Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    bike rider
    Reputation: Lelandjt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4,161

    8, 9, 10 spd chains: Is Sram guy wrong?

    Here's what I "knew":
    On an 8 speed cassette you can only use an 8spd chain. The cogs are wider and so is the space between cogs compared to 9spd.
    On a 9spd cassette you can use 9 or 10spd chains. The internal width of the chains is the same but the 10spd plates are thinner so the outside is narrower. Some even say the X10SL runs smoother on a 9spd cassette than the X9SL. I can't tell a difference but they both work for me on 9spd cassettes.

    At Sol Vista I got a Sram 10spd chain. I want to sell it to my friend for use on his 9spd so even though I know that combo works with KMC chains I stopped by the Sram pit to ask. Here's what the guy said:
    On an 8spd cassette you can use 8 or 9spd chains.
    On a 9spd cassette you can only use a 9spd chain.

    Who's right?
    Keep the Country country.

  2. #2
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
    Reputation: Shayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    4,368

    SRAM Guy

    8 spd cassette can run any chain: 6/7/8, 9, or 10
    9 spd cassette can run either 9 or 10 spd chain
    *** --- *** --- ***

  3. #3
    Hmmmmm
    Reputation: Ericmopar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    3,773
    I haven't done this in a long time, but it used to be that 9 speed dropped down between the gearing on 6-7-8 speed drivetrains, on both the cassette and rings. I remember that causing all kinds of headaches about 10 years ago, till we figured that out.
    In the old days, when 6-7-8 speed had gears that were thicker, the 9 speed chains would also wedge onto the rings causing major chain-suck. That was especially true in mud or dusty conditions.
    I also know, that some 10 speed stuff, like Shimano's Dyna-Sys, have inside and outside specific links, IE the chain has to be run in a particular direction.
    6 thru 8 runs the same chain width. 9 is it's own thing and so is 10 speed.
    My advice is always run what the manufacturer recommends, because the plate and roller designs are getting more specialized, so they work best with their rings etc.
    Some may be getting away with mixing driveline parts, but I've noticed things work better, when you stay with a particular brand.

    Some will try to tell you that the 8 speed rings are not farther apart, than 9 speed rings, but that isn't true. I have an old 7-8 speed White Brothers crank and even a newer Alivio crank on my commuter bike, and the rings are definitely spaced farther apart than my SLX 9 speed crank on my mountain bike.

    Also: The front derailleur cages are different widths, to work better with particular chain widths and ring spacing.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity.

    Peace and Long Rides...

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Wombat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,807
    I've run 9 speed chains on my 8 speed cassette for years and had no problems.

    Tim

  5. #5
    Hmmmmm
    Reputation: Ericmopar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    3,773
    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat View Post
    I've run 9 speed chains on my 8 speed cassette for years and had no problems.

    Tim
    Some cassettes and rings use the thinner profile of a 9 speed gear, even if there are only 8 cogs.
    My cheapo Alivio crank on my Sub 20 commuter, has traditional 8 speed rings, that are thicker and a 9 speed chain suffers chain suck. I know because I bought a new 9 spd chain out of habit and had to remove it and put it on another bike. Once I bought a true 8 spd chain and installed it, it was fine.

    Some of the XT and LX 8 spd stuff, has been made over the last few years with thinner 9 speed gearing, but with the center to center on the gearing farther apart on the cassettes.
    The 9 spd cranksets get away with using a 8 spd chain. The rings are a little closer to each other, compared to the old 6-7-8 speed stuff, but it will work. The newer rings are also thinner, which is also why you can get away with a higher end crank with an 8 spd chain and cassette.
    You do tend to get more problems with the chain rubbing the derailleur cage and / or the ring's shift ramps in certain gear combos though, than if you use a narrower 9 spd chain.

    What I'm trying to say is this; You can use a higher end 9 speed crankset, with a 8 speed cassette, but it won't work quite as well as a full 9 spd drivetrain.
    My full 8 spd Alivio drive train also works tops, because it isn't mixed and matched.

    I also got a rude reminder about 2 years ago, when I bought a granny ring for a Alivio crankset by mistake and tried to put it on a LX M580 9 spd crankset. It had the thicker rings I was talking about and I started to get chain suck on the granny with a 9 spd LX chain. As soon as I got the right ring for it, a Deore 9 spd granny, everything was fine.

    10 spd is it's own thing entirely. 10spd mountain and road are different now for starters.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity.

    Peace and Long Rides...

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    447
    Running 9 speed chain on 8 speed cassette with no issues at all. Works better than with an 8 speed chain.
    ... And I Am You,
    And What I See Is Me!

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    2,364
    Of the above, I know 10sp chains work on 9sp cassettes and cranks.

    SRAM 10sp is the same as the road stuff. Its only shimano that has a different setup
    Rimmer - "There's an old human saying - if you talk garbage, expect pain"

  8. #8
    JmZ
    JmZ is online now
    Reformed Lurker
    Reputation: JmZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    3,015
    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat View Post
    I've run 9 speed chains on my 8 speed cassette for years and had no problems.

    Tim
    Same here. Tried it out on a bike because a) I had it around, and b) it was lighter. It is still on the bike, and shifts fine, no undue chainsuck.
    JmZ

    From one flat land to another.

    Advocate as if your ride depends on it...

  9. #9
    T.W.O.
    Reputation: mimi1885's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    8,011
    I think you both right. You can run 10spd chain on the 9spd drivetrain without any problems. I did it with my Hammerschmidt and XO 9spd.

    Sram is also right they can't be suggesting something outside the normal usage of the specific product and risk being responsible for the advise or answer. As you know a thinner/lighter 10spd chain may not be as durable as the 9spd chain. Lawyer talk, that's all.

  10. #10
    bike rider
    Reputation: Lelandjt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    4,161
    Thanks. Now I'll run a gold X9SL on my 8spd bike instead of the lowish end Sram 8spd chains.
    Keep the Country country.

  11. #11
    Plays with tools
    Reputation: customfab's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    4,207
    the important thing to remember is there is a big difference between what will work and what is ideal and will thus work the best. The "sram guy" is correct to an extent but I think his statement is good in a get you out of the woods kind of way not a buy whatever the hell you want kind of way.

  12. #12
    Hmmmmm
    Reputation: Ericmopar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    3,773
    Quote Originally Posted by Wildeyes View Post
    Running 9 speed chain on 8 speed cassette with no issues at all. Works better than with an 8 speed chain.
    It will work with the newer cassettes in most cases. Like I said in one of my posts, the newish 8 spd cassettes use 8 spd cassette center to center spacing, but the teeth on the cogs are actually thinner like a 9 spd cassette.
    Alivio stuff still uses the thicker cogs and rings, and it you put a narrower chain on that, a person definitely will have increased problems with shifting performance. I know, I accidentally put a 9 spd chain on a bike equipped with new Alivio components.
    An Alivio 22 ring also got ridiculous suck when mixed with a new LX chain on a LX Hollow tech II drive train.
    It boils down to this. Some have gotten away with mixxing parts, but they do work better when matched up.
    Some get away with narrow chains on older 8 spd cassettes and rings, because they've been worn down some, before the 9 spd chain was installed.
    Assuming everything is new, you run the risk of chain suck or other problems when mixing the different groups.
    Anyways, in my case this isn't theory, this is practical experience.

    Mixing the wrong parts was why Specialized had so many driveline issues around the late 90s.
    The dumbies had mixed older cranksets, with the then new 9 speed cassettes and chains. As soon as a person installed a Mega Nine crank the problems disappeared.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity.

    Peace and Long Rides...

Similar Threads

  1. I keep breaking chains. What am I doing wrong?
    By 29erInTexas in forum Specialized
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 01-05-2009, 02:35 PM
  2. SRAM Chains (turns out I was wrong)
    By mward in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 08-28-2005, 05:55 PM
  3. New SRAM chains?
    By Anders in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-08-2004, 02:47 PM
  4. SRAM chains...
    By Locoman in forum Drivetrain - shifters, derailleurs, cranks
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-01-2004, 11:37 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •