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  1. #1
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    How do I know what type of drivetrain parts to buy?

    I have no idea, but one thing is for sure, I need some new ones. Current setup...

    Trek 4300
    Sun Rhyno Lite Wheelset
    Currently 8 speed, looking to convert to 9
    Needs a new middle chainring...Shimano Octalink crank
    Currently has Shimano C050 front derailleur (stock)
    Currently has Shimano Alivio rear derailleur (stock)

    I'm pretty sure I am going to get some Avid Speed Dial brake levers, XT shifters, XT cassette, and XT derailleurs, along with an XT cassette, a new chain ring, and a new SRAM powerlink chain of course. What's the difference between 11-34/11-32 cassettes? Is it noticable? Is there a difference in chain rings besides brand/quality? And of course, I have no clue on the derailleurs in terms of short, long, medium cages, pull, etc. For the record, I ride aggressive XC on Colorado's front range (Denver area). Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you've got it....

    Quote Originally Posted by rockeater
    I'm pretty sure I am going to get some Avid Speed Dial brake levers, XT shifters, XT cassette, and XT derailleurs, along with an XT cassette, a new chain ring, and a new SRAM powerlink chain of course. What's the difference between 11-34/11-32 cassettes? Is it noticable? Is there a difference in chain rings besides brand/quality? And of course, I have no clue on the derailleurs in terms of short, long, medium cages, pull, etc. For the record, I ride aggressive XC on Colorado's front range (Denver area). Thank you!
    pretty well figured out.

    The difference between an 11-34 and an 11-32 cassette is in the gearing. Take a look here and see the difference http://bike.shimano.com/catalog/cycl...=1193196815996 . The higher the tooth count the lower the gear ratio and the easier it is to pedal that particular gear. You'll notice that almost all of the cogs on the 11-34 have a higher tooth count (except for the 11T cog) than the 11-32 cassette. So yes you'd notice the difference. The 11-34 would be a bit easier to pedal in all of the gears but the 11. But you'd notice is most in the 5 largest cogs. Those have a 2 tooth difference over the 11-32. Your choice on that one. If you do allot of steep climbs that 34T cog is a great bail out gear. But for the most part a hardtail is fine with an 11-32. Just depends on what you are used to. The 11-32 is most commonly speced on hardtails. The 11-34 you find more on heavier full suspension trail bikes. Again, your choice.

    As for the chain ring, as long as the bolt circle diameter matches your crank you'll be fine. If you need a new middle ring just pick up an LX or Deore chain ring, 4 bolt, 104mm bolt circle diameter that matches the tooth count of your current ring and it'll work.

    For the front derailleur you'll need a top pull, top swing (also known as a low clamp) front derailleur. For the rear, your bike came speced with a long cage derailleur. It's best to stick with it. The longer cage is capable of taking up more chain. This is useful if you use your full range of gears or close to it. Anyway, just stick with the long cage and you won't have any problems.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  3. #3
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    Thanks a ton squash...I definitely trust you, but how do you know what type of derailleurs I need? Just knowledge of the 4300?

  4. #4
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    Most modern mid-level mountain bikes use a 34.9mm clamp size, so thats not too hard to guess. As far as the cable pull direction goes, most manufacturers use top -pull with the exception of Cannondale and a few others. This is really a moot point though, as most all new shimano mtb derailleurs are "dull pull" and can accomodate either setup. The final factor for a front derailleur is whether it is top swing / low clamp or bottom swing / high clamp. Most hard tail mtbs use the former as it allows for more clearance on the seat tube for the water bottle cage mount. Some full suspension designs use a bottom swing / high clamp, as the placement of the BB pivots would interfere with a low clamp style front derailleur.

    Most of this stuff is common knowledge around shops and there's quite a few guys in here who have been wrenching for years. There's definately a lot of good advice to be found. My advice is whatever you do, stick with Shimano...

    Cheers,
    Adam

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squash

    For the front derailleur you'll need a top pull, top swing (also known as a low clamp) front derailleur. For the rear, your bike came speced with a long cage derailleur. It's best to stick with it. The longer cage is capable of taking up more chain. This is useful if you use your full range of gears or close to it. Anyway, just stick with the long cage and you won't have any problems.

    Good Dirt
    Yes, the 4300 comes with a long caged Alivio derailleur. As Squash said, I would also advice you to stick with long (SGS) cage if you get into all gear ranges (including the cross chained ones).

    The 4300 also does have a top pull FD.
    "Winners never quit. Quitters never win. But those who never win and never quit are idiots."

  6. #6
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    I work at a shop....

    Quote Originally Posted by rockeater
    Thanks a ton squash...I definitely trust you, but how do you know what type of derailleurs I need? Just knowledge of the 4300?
    and we deal Trek and Fisher among others.

    Good Dirt
    "I do whatever my Rice Cripsies tell me to!"

  7. #7
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    If you replace the crank, be aware that there are two flavors of Octalink, and they are not compatible. Found that out the hard way.


    Regarding the cassette, I really like the 34 tooth. Most of my rides start with pretty steep climbs, and it's nice to have that low gearing when the muscles haven't warmed up yet, and also for climbing that last hill after a long ride. If I were in better shape I might not feel the need.

    I wouldn't bother replacing the front derailleur, there's really not that much difference between different models. You don't need to replace it if you switch to 9-speed. But it's your money, if it makes you happy go for it.

    Sounds like you're happy with the SRAM Powerlink, but if it drives you crazy like some of us, you might check out the Wipperman Connex chains. They have a similar link but I find it much easier to unfasten. They're not cheap, but the SRAM chains aren't either these days.

    I'm not sure why luffy says to stick to Shimano. I've run SRAM and Shimano and both make good gear. I prefer the SRAM thumb triggers personally.

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