1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    What makes certain drivetrain components "better" than others?

    When bike shopping, I'm looking at bikes at different price points and they have what I assume as upgraded drivetrain parts. When looking at derailleurs, for example, what makes a Shimano Deore setup better than an Acera or Alivio? What exactly about them makes them better or worse?

    Thanks-Dan

  2. #2
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    Quality

  3. #3
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    The materials are stronger and lighter, the castings more exact, the fit and bearg surfaces are better.

    This results in lighter weight, better shifting....and often longer life, although not always.

  4. #4
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    I bought a SRAM X.9 rear derailleur circa 2005 for $35 brand new...The SRAM X.0 carbon fiber rear derailleur retails for $255...based on other user's reviews here most have reported the X.0 falling apart and to not be as durable as its aluminum counterpart and others have "downgraded" back to the X.9...just goes to show you, price isn't always the determining factor for quality and durability.
    Last edited by adonis_abril; 07-20-2012 at 02:26 PM.

  5. #5
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    Same deal with XTR carbon bling bling BS RD. Mine lasted three rides one good hit and the cage was toast, I just stick to XT or SLX these days.
    To the TS - Acera Alivio etc is OK but it is designed for leisure riding,- the RD pivots and springs wear out very quickly, also the shifters have plastic bushings rather than stainless steel and get very sloppy after a couple of thousand km. Deore and above is generally more robust. the real top end stuff is uber lightweight to save milliseconds in races - not necessarily to last. I reckon most of us weekend warriors should be using Deore, SLX, XT or X7 / X9.
    Having said all that I did buy a 1 x 10 X0 set up for my Air 9 but to be honest it isn't any better than the 9 speed XT (XTR shifters) on my Epic, bit of a waste of money really - but it does look damn good though

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MustangDan74 View Post
    When bike shopping, I'm looking at bikes at different price points and they have what I assume as upgraded drivetrain parts. When looking at derailleurs, for example, what makes a Shimano Deore setup better than an Acera or Alivio? What exactly about them makes them better or worse?

    Thanks-Dan
    I think Deore drivetrain bits are a big step up. They have no structural plastic parts, the springs are stiff enough to make the derailleurs return, they stay tuned better, they last longer if you don't bang them into something. They generally share the design of Shimano's higher-spec stuff, they just don't have as much material machined away, and sometimes refinements like a little nicer bearing won't be present.

    I have a mostly SLX drivetrain, but I've been sticking with a Deore Shadow rear derailleur because it does the job and I seem to break them every year or two.

    Alivio works okay. It's not as tolerant of mud and gunk as Deore, IME.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    I have a pretty new XTC 2 that came with Alivio shifters and FD and a Deore RD. I could never get it adjusted to my satisfaction and neither could the LBS. It was super loud and rough shifting. IMHO Alivio components should have never been on a 1400.00 MSRP MTB.

    I've since upgraded to XT shifters and XT F&R D's along with XT brakes( From Avid Elixir 1's).

    There is a HUGE difference between the entry level at best Alivio and XT. My bike now shifts like butter with barely any noise and the brakes stop like nobody's business. What a difference.

    Avoid the lower end stuff like X3-X4 & Alivio if you can.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MustangDan74 View Post
    When bike shopping, I'm looking at bikes at different price points and they have what I assume as upgraded drivetrain parts. When looking at derailleurs, for example, what makes a Shimano Deore setup better than an Acera or Alivio? What exactly about them makes them better or worse?

    Thanks-Dan
    Good question. Shimano certainly knows how to make an exceptional-performing derailleur. They have been making them for decades. The issue is cost.

    The pro-level derailleur is made of light and stiff materials, and has as many parts and features as needed to get the job done. These are available, but they cost quite a bit. Get a price on Dura-Ace parts to check this.

    Cheaper than that will be slightly heavier materials. Down from that gets less stiff materials. Down from there gets into reduced feature count and fewer parts overall. In the old days, the cheaper parts were less precise. Precision is cheap now, so that is not usually the issue. The difference is mostly materials and the number of parts needed to make the item.

    I used to have a bike with a Simplex derailleur which was made of plastic housings and bushings and a few sheet-metal reinforcement parts. The springs were supposedly steel. I learned to adjust it quite well, as I had to adjust it every week or so to keep it working.

    Edit: there is another relevant discussion here...
    On measure of durability and effectiveness: XT, SLX, Deore?
    Last edited by DavyRay; 07-22-2012 at 11:39 AM.

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