Can I Use 11 Speed Crankset With 10 Speed Chain?

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Wondering or confused if you can use 11-speed crankset with a 10-speed chain? The answer is yes. It is possible to mix and match these components.

However, you should know that some brands may not have replacement components of either the crank or chainrings in 10 speed.

So if the crank breaks or otherwise malfunctions, it will be difficult (or impossible) to replace it with another component in the same range of speeds.

There are many different types of cranksets, but the majority are in a standard range of round numbers, such as Shimano 10/11 speed.

The process of using a crankset and chainrings at different ratios is called a combination setting. The crankarms have a ring that slides on or is attached to the crank axle.

At the other end is a second ring that the chain runs on (or through). The total number of teeth on each ring determines what number of gears you can shift through.

The simplest way to determine the gear ratio on a crankset is to figure out how many teeth the chainring(s) have.

To do this, count the number of teeth from one side of the rings to the opposite end and multiply by 2. For example, assume there are 24 teeth in a chainring. 24 x 2= 48 total teeth! Now count the number of teeth on each ring as mentioned above. The answer will be either 46 or 48 depending on if an inner ring is present.

Another way to appreciate the gear ratios is to consider the following: If you have only one chainring and one cog, it will be much harder to pedal than if you have multiple chainrings.

For example, using a crank with two chainrings of 36/48 teeth and one cog of 12 teeth will be much easier than using a single chainring of 48 teeth on its own. The gear ratio of this combination is 2.0 (36 teeth /12teeth=2).

For most people, the chainring will be set to allow them to pedal easily. It is then necessary to set the lowest gear, a ratio of about 14 or 16 (14 for long cranksets and 16 for short ones).

The difference between a 14 and 16 is about a 1:1 ratio with respect to each other. So if you have a 10-speed drivetrain, the gear ratio of the first three cogs will be about 6:1, 5:1, and 4:1 respectively.

There are special cases that make it possible to use a crank with a different number of teeth on the chainrings. A small number of people have high strength and cardiovascular fitness, and can do the following:

1. Use one ring with more teeth than usual. The rider will have to pedal faster (a ratio of about 2.6) in order to not over-exert their muscles. This ratio is for experienced riders only because it will take a much longer time to reach any given speed.

2. Use two rings that have the same number of teeth in common. The rider will have to pedal at the usual speed, but it will take longer to reach a given speed.

3. Use a special crankset with one larger ring of fewer teeth than usual and one smaller ring of more teeth than usual, so that the combination has approximate the same number of teeth as usual (for example: having one large chainring with 48/22 teeth and another small chainring with 32/32).

This will make it possible to pedal at the usual speed, but the gear ratio will be higher than usual (for example 3.8). 

4. When you use a combination of 10 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the chain has more teeth and therefore the gear ratio is 1 to 1. The same ratio as a single chainring alone.

5. When you use a combination of 9 speed and 10-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 1.4 using one chainring with more teeth. This is the same ratio as two chainrings in combination with one cog.

The second chainring has 38 teeth for 10 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 28 teeth for 9 speed (with a multiplier of 2x). 

6. When you use a combination of 8 speed and 10-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 1.8 using one chainring with more teeth.

This is the same ratio as four chainrings in combination with two cogs. The second chainring has 32 teeth for 8 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 44 teeth for 10 speed (with a multiplier of 2x). 

7. When you use a combination of 7 speed and 10-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 2.2 using one chainring with more teeth.

This is the same ratio as five chainrings in combination with three cogs. The second chainring has 36 teeth for 7 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 60 teeth for 10 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

8. When you use a combination of 6 speed and 10-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 2.4 using one chainring with more teeth. This is the same ratio as six chainrings in combination with four cogs.

The second chainring has 30 teeth for 6 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 60 teeth for 10 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

9. When you use a combination of 5 speed and 10-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 2.6 using one chainring with more teeth.

This is the same ratio as seven chainrings in combination with five cogs. The second chainring has 24 teeth for 5 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 48 teeth for 10 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

10. When you use a combination of 4 speed and 10-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 3.0 using one chainring with more teeth.

This is the same ratio as eight chainrings in combination with six cogs. The second chainring has 18 teeth for 4 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 42 teeth for 10 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

11. When you use a combination of 3 speed and 10-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 3.2 using one chainring with more teeth. This is the same ratio as nine chainrings in combination with seven cogs.

The second chainring has 24 teeth for 3 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 48 teeth for 10 speed (with a multiplier of 2x). 

12. When you use a combination of 2 speed and 10-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 3.4 using one chainring with more teeth. This is the same ratio as ten chainrings in combination with eight cogs.

The second chainring has 12 teeth for 2 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 36 teeth for 10 speed (with a multiplier of 2x). 

13. When you use a combination of 1 speed and 10-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 3.8 using one chainring with more teeth.

This is the same ratio as eleven chainrings in combination with nine cogs. The second chainring has 16 teeth for 1 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 32 teeth for 10 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

14. When you use an 11-speed chain, the gear ratio is 1 to 1. This is the same ratio as a single chainring alone. The reason is that an 11-speed chain has 11 teeth, which multiplied by any number of rows in front gives you back the same number of teeth.

15. When you use a combination of 10 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 1.25 using one chainring with more teeth. This is the same ratio as a single chainring alone.

The reason is that an 11-speed chain has 11 teeth, which multiplied by any number of rows in front gives you back the same number of teeth.

16. When you use a combination of 9 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 1.3 using one chainring with more teeth. This is the same ratio as a single chainring alone.

The reason is that an 11-speed chain has 11 teeth, which multiplied by any number of rows in front gives you back the same number of teeth.

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17. When you use a combination of 8 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 1.6 using one chainring with more teeth. This is the same ratio as two chainrings in combination with one cog.

The second chainring has 34 teeth for 8 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 46 teeth for 11 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

18. When you use a combination of 7 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 1.9 using one chainring with more teeth.

This is the same ratio as three chainrings in combination with two cogs. The second chainring has 36 teeth for 7 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 60 teeth for 11 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

19. When you use a combination of 6 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 2.2 using one chainring with more teeth. This is the same ratio as four chainrings in combination with three cogs.

The second chainring has 32 teeth for 6 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 50 teeth for 11 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

20. When you use a combination of 5 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 2.4 using one chainring with more teeth. This is the same ratio as five chainrings in combination with four cogs.

The second chainring has 30 teeth for 5 speeds (with a multiplier of 2x), and 60 teeth for 11 speeds (with a multiplier of 2x).

21. When you use a combination of 4 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 2.6 using one chainring with more teeth.

This is the same ratio as six chainrings in combination with five cogs. The second chainring has 24 teeth for 4 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 48 teeth for 11 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

22. When you use a combination of 3 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 3.2 using one chainring with more teeth.

This is the same ratio as seven chainrings in combination with six cogs. The second chainring has 18 teeth for 3 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 42 teeth for 11 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

23. When you use a combination of 2 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 3.4 using one chainring with more teeth.

This is the same ratio as eight chainrings in combination with seven cogs. The second chainring has 12 teeth for 2 speeds (with a multiplier of 2x), and 36 teeth for 11 speeds (with a multiplier of 2x).

24. When you use a combination of 1 speed and 11-speed cranksets, the gear ratio is 1 to 3.7 using one chainring with more teeth.

This is the same ratio as nine chainrings in combination with eight cogs. The second chainring has 16 teeth for 1 speed (with a multiplier of 2x), and 32 teeth for 11 speed (with a multiplier of 2x).

Will a 9-speed chain work on a 10-speed cassette?

A 9-speed chain will not work on a 10-speed cassette. The only time a 9-speed chain should be used is when the bike also has a 9-speed gear set.

A 10-speed cassette is different from a 9-speed cassette in that the spacing of gears 1 and 2 are twice as far apart, which necessitates that the chain pins (which pivot around the rear cog) be aligned differently to match.

The most common problem is using a 9-speed chain. This will not work on a 10-speed cassette, the chain will skip over the smallest cog.

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Another commonly seen problem is using an 8-speed chain on a 9-speed cassette. This was possible with Shimano 9 speed hubs when they first came out but was quickly discontinued by Shimano.

In this case, the chain will run around once to the smallest cog. This is actually OK and may be fine for some uses but it’s not ideal and will cause eventual trouble.

Can you use a 10-speed crankset with 9-speed?

Some bicycle manufacturers recommend using a 9-speed crankset with a 10-speed wheel. This is because the chainring teeth on a 10-speed crank are closer together than those on a 9-speed crank.

The narrower teeth mean it is easier to pedal at lower gear ratios, and there is less chance of skipping or cross-chaining when changing gears.

There are also benefits to using more gear sizes in one gearing system, especially in racing where you have larger jumps between gear ratios.

While you can use a 10-speed chain with a 9-speed system, there is no need to do so. A full 10-speed system will work perfectly well with a 9-speed crank and chain, although as noted above you may have problems changing gears if you are using super low gear ratios.

Most of the major bicycle manufacturers now make 10-speed compatible hubs. That means they can be used with either 10 or 9-speed freehubs (freehub = part of the hub that holds the gears).

How wide is a 10-speed chain? – Conclusion

The chain’s width is made up of 0.438 inches (10″), but most 10 speeds are made with 0.484″ wide chains.

When switching to a new bike, you’ll likely want to change your chain in order to make it fit properly on your new bike. But how wide is a 10-speed chain?

The answer is a bit confusing! On most 10 speed bikes, the chain’s width is made up of an inch and four-tenths of an inch (0.438″).

You can measure the chain with a ruler, and that is most commonly true. But many 10 speeds are made with chains that are a full inch wide (0.484″).

For example, a new 10-speed bike might come stock with a chain made like this: 0.50″ wide x 1/8″ thick x 120 links long (five feet long).

Upgrade to an 11-speed MTB cassette and you’re probably switching to a different brand of the chain. If you look closely at the box it comes in, it says 0.5″ x 1/8″ x 116 links.

The length of the chain is still 5 feet long, but the width is smaller. It could be that your new 10-speed bike came with a bike chain made in Taiwan while your 11-speed MTB cassette was made in Thailand. Or, it could be that you’re actually running two chains that are different widths!

There are many types of 10-speed chains and they can even vary by brand! The width of a 10-speed chain can range from 0.438″ to 0.

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