11-speed drivetrain guide for mountain bikes

Category: Components

Why go 11-speed?

11-speed drivetrain guide for mountain bikes

11-speed drivetrains are becoming the new standard for road and mountain bikes, and for good reason. 11-speed gives a smoother and more progressive shift ratio, and is better suited to both climbing and normal riding.

They’re generally considered as being more efficient, faster shifting and offering a wider gear range.

One-by, or 1×11 speed drivetrains (no front mech) are increasingly popular on modern trail mountain bikes and the wider ratio offers more flexibility to use one chainring which leads to a more simple setup with less to go wrong – it’ll also make your bike lighter.

If your mountain bike has a triple front ring, an upgraded 2×11 speed setup allows you to reduce some weight and simplify your drivetrain.

What do you need to convert your current bike to 11-speed?

So what do you need if you want to convert your current bike to 11-speed? You’ll need an 11-speed wheel and 11-speed drivetrain (some existing 9/10-speed wheels can be converted, but in most cases a new 11-speed wheel is the best option).

As the front mech is the cheapest part of a groupset we’d advise you to replace that too.

What 11-speed mountain bike options are there? Here’s our 11-speed drivetrain guide for mountain bikes

Entry level 11-speed mountain bike options

Shimano SLX

SLX is a smooth shifting, long-lasting option packed with Shimano’s high tech features including their Shadow+ rear derailleur, Ice Technology disc brakes and the RapidFire plus shifter. All this adds up to exceptional performance at a sensible price.

Browse all Shimano SLX


Bringing one-by 11-speed shifting to the masses, SRAM NX promises sharp, dependable shifting every time.

Browse all SRAM NX


A successor to SRAM’s X7 and X9 component group, SRAM GX uses the innovation and engineering lessons learned from the company’s high-end XX1, X01 and X1 groups.

Browse all SRAM GX

Mid-range 11-speed

Shimano XT

XT gets trickle-down features from the higher models in the group, with many options on offer to tailor for your requirements – whether you’re a trail rider, cross-country cyclist or big-hitting all-mountain type.

Browse all Shimano XT

Shimano XT Di2

XT Di2 brings high performance seamless electronic shifting to a whole new group of trail riders at a far more affordable and accessible price.

Browse all Shimano XT Di2


SRAM’s versatile one-by drivetrain suited to everything from cross-country racing to all-mountain trail rides.

Browse all SRAM X1

Top-end 11-speed

Shimano XTR

It’s lightweight, strong and filled with technology to make it the most crisp, efficient and consistent gear choice on the market.

Browse all Shimano XTR

Shimano XTR Di2

An electronic shifting option for Shimano’s 11-speed XTR mountain bike components, XTR Di2 aims to redefine how you can control and personalise the way you ride through the proven Di2 digital platform.

Browse all Shimano XTR Di2


SRAM X01 promises a similar level of flawless chain management, light weight and precise shifting as the more expensive XX1 group..

Browse all SRAM X01

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