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11 speed Shimano chain on 8 speed cassette?

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11 speed Shimano chain on 8 speed cassette?

Old 02-22-18, 07:34 PM
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11 speed Shimano chain on 8 speed cassette?

the main concern would be the chain inner clearance vs the cassette sprocket width, which I think is only 0.2 mm different between 8 and 11 speed cassettes (saw it somewhere to be 1.8 and 1.6 mm respectively). anyone know if the combination would work?

reason why i ask is because I built my commuter bike based on the assumption that 8 speed chain would last longer because it's wider. It turns out the newer 11 speed chains are still pretty cheap, and they'll out last the older designed chains due to better design.
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Old 02-22-18, 08:28 PM
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the internal width of the chains is the same, but an 8-speed has wider external width and so should shift better by grabbing into the ramps and pins on sprockets and chainrings.
However cheap 11-speed chains have gotten, I doubt they're close to $10 yet.
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Old 02-22-18, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
It turns out the newer 11 speed chains are still pretty cheap, and they'll out last the older designed chains due to better design.
News to me!
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Old 02-22-18, 09:11 PM
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I think the internal plate width actually changed slightly with the 11s, but not a lot.

One one bike, I have a hybrid cassette, half 11s (1.6mm sprockets), and half 9s (1.78mm sprockets). I have narrowed spacers to compensate for 11s spacing.

The cassette runs fine on both the 9s and 11s sprockets, with only extremely mild issues at the 9s/11s transition.

I also have been using various cranksets with 11s, including 9s and 10s, without significant problems. Skating?

I can't say how your shifting will be. It should shift, but one issue is that as the derailleur moves the chain leftward, it would hit the edge of the sprockets before it hits the shift aids on the next sprocket over, so results would be unpredictable.

As far as comparing chains. Wippermann has posted a summary of chain tests that they've conducted now with 10s and 11s. And, the Wippermann 11s chains apparently last longer than the 10s chains. However, they don't indicate an internal control being used between the two test series, so one can't necessarily equate the two.

I've chewed through several Shimano 11s chains. I think they do actually last longer than the HG73 9s chains, but I've been replacing them quickly as I have a great fear of tearing up the rest of my drivetrain.
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Old 02-23-18, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I think the internal plate width actually changed slightly with the 11s, but not a lot.
Are you sure, have you measured, or found a (reliable?) dimension chart that states dimensions?
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Old 02-23-18, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
Are you sure, have you measured, or found a (reliable?) dimension chart that states dimensions?
I thought I read it somewhere, but maybe the mind is going. I'll try to take some measurements shortly, but it may be a few days.

However, what I'm seeing is: 1/8" for 1s chains, 3/32 internal plate dimensions was for 5-8 speed chains, and 11/128 internal plate dimensions is for at least some 9-10 chains, and I believe all 11s chains.

Chain Widths Misinformation

So, in this case, the 11s chain should actually be narrower both internally and externally than an 8s chain, but the change had likely been first implemented with 9s or 10s.
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Old 02-23-18, 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I thought I read it somewhere, but maybe the mind is going. I'll try to take some measurements shortly, but it may be a few days.

However, what I'm seeing is: 1/8" for 1s chains, 3/32 internal plate dimensions was for 5-8 speed chains, and 11/128 internal plate dimensions is for at least some 9-10 chains, and I believe all 11s chains.

Chain Widths Misinformation

So, in this case, the 11s chain should actually be narrower both internally and externally than an 8s chain, but the change had likely been first implemented with 9s or 10s.
For all I know, 6 to 11 speeds have the same inner diameter. Except for measurement error and building tollerances. If you don't find the time, I'll double check in the spring when the bikes start coming in again.
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Old 02-23-18, 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post

reason why i ask is because I built my commuter bike based on the assumption that 8 speed chain would last longer because it's wider. It turns out the newer 11 speed chains are still pretty cheap, and they'll out last the older designed chains due to better design.
Considering that all the chain checker manufacturers have you change 10 and 11 speed chains at less elongation than an 8 speed chain, I find this claim pretty unbelievable.
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Old 02-23-18, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact View Post
Considering that all the chain checker manufacturers have you change 10 and 11 speed chains at less elongation than an 8 speed chain, I find this claim pretty unbelievable.
There could be other reasons for that. Just a few to consider:
1. As a chain wears, it also gets more sideways flexible - which migh affect shifting of tightly spaced 10 and 11 speed cogs more, than the more widely spaced ones.
2. Thinner sprockets of 10 and 11 speed systems might get worn quicker and suffer more (since they are thinner and a bit weaker) for a worn chain climbing higher on the teeth (increasing the chance of a tooth breaking).

Not to forget that most chain checker tools give a "false alarm" - that is suggesting a chain replacement before it is elongated for 0.5%.
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Old 02-23-18, 12:52 PM
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Chain Durability: 9-Speed vs 10-Speed vs 11-Speed


i agree the cassette spacing might make it more challenging for the chain to 'grab' onto the next gear, especially on the down shift. however, the 11 spd chain has a lot more lateral flex, which is a positive. since nobody has tried this, i guess i'll just try it and let y'all know.. eventually

Last edited by spectastic; 02-23-18 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 02-23-18, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
Chain Durability: 9-Speed vs 10-Speed vs 11-Speed


i agree the cassette spacing might make it more challenging for the chain to 'grab' onto the next gear, especially on the down shift. however, the 11 spd chain has a lot more lateral flex, which is a positive. since nobody has tried this, i guess i'll just try it and let y'all know.. eventually
Lateral flex, while being more forgiving in terms of cross chaining, makes (fast) shifting more difficult.
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Old 02-23-18, 01:51 PM
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Lennard Zinn says that internal width of 11-speed chains is still 3/32", same as 7/8/9/10-speed chains for internal width.

Regardless, 11-speed chains can't be had for $10, and are likely to shift worse on 8-speed drivetrain.
The OP should get 8-speed chains and be done with it.
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Old 03-03-18, 01:35 AM
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i put the 11 speed chain on. no problem at all. shifts smooth

the drive train skips when under load though, but I think that's the free hub needing some work.
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Old 03-03-18, 02:43 AM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
i put the 11 speed chain on. no problem at all. shifts smooth

the drive train skips when under load though, but I think that's the free hub needing some work.
It is often a sign of a worn cassette (with a chain that is not worn). Does it happen on every gear combination, or (mostly) on just a few sprockets?
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Old 03-03-18, 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
It is often a sign of a worn cassette (with a chain that is not worn). Does it happen on every gear combination, or (mostly) on just a few sprockets?
i checked the cassette. little to no wear. i've replaced the chain regularly. the last 8 speed chain was at 0.05, not 0.075 stretch.

checked the chain length, definitely not that

i recently overhauled the rear hub, and might have over done the thick grease vs light grease ratio, making the paws stick a little. that's my best guess right now
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Old 03-03-18, 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
i checked the cassette. little to no wear. i've replaced the chain regularly. the last 8 speed chain was at 0.05, not 0.075 stretch.

checked the chain length, definitely not that

i recently overhauled the rear hub, and might have over done the thick grease vs light grease ratio, making the paws stick a little. that's my best guess right now
You can hardly measure cassette wear, even with the correct tools. The best method is testing the old cassette with a new chain. If it skips, the cassette is worn.

It usually happens on a few, mostly used sprockets.

Of course, it could be the too thick, or too much grease on the pawls. Or both those things.
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Old 03-04-18, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Slaninar View Post
You can hardly measure cassette wear, even with the correct tools. The best method is testing the old cassette with a new chain. If it skips, the cassette is worn.

It usually happens on a few, mostly used sprockets.

Of course, it could be the too thick, or too much grease on the pawls. Or both those things.
ha. you were right. I put on a newer 10s cassette, and couldn't get it to skip. it's funny, i learned that you can detect wear qualitatively from the cassette by looking at how the sprockets are worn, and this one didn't look very worn. but the evidence is clear, it wasn't the freehub. thanks!
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Old 03-05-18, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
ha. you were right. I put on a newer 10s cassette, and couldn't get it to skip. it's funny, i learned that you can detect wear qualitatively from the cassette by looking at how the sprockets are worn, and this one didn't look very worn. but the evidence is clear, it wasn't the freehub. thanks!
For the (larger) front chainrings you usually can. But not as easily for the cassette. You can tell if it's been used, usually, but very hardly if it's worn or not.
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