I asked an earlier question regarding putting modern road wheels on my old steel frame.

After clarifying a few things the main issue to me is the number of gears on the freehub. (The freehub I'm considering takes an 8/9 speed and has a Shimano fitting). My bicycle is currently a 7-speed and uses a freewheel rather than a freehub.

So I think I have 2 options:

  1. Put an 8-speed cassette on the new wheel and increase the number of gears on my bike. Issues: I assume an 8-speed uses a narrower chain; will my front chainring work with it?
  2. Put on this 7-speed cassette which says it can work on an 8/9-speed hub with a set of spacer rings. Questions: how do I use the spacer rings? Do I need only one of each for the whole cassette of one for each sprocket? Will this allow the slightly wider chain I currently use on the 7-speed.

Which option would be the better choice?

A few points to consider:

  • Shifters are friction, so no need to consider indexing but I am unsure whether they have the range for an 8-speed (but with a narrower chain maybe the range is the same, just with smaller movements between gears)
  • My deraileur is actually a modern Shimano 8/9 speed already (as the old one broke). I have adjusted it to suit my 7-speed with the limiter screws.

2 Answers 2


Since you have friction shifters and an 8/9 speed derailleur, you should be able to pop a 9 speed cassette on the back and use the full range. You'll have to re-adjust your limit screws of course. Worst case, if that doesn't work, you may be able to remove one of the small cogs and space it out to use only 8 speeds.

The font chainrings will also likely be fine, usually you can go up/down one size without issue for front chainrings. Since your front chainring is designed for 8-speed, it will probably work fine with a 9-speed chain. I regularly use a 9-speed chainring in front with an otherwise all 10-speed setup without issues.

  • Great, think I'll opt for the 8-speed as I'm currently on a 7 and only going up one size is probably safer. Besides I don't feel the need for more than 8 on the back.
    – harryg
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 21:24

I also use friction shifters, and recently put a 10 speed cassette onto my freehub - previously I had a seven. I put a 10 speed chain on as the chain walls are narrower. I have not yet changed the front chainrings, which are "eight speed".

In your case put on a chain to match your cassette. Seven speed cassettes usually have a spacer on the wheel side when used on a larger freehub.

It's always advisable to change the chain when you change the cassette anyway.

  • I intend to change the chain anyway. So I assume you have no problem with the narrower chain getting stuck between your front chainrings.
    – harryg
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 16:43
  • No problems at all with the set up - apart from the cost ...
    – DanS
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 10:56

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