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  1. #1
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    Sram/Shimano Front Derailleur/Shifter Upgrade and Compatibility

    I've been having some front derailleur/left shifter issues and I need a bit of advice on how to best correct it.

    I bought a Kona Mahuna last year and it came with Sram X4 shifters on both sides, Sram X4 derailleur on the rear (which works great), but a Shimano Altus FD. Worked fine for a while, although a bit fiddly. A couple weeks ago, I was on a trail, shifted from 2nd chain wheel to the 3rd and it stripped something inside the left shifter, causing it to drop all the way back to the 1st chainring. Wouldn't shift.

    LBS replaced the shifter with a brand new Sram X4, seemed okay at first, but very quickly had the same issue, this time though it just dropped back to 2nd chainring. It would shift from 1 to 2, but slipped when going to 3.

    Tech at the LBS (who has been extremely helpful and I trust) said the FD seemed like it required a lot of force to shift, even with some reworking of cable lines. He contacted Sram to see if they would do anything, since the bike is less than a year old and components should be compatible. No word back yet, but in the meantime he put a rebuilt Shimano shifter on there (no idea what model) and it works fine.

    The question is, should I stick with Sram, replace the X4 shifter and upgrade to a Sram FD, or ride out the Altus until it breaks and couple it with a Shimano shifter?

    I know a lot of it is personal preference, I just don't want to spend more money on something that isn't going to perform. I just want to get on the trail and ride! Thanks for the input!

  2. #2
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    Front derailleurs are cheap off ebay for even an XT.
    But I bet the problem is the cable housing and/or ferrels. This is causing the drag that is stripping your shifters.
    REI has a $19 kit with Jagwire housing and slick stainless cable. Buy 4 extra feet for $6 and drill out your stops and run front and rear as single pieces.
    You will be surprised how well lower spec parts work with quality cable and housing.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info. I wondered if perhaps the cables were the culprit, but the loaner Shimano shifter doesn't seem to be having any problems, at least not yet. I'll look into those two options in the meantime.

  4. #4
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    I had an issue with a SRAM X7 FD. The chain would frequently drop from the big ring to the small one. Had it adjusted multiple times. Kept doing it. Mechanic suggested I switch to a Shimano XT. Problem never came back.

    Low end parts is what it is...low end. Manufacturers mix and match parts to get the bike to a certain price point. Alot of times it don't really work out for the consumer.

    If there is nothing obstructing the cable...I would upgrade the parts if you plan on keeping the bike for a while.

  5. #5
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    I use XT on my one bike and SRAM X9 on the other and I have had no issues with either. I do find the X9 shifts better, but that's just my personnel preference.
    I have SLX brakes on the XT bike and Hope brakes on the X9 bike, HOPE all the way, I find the SLX very grabby, the Hopes have way more feel and modulation. I am not knocking the SLX they work great I am just saying they tend to grab hard fast and it has kinda grabbed the front wheel from me on some tight turns on switchbacks where the HOPES engage nice and smooth.

  6. #6
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    I have Shimano XT on my mountain bike and Shimano Ultegra on my road bike... I don't know if it's that the difference between small and big chain rings is a larger gap on the road bike but the XT seems to shift a lot quicker/smoother than the Ultegra.

    Either way, just get an SLX or XT. Front derailleurs are incredibly inexpensive.

  7. #7
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    greetings, I would like to know if front deraileur Shimano is compatible with SRAM shifter. I am switching most components to SRAM, but I did not get a front deraileur yet. I have SLX front deraileur 3x10, will it be compatible with my new SRAM X0 shifter? I know that rear deraileur would not work in this case since SRAM has a different ratio than Shimano, but is it the same for the front shifting as well?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by EOS_ View Post
    greetings, I would like to know if front deraileur Shimano is compatible with SRAM shifter. I am switching most components to SRAM, but I did not get a front deraileur yet. I have SLX front deraileur 3x10, will it be compatible with my new SRAM X0 shifter? I know that rear deraileur would not work in this case since SRAM has a different ratio than Shimano, but is it the same for the front shifting as well?

    Fronts should be fine.

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