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  1. #1
    Blaino
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    What makes expensive shifters worth the $$$?

    I currently have the stock SRAM X.5 Shifters on my 2008 Specialized Pitch Pro, however after 2 years parts are getting worn down and shifting doesn't always work for my front derailleur since a part is slipping in the shifter housing... So I can get a replacement SRAM X.5 shifter for $35.00 from price point, but then I also see a lot of other more expensive shifters. My question is what the heck makes a $120.00 shifter better than the $35.00 one? As long as your bike shifts it's all good right? My guess is a more expensive version might last a bit longer since its probably made of more quality parts. Any bicycle guru's have any insight on this?
    Blaino

  2. #2
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    With Shimano, the better shifters have a better shift mechanism. The XT uses two ball-bearings to support its shift mechanism and the XTR uses four. These not only contribute to a lighter, easier action of the lever through lower friction, but they also maintain that level of performance for the life of the shifter. Lower down the Shimano line, the shift mechanism - which is made from different materials and to a different design than the XT/XTR - is supported by plastic bushings. Not only is the friction higher in these bushings, but as they wear through use they will become looser and the precision of the shift will deteriorate accordingly. Where an XTR and a Deore shifter may feel rather similar when both are new, there will be a notable difference after a few thousand miles.

    Whether or not these differences are worth the cost is a matter for personal consideration.
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  3. #3
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    I have X9 but got it a smokin price at chainreaction last year. In your case I would look at upgrading to X7 because you will definately see a difference. Look around the web for deals on X7 stuff. The high end stuff is great but overkill for most and defininately not for someone on a budget. You pay a lot for saving a few grams and a little performance gain.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    With Shimano, the better shifters have a better shift mechanism. The XT uses two ball-bearings to support its shift mechanism and the XTR uses four. These not only contribute to a lighter, easier action of the lever through lower friction, but they also maintain that level of performance for the life of the shifter. Lower down the Shimano line, the shift mechanism - which is made from different materials and to a different design than the XT/XTR - is supported by plastic bushings. Not only is the friction higher in these bushings, but as they wear through use they will become looser and the precision of the shift will deteriorate accordingly. Where an XTR and a Deore shifter may feel rather similar when both are new, there will be a notable difference after a few thousand miles.

    Whether or not these differences are worth the cost is a matter for personal consideration.
    I think my Deore level shifter pod is degrading. It feels loose and sometimes doesn't catch when I go to shift, the thumb lever just pushes through with no resistance. I can't adjust out the ghost shifting at the derailer either, probably time for new shifter pods.
    "What kind of bike? I don't know, I'm not a bike scientist."

  5. #5
    Blaino
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapaso
    I think my Deore level shifter pod is degrading. It feels loose and sometimes doesn't catch when I go to shift, the thumb lever just pushes through with no resistance. I can't adjust out the ghost shifting at the derailer either, probably time for new shifter pods.
    Sounds like what mine does.... at its own discression. Sometimes it catches, sometimes it doesnt....
    Blaino

  6. #6
    ...idios...
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    Quote Originally Posted by troutbum24
    Sounds like what mine does.... at its own discression. Sometimes it catches, sometimes it doesnt....
    This might just be the grease hardening in the shift teeth, a problem which becomes more common in cold months. It's not necessarily related to the support of the shift mechanism. Sometimes a shifter can be rejuvenated by a quick blast of WD40 or similar into the mechanism through the cable hole. Worth trying before you condem your shifter.
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    What luck for rulers, that men do not think - Adolf Hitler

  7. #7
    Seeeriously easy Livin
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    I highly recomend the x9 shifters, they just feel much more solid and not plasticky and loose like x5

  8. #8
    I Have Cookies
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flystagg
    I highly recommend the x9 shifters, they just feel much more solid and not plasticky and loose like x5
    +1.
    I upgraded from x7-x9 for my rear on my Prophet a few months back the difference is night and day action is light as can be the only thing I missed right off the back was the absence of a gear display but you get over that real quick. I cleaned up my x7 and put it on my rockhopper and if I go from one to another it makes me wish I had x9 on both. But a x7 would be an great upgrade from a x5, more metal parts crisper shifts etc...
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say. Joshua Stinebrink

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  9. #9
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    I hate when people talk about SRAM shifters but do not specify triggers or twisties.

  10. #10
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    I think there's a whole bunch of marketing-engineering behind it.

    No doubt, XTR triggers feel crisper and lighter than XT, and XT better than LX, etc. And a little bit of this attributed to the bearings and the materials used. But I suspect Shimano simply puts a lighter spring and shorter throw in the higher end stuff, to clearly differentiate it and justify its higher price tag on the showroom floor.

    You might argue that the lesser materials, increased tolerances and bushings used in the lower level stuff make the heavier spring and longer action necessary, and perhaps that's partially true.
    speedub.nate
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  11. #11
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    On those Deore shifters, I've found that they frequently have the shaft nut come loose after awhile. If you remove the housing, there's a small jam nut in there that may be loosened. Finger tight plus a little extra...too tight and it'll bind enough that you can't push the lever. Seems to be a common problem with that shifter.

  12. #12
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    my deore shifters shift every time i click them. my x9's did too. even a full XTR setup shifts like hell on the front rings, its just fundamentally a poor setup. out back, a good rear derailleur make sense, keeps your chain from flapping all over and does seem to impact crisp shifting.. the rear shifter also shifts the smoothest with the least effort and shortest throw, even a deore rear shifter is smooth.

    bad liners cause a lot of ghost shifting..

  13. #13
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    I have twist shift sram xo's and they absolutely smoke my old deore triggers.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by troutbum24
    My question is what the heck makes a $120.00 shifter better than the $35.00 one?
    You tend to get better construction and lighter weight as you go up the line. For example, you might get ball-bearings rather than bushings, as someone pointed out.

    Sometimes there are feature differences. For example, looking at my X-7 and X-9 shifters, I see that my X-9s have a way to adjust the shifter left and right on the mounting. I believe that's done to accommodate moving the brake levers inboard. The X-7s don't have that adjustment.

    My X-9s also claim some sort of zero-loss travel in the lever. Not sure how that works. Can't say as I notice it much, but others might. The X-7 does not have "zero-loss".

    I bought my X-9s used. They either came without dials, or they came with the option to remove dials and the original purchaser took them off. If you're a weight-weenie who wants to eliminate the weight of the gear indicators, then you need at least X-9 in SRAM's lineup. My X-7 dials are not removable.

    I do sometimes notice better feel and crisper shifting as I move up a line. Hard to quantify those items though. And the sweet-spot is usually the upper middle of a range. For example, I notice going from Alivio to Deore to SLX, but not so much from SLX to XT.

    FWIW, if I were replacing X-5s, I'd probably spend up to the X-7. The cost of bumping up that one level is not so bad. I'd probably think twice before going to X-9. You don't want your shifters to outclass all the rest of your bike. I believe in balancing a build, in not spending overly much on one component as compared to the others.

  15. #15
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    Sram's website does list some differences between X-5 and X-7. Going from X-5 to 7, you get:

    * NEW lower profile design and premium materials
    * Alloy pull lever
    * NEW MatchMaker compatible
    * Removable clamp
    * Two color options: Black and Silver

    The above features may or may not matter to you.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveUK
    This might just be the grease hardening in the shift teeth, a problem which becomes more common in cold months. It's not necessarily related to the support of the shift mechanism. Sometimes a shifter can be rejuvenated by a quick blast of WD40 or similar into the mechanism through the cable hole. Worth trying before you condem your shifter.
    ditto, WD-40 worked on mine last December.

  17. #17
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    I upgraded to x9 this year. With that said I have my x7 front and rear trigger shifters that have less than 50 miles on them sitting in a drawer now. Selling them for $25 plus shipping if interested. I live in Utah and they are silver.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by madbomber89
    I

    ...I have my x7 front and rear trigger shifters that have less than 50 miles on them sitting in a drawer now. Selling them for $25 plus shipping if interested. I live in Utah and they are silver.
    I have an unneeded set of basically new set of X7s for sale, too. I live with my in-laws and their hair is silver.
    speedub.nate
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  19. #19
    Did I catch a niner?
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    If you're looking at the X.7 rear der pm me I am putting a xtr for some new shifters and will let it go for a very reasonable price I am sure.

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  20. #20
    T.W.O.
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    I think in general the XTR and XO trigger has better springs, bearing, adjustment and they look bling. I think the next level down XT or X9 perform about 85-90% of the top but cost almost half off so if you must have the top shelf you just have to cough up the dough.

  21. #21
    ronbo613
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    I have two bikes with XT shifters and one with XTR. XTR is nice; but the XT does everything the XTR does; I can't really tell the difference.
    I always seem to wind up with the "one level under top shelf" components.

  22. #22
    AKA Frank N. Bike!!
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    I have XO grip shift and coming from Deore level components and mid level grip shift on another bike these shifters are great.

    Sometimes a shifter can be rejuvenated by a quick blast of WD40
    I've heard it said WD40 should be keep away from a bike. I used Triflow on my old Deore shifters and that brought them back to life.
    My Bike: '03 Specialized HardRock FrankenBike
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