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Do I have a misfit cassette?

Old 12-24-16, 08:57 AM
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Do I have a misfit cassette?

This is odd. I bought an almost-new 8-speed cassette and hasn't been able to get clean changes with my 8-speed levers & rear derailer. My local mechanic examined it and told me I got an 8-speed cassette with 9-speed spacing. According to him, what I was sold is a 9-speed cassette with a missing cog.

That means I should get either a brand new 8-speed cassette or new 9-speed levers.

How can I check if I got a cassette with the proper spacing for 8-speeds?
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Old 12-24-16, 08:59 AM
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Is your cassette properly torqued?
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Old 12-24-16, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by curbowman

How can I check if I got a cassette with the proper spacing for 8-speeds?
You use a caliper and Sheldon Brown, as ususal.

Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Frame and Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet

I had the same thing on a used bike, people can be pretty stupid sometimes.

Don't get 9 speed shifters, IF it turns out it's really a 9 speed cassette. If you don't replace the missing cog you will still only have 8 gears, with a weird jump where the missing cog is. Ideally you would also want to run a 9 speed chain. Also, you can't torque down the cassette properly if a cog is missing.

Brand new 8 speed cassettes are dirt cheap these days.

Last edited by Facanh; 12-24-16 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 12-24-16, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Facanh
You use a caliper and Sheldon Brown, as usual.
OF COURSE!!! How didn't I thought of that? Thank you!

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Old 12-24-16, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by curbowman
This is odd. I bought an almost-new 8-speed cassette and hasn't been able to get clean changes with my 8-speed levers & rear derailer. My local mechanic examined it and told me I got an 8-speed cassette with 9-speed spacing. According to him, what I was sold is a 9-speed cassette with a missing cog.

That means I should get either a brand new 8-speed cassette or new 9-speed levers.

How can I check if I got a cassette with the proper spacing for 8-speeds?
If you got a 9-speed cassette with one cog missing it will never tighten properly on an 8/9/10-speed freehub body as it will be too narrow for the lockring to hold it. If it snugs down properly you have a real 8-speed cassette or a 7-speed freehub body.

That "8 of 9" technique was used to provide 8 cogs on a 7-speed freehub body and required a 9-speed shifter.
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Old 12-24-16, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Facanh
You use a caliper and Sheldon Brown, as ususal.

Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Frame and Cassette Spacing Crib Sheet

I had the same thing on a used bike, people can be pretty stupid sometimes.

Don't get 9 speed shifters, IF it turns out it's really a 9 speed cassette. If you don't replace the missing cog you will still only have 8 gears, with a weird jump where the missing cog is. Ideally you would also want to run a 9 speed chain. Also, you can't torque down the cassette properly if a cog is missing.

Brand new 8 speed cassettes are dirt cheap these days.
That would be the digital answer.

I'm an analog guy. I'd just eyeball the cog spacing and compare it with another cassette. My bet is that your mechanic is right. If it turns out that your mechanic is wrong and your 8-speed spacing is correct, my next move would be to have your derailleur hanger alignment checked. On a bike that's old enough to have an 8-speed cassette the odds of the hanger having been bent sometime are going to be real high.

I also think that replacing your shifters is probably not a good idea. Shifters are generally the most expensive component to replace.
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Old 12-24-16, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by HillRider
If you got a 9-speed cassette with one cog missing it will never tighten properly on an 8/9/10-speed freehub body as it will be too narrow for the lockring to hold it.
I've seen it twice actually, you can tighten it to the point where some people would not notice it while riding.

First time it was on a complete used bike I bought, a Campagnolo 10 speed cassette with the smallest cog missing. There was a little bit of play in the cassette, but it "worked".

Second time it was on my dads bike, some brilliant mechanic installed a Sram 9 speed cassette with the second smallest cog missing on a Shimano 8-9-10 freehub body. I'm sure it was not a 7 speed freehub body, because it was a hub made in around 2006-07, I measured it, then fitted a 9 speed complete cassette with no problem. Again, play in the cassette, and some noise when riding offroad, but he haven't noticed it... He used the bike like this for years, and the cassette body itself was still in usable condition surprisingly.

Last edited by Facanh; 12-24-16 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 12-24-16, 04:25 PM
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Yep, it's a 9 speed with a missing cog. It is a 11-32, so I guess it was originally a 11-34 one. In fact, the mechanic told me is has a spacer in order to make it fit on the hub.

I can still ride the bike, but there's meshing noise in 3 of the 8 speeds. (I don't know if "meshing" is the right term. It sounds like the derailer wants to change but it doesn't, and the noise disappears as soon as I shift to the next gear).

So my alternatives are:
-To get another 8-speed cassette,
-To get 9-speed shifters,
-To get 9-speed shifters AND a 34 teeth ring, or
-To keep using the cassette as it is now, noise and all.

What I don't like of the last option is the noise and what it means: increased chain/cassette wear. So, it's time to spend money again. If only I could get the guy who sold me the misfit cassette...
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Old 12-24-16, 05:02 PM
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Maybe just try to source the required number of spacers and install provided the cassette's first four cogs aren't on a spider. LBS might have spacers left from cassette replacements they have done. Might also be cheaper than getting a whole new cassette.

What happened to the cassette you replaced? Throw it out already?
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Old 12-24-16, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by curbowman
So my alternatives are:
-To get another 8-speed cassette
That's the cheapest thing to do. It will fix the problem at minimal expense.
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Old 12-24-16, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Rowan
What happened to the cassette you replaced? Throw it out already?
The original cassette was a 7-speed 14-28t. It is still good, but I need bigger rings since I line in a very hilly area.

I was thinking about getting a 9-speed lever and install a 34t ring, but I just remembered my derailer has an upper limit of 32 teeth, and I would need to buy a slimmer chain... so that's not an option anymore.
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Old 12-24-16, 05:27 PM
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This has now become too complicated for me. I was under the impression the original cassette was 8sp. Are you using friction shifters with the expectation that they will go from seven to eight-speed?
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Old 12-24-16, 05:37 PM
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I have been using a 7-speed freewheel with a set of shifters that can work with either 7 or 8 speed derailers. I bought the misfit 8 speed cassette and a brand new freehub to get a larger granny gear. The idea was to increase range while keeping the shifters.
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Old 12-24-16, 10:09 PM
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You've now learned to not buy used consumables. Get a new cassette, move forward.
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Old 12-25-16, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by curbowman
I have been using a 7-speed freewheel with a set of shifters that can work with either 7 or 8 speed derailers. I bought the misfit 8 speed cassette... to get a larger granny gear.
What speeds are your shifters?

To get consistent clean shifting you need the pull of the shifter, the stroke of the derailer, the spacing of the cassette and the width of the chain all to match each other.

Shimano are/were quite good at leaving the derailer alone, so using a supposedly 7-speed derailer in a 8/9-speed system is fine with the appropriate chain.

But getting a 7-speed shifter to index nicely over the whole range even on a regular 8-speed cassette is a challenge.
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Old 12-25-16, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by curbowman
I have been using a 7-speed freewheel with a set of shifters that can work with either 7 or 8 speed derailers.
7 and 8 speed shifters don't pull the same amount of cable, there is a very slight difference. You can use 7 speed shifters on an 8 speed cassette and vice versa, but it's never 100% perfect. More like 80%. (I tried it a few times)

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What kind of shifter is it?

I would just get a brand new 8 speed cassette, preferably from a shop... Not sure about Venezuela but here in Europe you can get brand new 8 speed Shimano cassettes online for €10-12. eBay?

Last edited by Facanh; 12-25-16 at 03:15 AM.
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Old 12-25-16, 05:07 AM
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curbowman, I think I understand what's going on, but not certain...

I think a 9S cassette, -1 cog was used on a 7S length free hub. This could possibly allow eight speeds on the shorter free hub. If true, you'll need a 9S shifter and chain to index properly.

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Old 12-25-16, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Facanh

Don't get 9 speed shifters, IF it turns out it's really a 9 speed cassette. If you don't replace the missing cog you will still only have 8 gears, with a weird jump where the missing cog is.
Depends on which position the missing sprocket was meant to occupy.
Removing the smallest (real easy) or the biggest sprocket was a quite common partial upgrade to allow a rider to keep using a 7-speed freehub wheel with an 8-of-9-drivetrain.
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Old 01-10-17, 03:17 PM
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A friend is selling his 9-speed shifters, so I explained him the problem and agreed that if his shifters could solve the problem I'd buy them.

So, I removed the old 8-speed shifters, installed the 9-speed shifters, and then I began the adjustment process.

The problem remained the same, on the same cogs. So, my friend got his shifters back and I'll have to buy a new cassette. Not a bad deal for him, because before trying his shifters I did a thorough cleaning and lubed them. After the service, he will be able to sell them at a higher price.

So, the saga continues...
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Old 01-10-17, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by curbowman
A friend is selling his 9-speed shifters, so I explained him the problem and agreed that if his shifters could solve the problem I'd buy them.

So, I removed the old 8-speed shifters, installed the 9-speed shifters, and then I began the adjustment process.

The problem remained the same, on the same cogs. So, my friend got his shifters back and I'll have to buy a new cassette. Not a bad deal for him, because before trying his shifters I did a thorough cleaning and lubed them. After the service, he will be able to sell them at a higher price.

So, the saga continues...
I have to ask...Did you use a 9S chain?

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Old 01-14-17, 11:39 AM
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I did not use a 9-speed chain. That might be the issue, as well.

However, I swapped the rear wheel of my bike with an 8-speed one from a neighbor and used it with my original 8-speed levers and chain, and it all worked flawlessly at the first try. So I decided to buy a new 8-speed cassette to end the problem.

However, I am not ready to part with the 9-speed-with-just-eight-cogs cassette just yet.

I am restoring an old 10-speed from 1978, and I want to use her around my home, a very hilly area. I'll need to use an modern 24-32 crankset & an adequate Bottom Bracket, and I was thinking I could use this cassette for that. I might buy a new rear freehub and install only the bigger cogs of this cassette with the corresponding spacers, chain, and derailler. And, of course, I'll need to expand the rear wheel stays to 130 mm as well.

We'll see.
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