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I recently acquired a set of wheels that have a 7 speed freehub. the freehub is not long enough to accommodate an 8/9/10 speed cassette.

After reading Sheldon Browns post on 9 of 10 on 7 ..

Any 7-speed Shimano Hyperglide Freehub will actually work with 8 or 9 sprockets, without any modification! What you need to do is to use 8 of the sprockets from a 9-speed cassette, with the 9-speed spacers -- or 9 of the sprockets from a 10-speed cassette.

I am hoping this means I will be able to take a 10 speed cassette, remove the smallest sprocket and end up with a 9 speed cassette that will fit my 7 speed hub.

I would like to know if this is actually possible, if anyone has done this and knows it works? - and also, with this configuration, will I be able to use an indexed 9 speed shifter + chain and the spacing be okay?

  • The <=10 speed Shimano rear derailleurs for road (and <=9 for mountain) all use the same cable pull ratio, so if you put a shifter with the same number of speeds as the cassette had originally (before you removed the smallest cog), you'll have the derailleur move the right amount with each shift. You'll block a shift at the top or bottom via the limit screws. – Batman Jul 24 '17 at 15:43
  • @Batman So you're saying I can't use a 9speed indexed shifter with a 10speed cassette thats missing it's smallest ring? – Wez Jul 24 '17 at 15:46
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    correct; the shifter needs to be matched with the original number of speeds on the cassette, and one shift will be redundant. The gears are about a half mm closer to each other on a 10 speed cassette as they are on a 9 speed cassette, which leads to the incompatibility. See this article for the numbers. – Batman Jul 24 '17 at 15:52
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If you use a 10-speed cassette, you'll need to use a 10-speed shifter as the spacing between cogs needs to match the amount of cable pulled by the shifter. If you want to use a 9-speed shifter, then use a 9-speed cassette and take out one cog. Also, You probably don't want to take off the smallest cog since it's the one designed to mesh up with the lockring. Any other cog (including the largest) should be fine.

  • Does this mean that if I used a friction shifter I would effectively hold the keys to the universe? - my 9 speed bar end shifters have a frictionless mode - so they should just work with a 10 speed cassette missing a cog since they don't need to stop at any particular spacing? – Wez Jul 24 '17 at 16:21
  • Yes, friction shifters should work for anything. It does get a bit more finicky with more gears though since the cogs are closer together. So it's tougher to find the perfect position on each gear. But it will work fine as long as you're ok fine-tuning each time you shift. – Noah Sutherland Jul 24 '17 at 19:53

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