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Disclaimer. I don’t know much about bike mechanics. I had to do a lot of reading just to be able to name things right and to be able to write this post :)

I bought Elite Suito bike trainer a few days back and now I think I’m in trouble. Elite Suito comes with 11 speed 11-28 cassette. My bike has an old Shimano Ultegra 6500 groupset with 39/53 crankset and 9 speed 11-23.

So what are my options?

  1. Can I do minimum upgrade to get my bike to fit 11 speed cassette?
  2. Can I downgrade my trainer cassette to 9 speed to match my bike?
  3. ?
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Can I do minimum upgrade to get my bike to fit 11 speed cassette?

Nope. You'd need derailleurs, crank set, shifters, cassette and chain at least. Given that groupsets bought as separate components cost a lot more than they do as part of a complete bike, I almost always recommend buying a whole new bike to make this upgrade.

Can I downgrade my trainer cassette to 9 speed to match my bike?

Yes! All you need is a 9 speed cassette and a 1.8mm cassette spacer.

11 speed road hub freehub bodies are 36.75mm wide, 8/9/10 speed are 34.95mm, hence the need for the spacer (on the inside of the cassette).

All Shimano and SRAM 8/9/10 and 11 speed cassettes use the same 'Hyperglide II' freehub body spline pattern, so the new cassette will go right on.

You will need a chainwhip tool, cassette lockring tool and a big wrench to change the cassette yourself. The tools may cost more than the cassette itself, but a good bike repair shop will do it for you quickly and for a nominally small fee or for free if you have a good relationship with them and buy some small items at the same time. (Disclaimer, that's my experience in the USA, YMMV elsewhere in the world.)

You may find you have to adjust the rear derailleur indexing a little between the trainer and rear wheel as the hubs on each may not laterally position the cassette exactly the same relative to the bike frame.

Another consideration: if your chain is getting worn (a $10 chain wear gauge is a great investment) it would be a good idea to replace the chain along with the new cassette. A worn chain accelerates wear on cassette sprockets.

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    Concur - OP could upgrade the cassette on the bike and put the old one on the trainer. – Criggie Feb 2 '20 at 20:46
  • Thank you @argenti-apparatus for such a thorough answer. I'm sure my local bike shop will be able to help with it. – arnaslu Feb 2 '20 at 22:12
  • If the chain is badly worn then the bike's cassette will likely be worn out and also need replacement. This will be self-evident when a new chain is installed as it will skip when one is riding in the worn out cogs. I ride about 10K miles a year, replace my chains when they get to 80% worn and seldom have to replace cassettes. I'm not a little guy and yeah cassettes can last many thousands of miles. – NoCo Rider Feb 3 '20 at 16:45

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