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I am riding 9speed Ultegra and that is all I have used in my 8 years since getting a CX bike. My shifters are getting worn and probably need replacing for next season. Trying to decide if i just replace my 9speed shifters or go to 10.

My question is, for those of you who have gone from 9 speed to 10, what do you miss about 9speed, what do you like better about 10speed so I can weigh the pros/cons? Keep in mind that outside of this year, we dont typically have more than 2-3 real muddy races here in CO. I have heard/read that a 10speed chain can be more susceptible to bending/breaking in those conditions.

Let me hear it all and your rants/raves, especially from those of you in muddy places!


CO Crosser

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I've been through two seasons now on 10 speed. I don't think there is any reason I'd recommend against it. I know people think about the thickness of the chain and I did snap one, but I've seen plenty of 9 speed chains snap as well.

I'd say go with 10, 9 speed shifters of good quality are getting harder to find.
Thanks. I have had my fair share of torquing on links on my 9spd chain to have broken a few this while in 8th place, one I caught before race time and added a quick link. Was a little worried I would have more issues given my propensity.
10 probably wears a little faster, clogs a little easier. I do find it's more sensitive to cable adjustment. Barrels can slowly twist in over time (esp downtube barrels) and 10spd is really sensitive to this.

I'm ambivalent about the shape of the hoods. There are some things I like more about each hood. Depends on how and where you grip the hoods. I do find the 7800 levers brake noticeably better than the Ultegra 9.

That said, 9spd is getting hard to find nowadays. I just switched from 9 to 10 and the Ebay prices for 9spd were pretty high, I thought. 7800 seems to really be retaining it's price but you could go Ultegra 10 for the price of new 9spd. Dumb.

I haven't raced them in crazy mud yet.
10 does wear faster, and chains/cassettes from 9 speed are way cheaper. The new tiagra 9 speed shfiters aren't bad at all, I actually think they are pretty good. Or you can get campy 10 shifters to use with shimano 9 derailleurs/cassettes. The new campy centaur 10 are really nice, carbon levers with the new hoods/carbon levers.

If it were me I'd get some centaur shifters. They would be great for cross.
I have a pair of the new non-escape alum Veloce UltraShift 10 speed Ergopower levers, and don't love them as much as the pre-escape stuff - the action seems softer and slower, but they still work fine with the shimergo solution.

Agree with Britton that if you are on a budget the Tiagra can do fine - 10s shape with 9s indexing. Or you can try to track down a j-tek shiftmate.
Unless you go used, there isn't much in selection of higher end 9speed shifters. The highest end 9 speed shifter shimano sells is the R600 and that actually costs more than the 105 10-speed.

I haven't had any issues with 10-speed and I've been running it for 2 years. However, I do replace my chain midway through the season just to be safe.
you could always do the Shimergo solution - campy 10 shifters are easy to find as are 9-speed cassettes. you can use any derailleur, even an old shimano 7 speed SIS one.

I constantly hear of more and more folks that are going to it after reading our mag or seeing our web stor. If you decide, let us know if you have any trouble or questions:

i have it on a few bikes. The quick release on the campy lever certainly allows more brake clearance on a muddy day, and you can dump a bunch of gears at once. note, the pic on the website is better than the one in the mag.

Digging up an old post, for those out there who love Veloce with the 'big hands inserts' like me.  Mr Lennord Zinn has posted somewhere in the wild webernetz that Campy shifters + SRAM RD + Shimano cassette 10s = acceptable shifting.

I put this setup together today on the stand it shifts well... going to test on the road tomorrow, and in a CX race in chicago on Saturday.

Not sure why I would want to go to 10s cassette, 9s seems cheaper (chains/cassettes) and my Shimergo shifted really well this season.  I guess I am just a tinkerer


I tried that setup and didn't get the perfect shifting that I'm used to from a normal drivetrain or Shimergo.  SRAM derailleurs expect a constant cable pull, while Shimano and Campy expect a different amount of cable pull per shift (the mm per shift varies depending which gear you are in).  While we could get most gears to work, it certainly wasn't the level of accuracy you'd want, esp when you introduce slop from cyclocross.

Good luck and do report back if you get a lot of good use out of that. You can always do the Campy 11 levers to get 10s with a SRAM or Shimano cassette.


Well, just got back from a quick (20 mile) ride.  Rode the Veloce/SRAM/Shimano setup.  Shifted beautifully.  Different than my Hubbub setup with a sram cassette, but I think that is the difference in cassettes (SRAM seems to be louder).  Shifts were super smooth.  The one thing that i noticed was that in the 2nd cog from bottom (11-25) cassette, while shifts were perfect for the most part, the ramp on the 3rd ring made a bit of noise, but i am guessing a click or 2 on the barrel adjuster would have worked without throwing the rest of the shifts off (i wasn't bothered by it since the rest were nearly flawless).  I don't end up in the bottom 2-3 cogs for very long.

Now i have to decide if i want to go 9 or 10s... since both shifting systems seem to work well.  I will race the 10s this weekend, and bring a pit bike (9s) since I don't have a 2nd 10s cassette for pit wheels.

I am leaning to 9s since cassettes are so cheap (pg950 and 970) seeing how i went through 3 chains and am on my 2nd cassette on my race bike, and a 2nd cassette on my gravel bike  (figuring out why i wear through chains so fast is my next priority... i clean/lube after nearly every ride/race, and am only 190lbs with avg power i'd say)

I have to agree w/ Andrew, I have used Campy Veloce levers w/ 9 speed shimano and xtr mid-cage derailleur. It teaches you to be your own best mechanic and once I get it dialed in I rarely touch it the whole season. Another plus is that the cables are hidden. I used a sram pit bike this year and it felt like shi-ate.


I've set up one bike with the Shimergo solution and it worked great, but I sold that bike about two weeks later, then my son said he wanted to raice CX, so...  waiting to set up another bike with Campy levers and shimano derailleurs. But both bikes are working great and it seems a shame to tear down a well functioning system.

One (9sp) is set up w/Tiagra brifters, old old old Deore rear derailleur, 105 front, 9 speed. Three years and I keep thinking "If something breaks on this, then I'll rebuild" but nothing breaks. This has got to be the smoothest, quietest shifting bike I've ever had.

Other is the bike I bought brand new that came with Rival group. Aside from struggling with the front derailleur (which I finally got working thanks to a Vuelta chainring) it's been pretty good. One really muddy race the cassette was getting clogged and I was having trouble with it skipping around in a few gears but since I did not race the other bike (I should of had it set up as a pit bike) I don't have any real comparisons. Wear has been decent on the 10sp and I like the feel of the hoods. If going 10sp and the cable is top-routed, get the Shimano CX70 front derialleur. It'll save some headaches.

I have not broken any chains on either which is amazing considering how hard I am on stuff.


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