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Thread: Upgrading

  1. #1
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    Upgrading

    A short time ago I bought a new bike - an entry level Avanti - to see if I would enjoy riding again as much as I did when I was a kid. With a tick in that box and a fair number of hours under my belt I'm looking at upgrading a few components... namely, front and rear derailluers and shifters if need be. I'm looking at XT / LX spec and at this stage buying a new bike is completely out of the question (I've got a drag car... there's only so much the wife can take!)

    My question is: at present I have an 8speed cassette- would I need to upgrade to 9 or is it possible to get an 8speed specifc XT rear derailluer? The next question is whether or not it is simple a matter of bolting the new derailluer on, adjusting it and off you go or are there other changes that need to be made?

    I apologise for not doing my homework before making this post - I'm hoping you guys can enlighten me before I visit the LBS and come off as a completely uneducated wanker!

    Cheers.

  2. #2
    MTJ
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    No problem

    The shifter determines how many speeds your bike has, not the derailleur. If you want to upgrade your derailleurs, go for it. A 9spd derailleur will pretty much always work on an 8 spd system. You might have some minor shifting issues in the front, and honestly I would tell you that a front derailleur is pretty much a front derailleur and there's no real advantage to upgrading unless there's something wrong with it. A new rear derailleur will likely improve your shifting somewhat and look nice too.

    So to specifically answer your question, a new XT Derailleur will work just fine with your 8spd setup. And yes, you just bolt it on, adjust it, and go (that adjusting thing is sometimes tricky, but Shimano's documentation is actually pretty good). If you can build a car, you can surely adjust a derailleur.

    I'm resisting the temptation to tell you to upgrade shifters as well - you'll be a lot happier with new shifters than with just a derailleur. There is no reason to have to upgrade them if you don't want to drop the money on new shifters and a new cassette though. Save that money for a new bike instead!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply - much appreciated.

    Not too sure at this stage if I will upgrade the shifters then (although the integrated shifter / brake combo looks like ass IMHO). I guess that will come down to dollars. Now all I have to do is order the derailluer and take it from there.

  4. #4
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    The current shopping list currently looks a little like this:

    XT Rear Derailluer
    Deore Front Derailluer
    Deore 9Speed Cassette
    Deore Spec Chain
    LX Shifters

    I'm assuming this will give a substantial increase over the stock components.

    Is the LX range worth the upgrade over Deore (price increase vs performace increase)?

  5. #5
    MTJ
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    Good list

    In general, the difference between one trim level and the next is not that subatantial; that is, if you're running Deore, it doesn't make sense to upgrade to LX but XT will be noticeable. So you don't say what you're running now (Alivio? Acera?) but the Deore stuff will run much nicer than what you have on there now. The key upgrades are the shifter and rear derailleur, those are good places to spend the XT and LX money (though if it were me I might reverse those two and do XT shifters with LX derailleur - but that's just me).

    Unless you're committed to a new drivetrain, you might not need to do anythig with your front derailleur. They're all pretty much the same (though others would argue that an 8spd front d is never going to shift a 9spd chain all that well). All the rest of the stuff looks great. The difference between a $30 shimano cassette and a $100 Shimano cassette is pretty much weight and strength; they all shift really well.

    Anyway, it's a good list.

    Do yourself a favor, though; when you finish these upgrades, don't spend any more on this bike. If you're serious about riding you will get a lot more benefit from a new bike, not to mention the overall cost savings you get. So hang on to those stock parts, too, when you upgrade the bike you'll want to put that old stuff back on. . . . .

    Have fun!

  6. #6
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    Had an LX rear derail on my bike that had what I thought was a lot of slop in its pivots, heck its had 3 years of hard use.

    So I bought a new XT rear derail and put it on last night, got all the adjustments set up nice.

    Know what? I don't notice a damn bit of difference. Shifts the same, feels the same, works perfectly fine just like my old beat up sloppy LX did. So I paid $49 for a few grams saved and that's about it. I was expecting it to be easier shifting at least but its not, seems a bit harder on my thumb actually.

    Bottom line, waste of money going from LX to XT.

    I'd like to know when shifter related components actually make a difference?

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the post MTJ - must admit it has cleared up quite a bit in my mind and I may just take you up on the suggestion of LX Rear with XT shifters but either way its going to be a mighty upgrade from the Altus set on the bike at present.

    With the prices on that gear its will come in under $300 Australian (71US cents to 1AUD aroundabouts) which I feel is pretty reasonable. That'll be just about it for this bike though- I want to get a good years use out of it, maybe enter a couple of beginner races - mainly for the experience of being involved in an event - and then look at a complete upgrade.

  8. #8
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    From my personal experience there actually is a considerable amount of difference when you go up to the XT and XTR lines, especially in shifting performance, when I made my upgrade from an LX to XTR there was a big difference in how smooth the shifting action was, and btw the Deore XT and XTR rear derailleurs are about the same functionally, just difference in weight, just as the Deore and Deore LX are about the same functionally just the weight is different. This is also the same with the Shifters as well.
    Anything worth doing is worth overdoing...

    -Ricko, mtbr member

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