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I'm looking at a wheelset which comes with either a Shimano or XDR driver body option. So I assume that has to be compatible with the cassette, but does the cassette also have to be compatible with the derailleur?

Also are disk brake disks interoperable, or do I have to be careful about compatibility there?

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  • Just FYI, my comments on your wheel swapping plans were not about strict compatibility issues but about the fact that the cogs and discs of two different wheels are unlikely to be in exactly the same spot. Which will potentially require brake and derailleur adjustment every time you swap wheels. Hence the recommendation to stay with the same parts for a second wheelset. Jul 10 at 19:27
  • By the same parts: do you mean the same brake disk and cassette, or the same wheels as well?
    – sak
    Jul 12 at 15:27

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XDR means SRAM’s XD driver for road cassettes. Their 12s AXS groups use a slightly larger roller diameter than Shimano and Campagnolo, and chains, the derailleur’s jockey wheels, and chainrings will be built for those rollers. Thus, if you use an AXS cassette, the whole drivetrain should be compatible with those chainrings. It is likely that Shimano and Campagnolo 12s groups would be able to operate with the other brand’s chain and cassette. I am not sure this has been confirmed, but it’s well known that this is true for 11s.

The disc rotors can be interchanged between brands.

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  • Shimano 12-speed are apparently not compatible/optimal with non Shimano cassettes bikerumor.com/… But it's per se not a problem, the chain can easily be swapped when changing the wheel (and it will apply the rule 3 chains/1 cassette)
    – Renaud
    Jul 10 at 19:09
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This question is very broad because we don't know anything about the bike or how to interpret "does the cassette also have to be compatible with the derailleur?"

Yes, in a basic sense, not all rear derailleurs work with all cassettes. They can be the wrong actuation ratio for the cassette spacing and shifter, they can have the wrong large cog clearances (max tooth), etc. There have been a lot of derailleurs made in the history of bikes and we have no idea what you're working with. Where the question gets murky is that there are a number of things that are incompatible on paper, including some things that might apply to running an XDR cassette on a drivetrain not explicitly meant for it. So the real answer is yes the parts have to be physically compatible of course, but on-paper compatibility is unimportant in some cases.

The rotor mount choice doesn't stop you from using whatever brakes, but in some cases it does limit you in terms of availability and options.

For most people, most of the time, if this is a road wheelset where the choice is between Shimano as in Shimano Hyperglide and XDR, you get HG unless you're specifically running a drivetrain that uses an XDR cassette, i.e. any of the SRAM road drivetrains where the small cog is a 10t.

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