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I'd like to make my 8-speed tokyobike Classic Sport city bike go faster so I'm considering replacing the 8-speed cassette with a 9-speed one which can be found on the tokyobike Sport. The bike has smaller 650c wheels and is without a front derailleur.

My question is:

  • Is it a good idea? Or is there another, better way to make the bike faster?
  • How much faster will I actually be able to go?
  • What other parts beside the cassette will have to be replaced?
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As Blam and Batman have already suggested you will not go faster.

The main reason is that your top speed is determined by the number of teeth on the smallest rear cog.

The smallest cog available on a normal cluster / cassette has 11 teeth.

If your smallest cog already has 11 teeth, then you will definitely not go faster with a new one. If it currently has 12 or more teeth then a new cluster can help you go faster.

But the main way of going faster is simply to pedal faster. With practice, you should be able to pedal at 90 to 100 rpm. I venture to guess that this is at lease half as fast again as your current pedaling speed.

The problem with pedaling slowly but getting the 11 tooth cog (if you don't have one already) is that you'll put a lot pressure on your knees and back, which often leads to pain and injury.

The advantage of switching to a higher number of gears is that the steps in between the gears is smaller. That can help you find just the right gear for the situation. But it doesn't change your top speed.

So my recommendation is to save you money for now while you practice pedaling faster. See also questions tagged cadence, especially What is the optimal cadence?.

  • Very useful answer, thanks. The cog I have now has 12 teeth. Btw, the bike is without front derailleur. – Jakub Jun 7 '15 at 12:37
  • Would be interesting to know how much you need to increase cadence to match a given cadence-speed-12 tooth with x cadence-speed-11 tooth – gaurwraith Jun 7 '15 at 18:38
  • @gaurwraith Gee lets do the math 12 / 11 – paparazzo Jun 7 '15 at 20:32
  • Not good at math :) so, if I go at 30 km/h at 90 cadence with 11 teeth, assuming all else equal, same speed with 12 teeth will be achieved at cadence 90 +12/11 ? Or ... Ain't nobody got time for this – gaurwraith Jun 7 '15 at 22:39
  • @gaurwraith You ain't got time for a calculator? – paparazzo Jun 7 '15 at 23:26
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If you want to go 9 speed, you'll need a Shimano-compatible 9 speed shifter for the rear (i.e. the right shifter). You'll also want a 9 speed chain. Your hub should be fine for the cassette swap. And the 9 speed cassette, of course.

In terms of how much faster you should go, possibly none. You really need to keep up a good cadence most likely and you'd be better off switching to a different 8 speed cassette than investing in a 9 speed system. And that would cost way less (you may need to add a few links to your chain, so you may need a new chain, but 8 speed chains are significantly cheaper than 9 speed).

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If you are gong to upgrade might as well go to 10 speed. I think 8, 9, and 10 are compatible. Sheldon You would also need to switch out the shifter. If top gear is the same it will not make the bike go faster. You just have two more gears between the lowest and highest. Is it a good idea? No it is not worth the cost.

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