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Thread: 8 vs 9 speed

  1. #1
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    8 vs 9 speed

    Hi all, newbie here so please excuse the dumb questions! I'm currently on an 8 speed hard tail and I've been running right along side the folks I ride with, but for some reason they all think I should convert to 9 speed, why? What are the advantages/disadvantages of each?

    Next, if I up grade my rear derailuer does it have to be 8 speed specific? What about cranks? Thanks you guys!!

  2. #2
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    I ride with a guy on a 8 speed, he does just fine.

    You can get a rear cassette that is 11-34 now so you have the full range, and a really low granny, that is his only complaint (granny not low enough).

  3. #3
    MTBR Demi-God
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicn PA
    Next, if I up grade my rear derailuer does it have to be 8 speed specific? What about cranks? Thanks you guys!!
    These days, most -if not all- the derailleurs are 8/9 speed compatible. You just purchase one derailleur, and they work on both 9 and 8 speed drivetrains. You need to adjust the limit screws for the appropriate drivetrain configuration though. Any 9 speed crank will work with an 8 speed drivetrain.
    "Winners never quit. Quitters never win. But those who never win and never quit are idiots."

  4. #4
    mini clyde
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    8 speed is fine. It's less "fiddly" to keep the shifting adjusted than 9 speed, if anything. I wouldn't upgrade unless all your 8 speed stuff was completely worn out and you could get a better deal on a 9 spd setup. Spend the money on better tires or more riding -- unless your driveline is seriously worn out and misbehaving changing from 8 to 9 won't improve your ride.

    If you do decide to upgrade, you'll need to change cassette, shifters and chain together. The derailer you have will work fine with 9 speed if it's not worn out already. I prefer SRAM X.9 to Shimano, but XT/XTR Shimano is fine too.

    Just my $0.02.

  5. #5
    College Boy
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    I think some one wrote it the best a while ago

    8 speed
    "More gears than you need"
    9 speed
    "even more gears than you need"

  6. #6
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    I would not change, there would be way too may parts to buy. You would have to buy a cassette, chain, shifters, and new chain rings for your cranks.

  7. #7
    fuggansonofahowa
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timeless
    I think some one wrote it the best a while ago

    8 speed
    "More gears than you need"
    9 speed
    "even more gears than you need"
    ....I like that.

    Nice to have the extra granny with the 9's, though.

  8. #8
    Do It Yourself
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    Ain't broke, don't fix it. I'm using 8 speed shifters, f. derailleur, chain, and cassette with 9 speed everything else.
    Long Live Long Rides

  9. #9
    I Love my Rize
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    Here's the deal

    If you like reliability and pure performance then 8 speed is the way to go.

    If you like bling and adjusting your shifters constantly and avoid the mud and bad conditions like the Plague then go 9 speed.
    Early to bed early to RIZE makes a man healthy, wealthy <(scratch that) and wize.

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  10. #10
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    Thanks guys I'm sticking with the 8 Speed

  11. #11
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    9 speed is not an upgrade

    It gives you the possibility of a 34 granny (8 speed 32) and a useless extra tiny cog back there. I wish there was side x side 8 speed/9 speed new drivetrains available to choose from. I'm still 8 speed and get all my stuff off ebay. I actually don't like the 34 granny I tried on a 9 speed bike I had, it was more spinning than forward motion.

  12. #12
    NMBP/OMBA crew!
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    i just upgraded my entire drivetrain (minus cranks) for 150. its just easier because most manufacturers are going 9spd so its easier to find parts. im perectly happy with upgrading, cheaper components/more selection. its all a personal pref really.
    http://ocalabicyclecenter.com/


    Rubber side down is good for me

  13. #13
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    7 speed vs. 8 speed

    Quote Originally Posted by Timeless
    I think some one wrote it the best a while ago

    8 speed
    "More gears than you need"
    9 speed
    "even more gears than you need"
    Taking the cue from Timeless, would 7 speed be the right amount of gears one needs?

    Less is more!

  14. #14
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    When the drivetrain and shifters wore out on my hardtail a couple years ago I still kept it 8 speed. New 8 speed shifters, 8 speed cassette, 8/9 speed derailleur, 9 speed chainrings, 9 speed chain. However I did go from an 11-28 cassette to an old XTR 12-32, which made a big difference on long steep climbs. While the 9 speed setup on my FS works ok, I feel the 8 speed on my hardtail has the snappiest shifting.

    The biggest difference with 9 speed is having that 34 tooth cog. I like it on my FS bike since it's heavier and I tend to use that bike on long epic rides where it's important to spin more and be efficient. But 8 speed is fine almost all the time.

  15. #15
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    if i could find a "relatively" light weight 11 or 12-34 8 speed cassette i would run it in a heartbeat but there are only a couple 11-34 8 speed cassettes out there and they are all heavy. reason i want one is because i run a 2x9 setup with 29/42 rings and want just a little more granny than a 32.

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  17. #17
    willtsmith_nwi
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver
    I would not change, there would be way too may parts to buy. You would have to buy a cassette, chain, shifters, and new chain rings for your cranks.
    Pretty much all rings out there are for 9 speed drive trains. I doubt the OP would have to change them. But I would agree ... there is no need to switch to 9 speed.

    The biggest issue is whether you can get the gear ratios you need out of the drivetrain. The fact that 11-34 is a sparse offering in 8 speed is a marketing choice rather then a technical limitation. You can get 11-34 in a Shimano "Nexave"/"Mega-Range" cassette ... but those cassettes are GOOFY!!!!



    My personal story. I was on the verge of converting to a 29er from a 8 speed drive train running an 11-32 cassette. The larger wheel effectively changes the gearing by about 3 teeth. I couldn't find an 11-34 (non mega-range) or a 29T steel middle ring. But I did the conversion and I found that I didn't NEED them. I was running my gears to low anyway. Right now I'm running an 11-30 cassette and I'm doing just fine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Strykar
    most manufacturers are going 9spd so its easier to find parts. im perectly happy with upgrading, cheaper components/more selection. its all a personal pref really.
    Nine speed for mountain bikes was a bad idea from a durability standpoint. Parts wear out sooner to to thinner metal and they fail under heavier/stronger riders easier. It provides the component manufacturers with additional "pricepoints" in which they can justify charging more money. 8 speed is not going away. Just look at the availability of 7 speeds drivetrains. Standardization on 8/9 speed would save component makers money but it doesn't happen as this is a convenient "boundary" to distinguish "recreational" department store bikes from "performance" mountain bikes. It justifies the pricepoint as it is a number that is one higher then the other number. Their amplifiers go to 11.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by theodash
    sorry, forgot to add that it had to be competitively priced as well. those will cost an arm and a leg. now i would pony up for an xt/pg991 price range cassette but more than that is ridiculous for a drivetrain component that will wear out.

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