I have a 9 speed Shimano Sora road bike and I would like to get some nicer wheels without upgrading the bike or anything else at the same time.

Carbon wheels seem to mostly (or entirely) 10/11sp? Can any carbon wheel be made to fit a 9 speed bike with some sort of spacer?

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    That's a bit like buying racing rims for your Geo Metro (car). You could do it but it might be cheaper to just get a whole new road bike that comes with them. I'm excluding of course, in the cost comparison, the cheapo import "CF" wheels that I wouldn't trust....
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Aug 4, 2017 at 23:57
  • Just commenting to agree with the other guy. I can't imagine a situation where it makes sense to upgrade a bike that came with 9sp Sora parts to carbon rims..
    – bgutt3r
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 8:08
  • Agreeing with roboKaren and bgutt3r. You are not going to see the potential benefits of much lighter wheels because the Sora level components of the rest if the bike will be the limiting factor. Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 13:23
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    Why would Sora components make the bike slower?
    – rclocher3
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 16:09
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    @RoboKaren I disagree completely. Sora 9-speed shifts well enough now (compared to old sora) and is similarly efficient if well maintained. Wheels however can make a pretty substantive difference to performance especially aero wheels at higher speeds. Plus a good set of wheels can be taken with you once/if you eventually upgrade your bike.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Aug 6, 2017 at 15:28

3 Answers 3


All Shimano 8-11 speed road cassettes fit on the same freehub body and you just have to use spacers to accommodate for the different widths.

More info from Bike Radar

Shimano 10 speed cassettes are actually smaller than 9 speed, as the spacings are narrow and go on a Shimano 8-10 speed cassette with a spacer, which is provided with the cassette (Tiagra does not use the spacer). They also go on the newer 11 speed Shimano freehub, as long as the 1.8 mm spacer (as included with the hub) is used in combination with the tiny spacer provided with the cassette. Also 9 speed Shimano cassettes and 8 speed will go on an 11 speed freehub using only the 1.8 mm spacer. If you have an 11 speed Shimano cassette, this will only go on the new wider 11 speed freehub.

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    The first part of this answer is not correct. 11-speed road cassettes don't fit on 8/9/10 freehubs, as pointed out by the quote. Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 15:23
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    Your right. I mistyped. The freehub body is the spline configuration but 11 speed hubs require a slightly wider hub.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 16:42
  • @Kibbee if it's not correct, it would be helpful to readers if you were to edit a correction, especially as this is the accepted answer
    – Swifty
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 21:41

Any Shimano compatible 10-speed wheel, other than a very few with special deep-splined aluminum freehubs such as WH-7800, can take any 9 speed Shimano cassette without additional spacers.

Shimano 11 speed road freehub bodies are longer and require a common 1.8mm conversion spacer to put a 10/9/8 speed cassette on. Many wheels come with this spacer, or a generic one can be used. 11-speed road cassettes do not fit on 8/9/10 speed freehub bodies, although some machining hacks can allow it in some cases.


I just got a pair of Vision TC24 carbon wheels (for tubular tires) for use as racing wheels on a 90's vintage Bianchi steel road bike, that we already retrofitted with 9-spd system a couple years ago. Although the wheels specs state Shimano 10-11spd compatible, my 9-spd cassette fits just fine without a spacer. It's going to be an awesome ride!

Wheels can make a huge difference in performance, and are arguably the most cost effective way to improve the performance of your bike. Plus, as another reply stated, wheels are "portable" for when you upgrade to another bike.

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    It's interesting that no spacer was required as 11spd uses a wider freehub body. Perhaps the wheel maker offers an 11spd compatible freehub body? In any case, yes a 9 speed cassette works fine on a 10speed freehub body.
    – NoCo Rider
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 16:35
  • I thought the same on a 7 speed cassette onto an 8-10 speed freehub. Turns out there was a spacer, stuck onto the back of the cassette by grease. And that was after cleaning.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 9, 2020 at 20:34

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