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  1. #1
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    should i go 8 spd?

    I have been hearing more and more about the advantages of going 8 speed instead of 9. Better shifting, more reliable under adverse conditions, lighter?. I am building up a Dean scout and am considering going this way. Does any one have any experience with this?

  2. #2
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    i have 8 spd, i like it, although the acera (shich im upgrading) sucks, but its strong. i had a crash on a trail that would've shredded an XTR, but theres only major scratches and dents on the Acera.

    i might also upgrade to a 9 spd. chain for more clearance for derailleurs.

  3. #3
    sadly, like the element
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    If anything, the XTR rear derailer is a stronger part than its cheaper Shimano brethren (Forged parts vs die cast parts).

    Also, I think you want an 8 speed chain on an 8 speed cassette and 9 on a 9 speed cassette obviously. They're designed to mesh and shift better with the proper width chain.

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    JmZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by tootsjofus
    I have been hearing more and more about the advantages of going 8 speed instead of 9. Better shifting, more reliable under adverse conditions, lighter?. I am building up a Dean scout and am considering going this way. Does any one have any experience with this?

    As much as I'm loathe to say this... Mountain Bike Action is doing a series of articles of devolution - from 9 to 8 speed.

    I'm an 8 speed hold out, so I don't know the 'advantages' of 9 speed first hand, but I have not felt the need to upgrade for 2 more teeth on the rear cog. The 34 tooth rear cog has been the only excuse that I've heard that I can accept.

    JmZ
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by JmZ
    As much as I'm loathe to say this... Mountain Bike Action is doing a series of articles of devolution - from 9 to 8 speed.

    I'm an 8 speed hold out, so I don't know the 'advantages' of 9 speed first hand, but I have not felt the need to upgrade for 2 more teeth on the rear cog. The 34 tooth rear cog has been the only excuse that I've heard that I can accept.

    JmZ
    Ditto. I don't know if it's necessarily lighter but it's definitely a more mud/muck tolerant system. 9 speed offers some closer ratios (not noticeable off-road), smaller chainrings and larger cogs. I use a 12-32 XTR cassette with the bottom three cogs off an XT 11-30. This gives me a wide enough range at 11-32. I have recently downsized my cranks to compact but stuck with a 34T middle ring. If I wanted to slightly lower gearing, I can go to a 32T middle ring. The only real trouble with 8 speed is finding high end cassettes.
    Long Live Long Rides

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by tootsjofus
    I have been hearing more and more about the advantages of going 8 speed instead of 9. Better shifting, more reliable under adverse conditions, lighter?. I am building up a Dean scout and am considering going this way. Does any one have any experience with this?
    I prefer 8spd. I think it works better. The problem is finding quality 8spd parts. Shimano no longer makes higher end 8spd shifters, derailers, etc...

  7. #7
    83 feet less per minute
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    Look at how much MBA spent to convert a 9-speed back to 8-speed. Not worth the cost IMHO.
    Want to ride in this life and the next? Ask me how.

  8. #8
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    If 8 speed parts were more plentiful it could be worth considering. With their scarcity its simply more of a hassle than its worth for whats really not that big of a deal. Get your 9 speed tuned right and it will work just fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by ANdRewLIu6294
    i have 8 spd, i like it, although the acera (shich im upgrading) sucks, but its strong. i had a crash on a trail that would've shredded an XTR, but theres only major scratches and dents on the Acera.

    i might also upgrade to a 9 spd. chain for more clearance for derailleurs.
    A forged XTR will have a much higher chance of surviving an impact than a POS die cast Acera. The only thing more durable than an XTR is maybe the Saint or Hone.

  9. #9
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    im probably gonna go 9 spd later, once i get the money. and the 9 spd chain is for more clearance for the 9spd fron derailleur.

    i dont see any big important differences between the two unless you care about weight, but alot of 8 spd derailleurs and cheap and heavy

  10. #10
    JmZ
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    Agreed, but will it cost me that much?

    They factored in a few things that most of us mere mortals don't always have to fend with. The biggest one being swapping out disc brakes.

    Otherwise it takes a shifter, and a rear cassette. Cassettes are still out there, you just have to look. There are a few shops that would rather push the latest and greatest on ya than stock older stuff.

    And jus FYI - Cassettes are available at Performance in the XT and XTR level. (even the Ti XTR's)
    - Bikeman
    - AEBike

    Mechs are a non issue. 8 and 9 work the same.

    Shifters are the only real issue, and XT's are still available, and if you want to pay the price there were some XTR's that have been available at Cambria or Jenson too.

    JmZ

    Quote Originally Posted by paddlefoot64
    Look at how much MBA spent to convert a 9-speed back to 8-speed. Not worth the cost IMHO.
    JmZ

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tootsjofus
    I have been hearing more and more about the advantages of going 8 speed instead of 9. Better shifting, more reliable under adverse conditions, lighter?. I am building up a Dean scout and am considering going this way. Does any one have any experience with this?
    IMO, 8 speed is superior to 9 speed but availability forces you to 9 speed. I ran 8 speed until this summer when I got tired of having to use ebay to find any decent 8 speed parts, shifters are the hardest thing to find, chains and cassettes are still available, albeit heavy ones, but LX or better shifters are not there and thus get a premium price even on ebay because everyone must be having the same problem. So I upgraded to 9 speed. I maintain my own bikes and never had such a heck of a time getting the shifting to work as with the 8 to 9 speed upgrade. I figured out my derail hanger was bent, it didn't matter with the 8 speed but with the 9 speed half of the lower gears were not useable. It's very sensitive compared to 8 speed and I don't see any advantages of the 1 extra ring. I then setup an old frame with my used 8 speed parts and had it shifting great within a normal amount of time even with a screwed up chainline 'cause I was using a e-type BB with standard top pull clamp mount derail which I had to put under a lot of tension to line up the little ring.

  12. #12
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    too bad 8 speed is so unavailable

    Seems I post every month or so about how much I like my XTR 8 speed. Too bad high end 8-and-9 speed systems aren't manufactured along side each other so the consumer could choose based on their own desires not what's available. I've heard (and believe strongly) that if Shimano just started making 1998 XTR 8 speed (shifter/brake and cassette, this time with a 34 top cog) they'd be best-sellers. Others above have noted that cheap 8 speed combinations are sort of readily available (I don't know) so who knows how well cheap 8 speed works?

  13. #13
    JmZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    Seems I post every month or so about how much I like my XTR 8 speed. Too bad high end 8-and-9 speed systems aren't manufactured along side each other so the consumer could choose based on their own desires not what's available. I've heard (and believe strongly) that if Shimano just started making 1998 XTR 8 speed (shifter/brake and cassette, this time with a 34 top cog) they'd be best-sellers. Others above have noted that cheap 8 speed combinations are sort of readily available (I don't know) so who knows how well cheap 8 speed works?
    There are still quality parts out there, the problem is that it isn't easily found and can be expensive.

    I just got one of the bike rags this week and advertised in there were at least two places with XTR shifter brake levers (Cambria and Jenson).
    XT stuff is still being shown at a bunch of places. I just checked Cambria, and I'm pretty sure Bikeman, and several others have the shifters.
    SRAM's got up to their X-7 level of triggers with 8 speeds. It isn't XO, but considering they were not going to do triggers at all at first, it is still notable. And they've got Shimmy compatable ones too.

    http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=9253
    http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=12254
    http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=17264

    Just 2 mins from Cambria.

    http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking...ETSRAM1/LD4026
    http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking...ETSRAM1/LD4016
    http://www.bikemannetwork.com/biking...NSETSH1/LD8410
    http://aebike.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=30&SKU=LD8410
    http://aebike.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=30&SKU=LD4016
    http://aebike.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=30&SKU=LD4026

    There are still options out there... but you have to dig.

    Cassettes have been available at Cambria, Performance, Nashbar at XT level or above. The SRAM 850 version is competitive in weight, and much better in price. I've got one so far... The SRAM stuff is more readily available than the Shimano stuff, but even the Shimano stuff is out there.

    If you want to go 8 speed... it can be done, and it can be done for a reasonable cost too... it just isn't advertised on the first pages of the newest Colorado Cyclist, Jenson, Pricepoint or Beyone Bike catalogs. The only parts to really worry about are the shifters and cassettes. The rear mecs and front mechs will work with 8 or 9. I didn't even touch on the Paul's thumbies either.

    Good luck,

    JmZ
    Last edited by JmZ; 10-14-2005 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Linkage to Some Triggers
    JmZ

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  14. #14
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    I would go back to 8spd in a hearbeat. But I find the one part that is very hard to find is the trigger shifters. I have never seen sram triggers in 8spd (I hate grip shifters so thats not an option). The only decent shimano triggers in 8spd are hard to find older models. Most of wich have the brakes attached and won't work with my hydro brakes. Then if you do go to 8spd and your triggers break, they are not repairable. We need a major manufacturer (trek, cannondale, specialized) to take a stand and stock their whole line with 8spd. The revolution starts now!

  15. #15
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    8 speed parts

    I had to deal with this issue recently. My street bike is an 8 speed, and I upgraded a lot of the components, sticking with the 8 speed drivetrain. I purchased integrated XT 8 speed shifter/brake levers, and cassette. I'm running Gold series LX 9 speed f/r derailleurs with no problems. I did, however, purchase a spare cassette and chain (as well as spare Gold LX derailleurs, as they are hard to come by) in order to keep the 8 speed for the life of the bike. If the shifters go, I'm probably screwed. With that said, there are still vendors out there who supply these hard to get parts. Jones Bike in California even still has 6 and 7 speed stuff.

    My advice, buy multiple parts and horde them.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  16. #16
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    How can we force the gruppo manufacturers

    to offer us the option of high-end 8 speed, readily available. Sheeit, folks, at the auto dealer we got our choice of auto or manual! I never understood the 9 speed concept except for the 34 in back (I always point out to my riding partners how during a ridiculously steep climb they're grinding away in a lower granny than my granny). Us 8 speed retroriders know the "superiority" of our drivetrain (ok, I'm exagerating but my 7 years of perfect shifting has to count for something!). The 9 speed riders, constantly fooling around with their drivetrain (so I've heard, I got no experience with 9 speed) don't know what they're missing. Is there a way to "force" Shimano or SRAM to begin manufacturing high-end 8 speed? They are always innovating to keep the interest of new riders, how can we get them to offer 8 speed as something new and exciting?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    Seems I post every month or so about how much I like my XTR 8 speed. Too bad high end 8-and-9 speed systems aren't manufactured along side each other so the consumer could choose based on their own desires not what's available. I've heard (and believe strongly) that if Shimano just started making 1998 XTR 8 speed (shifter/brake and cassette, this time with a 34 top cog) they'd be best-sellers. Others above have noted that cheap 8 speed combinations are sort of readily available (I don't know) so who knows how well cheap 8 speed works?
    i've tried Alivio, it shifts WAY to rough, it was adjusted correctly too (this was on a freind's bike).

    I'm absolutely LOVING my Acera w/ Avid Rollamajig, its shifts really fast, quiet, and smooth, you can hardly feel it. it shifted like crap before the Avid part though.


    Quote Originally Posted by xcguy
    to offer us the option of high-end 8 speed, readily available. Sheeit, folks, at the auto dealer we got our choice of auto or manual! I never understood the 9 speed concept except for the 34 in back (I always point out to my riding partners how during a ridiculously steep climb they're grinding away in a lower granny than my granny). Us 8 speed retroriders know the "superiority" of our drivetrain (ok, I'm exagerating but my 7 years of perfect shifting has to count for something!). The 9 speed riders, constantly fooling around with their drivetrain (so I've heard, I got no experience with 9 speed) don't know what they're missing. Is there a way to "force" Shimano or SRAM to begin manufacturing high-end 8 speed? They are always innovating to keep the interest of new riders, how can we get them to offer 8 speed as something new and exciting?
    petitions?

  18. #18
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    sram conversion questions...

    I think I'm going to tackle this conversion on my Burner....

    Would it cause any problems for me to continue using the X.9 rear, LX M-571 front, and Race Face rings with a new 8 spd setup (X.7 shifters, 850 cassette, and PC-68 chain)?

    Thanks!

  19. #19
    JmZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by TUMBLEWEED
    I think I'm going to tackle this conversion on my Burner....

    Would it cause any problems for me to continue using the X.9 rear, LX M-571 front, and Race Face rings with a new 8 spd setup (X.7 shifters, 850 cassette, and PC-68 chain)?

    Thanks!
    From my experience, and mine only.

    I'm using a Shimano 9 speed front and rear mech with 8 speed shifter and cassette, and SRAM chain (cassette two on another bike) without any problems.

    JmZ
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  20. #20
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    You CAN use 9-spd shifters with an 8-spd cassette!

    Here's a link to Sheldon Brown's website: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/dura-ace.html

    Look at the picture titled Alternate Cable Routing (B). I just tried that with my Deore 9-speed shifters, using an 8-speed chain and 8-speed cassette. It works! The alternate cable routing moves the rear derailleur 11% more with each click of the shifter. This works just as well as 8-speed trigger or thumb shifters. I've used both.

    BTW, a 9-speed chain works fine on an 8-speed system, so all you need for a conversion is an 8-speed cassette. Really!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryG
    BTW, a 9-speed chain works fine on an 8-speed system, so all you need for a conversion is an 8-speed cassette. Really!
    Agreed. I've used 9 speed chains on 8 speed cassettes for 2 seasons, no issues.

    I run Alivio RF+ shifters, they work as well as any other shifter I've tried. I can tell no difference in performance between my cheap Alivio shifters and friends LX and XT shifters. If they didn't work great, I would have changed them. That said, I might go with a set of XT 740 shifters this winter as I want to replace my integrated brake levers.

  22. #22
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    I still have 8 speed. Never saw a reason to switch. If you like grip shift there are plenty of shifters available.

  23. #23
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    8 all the way

    I've been using XTR steel 8 cassettes and old sram 9.0 shifters and 9.0 derailliers for the past 6 years. never ever have a problem with the stuff. change the chain every few months and keep riding, I go entire summers without adjusting my derailliers...

    you can find all sorts of 8 sp stuff on ebay.

  24. #24
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    Steel vs Aluminum ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hecubus
    If 8 speed parts were more plentiful it could be worth considering. With their scarcity its simply more of a hassle than its worth for whats really not that big of a deal. Get your 9 speed tuned right and it will work just fine.



    A forged XTR will have a much higher chance of surviving an impact than a POS die cast Acera. The only thing more durable than an XTR is maybe the Saint or Hone.

    Deore and Acera rings are steel. LX and above are aluminum. Steel is more durable (but weighs more). Acera is 8 speed specific (thicker).

    If I had to guess, I'd guess that POS Acera ring is WAY more durable than a featherweight XTR.

  25. #25
    Chrome Toaster
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    Quote Originally Posted by willtsmith_nwi
    Deore and Acera rings are steel. LX and above are aluminum. Steel is more durable (but weighs more). Acera is 8 speed specific (thicker).

    If I had to guess, I'd guess that POS Acera ring is WAY more durable than a featherweight XTR.
    Maybe if you read first you'd notice we're talking about derailleurs. XTR is the only Shimano derailleur that is forged except for maybe Saint. All the rest are die cast. An Acera derailleur is die cast aluminium. Oh and lets not forget the whole design aspect of the things where the XTR has nice ovesized reinforced pins and pivots to maximize strength while the Acera, well just doesn't.
    Last edited by Hecubus; 10-21-2005 at 10:30 AM.

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