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10 Speed or 11 Speed

HI, I have a quick question in relation to using a 10 speed or 11 speed for the bike section in a 70.3 Triathlon (mostly flat with a couple of short sharp climbs), is there much of a difference between the two?

I currently have a 10 speed and I was wondering if it was worth changing the set up to an 11 Speed, any ideas are greatly appreciated.


  • I switched my 10 & 8 speed bikes to 11 speed because I had 3 bike and a tandem, 2 were 11 speed and one was 10 speed and the tandem was 8 speed. I was upgrading the tandem to drop down bars, so had to buy shifters, so made sense to go to 11 speed, I also decided to go to 11 speed for my 10 speed road bike - however, as that used Di2, I only needed front and rear derailleurs.

    The main benefits of 11 speed - shifting is very smooth compared with 8 and 10 speed, on the Tandem it makes a massive difference.

    Also on 10 speed you can't buy a Dura Ace Chain - an 11 speed DA chain is around £30 on CRC, and I am so impressed with this chain, and it really shifts so smoothly

    The gaps in the ratios are also a bit tighter than on a 10 speed, I am a pretty good cyclist and do notice it, however, it is really marginal. For example if I am cycling on the 10 speed at a cadence of 95 rpm on the 20 tooth sprocket and I shift down a gear to an 18 tooth, my cadence drops to 85 rpm, however, if I have an 11 speed setup, I drop to a 19 tooth sprocket and my cadence is 90 rpm, however, it only impacts two gear change in this way. Alternatively you can use an 11-28 cassette on 11 speed with similar spacing to an 11-25 on a 10 speed.

    In summary, 11 speed is a bit better than 10 speed, but only marginal gains. If your gears are getting sloppy, you need to change shifters, chain, cassette or derailleurs, then go for 11 speed. A 10 speed chainset works fine on 11 speed so no need to change that.

    On the tandem, I went from a triple 8 speed setup to a compact 11 speed setup: Wow, it transforms the bike, my feeling is that a tandem works so much better with tight ratios

  • HI Matthew

    Thanks for the feedback and you've hit the nail on the head for me when you mention marginal gains and sloppy gears. 

    Thank You

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