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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 Aug 4 '17 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 Aug 5 '17 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. – Argenti Apparatus Aug 5 '17 at 13:23
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    Why would Sora components make the bike slower? – rclocher3 Aug 5 '17 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 Aug 6 '17 at 15:28
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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. – Nathan Knutson Aug 5 '17 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 Aug 5 '17 at 16:42
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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.

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