I'm looking to replace my rear cassette and reduce the tooth count between the sprockets in order to make my gear changes less dramatic.

I currently have a 11/26 9 speed SRAM cassette, and a stock shimano tiagra derailleur (whatever the 2011 trek 1.5 comes with). My chainring is a compact 50/34 110mm.

When I'm cruising along I often find that the jump between gears on the cassette is pretty substantial and it feels as though I could do with a missing gear to get the best efficiency with a cadence above 90.

I have my eye on a 12/23 cassette: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/shimano-hg50-9-speed-cassette/ (Shimano HG50). This is a fairly cheap cassette so it's not the end of the world if it doesn't work out, but what I'd like to know is if I can just replace the existing cassette with this one without having to buy a new chain/derailleur etc. Or, if I do need to buy some new stuff - what would that be? New jockey wheels?

I have all the tools to replace the cassette so that's not a problem. My concern is all the talk of 'hyperglide chains' etc.

  • Take a close look at the setup of the cassette. An 11-28 or even an 11-32 may have cogs on the smaller end that you miss in your 11-26 An be aware that a 23 as a largest gear may be hard to push when you'll have to go uphill or against a strong headwind, even if your terrain is mostly flat.
    – Carel
    Oct 15, 2017 at 14:07

1 Answer 1


As far as I'm aware, Shimano and SRAM cassettes are interchangable, at least in the 8 and 9 speed range. Your derailleur should be fine. As far as the chain goes, depending on how worn it is, you might want to replace it with a new one. Mixing a worn chain with a new cassette is a sure way to wear out the cassette prematurely.

Also, this is a good upgrade, as long as you don't do too many hills, as you'll be losing a few of the easier gears. I recently did a similar switch, from 11-32 to 12-23 with an 8 speed groupset and noticed a huge difference. You aren't making as drastic of a change, so I'm not sure if you'll notice it as much as I did, but having a single step between adjacent gears makes finding the right gear quite a bit easier.

  • Sounds like it could be good. Regarding the chain, I was just wondering if I had to specifically get one of the shimano HG chains for this or whether any old 9 speed would do? Also, there's no hills.. I live in cambridgeshire!
    – John Hunt
    Jun 25, 2014 at 12:45
  • I don't think you need Shimano HG, but don't quote me on that. I have a KMC chain on mine and it works fine, but I have an 8 speed. Guy at the bike shop specifically said to get this chain, and not to worry about buying the official Shimano one as it performs the same at a cheaper price.
    – Kibbee
    Jun 25, 2014 at 12:48
  • 1
    No you do not need an HG chain for Shimano 9spd. SRAM chains work just fine. I would definitely recommend a new chain with a new cluster. Jun 25, 2014 at 18:26
  • Adding to @Kibbee thoughts I would stay away from the very low end no name chains you see on the internet that sell for $6-$7. Just get a decent brand name chain in a price range that suits you.
    – mikes
    Jun 25, 2014 at 20:07
  • 1
    Yeah KMC chains are pretty decent, and you can get them for under $20. Even the Shimano ones are under $25 if you shop around. No point in being a cheapskate and using a $7 chain.
    – Kibbee
    Jun 25, 2014 at 20:17

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