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  1. #1
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    8spd-9spd Chain Confusion

    OK-This shouldn't be this confusing. But, I bought a DA group without chain that is a combination of 8spd & 9spd. 7400 8spd derailer & cassette with 7700 Octalink crank. I go to the LBS for a chain and they say it's either a 6,7,8 spd chain or a 9,10 spd. I say, "No, the previous owner assured me that these things work together". So, what's the difference between the 8spd cassette and the 9spd crank?

  2. #2
    Practical Cyclist `Orum's Avatar
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    IIRC, chains come in 4 speeds: single, 5/6/7/8-speed, 9-speed, and 10-speed. The difference is the width of the chain, which also affects durability and what cassettes, derailleurs, and chain rings it will work with.

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    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by `Orum View Post
    IIRC, chains come in 4 speeds: single, 5/6/7/8-speed, 9-speed, and 10-speed. The difference is the width of the chain, which also affects durability and what cassettes, derailleurs, and chain rings it will work with.
    Ya, I get that. But is it just a matter of the width or the length? If you go to your local bike shop, the chains are grouped as either 6,7,8 speed or 9,10 speed. I understand that they had to narrow the width of the chain in order to fit more cogs so an 8spd chain is too beefy for a 9,10 spd cassette. But would a narrow chain work on an 8spd cassette?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    But would a narrow chain work on an 8spd cassette?
    I don't think that's a problem. If you do run into a problem, it's the reverse - smaller chain with wider pitch chainrings. I'm told that the smaller chains can dump into the gap between chainrings when downshifting the FD. But in your case, there aren't gaps between cogs in the cassette, so you're OK. You'll just be buying a slightly slimmer, more expensive, arguably less durable chain.

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    If you are using an 8sp. cassette use an 8sp chain. The front won't be a big problem.

  6. #6
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    Sorry to nit-pick terminology, but all modern chains have the same "pitch" (1/2"): http://sheldonbrown.com/gloss_p.html#pitch

    Match the cassette to the chain and don't worry much about the chainrings. Also, it's best to match the front derailleur to the chain for best shifting and avoiding rubbing.
    Quote Originally Posted by slopvehicle View Post
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    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidad View Post
    If you are using an 8sp. cassette use an 8sp chain. The front won't be a big problem.
    +1

    Shimano recommends that you do not use their 9s chain w/8s components.
    72 special CNC ___________ 72 Frejus (ala Legnano) __73 Holdsworth Record
    78 Raleigh Professional_____ 80 Ranson_____________ 80 unknown French (SS)
    82 Peugeot PXN10_________83 Trek 620 (nee 600)____ 85 Gianni Motta
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    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    Ya, I get that. But is it just a matter of the width or the length?
    Width. (Of the outside only - insides are the same.)

    Length must be custom-fit to each bike. Do you know how to do that?
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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  9. #9
    It's true, man.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Barker View Post
    +1

    Shimano recommends that you do not use their 9s chain w/8s components.
    Shimano also likes to sell chains. Just sayin'...

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    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMF View Post
    Width. (Of the outside only - insides are the same.)

    Length must be custom-fit to each bike. Do you know how to do that?
    I actually started another thread asking that question. The first response was that this topic comes up every 2-3 days. I'm not surprised. There seems to be 2 methods. The big ring-big cog +1 link method, or the small ring-small cog through the RD method which seems much more mysterious to me.

  11. #11
    slow as I ever was Ex Pres's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by truman View Post
    Shimano also likes to sell chains. Just sayin'...
    yes, but the 8s chains are cheaper. Just sayin'
    72 special CNC ___________ 72 Frejus (ala Legnano) __73 Holdsworth Record
    78 Raleigh Professional_____ 80 Ranson_____________ 80 unknown French (SS)
    82 Peugeot PXN10_________83 Trek 620 (nee 600)____ 85 Gianni Motta
    85 Trek 560______________88 Guerciotti GLX
    90 Miele Gara_____________02 Casati Dardo (g/blue)__02 Casati Dardo (y/blk)
    03 Casati Dardo___________08 BF IRO (fixed)________10 Vassago Fisticuff (IGH)

  12. #12
    Senior Member Tunnelrat81's Avatar
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    FWIW, I'm running a KMC 9 speed "Z" chain on my Shimano 600 tri-color 7 speed components...and it couldn't be smoother.

    -Jeremy

  13. #13
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    I actually started another thread asking that question. The first response was that this topic comes up every 2-3 days. I'm not surprised. There seems to be 2 methods. The big ring-big cog +1 link method, or the small ring-small cog through the RD method which seems much more mysterious to me.
    The small-small/RD method is clearly illustrated in the Shimano installation procedures that recommend it.

    Have you checked out this thread?
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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    Just installed an HG-93 (nine speed) chain to replace an HG-70 (eight speed), running with Ultegra SL derailleurs and an HG-90 (eight speed cassette). The shifting actually seems better, almost disconcerting in that shifts often occur with no noise (except for the click of the lever).

    Biggest improvement is that the chain no longer rubs on the derailleur guides or jockey wheel housing, meaning that no trimming is required on the front anymore for any reasonable sprocket/chainwheel combination.

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