Currently I have a 7 speed cassette (13-23) running with a spacer on a new Tiagra hub. After I changed my chain, the wear has made two of the gears unusable.

I am considering changing the cassette to increase the number of gears. The simple option would be 8 speed (12-23). The other alternative looking at the chainrings would be a complete change to 9 (11-23) or 10 (11-25) speed and drop a few teeth at the front.

Will my current chainring be incompatible with a new cassette and chain? In other words, can I use a 9 or 10 speed chain with a chainring designed for a 7 speed cassette and chain? Is there a significant difference in durability between the setups?

I mainly use by bike for commuting and light road touring.

  • By the way, I made an edit which I hope clarifies the question as you described in a comment on my answer. Feel free to change if this doesn't seem right.
    – amcnabb
    Jul 3, 2012 at 16:11

2 Answers 2


Your chainring and front derailleur should work just fine with a 10 speed chain and cassette.

The primary concern with your upgrade will not be the chainring and front derailleur, but rather the rear shifter and derailleur. A 7 speed shifter or derailleur will not work with an 8 or 9 speed cassette, so you will need to buy new ones. But at least your upgrades will be limited to the rear components.

EDIT: After seeing user973810's answer, I prefer it to mine. However, since my answer was accepted, it looks like I can't delete it.

  • Thanks. It was more would a 10 speed cassette and chain work with existing chainrings or do I need to change the whole lot together. I still use a downtube shifter set on friction so that will be alright to start with and the derailleur was changed recently for a 10 speed one chosen on availability rather than specifications.
    – DanS
    Jul 3, 2012 at 13:43
  • Thanks for the clarification. I just edited my answer; let me know whether this more directly answers your question.
    – amcnabb
    Jul 3, 2012 at 13:52
  • Just to update - I have now added the 10 gear cassette and chain. It's been working fine since July with no change to the chainrings (to date).
    – DanS
    Mar 12, 2013 at 9:22
  • @DanS, I'm glad it's working, though user973810 has convinced me that it won't necessarily work for everyone.
    – amcnabb
    Mar 12, 2013 at 15:52
  • 1
    It works fine - and I used it for approx three years with no problems. On steeper terrain, I found the disadvantage. When changing under load, the 10 speed chan can slip down beween the chain rings and jam. Easily solved by loosening the bolts holding the chain rings onto the crank.
    – DanS
    Oct 5, 2015 at 9:15

7 speed systems use slightly wider chains, and the teeth on the chainring are slightly wider too. You might run into an issue with a ten speed chain not fitting over the teeth, or at least not fitting well.

  • This is not a maybe. Shimano 6/7/8 speed chainrings will not fit a 10 speed chain. Aug 1, 2020 at 10:45

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