I own a Fausto Coppi vintage bike. Currently I have RSX shifters with Shimano exage 300EX front and rear derailleurs.

I am switching my whole setup to accomodate 10 speed. My new wheels fit well. I have just ordered a SRAM Apex mini set. This comes with a 10 speed chain, shifters, cassette, rear derailleur and brakes. I do want to eventually switch out the bottom bracket and crankset but I currently have an Ofmega 52/42 crankset. I also want to switch out the front derailleur as well.

I just want to know if this setup will not work or cause damage to components until I can replace the front derailleur, BB and crankset to match the Sram Apex set?

So to be clear this will be SRAM Apex rear derailleur, shifters, cassette and chain. But the mixed components will be shimano Exage 300ex front derailleur and Ofmega 52/42 crankset. This is strictly temporary but I just want to know if it'll work okay. Thanks

  • How fixed are you on originality ? – Criggie May 24 '20 at 20:34

Proof's in the pudding, but generally you should be fine with this setup as long as the frame's OLD is large enough to take your new rear wheel hub.

The trick is to keep the front mech and shifter compatible with each other, and keep the rear mech and shifter and cassette compatible.

One interaction can be that the narrower width of the 10 speed chain takes longer to move chainrings at the front because the front mech's cage is for a wider chain. For a beater bike you might squash the cage horizontally a bit, or learn to live with it.

Also the RSX shifter on the left of your bars will be mostly grey, and the new one on the right will be much more modern-looking. A workaround here is to use a downtube shifter on the left for the front mech, and leave the left brifter as only a brake. This was a thing in the 90s, noticeably some yellow texan.


The 10 speed chain is narrower than the chain your crankset was originally designed for. With narrower chain there is the risk that the chain slips between chainrings and is stuck there. This is not a fun situation, but if you shift very carefully (i.e. make sure to shift all the way quickly) and check that shift was successful before applying power, you might get away with it.

As already mentioned in other answer, front derailleur cable pull is also an issue. If you keep the original downtube shifter, you can work around cage width issue by overshifting and letting the shifter back after chain has shifted.


The pull-rate (cable per click) on SRAM is very different from Shimano. With downtube shifters you could switch to friction mode and use any rear mech.

Shimano STI brake lever shifters will not work with SRAM. There are also many variants within Shimano's ranges over the years that have strange compatibility issues - some useful, others not.

If you are careful you can experiment but make sure you do your endstops BEFORE anything else.

Don't forget hanger alignment and B-Screw as well.

Good Luck

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.