How to convert to 11-speed with a 10-speed wheel

Posted at: May 28, 2021

This article explains how to convert your compo to 11-speed while keeping your existing 10-speed wheels, and how to tell the difference between 10-speed wheels and 11-speed wheels. Using this method, you can convert your wheels to 11-speed while making the most of the wheels you already have.

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How to tell if your wheel is a 10-speed or 11-speed wheel

There are three types of wheels available for 8 to 11 speeds.

  1. 11-speed wheel
  2. 10-speed dedicated wheel
  3. 8 to 10 speed wheel

To tell them apart, check for the presence or absence of spacers.

If the wheel is an 11-speed wheel, spacers will be included if it is equipped with an 8, 9, or 10-speed sprocket (two spacers of 1mm + 1.85mm for a 10-speed wheel).

If you have a 10-speed-only wheel, it should have a 10-speed sprocket without spacers, so it’s easy to understand. 10-speed-only wheels will not fit in any other speed except 10.

On the other hand, for 8-10 speed wheels, no spacers are required for 8th and 9th gear, and 1mm spacers are required for 10th gear.

How to check the wheel spacers

As the name “low spacer” implies, wheel spacers are generally put in the low side (in some cases, in the top side). So, look at the free body from the back side of the sprocket to see if there is a spacer.

Free body spacers for wheels

The thin gray part in the photo above is the spacer.

In this example, the 1.85mm spacer is engaged in order to install a 9-speed sprocket on the rear wheel of a Shimano WH-R100, which is an 11-speed wheel.

Shimano Free and Spacer Compatibility Chart

Let’s make a table for easy understanding.

The table below shows the spacers required for 10-speed (8-10 speed compatible wheels) and 11-speed wheels depending on the number of sprocket steps.

sprocket steps 8-10 speed wheel 10 speed only wheel 11 speed wheel
8-speed no spacer - 1.85mm spacer
9-speed no spacers - 1.85mm spacers
10-speed 1mm spacer no spacer 1mm + 1.85mm spacer
11th gear - - no spacer

This chart shows, for example, that if you are currently using a 9-speed sprocket

  • 10-speed wheel without spacer
  • If it has a spacer, it is an 11-speed wheel.

If you have a spacer in your wheel, you will be able to tell if it is a 10-speed or 11-speed wheel.

Using an 11-speed sprocket for 10-speed wheels

Shimano’s 105 and ULTEGRA road components are available with 11-speed sprockets that can be installed on 10-speed wheels.

CS-HG700-11 | Shimano

CS-HG800-11 | シマノ

Both the CS-HG700-11 and CS-HG800-11 sprockets are approved for 11-speed by Shimano’s official compatibility chart, so it is possible to convert a 10-speed wheel to 11-speed.

Shimano's official compatibility chart for 11-speed components

The rear derailleur that is compatible with the CS-HG700-11 and CS-HG800-11 is shown below.

model number grade
RD-R7000-GS 105

This strange sprocket seems to have an umbrella-like shape with the low side curved more toward the wheel than the free side, so that the 11-speed sprocket can be used on a 10-speed wheel.

Using the EDCO ten + eleven lock ring

This is a lock ring for installing an 11-speed sprocket on a 10-speed free body from a manufacturer called EDCO.

By replacing the lock ring that comes with the 11-speed sprocket with the EDCO ten + eleven lock ring, you will be able to use the 11-speed sprocket.

However, since the thickness of the frame side increases more than that of the free body, it cannot be used on wheels with a narrow gap between the frame and free body.

Ten+Eleven Rockring | TRISPORTS

We have seen how to convert a 10-speed wheel to 11-speed without changing the wheel.

It’s been more than 10 years since they were first introduced in June 2008, and 11-speed wheels have become the norm for higher grades. If you have an inexpensive wheel that comes with an entry-level bike, you can take the opportunity to upgrade to an 11-speed wheel, but if you already have a higher grade wheel that is designed for 10-speed, you may be hesitant to upgrade to 11-speed.

However, if you already have a 10-speed wheel, you may be hesitant to upgrade to 11-speed. However, if you use the method described in this article, you may be able to make use of your 10-speed wheel while upgrading to 11-speed depending on the conditions.

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