Shimano compatibility

Hey, I have a Shimano 105 11 speed shifter and derailleur. I’m going to use it on a gravel bike with a Shimano hg freehub. Anyone know if I can run 11 speed xt cassette with a 105 setup (as long as the derailleur cage is long enough obviously)?

Nope. Since 10 speed, Shimano road and MTB have different cable pull lengths.
(Sorry that doesn’t answer the question… max cassette capacity for the 105 RD will limit you to about 32T on the rear.)

Thanks for the quick reply.

As a follow up question. Do you know if the road freehub is the same as a mountain freehub?

An 11s mountain freehub is slightly narrower than an 11s road freehub because the largest cog can overhang slightly on the inside. To use a mountain cassette on a road hub, you need a spacer ring (1.85mm I think).

The cog spacing is the same so the 105 derailleur will work with it if it clears the largest cog. Shimano derailleurs can often handle larger cogs than the specs state. There are mount replacements like the Wolf Tooth Roadlink and Wolflink that can increase the maximum size.

There will also be a total tooth capacity limit for the derailleur. Capacity = [largest cog teeth - smallest cog] + [large chainring - small chainring]. Again, you can probably go somewhat larger than the specs state.


Are you going for a 1x or 2x set up? A 1x set up would probably work if you used a range extender like a Wolftooth.

As already mentioned, you’d need a 10 speed spacer behind the cassette as well.

If you don’t have a large capacity cassette yet Sunrace do a large road spaced 11 speed. This combined with a wolftooth goatlink (current 105/grx/ultegra) will allow a nice big range in 1x.

I’ve got a grx with link waiting for the cassette to wear out so will grab pictures.

Here’s the cassette and link in use from Bikepacking website: Road Shifters + MTB Derailleurs/Cassettes (Mullet Drivetrains) -

And here’s the link on my grx setup:

1 Like

Yes, you absolutely can run that set-up. I did it this year when I did The Rift.

As noted, you’ll need a thin spacer behind the cassette and also install a Wolf Tooth RD extender.

I ran an 12-40 XT cassette with Ultegra RD and Wolf Tooth adapter and it worked flawlessly.

1 Like

Oh…one additional note…I previously ran a 11-36 cassette with the mechanical Ultegra and no Wolf Tooth adapter and it worked fine.

1 Like

I’m doing the same thing with an Ultegra RX rear mech and it shifts perfectly.

Paired it with a 46/30 crankset which in my view gives perfect gravel gearing.

This is all making sense. Interestingly after doing more digging I ran across a guy who ran the xt cassette with ultegra shifter/derailleur and despite a theoretical difference in gaps between cogs, the two systems function well together.

My gravel setup is a bit of a Frankenbike. It’s a surly karate monkey circa 2013 with a 1x setup. Originally I was running it as a single speed but when my wife complained that I was always going too fast I fit 7 11 speed cogs 9n my hope single speed hub. I got an extra long limit adjust screw to lock out the top 4 gears on the shifter.

In any case I recently came across a Chris king iso hub 135 qr rear hub with what I can only assume is a mountain hg freehub. I’m going to rebuild the rear wheel and I suppose my options would ve to try the xt cassette and see how the two play together. If they don’t get along I can just get a road cassette and lose one of the cogs.

All HG free hubs are the same and there is no difference between road or MTB freehibs. They can also accommodate 8, 9, 10 or 11 spd cassettes.

There were HG 10-speed freehub bodies (e.g on Dura Ace 7850 wheels - I have 2 of those). 11-speed MTB cassettes can be mounted on those 10-speed FHBs (because of the recessed biggest cog carrier), road ones can’t.
I also have a Campa Shamal (tubular !) wheelset with a 10-speed HG FHB. I can’t put an 11-speed cassette on it (I tried ^^).

Cable pull has nothing to do with the cassette. The cog spacing between gears is the same across all Shimano 11 speed applications. You’ll need a Wolftooth Goatlink to get your road shifter to accommodate the larger granny gears though… otherwise, they’re totally compatible.

Update to this thread. Thanks to the members for their replies. As noted above, 11 speed mountain cassette mounted on my hg driver without issue. I then purchased a wolftooth dm link and used that to adapt my 11 speed 105 derailleur. Quick adjustment to limit screws and I was off to the races.

So from my experience at this point 11 speed shimano mtb cassettes work fine on any modern hg driver. 105 shifter and derailleur work fine with mtb cassette with the appropriate wolf tooth link. Funny that there is so much confusion regarding compatibility between shimano road/mtb.

Road rear derailleur requires road STI shifter lever.
MTB rear derailleur requires MTB shifter lever.
11v cassettes work all with both Road or MTB derailleur/shifter setup.


This is incorrect. The only compatibility requirement in mixing road and mountain groups is that you maintain consistency between derailleurs. You can mix XTR derailleurs with Dura Ace shifters for example, but you cannot run an XTR rear derailleur with a Dura Ace front derailleur irrespective of what shifters you’re using.

That only applies to Di2. For mechanical shifting, road and mountain diverged in cable pull back in the 9 speed days.

But there is a flat bar, road-pull shifter too. At least at 11-speed.


No, this is false.
Every road shifter (STI levers, I mean) works with any road derailleur of the same “series”.
So 11s dura ace works with 11s ultegra and 11s 105.
But anyone doesn’t work properly with any MTB derailleur (XTR, XT, SLX, Deore).

Saying it twice doesn’t make it any more correct, it just makes you wrong a second time.

For mechanical, there’s no shortage of bits like the Tanpan that will adapt the cable pull to accommodate mixed setups.