What is the difference in chain types, some say 11 speed, some say 9.

Is the only difference length, what would happen if i put an 11 speed chain on my 9 speed cassette ?


2 Answers 2


The amount of room on the rear wheel hub for the sprocket cassette is limited. In order to get more sprockets into the cassette, they have to be closer together. To accommodate this chains have to be made narrower.

The internal width (the width of the rollers between the inner plates) is the same for different speed chains - 3⁄32" (2.4 mm). The external width is less for higher speed chains.

It's my understanding that using a 1-speed higher chain is generally workable, but 2-speeds higher will definitely cause shifting problems.

The spacing of chainrings on the cranks also has to be narrower for higher speed chains. I believe there is the possibility for a too-narrow chain to drop in between the chainrings if used with lower speed cranksets.


The difference is in width, not length. I guess you will be ok with that chain (but not the other way: 9 speed chain won't fit with even 10 speed sprocket), but 9 speed chain can be much cheaper.

More info here: https://sheldonbrown.com/speeds.html

  • Shifting performance can be decreased using the wrong width of chain - it changes slower because it takes longer to move and settle to the new cog.
    – Criggie
    Aug 24, 2017 at 15:05
  • Is there much noticeable difference between a cheep and high cost chain? Aug 24, 2017 at 20:26
  • @garyconstable - that;s just my experience, but cheaper ones (like kmc) last much less than more expensive (like shimano)
    – k102
    Aug 28, 2017 at 7:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.