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Thread: 8, 9, 10 speeds

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    8, 9, 10 speeds

    Went to the LBS today and was looking at some of the bikes and thinking about what I have. My bike is an 8-speed. I saw there were also 9-speeds and 10-speeds. So that made me wonder, what are the differences?

    And I don't mean that as "Well a 9-speed has more cogs than an 8 and a 10 has more than both of them." I know you're going to have more gearing options. Just kind of wondering what do you get out of performance from each of them?
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    The only reason I would go with a 10 speed is that when you go 1x10(or 9) or 2x10(or 9) you get a larger range of gears to make up for lack in the front. Sorry that is so confusing. Less rings in the front brings down weight and makes things simpler.You need more in the rear to help bridge the gap.

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    I guess companies always have to come out with the latest and greatest.Helps keep them around.I really dont see much use unless you do what I said above. Somebody will probably have another good reason, but I very rarely use my little or big ring in the back anyway.

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    Basically it's more gear to choose from as in closer ratio. The top/bottom of 8 spd and 9 spd are about the same for example 11/32 cassette. There's one more gear to choose from in 9spd so it's easier to find the right gear.

    More of 9 spd are now 11/34 and most of 10 spd are 11/36 but the idea is the same. It's not exactly the range but more selection in between. 11spd road cassette has almost the same top and bottom as 9spd it just more choices and way easier to find the right gear to keep your rpm.

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    It just what the companies are moving to as they produce their new line ups. Offering a great range spectrum for the customers. Can't say I really care either way how many I have, but I sure do love my SRAM X.9.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfox90 View Post
    It just what the companies are moving to as they produce their new line ups. Offering a great range spectrum for the customers. Can't say I really care either way how many I have, but I sure do love my SRAM X.9.
    Actually I've been thinking about going 2x6. It would make a stronger wheel(dishless from singlespeed hub) and fun ride.

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    Just been doing some quick research. I guess I have some things to learn about drivetrains. I'm currently running a 3X8 and it seems that is pretty old school.

    Starting to see how the 9 and 10-speeds are supposed to give smoother shifting. Just started getting heavy into the guts of bicycles a few weeks ago. Learning more everyday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocklion View Post
    Just been doing some quick research. I guess I have some things to learn about drivetrains. I'm currently running a 3X8 and it seems that is pretty old school.

    Starting to see how the 9 and 10-speeds are supposed to give smoother shifting. Just started getting heavy into the guts of bicycles a few weeks ago. Learning more everyday.
    Smooth shifting is not about how many cogs in a cassette it's about the ramp tooth and derailleurs/shifter's precision as well as rider skills. A friend of mine went from 9 spd to 8 spd because the shifting is more precise and snappier YMMV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Smooth shifting is not about how many cogs in a cassette it's about the ramp tooth and derailleurs/shifter's precision as well as rider skills. A friend of mine went from 9 spd to 8 spd because the shifting is more precise and snappier YMMV.
    Yeah the amount of cogs has nothing to do with it. It's just because the companies are putting out newer models with better material/technology for better performance (in most cases). Shifters make the bigger difference though.

    You can get a 8sp dialed in just fine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocklion View Post
    Just been doing some quick research. I guess I have some things to learn about drivetrains. I'm currently running a 3X8 and it seems that is pretty old school.
    My fist bike was a 2x5. They had just come out with 12 speeds, and I had bike envy. That's old school.
    --If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never tried before.

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    They all work the same, and in fact I tend to have less issue with my 8 speed than my 9. Doesn't matter what you have just ride! I currently have a 2x9, 1x8, and a 1x1 and as long as I keep them running well it doesn't really matter how many clicks my shifter has.
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    I go to school on a bike with a 2x6 drivetrain. My nicer road bike has a 3x10 drivetrain. That's a pretty big difference - the nicer bike has more low end, more high end, and noticeably closer spacing.

    My MTB shipped with 8-speed. I made it 9-speed when a teammate gave me a good deal on some LX shifters. Shifting's better, but that's the shifters being better. I don't really notice a difference in the spacing, and while I went from a 32t to a 34t low, I didn't actually notice that difference much either. I don't see taking this bike 10-speed because I'd have to do it all at once. I wish there was a 12-34 cassette available outside the XTR range, because there's a really harsh shift from the 11t to the 13t cog. Oh well.
    Last edited by AndrwSwitch; 06-29-2011 at 11:03 AM.
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    The speeds don't really make a difference, but the quality of the transmission does. (Why did I just use the word transmission?)

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    i prefer ten in the rear. it seems the more cogs i have in the rear cassette the less i have to shift the front. i really hate leaving my middle ring up front. it just takes too long for the front to shift and then find the right gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rocklion View Post
    I'm currently running a 3X8 and it seems that is pretty old school.
    Nothing wrong w/3x8. Some actually prefer eight in the back, because there is more tolerance when dialing in the shifting. I run 3x8 on my winter bike partly for that reason.

    The downside to 3x8 is that for years the mainstream choice was 3x9. So if you want a lot of choice in cassettes and chains and shifters, especially high-end choice, then you need to go to at least nine-speed. For example, Shimano does not make eight-speed parts in their XT group. You need to go to at least nine-speed (and maybe 10-speed now) to get that level of part.

    We are currently in the middle of another industry shift, this time from nine- to ten-speed. So nine-speed is the new eight-speed! Right now you can pretty much go either way -- nine or ten -- and get high-end parts. That situation will slowly change.

    The advantage to more cogs in the back is partly marketing, and partly that you don't have to shift the front so often. Ten-speed rear cassettes also make it possible to add a 36-tooth cog (for 29ers) without having to give up any of the other cogs in the progression upwards from 11. That matters to some people.

    Concurrent with the shift to ten-speed is a shift to running 2x setups. However, you can run 2x9 just as easily as 2x10, and many of us do that.

    Disadvantages to having ten cogs in the back include: Hanger alignment matters more than it used to, and shifting can be a bit trickier to get just right. Tolerances are tighter. Parts are also more incompatible between brands than with nine-speed. Chains are thinner, and thus perhaps weaker.

    Lastly, I'll just mention seven-speed. Usually I find that seven-speed bikes are very low-end and have freewheels in the back and not freehubs. Freewheels = badness. They are weaker than freehubs, and more difficult to remove put back on again. I hate working w/freewheels. However, there is nothing wrong with seven-speed per se. It is only that it is commonly used on low-end bikes. Part choice is limited as a result.

    Given current parts availability, I favor nine- and ten-speed. Ten is the way forward, but there is plenty of choice and availability, and often good sale prices too, with nine-speed parts. I'd favor either nine or ten were I buying a new bike.

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    Agreed. I run a 3x9, but my a friend of mine has a 1x10 with a chain guide, and it's fantastic. I mean, you never (rarely) really leave that middle ring in the front anyway.
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    My husband rides 8 speed because they are more forgiving. Also, the more gears, the narrower (and weaker) the chain is. You can't re-use the quick link on 10 speed SRAM chains which is a pain when your husband tries to take your chain off to give it a good wash. So, if you buy a 10 speed drivetrain, get extra quick links.

    I like 10 speeds on the road so I can fine-tune, but on a mountain bike, I usually shift 2 gears at a time so more gears is unnecessary. I have a 10 speed just because it came with my bike.

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    A wealth of knowledge. Thanks for the replies.
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    I think I am staying more or less on subject here, I have a questions regarding gearing. Currently my Overdrive is a 3x8 and my sons Cliff is a 3x9, and neither of us ever uses the big chain ring. We don't really do any high speed riding, on or off road with these bikes. So I am thinking of just removing the big rings and replacing with bash guards. I assume that when I do that I would just adjust the high (I think) limit screw so that it wouldn't be able to shift up off the middle ring anymore. But then the shifter still has three clicks, so what happens if you absebt mindedly try to shift up from the middle ring? Since the cable still has pull, could it damage the derailleur trying to pull past the limit screw? Would I be best off to replace the shifters with actual 2 speed shifters?

    And then going forward looking at upgrades or new bike purchases I had thought that 2x10 would be the way to go. But then I looked at the specs on 2x10s and realized they actually still have a 42 tooth big ring and the smaller ring varies in size quite a bit between 28 and 34 or so I think. So to me this either is like losing the granny ring and keeping the big ring I don't want, or just leaves a much bigger gap between rings than a 3x? Setup. This doesn't appeal to me really, so I am thinking my route to 2x10 might be to buy a 3x10 and once again ditch the big ring. Am I missing something? Will I find myself needing the 42T ring as my riding progresses?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash Test Dumby View Post
    I think I am staying more or less on subject here, I have a questions regarding gearing. Currently my Overdrive is a 3x8 and my sons Cliff is a 3x9, and neither of us ever uses the big chain ring. We don't really do any high speed riding, on or off road with these bikes. So I am thinking of just removing the big rings and replacing with bash guards. I assume that when I do that I would just adjust the high (I think) limit screw so that it wouldn't be able to shift up off the middle ring anymore. But then the shifter still has three clicks, so what happens if you absebt mindedly try to shift up from the middle ring? Since the cable still has pull, could it damage the derailleur trying to pull past the limit screw? Would I be best off to replace the shifters with actual 2 speed shifters?


    And then going forward looking at upgrades or new bike purchases I had thought that 2x10 would be the way to go. But then I looked at the specs on 2x10s and realized they actually still have a 42 tooth big ring and the smaller ring varies in size quite a bit between 28 and 34 or so I think. So to me this either is like losing the granny ring and keeping the big ring I don't want, or just leaves a much bigger gap between rings than a 3x? Setup. This doesn't appeal to me really, so I am thinking my route to 2x10 might be to buy a 3x10 and once again ditch the big ring. Am I missing something? Will I find myself needing the 42T ring as my riding progresses?
    This is pretty easy. You can just take off the big ring and put a bash guard on, be aware that some of the bashguard is not the same thickness as the chainring it replaces so you may need a thicker or shorter chainring bolts. Don't worry about the shifter because after you've adjusted the limit screw it would not shift anywhere. You don't need another shifter.

    I don't think that I'd ever need the 42t ring again on the trail. If I my speed is faster than my 32:11 or 36:11 combo then I just coast, I'm not racing there's no need to be a moron pedaling out of the corner at over 25mph on the shared public trail. I removed a $140 big ring from my XTR cranks and never look back

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    Thanks so much Mimi
    I just can't imagine ever needing the big ring so I am a little confused about why the 2x10s (at least the few I looked at) still keep the 42T and do away with the granny ring I do accasionally use.
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    @Crash, I never use a big ring anymore. I run 2x9. My best riding buddy goes all-in for 1x9, running just a 32-tooth ring up front. On those 2x10 setups that you mention, I think you do lose at the low end unless you also run a 36-tooth big cog on your cassette in the back. Even then, you probably lose.

    To answer your 2x9 questions, you won't likely shift absent-mindedly more than once or twice. It seems highly unlikely that you would break or damage anything. Once I did overshift, to the point of clicking my shifter into third even though there was no third. I felt silly. My pride was damaged. But that was all. Really though, you very quickly get to the point where the slight additional resistance cues you to the fact that you're shifting into third, and you'll automatically back down, without having to consciously think about it. At least, that's been my experience. I've been running 2x9 for a couple or three years now, and I'm more than happy w/that arrangement on my mountain-bikes.

    BTW, on a couple of bikes I run 22/36 up front. That gives me a larger spread and reduces overlap. The downside is that I have to shift the front ring more often.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash Test Dumby View Post
    Thanks so much Mimi
    I just can't imagine ever needing the big ring so I am a little confused about why the 2x10s (at least the few I looked at) still keep the 42T and do away with the granny ring I do accasionally use.
    Well there are 2 types of 2x10 shimano categorized them as race and trail. They are different than what people did before they are available. The new 2x10 system is design to replace 3x9. You'll loose about 2 gears one at the top and one at the bottom.

    Going to the conventional 2x10 usually giving up unused gears of the big ring most people just take out the big ring and keep the 32t middle ring some opt to go with 36t to give themselves a few more higher range. I have a few bikes in 32/22, and a few in 36/22 including the Hammerschmidt which is 36/22 or 38/24. They are more than enough for me because I don't ride my off-road bike on-road.

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    In my current physical condition and riding pace and on thhe trail I have ridden so far I am pretty sure I could live with 1x8 if I just had my rd fully tuned up. The only time I run my granny ring is when I really want middle ring-1 to climb hills. First gear is a little out of adjustment and makes too much noise/chain jumping and I just can't seem to find the time to tune it in. So instead I end up using small-3. But when I get around to fine tuning the rd I will rarely use the fd at all. Don't think I would want to get rid of it though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash Test Dumby View Post
    Thanks so much Mimi
    I just can't imagine ever needing the big ring so I am a little confused about why the 2x10s (at least the few I looked at) still keep the 42T and do away with the granny ring I do accasionally use.
    2x10s often use 36t cassettes, and many big chainrings are 36t. Because of that, and the overlap in the 3x9, you can end up with very similar ratio's between the two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GotoDengo View Post
    2x10s often use 36t cassettes, and many big chainrings are 36t. Because of that, and the overlap in the 3x9, you can end up with very similar ratio's between the two.
    Yeah, I just checked out a few more 2x10 setups and some do seem ok. If they have a 36T cassette and 28/36 that does seem ok. But some only have 32T cassettes and 30/42 rings and that just wouldn't work for me at all. Probably is the race versus trail thing Mimi pointed out.
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    I realize my riding environment is not everybody's riding environment, and my tastes are not everybody's tastes, but the 2x10 systems with larger chain rings really aren't attractive to me.

    My favorite riding spot has a climb that's over 1000', with an average grade over 7%. It undulates, so some sections are a lot steeper. It takes about a half hour, depending on fitness. 26/36 is a higher gear ratio than 22/34, and I think I'd miss my granny gear on that and other climbs in my area. I think I'd be okay with 24/36, but the SRAM cranks are not supposed to be able to have a 24t ring. So, if I was going to have a 2x10 system, I'd need to build it on a traditional crank, with fairly normal-sized rings.

    Drivetrain parts are expensive, too. I just don't see spending a bunch of money on a purpose-built 2x10 drivetrain when I can get the same range, if I want it, and chain ring sizes, if I want them, on what's already on my bike. I'm sure this is not the takeaway SRAM wanted me to have when I demoed their fancy bikes with XX drivetrains, but I thought it didn't screw up the bike, but didn't improve it either.

    I don't disagree with the argument that nobody uses a 42t or 44t chain ring. I can imagine removing mine, actually, although I do get a little use out of it on race courses with fire road portions. I just wouldn't want to give up the granny ring on a mountain bike used to ride up mountains via trails or fire roads.
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    Andrw, that's exactly what I am saying, don't need the big ring and I do use my granny. But most of the 2X10s are just the opposite, take away the granny and keep the big ring. But my current setup only has a 32T cassette and a 22T ring, and at least SOME 2x10s have a 36T cassette and a 28T ring. I haven't done the math on that, but it seems like 36/28 would be close to 32/22 to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorhead0320 View Post
    i prefer ten in the rear.
    That's what she said.


    Sorry, I had to do it.

    Anyway, I just went from 8spd to 9spd simply because of the lack of decent new shifters. Other than that I would have been more than happy to run 8spd, or 7spd, or 6spd and just have a 12 or 14, or 15-34t cassette. I never go to the 11t or 12t cog and rarely to the 14t.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Crash Test Dumby View Post
    Andrw, that's exactly what I am saying, don't need the big ring and I do use my granny. But most of the 2X10s are just the opposite, take away the granny and keep the big ring. But my current setup only has a 32T cassette and a 22T ring, and at least SOME 2x10s have a 36T cassette and a 28T ring. I haven't done the math on that, but it seems like 36/28 would be close to 32/22 to me.
    You'd be better off getting the the SLX double 36/22 with the 11-34 or 12-36 cassette, or simply just buy the 36t ring and bashguard. Going with any granny bigger than 22t you'd loose that low gear.

    Shimano XTR doubles comes in 3 different combo that I know the Trail version is 38/26, the race version is 40/28 or 42/30.

    The triple is 42-32-24

    Quote Originally Posted by CGrr View Post
    That's what she said.


    Sorry, I had to do it.

    Anyway, I just went from 8spd to 9spd simply because of the lack of decent new shifters. Other than that I would have been more than happy to run 8spd, or 7spd, or 6spd and just have a 12 or 14, or 15-34t cassette. I never go to the 11t or 12t cog and rarely to the 14t.
    In your case you may want to look into going 2or3x6, using a singlespeed hub like Hope or King the hub would fit up to 6 cog cassette (you can DIY or get it from Jeff Jone Shimano XT). Most SS hubs are dishless so it would make a stronger wheel.

    Going to 10 spd is a lot of investment even without crankset. You'll need new cassette, shifter, chain, and rear der.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    You'd be better off getting the the SLX double 36/22 ...
    Big thumbs-up from me on this recommendation. I run it on a couple of my bikes. The SLX double cranks with the SLX double-specific front-derailleur is a win.

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    why change out the derailleur?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    Big thumbs-up from me on this recommendation. I run it on a couple of my bikes. The SLX double cranks with the SLX double-specific front-derailleur is a win.
    Thanks, big thumbs up is great, big rep up is awesome

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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    why change out the derailleur?
    SLX comes in 2 models one is for triple which you can set the limit screw to do the job, or get the 2spd specific for the doubles ring, Shimano claimed it's a faster and more accurate shifting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Thanks, big thumbs up is great, big rep up is awesome
    LOL! Done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
    LOL! Done.
    Ha ha ha, you are the man JG, I just got 2 shinny green blocks I was wondering what's it gonna do your rep power just send it.

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    I want two big shiny blocks. wahhhhhhhhh
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    hmmm, shimano says a flat plate pushing a chain is faster than another flat plate...

    Then again, closer ratios and thinner chains are better MTB too,,,so............

    FWIW - there is nothing better for MTB than a 11-34 in 7 or 8 SPD - just so you know (sure 6 is fine too)
    Honestly... ahh I give up

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    Quote Originally Posted by pfox90 View Post
    I want two big shiny cocks. wahhhhhhhhh
    uhhh...



    roosters?
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    hmmm, shimano says a flat plate pushing a chain is faster than another flat plate...

    Then again, closer ratios and thinner chains are better MTB too,,,so............

    FWIW - there is nothing better for MTB than a 11-34 in 7 or 8 SPD - just so you know (sure 6 is fine too)
    Have not tried the 7 spd but I agree with 8spd it's definitely less problems shifting than 9spd especially on Shimano. 6spd is another story altogether at least the one I'm building from SS hub, it's stronger for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    uhhh...



    roosters?
    LOL your lucky i already gave your positive rep or I would neg rep you right now for that statement
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    Have not tried the 7 spd but I agree with 8spd it's definitely less problems shifting than 9spd especially on Shimano. 6spd is another story altogether at least the one I'm building from SS hub, it's stronger for sure.
    SRAM x9 kicks ass though. I've had several different kinds of shifting/derailleurs and if I were to buy any one model aftermarket for the value I wouldn't think anything is close.
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by pfox90 View Post
    SRAM x9 kicks ass though. I've had several different kinds of shifting/derailleurs and if I were to buy any one model aftermarket for the value I wouldn't think anything is close.
    I agree Sram 1:1 is very easy to live with and maintain. It's not as smooth and quiet as Shimano but it's great shifting system. Shimano offer more of other features to keep the competition interesting.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    hmmm, shimano says a flat plate pushing a chain is faster than another flat plate...
    Probably the biggest benefit comes from the derailleur moving upward as it goes outward at just the right angle to make the leap from a 22-tooth to a 36-tooth ring. The tail is shorter too. It's pretty easy to dial out any chain rub.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post
    You'd be better off getting the the SLX double 36/22 with the 11-34 or 12-36 cassette, or simply just buy the 36t ring and bashguard. Going with any granny bigger than 22t you'd loose that low gear.

    Shimano XTR doubles comes in 3 different combo that I know the Trail version is 38/26, the race version is 40/28 or 42/30.

    The triple is 42-32-24
    Well there's no doubt that expense wise the SLX would be better than XTR. But just looking at the gear ratios the lowest gear I currently have is the 22T ring and 32T on the cassette. With the XTR 2X10 trail combo the lowest gear could be 26T ring and 36T on the cassette. Running those two combos thru Sheldon Browns gear calculator the 22/32 combo on my current set up is very close to the 26/36 low gear on the XTR. So it seems to me that if money was no object (it is!) the XTR 2X10 trail set up might be fine for me.

    Regardless, for now I will have to live with a home made 2X8, and if it turns out I do run out of top end gears then maybe I would replace the current 32T middle ring with a 34 or 36T, but honestly I don't see that being necessary. I may at a later date, upgrade to a 9 speed, but some of the posts here saying that 8 speed shifts better than 9 have me re-thinking that.
    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Screw the search function... you're new, ask the question(s). If anyone gets thier undies in a bunch it's thier problem.

  47. #47
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    Money no object, I'm not sure if the XTR crank would really be the best. Their stuff kicks ass, but it's not a purpose-built double. Take a look at the exploded diagrams. FSA and SRAM make actually MTB doubles; while I'm disinclined to trust either of their bottom bracket setups, maybe they're better on the high-rent stuff.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll View Post
    hmmm, shimano says a flat plate pushing a chain is faster than another flat plate...

    Then again, closer ratios and thinner chains are better MTB too,,,so............

    FWIW - there is nothing better for MTB than a 11-34 in 7 or 8 SPD - just so you know (sure 6 is fine too)
    Are there 8 speed 11-34 cassettes that aren't the Mega Range thing where the gap from 1-2 is huge? That seems to be the only ones I can find, at least on Ebay.
    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Screw the search function... you're new, ask the question(s). If anyone gets thier undies in a bunch it's thier problem.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Money no object, I'm not sure if the XTR crank would really be the best. Their stuff kicks ass, but it's not a purpose-built double. Take a look at the exploded diagrams. FSA and SRAM make actually MTB doubles; while I'm disinclined to trust either of their bottom bracket setups, maybe they're better on the high-rent stuff.
    I didn't say "the best", I am still WAY too newb to get into the SRAM vs. Shimano vs. FSA pissing match. I just used Shimano as my example cause I had the Shimano gear specs right there to check on the calculator.
    Quote Originally Posted by STT GUY View Post
    Screw the search function... you're new, ask the question(s). If anyone gets thier undies in a bunch it's thier problem.

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