Shimano Makes Running Change for Dura-Ace 9000 Cassettes to Eliminate Creaking (UPDATED)

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My cassette on the left, the new one on the right. Shoulda brought the scale!

Rear derailleurs aren’t the only shadowy things around Shimano. Sometimes, mid-year updates are kept in the dark, too.

Thanks to an eagle eyed reader who wished to remain anonymous, we’ve learned that the 9000-series Dura-Ace cassette received a running change that added a rivet point to the largest cogs on the carbon fiber carrier’d center cluster. The change went unannounced and mostly unknown among the ranks – even some of their outside sales reps were unaware. We called their customer/tech support line and did get confirmation (beyond the obvious visual above) and an explanation. Apparently, the single rivet design can work slightly loose, causing creaking noises during use. The additional rivet strengthens the larger cogs connection to the carrier and prevents it from getting loose ‘n’ loud.

Is it a warranty-able issue? “If it’s creaking, yes,” said the customer service rep we spoke with. “We weren’t really seeing it on every cassette, but if it happens, you can send it in for replacement.”

UPDATE: Shimano clarifies creaking noise concern and explains changes. Full response pasted at bottom of post.

Mine is from the early stock (weights here) and hasn’t had any problems yet, but comforting to know (now that we do know) they’ll take care of it should something go wrong. And if you’ve been wondering where any random noise is coming from, check your cassette. More pics below…

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RESPONSE FROM SHIMANO

Hi Bikerumor,

We make running changes to our products all the time. Any time we find a way to improve a product we’ll implement it into the next production cycle. The changes are usually tiny and they are often done without a single complaint about the existing product. They are usually very simple changes that are almost never noticed like changing the thread retaining compound on a fastener, refining an anodization process, or making an adjustment to the mixture of materials that make up our brake pad compounds. It might also be a change to a process. For example, we recently switched from using traditional spoke tension meters in our Dura Ace wheel building room to using acoustic ones that measure the frequency of the noise when a spoke is plucked. We didn’t do it because it’s more accurate but because there are no moving parts that wear and require recalibration so the information is now more consistent from day to day.

In my time at Shimano I’ve seen a couple of instances where people notice a change and make incorrect assumptions about what it was for; this looks to be one of those cases. We simply found a way to improve the strength of the joint between the carbon carrier and the cog. The riveting is the most obvious sign of the improvement but it wasn’t the only thing that was changed. This new construction was implemented in December of 2013. We have not been seeing creaks that were caused by that single rivet design coming loose and I don’t know where the customer service rep got that information. I think maybe he made the obvious assumption as well. Of course, if the joint between the carrier and the cog starts to fail it will make noise but that’s different from a creak.

Creaks are notoriously hard to chase away sometimes and I’m worried that someone might assume that this running change will get rid of a creak when it probably won’t. I really think that the best advice for someone with creaking issues is to work with the guys at the local bike shop. Chasing away creaks takes experience and often a couple of spare parts to sub onto a bike to confirm the exact culprit. No one is better at that sort of thing than the pro mechanics at the local shop.

I’d still like to share a little more information about Dura Ace chains and cassettes and potential creaking issues because we have studied the phenomenon and we do know where it’s coming from. It’s from the interface between the chain and the cog. There is a part of the inner chain plate that rubs on a part of the teeth on the cogs as the chain rolls on and off the cassette that can make a little noise. It tends to only occur when the chain is at an angle like when it’s in the largest cogs. It also makes more noise on titanium teeth than steel ones which is why Ultegra cassettes may be quieter on some bikes. The noise is very much affected by lubrication and chains that use dry lube do tend to be much louder. We recommend leaving the factory grease on the chains and even adding a little wet lube if there’s noise until it goes away. Chains with a few hundred miles on them tend to be quieter because after a little bit of use the interference point wears away. Much of this information is already common knowledge at the local bike shop which is another reason why letting them help solve any creaking issue is always a good idea.

I hope that helps to shed some light on things.

Thanks,

Nick Murdick
Shimano Lead Technical Instructor

Comments

Donald - 06/06/14 - 10:30pm

I’m glad I was not the only one. After two cassettes I ended up selling the second warranty and bought the Ultegra cassette when it became available.
Shimano also changed something with their DA-9000 cranks. There now is a “B-Type” crank with more threads and a longer crank end cap. No explanation, just running change.

Sam - 06/06/14 - 10:40pm

Shimano did this quietly so they would have everyone ask for a replacement. Man up Shi*mano and replace everyone’s crap for free rather than be sneaky about it. Not sure I believe sales reps didn’t know…it goes against their future sales because everyone would be getting new cassette and won’t need a replacement as quickly. Take a lesson from SRAM and do what’s right! However I glad you did’t follow in GMs way to deal with faulty product design resulting in lost lives…at least I hope cyclist didn’t get hurt/killed that prompted Shi*mano to make this change.

Diesel - 06/06/14 - 11:17pm

Had the same problem with XTR; went back to XT and problem solved.

-D

muf - 06/06/14 - 11:18pm

when sram has a problem at least they recall! /oh dear.

Duff772 - 06/06/14 - 11:59pm

1. When SRAM has a problem it’s a total failure.
2. It’s a creak coming from a wearable part. Why recall something so minor, especially since any rider good enough to need it will wear it out in 4 months?

jonny - 06/07/14 - 12:08am

@muf…. This is a far cry from a recall issue. Not a safety problem and not all cassette’s are affected. Judging that Sram recalls are usually on their crappy brakes that don’t work it makes more sense that a recall is issued. When shimano had a problem with its mechanical cx75 brakes they issued a recall. Just saying…

anonymous - 06/07/14 - 12:19am

@jonny
I consider imploding cassettes a slight safety issue, although not as much as being unable to stop.

Rob d - 06/07/14 - 12:23am

Just got mine replaced by Shimano for this very reason, no questions asked

Doug - 06/07/14 - 12:32am

Reminds me of the quiet change made to eight speed XTR cassettes around 94-95. No big deal, they made an improvement, and sent free replacements. All one had to do was ask.

Brad - 06/07/14 - 12:37am

Hmmm
So that’s what that noise is .
Hello Warren , Warren T ?

Random - 06/07/14 - 1:16am

Huh, I did read anything about cassettes imploding, just some creaking. Companies that do issue recalls for saftey issues should be applauded for it, not scorned. Bravo to Shimano for helping people out that are having issues even in this case where it is simply annoying .

dislivello - 06/07/14 - 1:51am

Is safe problem..need recall..?

Ripnshread - 06/07/14 - 2:57am

This happens because of an ignorance of the properties of injection molded long fiber…

Hr999 - 06/07/14 - 3:52am

@anonymous. “Imploding?!?” What article were you reading? Blame the original design on the weight weenies.

Mud Cycles - 06/07/14 - 5:32am

@anonymous
A creaking cassette is not an “imploding cassette” and not a safety issue.

WG - 06/07/14 - 6:02am

Is is not and never was just creaking. The cassettes were actually breaking catastrophically – you can see photos on the internet. It was obviously a safety issue – it’s a shame Shimano don’t even admit it. At least SRAM had the balls to do it.

J$ - 06/07/14 - 6:02am

Any update on when the 105 5800 will be shipping?

Peter - 06/07/14 - 6:47am

My carrier failed on a hard climb, have replaced with Ultegra. 11sp Durace chain has also failed very early, uneven wear causing slippage. Unreliable components are not worth saving few grams. Ultegra chain and cassette for me from now on.

taylor - 06/07/14 - 6:52am

silly internet cyclists, always gotta have something to b*tch about

how many of you are actually running a DA cassette? hmmmm?!

thats what i thought

M - 06/07/14 - 8:36am

WG

Link to a page with the photos?

topcheese - 06/07/14 - 8:54am

I like the extra hole they drilled in the large cog to offset the weight of a second rivet. By “like,” I mean, “think it’s funny”…if they had added the rivet then sent replacements to a customers who noticed the additional 6 grams or so, the weight weenies would never let us hear the end of it.

CXisfun - 06/07/14 - 9:46am

@Taylor: I was running a DA 9000 cassette until the carrier exploded and nearly put me on the ground immediately in front of a city bus. Luckily I was able to get control of the bike back and crash to my right rather than my left.

@M, WG, et al: check out the pics of the exploding cassettes here. M: It took all of 5 seconds to Google that and find the result, you should try it:

http://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=118879

Greg - 06/07/14 - 10:09am

I was considering running DA 9000 on a couple of bikes, but after research I was steered to UL 6800 because of this cassette issue, and also the ST-9000 issues (the downgrade saved me some money, but it was also a lost opportunity for shimano). In addition to DA cassettes breaking (not just creaking), apparently DA ST-9000 shifters were snapping one heck of a lot of shift cables due to an overly tight bend in the mechanism. This was corrected in ST-6800 shifters (introduced after DA) and in the brand new ST-9001s. So if you go for DA 9000, make sure you get the improved cassette and new shifters.

thatonedude - 06/07/14 - 12:24pm

Kudos for Shim for coming up wit ha fix.

We’ve sent back a few within the last week that creaked under load. Warranties were processed super super fast, and the new cassettes are perfect.

A non-issue.

dowhat - 06/07/14 - 12:41pm

See, super Freds, you need to stay out of the granny gear and learn to ride…

anonymous - 06/07/14 - 2:22pm

@People who say the cassettes don’t implode

See other users who mention imploding.

anonymous - 06/07/14 - 3:21pm

@dowhat
Why not just ride DA7900 with a 11-21 cassette instead of DA9000 with a 11-23 cassette then?

Aaron - 06/07/14 - 3:50pm

I can’t imagine trying to narrow down that squeak. Of all the things you’d normally try to rule out, the cassette usually isn’t one of them.

dowhat - 06/07/14 - 6:31pm

@anonymous…

sorry, was out riding, so internets for a few hours…

‘why not 7900?’ I concur and was out riding the mysterious 11-21 10spd that usually collects dust at shops in favor of 23/27/28 fred-friendly’s

ralphbert - 06/07/14 - 9:38pm

Mine was creaking, i maintained it was from too many watts. Shop said it was too many pies.

CXisfun - 06/07/14 - 10:09pm

@Aaron: I spent hours combing over every bolt, bearing, and thread on my bike to find the noise. I only figured out it was the cassette when it shattered and nearly killed me.

k - 06/08/14 - 3:04pm

definitely had some annoyed customers bringing their 5-10k bikes in for creaks within a few weeks or months of purchase recently. atleast its fixed now.

Peter - 06/08/14 - 6:32pm

I’m not sure about the cassette creaking, however in 14 months I have had two DA9000 clusters replaced because of the bolts in question PULLING OUT OF THE CARBON SPIDER! And I mean total failure. I was told by the Marketing Rep who I was in communication the design had been changed, however I’m unsure my second replacement was actually this new double bolt design. Weight is less inportant to me when it comes to getting uphill without the carbon spider shearing and my gears failing.

greg - 06/08/14 - 10:07pm

crank change with longer preload bolt is an interesting one.
remember earliest 7800 cranks did not have a safety pin between the two pinch bolts that indexed into a hole in the spindle? (only because some “mechanics” would not tighten the pinch bolts to spec, so some arms were walking off)… well, they added the hole in the spindle for the safety pin, which allowed moisture to make its way into the spindle. some crazy sweating people (you know who you are) would get some electrolyte in there and corrode the spindle to failure.
so they made the preload bolt long enough to pass by the hole, closing it off. the fact that so very few of their cranks had any type of spindle failure is a testament to their plating quality, and the fact they made a running change as soon as the issue was narrowed down shows how they handle any issues. i cannot tell you the number of inherent design flaws SRAM has out, right now, that have been in their designs for over ten years, that ought to have running changes if not total redesigns.

r5 loser - 06/09/14 - 7:58am

lol shimano, ive fixed 3 creaking cassettes (all on diff bikes, my own and 2 customers) by lubing these exact rivets, theres no way it was chain on cog, would only happen in 1 and 2 (when in little ring) climbing. my bike at least, was meticulously maintained (chain lubed with green oil minimum once a week). im far from angry, just confused as to your hesitance to publicly admit the fault?

Rommy - 06/09/14 - 8:37am

Lol@ shimano. If you do a google search you can see all the failed and creaking cassete complaints

DzNuts - 06/09/14 - 9:40am

i dunno about creaking, but my composite carrier shattered and left the 17t spinning like a ferris wheel around the cassette body. Not cool for a very expensive DA cassette. warrantied, sold and replaced with ultegra.

for that matter, each of my last two XT cassettes have wallowed out the holes in the rivets and made the mid cogs very loose (3-4mm play front to back) with maybe 50-60hrs on them. For the price, i just replace those and call it a day.

Glad to see they added an extra rivet. Hopefully that carries through to the rest of the line.

Ajax - 06/09/14 - 10:42am

If it was such a small change then why didn’t Shimano just wait till the next version of Dura-Ace to make the change?

derek - 06/09/14 - 1:14pm

Seems like a sneaky way of fixing a strength issue, or as they put it “improve the strength.” Add some more material where it should have been originally and a better rivet system. Wonder how much weight this “small” change adds. Shimano seems to be losing its touch on building bulletproof components.

GetRad - 06/09/14 - 6:32pm

Running changes are part of continuous improvement. The car industry calls them TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins). Why wait 4 years to make something better, why make a big stink over a minor change?

Ken - 06/16/14 - 11:47am

Shimano is now backtracking, saying it’s the chain and refusing to replace the cog I noticed the creak for quite some time now, drove me nuts on a climb!

David - 06/21/14 - 3:25am

I havent read all the comments but I’ve been riding 9000 for @7000km’s….an absolutely beautiful ride…after using Ultegra I wouldnt go back…anyway my cassette did just fail…replaced by Shimano with no issue…new style seems fine…but the old one did go 7000km’s and I’m a strong 90kg’s .. it just cracked while riding easy so no drama for me………I had no noise prior…

John - 07/08/14 - 2:07am

@GetRad *cough* *cough* Chevy Cobalt ignition switches *cough*

Fra - 09/19/14 - 6:42am

Did they upgrade 4 arms spider only or also 6arms (2t) spider?

Scott Chalker - 09/24/14 - 10:53am

My 17 tooth sprocket sheared from the cassette body under 200 watts of force this evening. This is on a dura ace 9000 11-23 cassette. Caused me to veer 1 meter into the traffic lane. This cassette had done only 450km. I would recommend anyone running these check their cassettes. My dura ace 9000 11-28 cassette is a different design and shows no sign of fatigue at the rivets or cassette body.

spg - 10/06/14 - 2:02pm

i had a cassette come apart yesterday. 3 of the 4 pins/rivots came loose and those 4 gears on taht second section of gears was toast. road home in the 11,12,13,14t gears.
never seen that before.

Craig P - 11/25/14 - 1:53pm

” My dura ace 9000 11-28 cassette is a different design and shows no sign of fatigue at the rivets or cassette body. ” – thanks – just started riding DA with that cassette – smoothest drivetrain I’ve tried yet ! Hopefully it holds up well.

Carlos Salazar - 12/01/14 - 3:39pm

Can anybody tell me how do i go about getting a replacement for my Dura Ace 9000 cassette that is making a lot of noise… where do i send the cassette for replacement?..

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