Types and Differences of Shimano 8-Speed Sprockets

Posted at: Feb. 3, 2021

Shimano's 8-speed sprockets are persistently popular as entry-level sprockets. Here is a summary of the differences between the many types and grades.

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Types of Shimano sprockets for 8-speed

CS-HG51-8

This is an older model of Shimano’s Alivio 8-speed MTB component. The finish is chrome plated. Lighter weight because of the boring.

  • 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28(bf)
  • 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30(an)
  • 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32(aw)

CS-HG50-8

Current sprocket of CLARIS, Shimano’s component for road bikes. The material is steel and the finish is nickel plated. Lighter weight because of the boring.

  • 11-13-15-17-19-21-24-28T (bf)
  • 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30T (an)
  • 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32T (aw)
  • 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-34T (Ca)
  • 12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23T (U)
  • 12-13-15-17-19-21-23-25T (W)
  • 13-14-15-17-19-21-23-26T (V)

CS-HG50-8 | Shimano

CS-HG41-8

An older model of Shimano’s Acera 8-speed MTB component. The finish is nickel-plated, and like the CS-HG50-8, the weight is reduced by cutting out the middle.

  • 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32T (aw)
  • 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30T (an)

CS-HG31-8

This is an older model from the 8-speed era of Shimano’s Altus components for MTB. The finish is zinc phosphate, and like the CS-HG50-8 and CS-HG41-8, it has been bored out to reduce weight.

  • 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30(an)
  • 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32(aw)
  • 11-13-15-18-21-24-28-34T (Ca)

CS-HG200-8

This is the current model of Shimano’s entry-level TOURNEY TX component, which is considered to be a cassette sprocket for MTB. The finish is phosphate film.

  • 12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32T (br)

CS-HG200-8 | Shimano

Where is the difference?

Differences in finishes

Shimano 8-speed sprockets are available in the following three types.

  • Chrome plating (white silver)
  • Nickel plating (dark silver)
  • Zinc phosphate (black)

The difference is basically the appearance (color). Chrome plating and nickel plating are basically treated with the same nickel coating, but the chrome plating has a thicker plating layer, which helps maintain the beauty of the metal. Nickel plating has a slightly darker silver color than chrome plating due to its thinner plating layer. Zinc phosphate is not plated, so its appearance is darker.

Incidentally, Shimano’s current sprockets for road bikes are titanium/nickel plated for DURA-ACE, and nickel plated for ULTEGRA and 105.

Difference in the number of teeth on the cog

The lineup of 8-speed sprockets for MTB ranges from 28T to 32T on the low side, but the CS-HG50-8 for road use has a much wider lineup, ranging from 23T to 34T on the low side.

In particular, if you choose a cross ratio 8-speed sprocket, you should choose the CS-HG50-8, which is the current CLARIS sprocket.

Differences between models

Difference between CS-HG51 and CS-HG50

The main differences are the tooth count configuration and the finish (chrome or nickel plating).

In terms of grade, the CS-HG51 is Shimano’s Alivio for MTB and the CS-HG50 is Shimano’s CLARIS for road bikes, so a simple comparison is not possible.

However, considering that Alivio is the 5th from the top and 7th from the bottom in MTB components, which is about the lower middle grade, and CLARIS is the 6th from the top and 2nd from the bottom in road bike components, the CS-HG50 may be considered slightly higher.

Difference between CS-HG51 and CS-HG41

Again, the main differences are tooth count configuration and finish (chrome or nickel plating).

The CS-HG51 is the Alivio for Shimano MTB, and the CS-HG41 is the Acera for Shimano MTB.

Alivio is the higher grade.

Difference between CS-HG41 and CS-HG31-8

Again, the main differences are the tooth count configuration and the finish (nickel plating or zinc phosphate).

The CS-HG41 is Shimano’s Acera MTB component, and the CS-HG31-8 is Shimano’s Altus MTB component.

The Acera is the higher grade.

Difference between CS-HG31-8 and CS-HG200-8

This one has the same zinc phosphate finish, so the only difference is the tooth count configuration.

Both are the same Shimano MTB components, the CS-HG31-8 is Shimano’s Altus MTB component, and the CS-HG200-8 is Shimano’s Tourney TX MTB component.

The Altus is the higher grade.

What are the different grades of Shimano sprockets for 8-speed?

This one has the same zinc phosphate finish, so the only difference is the tooth count configuration.

  1. CS-HG51
  2. CS-HG50/CS-HG41
  3. CS-HG31-8
  4. CS-HG200-8

However, Shimano componentry is said to be “generation difference > grade difference”, so taking this into consideration, the following rankings can be made.

  1. CS-HG51/CS-HG50
  2. CS-HG41
  3. CS-HG31-8/CS-HG200-8

We have looked at the different types of Shimano 8-speed sprockets and their differences.

The 8-speed is a popular choice for entry-level riders with good cost performance, but there are so many different types of sprockets that it can be difficult to tell the difference, so please refer to this page.

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