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Swapping 9 speed for a 8 speed cassette

topcattimtopcattim Posts: 764
edited January 2008 in Workshop
I've got some new wheels for Christmas :lol: which means that I can now downgrade my previous best wheels onto my winter bike.

My winter bike runs an 8 speed Sora system whereas the cassette on the wheels I am about to put on is a 9 speed cassette. I know I need to swap the cassettes over, but my question is whether I just put the cassette straight on, or whether I need to use some kind of spacer, perhaps putting it on before I put the cassette on?

(I ask this because the shop where I bought my new best wheels gave me a spacer to put on, since the new wheels were designed for 10 speed but I am going to put on a 9 speed cassette. I figure I might need to do something similar for the other wheels?)


  • John.TJohn.T Posts: 3,698
    8,9 or10sp will all fit. Only the 10sp needs the spacer. It sounds daft but the 10sp cassette is recessed at the back. All Shimano wheels are 8,9 and 10sp compatible except some Dura-ace. 7 speed ones have a shorter freehub though.
  • Ok, thanks John. Just to confirm then, what you are saying is that I can put
      1. an 8 speed cassette on a freehub that previously ran a 9 speed cassette without putting the spacer on between the cassette and the freehub 2. but for the 9 speed cassette going on a freehub that is designed for a 10 speed cassette, I shall need the spacer?
  • maddog 2maddog 2 Posts: 8,114
    yep, the 8 is a straight swap for the 9.
    Facts are meaningless, you can use facts to prove anything that's remotely true! - Homer
  • John.TJohn.T Posts: 3,698
    1. Correct.

    2. The freehub is the same except for some Dura-ace which use a cassette with deeper groves. These will only take the correct cassettes. The spacer is only needed if fitting a standard 10sp cassette to a standard 8/9/10 sp freehub.
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 764
    Thanks for these replies. I've successfully put the 8 speed cassette on my winter bike now.

    But my new "best wheels" (Easton Orion II) have a freehub with a different groove pattern, meaning that I can't put the 9 speed 105 cassette on them. Its not so much that the grooves are deeper, but that they seem to have a different pattern. Does this mean (picking up an idea from John T's post) that they are "Dura-Ace" compatible only?

    All I can get from the Easton website is that the hubs are
    R-series with patented Twin-Thread Technology. Gray annodized finish. Precision-sealed cartridge bearings with asymmetrical, low-drag seals
  • John.TJohn.T Posts: 3,698
    Are you sure they do not have a Campag freehub on them. These have a different pattern and deeper groves. Read the FAQ re Campag. Link on the Orion wheel page.
  • topcattimtopcattim Posts: 764
    John.T wrote:
    Are you sure they do not have a Campag freehub on them. These have a different pattern and deeper groves. Read the FAQ re Campag. Link on the Orion wheel page.


    I think you might be on to something here, John, thanks.
    When I bought them, the shop told me that they would be compatible with my 105 drivetrain, but I am now having second thoughts. Looks like I need to pay them a visit to ask them to swap over the cassette body...!
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