Saturday, 31 March 2012

Is Shimergo a waste of time?

Shimergo means using Campagnolo Ergo shifter levers with a Shimano drivetrain. Check out this beautiful Bianchi renovation (from the interesting "Pistarice" blogsite):
I used to think that messing about, mixing and matching combinations of components from one manufacturer with those from another, was pointless. Each brand is designed to function with its own compatible parts. So obviously, it would be less than optimal to use bits that were never designed to work another brand, right? But no, both theory and practical experience indicate otherwise.

The most common combination seems to be 10 speed Campagnolo Ergo levers with either 8 speed Shimano drive, or 9 speed Shimano provided the rear derailleur clamp washer is rotated a bit (what Shimergo practitioners call "hubbub" - photo here). 11 speed Campagnolo shifters also work with Shimano 9 speed systems. However, since 10 speed Campagnolo levers (e.g. Veloce 10) are significantly cheaper than Shimano STI levers (whereas Campagnolo 11 speed ones are comparably priced), Shimergo is useful solution for:
  • upgrading Shimano geared bikes with down tube shifters - e.g. touring bikes, or old road bikes
  • converting MTB drive trains for road use
  • a cheaper and I'd say "sexier" option for replacing defective 8 or 9 speed Shimano STI shifters
  • in some cases, improving braking performance, because the Campagnolo brake levers are likely to be an upgrade over the original brake levers 
So, for certain bikes, Shimergo is certainly not a waste of time. What we need however, is some list of the known combinations of types and models that function well together (I mean with more product detail than the combination tables in Chris Juden's CTC article). And let's not stop with Shimergo. What about Sramano, which I have heard can work too? If any reader has first hand knowledge of a combination of mixed brand gear train parts and shifters that work well, please do add a little comment here with product and model details. If I can gather enough data, I'll make a table of it and share that interoperability info with everyone!


  1. I've got a Shimergo setup in the pipes. I cobbled together some Veloce 8 speed shifters, and an Athena 8 speed rear mech that will be working a 7 speed Hyperglide cassette. Once I have it built up (looking to replace a bent fork) I'll let you know how it worked out.

  2. That's an interesting combination and CTC Chris Juden's article indicates that Campag 8 speed and Shimano 7 cassettes have the same sprocket pitch (5mm). Yes, would love to hear if it works ok.

  3. I have a shimano 9 speed drivetrain that i shimergo'd quite nicely using a jtek shiftmate.
    current setup is as follows:
    - shimano 9 cassette
    - shimano 9 ultegra rear der. (short cage)
    - sugino compact crank
    - shimano 6 speed 105 front der.
    - campagnolo 9 athena ergoshifters

    works like a dream! shifts are much crisper and quicker than my old 105 stis

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  5. Chuck,
    Great post!

    I have three variations of this setup.

    The first is 2007 Campy Chorus 10sp shifters mated to DA7800 rear mech using a Jtek Shiftmate #2.Sram PC 971 chain.Ultegra 12-27 9sp cassette. DA7800 front mech. Easton EC90 cranks w/FSA 38/50 rings.

    The second is 2007 Campy Chorus 10sp shifters mated to DA7800 rear mech using a Jtek Shiftmate #2.Ultegra 9sp chain.Ultegra 12-23 9sp cassette. 105 5700 front mech. Token compact (isis)cranks with 34/50 rings. This front mech/chain/shifter combo is absolutely magical.

    Lastly, I have a travel bike outfitted with 2007 Campy Veloce 10sp shifters mated to Mavic 840 rear mech. Sram PC 971 chain.Sram PG850 11-28 8sp cassette. Mavic 860 front mech. FSA Energy (isis) crank with 39/48 rings. This combo sounds BEAUTIFUL!It can be seen here;

  6. I'm using Campag Ergo Chorus 11speed levers controlling Tiagra 9speed rear and triple front shifters on a 9speed 12-26 Sram cassette. It worked flawlessly so I added a larger 10th sprocket using a 9speed spacer. It still works perfectly!

    The pull-per-click of the 11speed Ergo levers is all but identical to 9speed Shimano spacing. My blog and YouTube video show it works. Search for Shimergo.

    Next I plan to try a full 11speed Shimergo at 10speed cassette spacing with Hubbub cable clamping. I'll use an inexpensive 10speed Shimano road cassette. Again with a loose 11th sprocket clamped behind the cassette with a 10speed Shimano spacer.

    Why bother with Shimergo? Because I like to keep my cadence high all the time to protect my knees. Ergo levers are so easy to shift up and down gear from the hoods.