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Can anyone explain to me the difference between the cassettes of different MTB Shimano groupsets in terms of value for money and durability?

In particular I am interested in the entry-level cassettes for 8 or 9 speeds as CS-HG200, CS-HG31, CS-HG400.

3 Answers 3

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The cassettes you listed are Tourney (9 speed), Altus (8) and Alivio (9) respectively.

At this component level there will be little practical difference between them. A skilled rider might notice better shifting, and there might be a weight advantage on the higher spec cassettes, but the difference will most likely be swamped by everything else that makes up a bicycle.

Durability might be marginally different but irrelevant. Durability is determined more by maintenance and tolerance of the rider for poor performance than parts quality, and is affected by chain wear more than any other aspect.

As far as value for money - the discount off RRP you get will be the determining factor. If looking for this quality range cassette, I would go to my favorite online parts site, filter on the speed and cassette size I need, sort by discount and scan though for something in my price bracket.

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Expanding directly on the differences on the two 9 speed cassettes.

CS-HG200 is a Tourney and weighs

  • 389g for 11-32t

enter image description here

CS-HG400 is an Alivio and weighs

  • 249g for 11-28t
  • 323g for 11-32t, i.e., 76 grams less than the Tourney of the same size.
  • 379g for 11-34t
  • 413g for 12-36t

enter image description here

Visually you can see there's more clear space through the higher-grade cassette. Shimano claims an 11% increase of the void space in the back of the cassette between these two versions.


Another difference is what sizes are available. A MTB rider often needs a low gear to go up something steep. But for a flat course they might prefer more high-end gears.

The Tourney is available in 11-32t, 11-34t, 11-36t

The Alivio is available in 11-28t at the higher/faster end, and as a 12-36t at the lower end.

Admittedly this is a fairly arbitrary difference created by the supplier.

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  • The cassette has to be compatible with the system. You can't run a nine speed cassette on an 8 speed system and vice-versa and with the maximum shifting range of the derailleurs.
    – Carel
    Feb 26, 2018 at 21:28
  • @Carel True - the original question was "what are the differences between cassettes" which is what I answered, by staying with the two cassettes in 9 speed lineup. I should have found other 9 speed MTB cassettes too - an XTR should be lighter again for the same tooth count.
    – Criggie
    Feb 27, 2018 at 2:20
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"8 speed system" could use some disambiguation from different interpretations of this phrase that can result in perfectly reasonable yes & no answers.

Either System == hub: A Shimano 9 speed cassette will fit on a Shimano 8 speed freehub (plus lots more variations as well.)

OR System == cassette & deraileur & shifter: Cassette cog spacing varies with the number of cogs & clearly an indexed 8 speed shifter can't add a ninth click. This suggests the safest option to level up from an 8 to 9 speed cassette swap is to replace the shifter & deraileur with a matching 9 speed designed shifter & deraileur.

There are exceptions. I'm only describing the basic no-brainer cases here because the exceptions make my head spin. The Simplify Over Stupify credo often gives me the greatest joy.

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    Hi, welcome to bicycles. This appears to be a comment on another answer, not an answer itself. Please don't post comments as answers; when you earn some reputation you'll be able to leave comments. In the meantime you might want to take the tour.
    – DavidW
    Jul 2, 2023 at 21:24

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