ve found are the lower end stuff like GX, but I’m seeing prices for them under $400. That seemed reasonable (moreso than a new bike.), and next year I’ll do the internal dropper. Glad to hear that it should still work.
    – Mark
    Oct 16 '18 at 3:25

It's possible, but you'll at least need to replace your shift lever and rear derailleur. According to this article, you won't be able to make use of your old derailleur as both sram and shimano use different actuation ratios between their 10- and 11-speed mtb-style rear derailleurs.

The old freehub body can take 11-speed mtb cassette, as they have an indentation described in the other answer. The spacing of your frame won't be an issue here either.

You can likely make the upgrade without changing your crankset. It might just be that the new chainring can't be installed on it so that the chain would run perfectly straight when on the middle of the rear cassette, but depending on your riding preferences you're likely to favor one end of your cassette to another. If this is the case, you should install the chainring to match that behavior so that you're running your chain relatively straight more often than not. Bear in mind though, if you are to install in on the place of the inner ring, the chainstay of your frame will limit the maximum teeth count of the new chainring.

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