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  1. #1
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    Newbie needing help upgrading Gary Fish marlin 29er

    Let me start off by saying I'm a newbie when it comes to mountain bikes. So please only post if you can help, not to tell me I'm dumb. I have a 2011 Trek Gary Fisher 29er I've been riding since 2012. I'm now needing to upgrade, specifically my crankset. I'm interested in the Shimano Deore XT but can only find it in 3x10. My current setup as I understand is 3x8 Shimano Altus. So is 3x8 an uncommon setup? If I goto 3x10 I need to change the shifters, rear cassette, and derilleur correct?

    So what are my options? I'm also a bigger rider, tipping the scale at about 260 and ride mostly singletracks, beginner and intermediate trails. Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
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    i think you are correct about replacing all that if you go 3x10.

    I have purchased harder to find stuff from Niagra Cycle works with good luck. If you want to stick with 8 speed for budget reasons this is definitely a cheaper option:

    Altus 22x32x42t 7/8spd 175mm Square

  3. #3
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    you should be able to find used 8 and 9 speed stuff all day long. You will need shifters and a cassette .Your derailleur might work for 9 speed also. I would stay away from 10 spd stuff until it comes down in price. And I doubt you will need 10 over 8/9.

  4. #4
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    Whats wrong with your current crankset now thats requiring you to upgrade?
    Put a mountain biker in a room with 2 bowling balls and we'll break one and lose the other - GelatiCruiser

  5. #5
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    Full 10 speed drivetrain upgrades are not really "cheap". Wheels and fork are where you will get the most bang for the buck. If it is worn out the 8 speed Acera is only $4 more than the Altus and you can replace the rings when you need to.
    The wheel is a extension of the foot

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SandSpur View Post
    Whats wrong with your current crankset now thats requiring you to upgrade?
    Started with a creaking noise every rotation. Then while riding one of the crank arms fell off. The bolt had backed out and the square part has been "deformed". So just stick with an 8 speed. Altus is what's on There so I was hoping to find something stronger. Thanks for the replies.

  7. #7
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    I would just replace the crank with an 8 speed; should have no issues finding one that Is nicer like XT...try eBay.

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    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  8. #8
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    Left crank arm falling off may be covered by LBS where you purchased it, totally common as in China a single 75lb 90 year old lady has installed every left crank arm for the last 30 years and sometimes she be tired.
    The wheel is a extension of the foot

  9. #9
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    i have the trek wahoo (step down from your bike, same crank) and my crank came loose after about 150-200 miles. i am a 140LB rider though. had my bike shop fix it for me. if you did not get to it quickly enough it could very easily warp all sorts of things.

    For $239 you can get a new 42-32-24 crank, bottom bracket, front and rear derailleurs, 10 speed 11-34 cassette, chain, and the 3X10 shifters.

    2014 Shimano Deore M610 M615 Disc Brake MTB Group Groupset 30s Disc Brake | eBay

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by McWag View Post
    Let me start off by saying I'm a newbie when it comes to mountain bikes. So please only post if you can help, not to tell me I'm dumb. I have a 2011 Trek Gary Fisher 29er I've been riding since 2012. I'm now needing to upgrade, specifically my crankset. I'm interested in the Shimano Deore XT but can only find it in 3x10. My current setup as I understand is 3x8 Shimano Altus. So is 3x8 an uncommon setup? If I goto 3x10 I need to change the shifters, rear cassette, and derailleur correct?

    So what are my options? I'm also a bigger rider, tipping the scale at about 260 and ride mostly singletracks, beginner and intermediate trails. Thanks for any help.
    You would also need a 10 speed chain, and possibly a front derailleur if you want it to shift most reliably.

    The best thing for you about going to 10 speed is that you could get an 11-36 cassette to haul your 260lb carcass up the hills. You can get a 12-36 in 9 speed, or up to 11-34 in 8 speed.

    Also, depending on which crankarm fell off, you can get a crankarm just for the left side IF that is the one that was damaged.

    Honestly, I think I would get something like this:

    Universal Cycles -- Shimano FC-M410 Alivio Crankset - Square Taper

    and one of these in 11-32:

    Shimano CS-HG41 8 Speed - Wheel World Bike Shops - Road Bikes, Mountain Bikes, Bicycle Parts and Accessories. Parts & Bike Closeouts!

    and one of these:

    Sram PC-850 Chain (8-speed) - Wheel World Bike Shops - Road Bikes, Mountain Bikes, Bicycle Parts and Accessories. Parts & Bike Closeouts!

    And you'll be good to go for quite a while.

  11. #11
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    I did the same thing to my Marlin. 3x9 will work. You can always drop a ring if you want just adjust your limits so you don't shift off the transmission.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeepyJayhawk View Post
    I did the same thing to my Marlin. 3x9 will work. You can always drop a ring if you want just adjust your limits so you don't shift off the transmission.
    The width of a 9 speed cassette and an 8 speed cassette are the same, except one has 9 cogs and the other has 8 cogs. So, the space between cogs of a 9 speed cassette is less than the space between cogs of an 8 speed cassette. The spacing is as follows for 8 and 9 speed cassettes:

    8 speed cassettes- 4.8mm
    9 speed cassettes- 4.34mm

    Just trying to clarify. Are you saying that you used 8 speed shifters with a 9 speed cassette?

  13. #13
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    No sorry, you'll need a new shifter. The cogs and the derailer could be reused though

    Sent from my LG-LS995 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    I have the same bike, went through alot of upgrading to where now just seatpost is stock. Not the most budget way to do things but I like tinkering. I run 2x10 Shimano SLX now.

    For your issue, if your on a budget, there is nothing wrong with 8 speed (which I know your driveline is Sram X4 with Shimano crankset) and crankset issue is common. Buy the Acera (for the replaceable chain rings), have LBS install it so proper locktite and torque is used to tighten crank bolts. Figure once a year having those bolts checked and tightened if needed. If you have $90 to spend on a crankset, being Im the SAME WEIGHT AS YOU, was heavier when bought this bike a year ago, I installed an Deore M590 3x9 crankset (dropped outer chainring and replaced with bashguard), works with 8 speed fine, but lighter and I have had 0 issues with it.

    If you want a 10 speed set up, just look for deals, I got my rear derailluer as new pull off for $45 on ebay, cassette was $50 new, shifters I paid full $125 from LBS, chain $25, front derailluer was $30. And my set up is SLX so not the most budget route but cheaper than XT but same quality only a tad heavier (still lighter than stock by alot).
    Trek Marlin 29er

    Like It, Love It, Want Some More Of It!

  15. #15
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    I build most of the bikes in my house with very similar drivetrains so when we travel I can carry a few spare parts that will fix any bike.
    I've had great luck with Ebay, Blueskysysling and Chain Reaction Cycles.
    Just about all of out bikes are Deore or XT cranks, originally 3 ring with the big ring removed and the granny replaced with a 24. 11-36 XT cassette, X7 rear derailleur and shifters and usually an SLX or XT front derailleur.
    Depending on the prices, I'll sometimes get some X9 or XT.
    I like turtles

  16. #16
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    I like turtles

  17. #17
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    That would be a solid addition. I've been pretty happy with the slx 3x10 on my Salsa too.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by skikarl View Post

    For $239 you can get a new 42-32-24 crank, bottom bracket, front and rear derailleurs, 10 speed 11-34 cassette, chain, and the 3X10 shifters.

    2014 Shimano Deore M610 M615 Disc Brake MTB Group Groupset 30s Disc Brake | eBay
    This option includes an upgrade to the M610 Deore brakes new for 2014 for $329.
    These use the same pad as the SLX_XT_XTR brakes that are the best around.
    The caliber appears to have a better brake line hookup without the banjo bolt.
    Reviews put power and modulation near or the same as the more expensive versions.
    I don't yet know if it includes 22mm ceramic pistons.
    Shimano tech thinks the pistons are the same.
    The banjo bolt connection on the SLX allows a larger inner diameter hose for more power and modulation.
    Very similar though..
    Should be a great upgrade.
    Last edited by eb1888; 12-23-2013 at 10:28 AM.

  19. #19
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    I feel like this thread has gone off on a bit of a tangent.

    OP, if I read you right, you aren't actually looking for an upgrade per se. You have a bike with a 3x8 drivetrain and you've damaged your crankset. You just want things to work correctly. Is that right?

    Someone else suggested getting an older but nice 8-speed crankset. That would definitely work, so that's one option.

    Another option you have is to get a 9-speed crankset. These are still available new, so it'll be easier to source one. And the entire pre 9-speed MTB drivetrain "universe" has good cross-compatibility. As in, a crank advertised for 9-speed and for an English bottom bracket will be drop-in compatible with what you've got.

    I think bang-for-the-buck is likely to be the Deore M590. But since you have the Internet and 9-speed isn't the latest anymore, it could be SLX or XT. So don't rule those out.

    tl;dr: get the cheapest Deore or better 8- or 9-speed triple crank with 22/32/42 or 44 rings and for an English bottom bracket.

    If you want to do the swap, you'll need a couple tools. If you'll be paying the shop, get their out-the-door price including installation and a guesstimate for installation alone before you shop the 'net.

    Hope that helps.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  20. #20
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    Re: Newbie needing help upgrading Gary Fish marlin 29er

    Quote Originally Posted by eb1888 View Post
    This option includes an upgrade to the M610 Deore brakes new for 2014.
    These use the same pad as the SLX_XT_XTR brakes that are the best around.
    The caliber appears to have a better brake line hookup without the banjo bolt.
    Reviews put power and modulation near or the same as the more expensive versions.
    I don't yet know if it includes 22mm ceramic pistons.
    Should be a great upgrade.
    Yeah the brake upgrade adds a bit more. Brings it to like 320ish. But I actually just bought the 2014 m610s they are really strong.

    Sent from my GT-I9505G using Tapatalk

  21. #21
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    Thanks for all the great advice. My wife as my christmas gift actually ordered me a shimano xt 3x10 transmission group set. She ordered it from chain reaction cycles for about $420. Can't complain except that it just got here since it came from the UK. Is being installed at my LBS right now. Will update with my review, super stoked as this is my first major upgrade.

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