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  1. #1
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    New question here. 8 speed vs. 9 on build up

    I'm building up a Rush and would welcome input as to the pro's or con's of an 8 speed setup instead of a 9 speed.
    If I was to go 8 speed, what issues would I be faced with? I have already gotten an X9 RD and X9 triggers - are they incompatible with 8 speed?
    I have had 8 speed LX/XT and more recently XT setups that shifted the best of any bikes I've had, and am thinking maybe I don't need anything more....
    Thanks for the input.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToastR
    I have already gotten an X9 RD and X9 triggers - are they incompatible with 8 speed?
    Yes, you would need new shifters for 8 speed. Nine speed isn't too bad, most of the kinks have been worked out, so as long as you keep your bike well maintained, it should perform fine.

    I hear Liam Killeen uses 8 speed though...

  3. #3
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    you can buy shimano 8spd rapid fire shifters for 2006, according to shimano. Equivalent to about an LX or XT part level.

    But, the spacing difference between 8 and 9 speed is miniscule, so bad experiences with 9spd are usually just bad setups that wouldn't work well with 8spd either.

    The X9 rear derailer would be compatible with SRAM shifters only, so you have to find SRAM ESP (1:1) 8 speed shifters.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  4. #4
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    8 speed is very slightly more reliable than 9 speed because the chain is slightly thicker and the cogs have slightly more seperation between them. The differences are extrememly minimal though. 8 speed drivetrains have the cogs at 4.8mm center to center from each other, 9 speed has them at 4.35mm. The same with the chain its only fractions of a millimeter thicker.

    Quite honestly I find the the difference between them are almost null for most practical purposes. There are people who swear by 8 speed but I find that both setups have always been prone to exactly the same nuances and both work as reliably when properly set. If it were me and I had a good 8 speed setup, didn't care about being able to use cassettes with a more even spread and didn't care for upgrades I'd probably keep 8 speed around as long as it was realistically practical. If I were building up a bike with new parts I wouldn't even bother looking for anything other than 9 speed. In my opinion its just a waste of time to fish around for parts that are no longer easily available and hardly provide any tangible advantage over 9 speed. Doing stuff like that MBA article where they spent like $500 to downgrade to 8 speed is an excercise in stupidity in my opinion. Spend less than that in a drivetrain overhaul and new cables and you get about the same effect. But thats just my 2 cents.

  5. #5
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    8 is better

    I ride east coast single track, lots of roller coaster stuff with plenty of rocks and roots. I find that the 9 speed systems wear out a little faster. and the closer cog spacing is a pain. I really prefer 7 speed - but it's too hard to find good cassettes. So now, after wearing out my 9 speed system in 4 months - I'm going back to Sram 8 speed. It's much cheaper to replace chains and cassettes and much lighter. And you have one less useless gear to shift. Now if I was running one chainring , I would surely want a 9 speed in back- probably 10.

    As far as that MBA article goes, only a fool would spend that much money upgrading to 8 0r 9 speed-at least for mountain biking. I have not had any operational problems with my 9 speed other than premature wear. My riding buddies replace their 9 speed LX drivetrains once a year for a cost of 120.00 - I replace my 8 speed Sram drivetrain once a year for a cost of 60.00 and I ride almost twice as much as they do. It's a no brainer - 8 speed is best for mtb - at least in the conditions that I ride in.













    UOTE=Hecubus]8 speed is very slightly more reliable than 9 speed because the chain is slightly thicker and the cogs have slightly more seperation between them. The differences are extrememly minimal though. 8 speed drivetrains have the cogs at 4.8mm center to center from each other, 9 speed has them at 4.35mm. The same with the chain its only fractions of a millimeter thicker.

    Quite honestly I find the the difference between them are almost null for most practical purposes. There are people who swear by 8 speed but I find that both setups have always been prone to exactly the same nuances and both work as reliably when properly set. If it were me and I had a good 8 speed setup, didn't care about being able to use cassettes with a more even spread and didn't care for upgrades I'd probably keep 8 speed around as long as it was realistically practical. If I were building up a bike with new parts I wouldn't even bother looking for anything other than 9 speed. In my opinion its just a waste of time to fish around for parts that are no longer easily available and hardly provide any tangible advantage over 9 speed. Doing stuff like that MBA article where they spent like $500 to downgrade to 8 speed is an excercise in stupidity in my opinion. Spend less than that in a drivetrain overhaul and new cables and you get about the same effect. But thats just my 2 cents.[/QUOTE]

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigbeck
    I ride east coast single track, lots of roller coaster stuff with plenty of rocks and roots. I find that the 9 speed systems wear out a little faster. and the closer cog spacing is a pain. I really prefer 7 speed - but it's too hard to find good cassettes. So now, after wearing out my 9 speed system in 4 months - I'm going back to Sram 8 speed. It's much cheaper to replace chains and cassettes and much lighter. And you have one less useless gear to shift. Now if I was running one chainring , I would surely want a 9 speed in back- probably 10.

    As far as that MBA article goes, only a fool would spend that much money upgrading to 8 0r 9 speed-at least for mountain biking. I have not had any operational problems with my 9 speed other than premature wear. My riding buddies replace their 9 speed LX drivetrains once a year for a cost of 120.00 - I replace my 8 speed Sram drivetrain once a year for a cost of 60.00 and I ride almost twice as much as they do. It's a no brainer - 8 speed is best for mtb - at least in the conditions that I ride in.
    You might get a little better life out of a wider 8 speed chain but I wouldn't consider it anything too dramatic over a 9 speed. The difference is just too small. As far as the cassette is concerned I doubt your premature wear has anything to do with it being 9 speed. The 8 to 9 speed conversion was probobaly one of the less obtrusive ones. All that was done was basically use up the available space more efficiently. What 9 speed really did was bring the cogs closer to each other by 0.45mm. It makes a difference but its small enough to not be as troublesome as claimed. The important thing is 8 and 9 speed cogs are still the same 1.8mm thickness. There was no change there. If anything I could see a 9 speed cassette lasting a bit longer because it has an extra cog to distribute the wear on. 7 to 8 speed however saw the cogs shrink from 2.0mm to 1.8mm and 10 speed shrank them from 1.8mm to 1.6mm. No notable change from 8 to 9.

  7. #7
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    I just upgraded from 8-speed to 9-speed, X9 DR with X7 shifters. I'm really happy with them, I'd go with 9-speed on a new build. Quality 8-speed gear will only get harder to find in the future.

  8. #8
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    Wrong. Quality 8 speed setups will always be around. Generally speaking I think 8 speed is better.
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  9. #9
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    ... and if we just ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    Wrong. Quality 8 speed setups will always be around. Generally speaking I think 8 speed is better.
    Well, then maybe we should go seven speed, for an even more reliable drivetrain. Or wait, six speed! No, let's go with 5x2, like the old 10 speed road bikes, that was the way to go. On the other hand, if you had three speeds, like the old english bikes, you could get an even BETTER drivetrain. So, three speed it is.

    Well, might as well go with singlespeed and get rid of those pesky derailleurs and those cable changes, oh my! what a headache! no, singlespeed is, definitely, generally speaking better.

    Now, thing is, that freewheel, well, they last so much less than fixed cogs! yeah, fixie is the way to go! yeah, that's the "generally better" drivetrain: fixed gear with a BMX chain!

    But, those chains do wear out! and what about having to replace the cogs? and chainrings! we musn't forget the chainrings that MUST be replaced when they wear out. No, I think I have found the final solution: a gearless bike! yeah! no drivetrain at all! like those velocipedes of yonder! we must return to the origins! Down with the marketing slavery, purists unite! Bring the draisine back! Yeah!

    But wait! we could even get a more reliable drivetrain if we eliminate those annoying, maintenance demanding wheels and frame! yeah! that's the most reliable bike there is, the one you won't have to worry adjusting or maintaining: the bikeless bike!

  10. #10
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    I was just pointing out that 8 speed is better. If 9 speed cogsets were as spaced out as 8 speed they to would be more better then they currently are. I have a bike with 9 speed and although it shifts fine most of the time I find myself using the rear derailluers barrel adjuster to keep it shifter great without ghost shifting. On my 8 speed bike I set it up once and have yet to touch it again. And by the way I have never used all of the 27 speeds offered by my 9 speed setup. I use maybe 3 or 4 out of 9 in the rear so yes less is better.

    Oh Frozen - your drama wasn't needed. All you did was to make yourself look foolish.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hecubus
    Quite honestly I find the the difference between them are almost null for most practical purposes. There are people who swear by 8 speed but I find that both setups have always been prone to exactly the same nuances and both work as reliably when properly set.
    My experience differs. My 8 speed setup shifts noticably better than my 9 speed does. The 9 speed has SRAM X9 shifters and X0 derailleur whereas the 8 speed is Shimano XT.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kona0197
    I was just pointing out that 8 speed is better. If 9 speed cogsets were as spaced out as 8 speed they to would be more better then they currently are. I have a bike with 9 speed and although it shifts fine most of the time I find myself using the rear derailluers barrel adjuster to keep it shifter great without ghost shifting. On my 8 speed bike I set it up once and have yet to touch it again. And by the way I have never used all of the 27 speeds offered by my 9 speed setup. I use maybe 3 or 4 out of 9 in the rear so yes less is better.

    Oh Frozen - your drama wasn't needed. All you did was to make yourself look foolish.
    Read what Hecubus wrote about cog spacing. If you are telling me that .45mm (that's 0.018inches, by the way) is making such as noticeable difference, you are fooling yourself. Honestly, have you looked at all other possible factors? (you use the two bikes the same way and in the same weather, the same ammount of time, are the quality of components comparable etc...)

    And if you are only using 3 or 4 cogs on the back maybe you should look into 7 speed, or maybe into 5 speed...

  13. #13
    Ebo
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    I agree. Simply put, more durable, stronger, less finicky. 6 bikes. All 8spd except for one 7 spd. No thanks and no need for inferior 9 spd drivetrains. 2 cents of course.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hecubus
    You might get a little better life out of a wider 8 speed chain but I wouldn't consider it anything too dramatic over a 9 speed. The difference is just too small.

    7 to 8 speed however saw the cogs shrink from 2.0mm to 1.8mm and 10 speed shrank them from 1.8mm to 1.6mm. No notable change from 8 to 9.
    Oops, made a small mistake here. 7 speed H.G. cogs are actually 1.85mm thick. The old I.G. ones were 2.35mm. That makes the change in thickness on curent HG systems almost insignificant goinf all the way back to 7 speed cogs.

    Also on the issue of the wider chain. I believe the 9 speed chain only uses tiny fractions of a mm shorter pins and rollers than 8 speed ones. The plates which are usually what wears out and stretches first are the same thickness on both far as I'm aware. That pretty much makes the durability of 8 vs. 9 speed drivetrains a moot point and pointless debate.

  15. #15
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    Go 9 speed easier to get parts

    Quote Originally Posted by ToastR
    I'm building up a Rush and would welcome input as to the pro's or con's of an 8 speed setup instead of a 9 speed.
    If I was to go 8 speed, what issues would I be faced with? I have already gotten an X9 RD and X9 triggers - are they incompatible with 8 speed?
    I have had 8 speed LX/XT and more recently XT setups that shifted the best of any bikes I've had, and am thinking maybe I don't need anything more....
    Thanks for the input.
    down the road.
    like another poster said, the difference in 8 speed and 9 speed performance is next to nill so maybe 8 speed drive train lasts a little longer?
    I can tell no difference in my all old XTR 8 speed set up bike and my newer XTR/XT set up bike, both shift great, as good as SRAM? I wouldn't know.

  16. #16
    Ebo
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    The 8 spd drivetrain DOES last longer. Not MAYBE. Keep buying those available 9 spd parts.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebo
    The 8 spd drivetrain DOES last longer. Not MAYBE. Keep buying those available 9 spd parts.
    How do you know? Have you done scientific studies on the durability of different drivetrains? Have you analyzed data from many different riders and concluded that 8 speed is significantly more durable? Have you done lab tests on 8 speed drivetrains? Have you read published studies(which I apparently missed) on the inferiority of 9 speed? Or have you just concluded from you own limited experience that 8 speed is better? Because that isn't fact, thats your opinion.

    This is what pisses me off about the "8 speed is better" arguement (or 9 speed for that matter): no one has conclusive facts. Attacking one another over what your opinion is doesn't help either of you. Just ride your 8 speed, he'll ride his 9 speed and when someone asks, give your opinion, but don't claim you have absolute fact!

    Rant over, thanks.

  18. #18
    Ebo
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    Don't get your panties all ruffled now. How you ever seen a 9 spd cassette fold over? Have you ever read how fast chainrings are wearing out? Ever hear riders *****ing about their POS 9spd chains breaking? Does experience count for anything with you or does it have to be a "scientific" study.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebo
    Don't get your panties all ruffled now. How you ever seen a 9 spd cassette fold over? Have you ever read how fast chainrings are wearing out? Ever hear riders *****ing about their POS 9spd chains breaking? Does experience count for anything with you or does it have to be a "scientific" study.
    Well, an 8spd setup with the same thickness rings would fold over just as easy, so that has nothing to do with it being "9 speed".

    The chainrings wearing out are usually a direct result of the rider not changing out the chain when he changes the rings.

    I don't hear anything about POS 9spd chains breaking. I've broken a few sram chains, back in the day I used old shimano chains, which broke more often. I now use shimano chains, and I find the XTR variety to be extremely strong, and I haven't been able to outright break one yet. Usually if chains are breaking it's some other problem, and has nothing to do with how many gears are on the bike. It usually has to do with improper installation/repair, and the links sliding off the pins. Newer chains made by shimano have pins shaped so that this is much less of a possibility.

    I've seen singlespeed chains break, so does that mean we need to go to no gears?
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  20. #20
    Ebo
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    Sounds good except the fact that chainrings, chain, and cassette cogs are all thinner on a 9 spd. Next.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebo
    Sounds good except the fact that chainrings, chain, and cassette cogs are all thinner on a 9 spd. Next.
    Prove it. Is this something that you've measured, or just a myth that you believe?
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  22. #22
    Ebo
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    What? You can't read or research by your self. Too funny...

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebo
    Sounds good except the fact that chainrings, chain, and cassette cogs are all thinner on a 9 spd. Next.
    Is that so... Seeing as how its also a fact that 8 speed cogs are the same thickness as 9 speed.

  24. #24
    Ebo
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    I'll keep running my 8 spd and you can keep pretending that 9 spd is the same.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ebo
    I'll keep running my 8 spd and you can keep pretending that 9 spd is the same.
    Thats ok. I don't need to pretend

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