8 Speed Chain on 9 Speed Cassette: All You Need to Know

The speed chain and cassettes are two vital components of the bicycle. Often the rider wants to upgrade or downgrade these components. 

Thus sometimes the version of the cassette and speed chain don’t match. The 8-speed chain with a 9-speed cassette is such an arrangement. 

So is it ok to use an 8 speed chain on 9 speed cassette?

No, it is not ok to use an 8-speed chain on a 9-speed cassette. It’s because the dimensions of the chain and cassettes do not match. As a result, they won’t fit together. This arrangement will cause problems like noise and chain failure. It’s better to avoid using this type of mismatched component. 

This is only the beginning. A lot of information is still to be unveiled. Please keep reading to know all the details on this topic.

Will an 8 Speed Chain on 9 Speed Cassette Work? 

Yes, an 8-speed chain on a 9-speed cassette will work. But to answer your question should I use an 8-speed chain on a 9-speed cassette? No, you should not. It is not a good idea. Anything that can be done doesn’t mean that it should be done. 

Source: cyclingtips.com

There are negative effects of using an 8-speed chain on a 9-speed cassette. The ultimate result of doing this will have adverse effects. 

Both the cassette and chain can suffer from damage. Loose cassette lock ring and other problems like that may happen.

In the next section, I have discussed the causes behind this. Check them out and then see the effects and solutions to these problems. 

Why 8 Speed Chain on 9 Speed Cassette Shouldn’t Be Used?

The main cause behind not using the 8-speed chain on the 9-speed cassette is unmatched geometry. For the proper functioning of the speed chains, the dimensions must match with cassettes. 

Let’s see how the mismatched dimensions cause problems. 

Unmatched Width

The most common problem of using an 8-speed chain in a 9-speed cassette is the fitting problem. The width of the speed chain doesn’t match the cassette. Because the designs of these two are completely different. 

All cassettes are specifically designed for individual chains. The higher number of speed chains are thinner than the previous models. So the 8-speed chain is wider than the 9-speed chain

As a result, the 9-speed cassette is also thin. 

Source: parktool.com

So the chain won’t fit properly on the cassette. However, by giving excessive force, the chain can be fitted. But that will not bring any good results.

Improper Chain Length 

Another difference that can be seen in 8-speed vs 9-speed chains is the chain length of cycles. When the chain speed series increases, the length of the chain also increases. This increased length is a must for the function of the chain and cassettes.

So the length of the 8-speed chain is less than the 9-speed chain. When paired with a 9-speed cassette, this less length can cause problems. 

The chain will not fit and can fail to serve its purpose. This length issue can damage the complete gear system.

Inadequate Sprocket Intervals

The cassettes consist of several sprockets. These sprockets are designed with teeth for accommodating the speed chains. 

The gaps between these teeth are defined for sprocket sizes. Without proper gaps, the chain won’t fit on the sprockets. 

The power from the paddle is transferred to the wheels through the chain and sprockets. This system is very significant for powering the bicycle. It is a must that the chain and sprocket gaps match each other. 

Source: vitalmtb.com

But when the 8-speed chain is used on a 9-speed cassette, these gaps might not match. Then the chain will not run properly along with the paddles. 

This will result in the improper transfer of power from the paddle. Then there will be troubles in riding.

These are the reasons why you should not use a low number chain on a high number cassette. In the next portion of my discussion, I will show the results of this work.

Aftereffects of 8 Speed Chain on 9 Speed Cassette 

There are many side effects of using an 8-speed chain on a 9-speed cassette. Here I have presented the main effects that you might face. Have a look at the effects for ensuring your safety!

Too Much Noise 

The most common effect of mismatched chains and cassettes is noise generation. The chain moves with the cassette upon paddling. 

For smooth movement, the cassette and chain must synchronize with each other. Or else the journey will be very rough.

Because of this roughness, the chain produces too much noise while riding. There will be friction between the speed chain and the cassette. 

As a result, metallic sounds will be produced. When all the teeth strike, the sound becomes high and annoying. 

Unwanted Vibrations

Everyone wants a smooth ride without many ups and downs. And for that synchronization between all the parts of the cycle is needed. But the cycle won’t get appropriate synchronization without correct dimensioning of the parts. 

Because mixed-up parts will create unwanted vibrations. The 8-speed chain will not do well on the 9-speed cassette. For this reason, the chain will jump more and cause a bumpy ride. This is unwanted by any rider.

The Chain Might Slip 

Another negative effect of the 8-speed chain on the 9 cassettes is the slipping of the chain. The chain of the bicycle is sensitive. It needs proper synchronization for carrying out its function. Because sudden breaks and high speed have a huge impact on it.

If the chain is not settled tightly on the cassette, it will get out easily. While riding the bike at high speed the chain will fall. This problem can also happen when a sudden brake is applied. The rider can face big damage because of this.

Source: u-buy.com.tw

These are the negative impacts of a wrong-sized speed chain on the cassette. To avoid these problems I can suggest some methods. Scroll down to know them!

Solutions of 8 Speed Chain on 9 Speed Cassette 

There are very simple and easy solutions of avoiding the cassette and speed chain mismatch. Let’s see these solutions at a glance. 

Buy A New Cassette 

Try buying a new 8-speed cassette to pair up with your old 8-speed chain. Use this method if you’re determined to use an old model like the 8-speed chain. 

Since you won’t change the chain, replace your cassette. You can find new cassettes everywhere. Here are some 8-speed cassettes that are bestsellers on the market as of now:

A new cassette does not cost much. It will be a safe and reliable alternative to using mismatched components. 

Buy A New Speed Chain 

The best solution to this problem. Since you have an upgraded 9-speed cassette, buy an updated chain. The 9-speed chain will work fine on your 9-speed cassette. Also, you will get more speed and reliability than the 8-speed chain. 

Here are some of my tried and tested 9-speed chains on the market as of now:

At the end of the day, using matching chains with cassettes is the best thing that you can do for your cycle. 

Follow these two alternatives to avoid any unwanted hassle from your chain and cassettes. It’s always better to avoid mismatching components like 11-speed cassettes with 10-speed hubs.

Lastly, if you do plan on using an 8-speed chain on a 9-speed cassette then follow the right method of installation. Here’s a video by Park Tools that explains the process of installation in detail-

That’s all!

FAQs 

Are bike chains interchangeable? 

No, bike chains are not interchangeable. Bike chains have their dimensions. The chain width, shape, length, etc of the chains are different. As a result the performance of different chains also varies. While interchanging one must be careful about the fitting of the chain.

How do I know my chain pitch?

You can know your chain pitch by finding out the gap of the sprocket. Measure the gap between two teeth of the sprocket. The chain sits in between this gap for stability. The length of this gap is known as the pitch. The overall length of the chain also depends on this pitch.

What does 420 mean on a chain?

420 on a chain shows the pitch and roller width of the chain. The first number 4 indicates the pitch. Divide it by 8 and you’ll get the pitch. So the pitch is (4/8=½) or 0.5 inches. The last 2 digits show the roller width. Put a decimal and divide by 8. The width is (2.0/8=¼) or.25 inches.

Conclusion 

This is all I have on an 8 speed chain on 9 speed cassette. I hope that now you can understand the issues behind this assembly of the components.

It’s better to always use the updated components. So match your 9-speed cassette with a 9-speed chain for the best results.

Until next time. Safe Riding!

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