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  1. #1
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    Input needed for 9 speed upgrade

    Hey Guys after giving it much thought I think I would be better off upgrading my 8 speed over getting wheels/fork/disc.
    I just got an email from Price Point they have a deal going on for a SRAM X.9 Twist & X.9 Rear Derailleur for $119
    My question is what Cassettes SRAM PG 970 or Shimano CS-HG61 29er Cassette 12-36??
    Also will I run into any problems putting it on my stock C-Dale Hub?
    The cranks will stay stock for now but I think I would like to turn it into a 2X9.....
    Open to any other suggestions

  2. #2
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    I once had both a SRAM970 cassette and a Shimano LX cassette on my workbench at the same time. The Shimano "feels" like a more quality product, which may just be down to the differing surface treatments each company uses. However, the LX was put together with three threaded pins, whereas the SRAM got only one threaded pin to hold all the cogs together.

    I never ran the SRAM and never had any issues with the Shimano. Have over two years on an XT cassette, also with no issues.

  3. #3
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    Wow I just did a quick look at the Shimano stuff at PP and the XT go for $86 the 29er is $50 my guess it's not made as strong as the XT stuff??

    Next I need to look at chains should I go PC-951 for timing and 971 for drive or 971 for both?
    Thanks!!

  4. #4
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    I doubt strength will be an obvious difference between the two. We ran an LX cassette for a long time and never put real hurt on it (and we broke three hubs in that time). More likely the 29r cassette is individual cogs like the LX (or the SRAM 970) and not on an aluminum hub carrier like the XT. IMO the only reason for the XT (that is, the only reason we run it) is to protect the freehub body from indentations from the individual cogs.

    Following Paul, I run SRAM 8-speed chain for the sync (cheaper, possibly stronger). I've also been running 951 chains for the drive. 971 and higher get better/more plating for rust protection, but AFAIK are otherwise the same chain.

    There was a bad batch of SRAM chain, but the current stuff has held up. And all the prior stuff did us well. We typically do a new drive chain at 6 months, new sync when the wear indicates.

  5. #5
    PMK
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    Mike

    We ran 8 speed on our Cannondale for a long time. I did swap front rings to get more of a 4WD low gearing. One thing about 8 speed that is better than 9 speed is it shifts rock solid. 8 speed tolerates drivetrain inaccuracy better and each shift was "there". This 8 speed info is in reference to Shimano.

    We also did a short stint of 9 speed Shimano system on our Cannondale XC machine. It worked, but was vague when compared to 8 speed Shimano. To explain, it still found gears and seldom missed them, kind of like comparing a well shift manual pick up truck to a Corolla. They both work but the car is less noticed and lacks a robust feel.

    Stepping up to SRAM with 1:1 actuation, brings back the solid better shifts. Not quite so truck like, but not soft either.

    Some of this is no doubt the cassettes. We have run various sizes of tooth counts and both major brands. Some with aluminum spiders and some without. For us, the cassettes that have folded / bent were Shimanos with spiders. The normal failure did not matter if it was Shimano or SRAM shifters. The problem was not unloading the drivetrain enough when grabbing a downshift. When it would happen it became obvious with the skipping, so the bike was gingerly shifted one gear lower until the climb was completed. Then the screwdriver came out and trailside straightening was attempted.

    As for chains, we have run both Shimano and SRAM. This is obviously a mixed topic as to what is best. When possible I try and run 8 speed SRAM timing chains, most often with Surly stainless chainrings. Main chains we have also run various speeds and brands, but have settled in with SRAM for all chains. I would need to check but I believe we currently have some 971 and 991 cross steps on the bikes.

    As for 2x9, on a 26 wheeled bike I would not do it. The top speed is limited and the trade off probably not worth it. We run 2x9 on our 29r Fandango. Max flat ground pedaling speed is around 25 mph. On downhills, if needed the bike can coast above 25, but honestly, when you get above 30 on downhill singletrack on a hardtail it starts to get sketchy. The Ventana with 3x9 and good suspension has never worried me and that bike has seen close to 40 mph on off-road singletrack downhills.

    So what would be my advice...if you don't need and have not worn out the drivetrain, buy the fork. If the gearing on the bike is not adequately low enough to make the climbs where you live, then yes, upgrade the drivetrain.

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

  6. #6
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    Thanks Paul
    what we have is still in good condition it's Sram 7.0 ESP 1:1 Grip Shifters with the 7.0 Rear D using what looks like a PC-830 or 850 chain for both drive and timing.
    When we picked up this bike I was told that the chains had only a few miles on them not sure but will change them if I do the upgrade.

    Like you said for me the gearing needs to be lower I have a 11-30 on it now and find that it's just not low enough for us I hate pushing a Tandem up hill

    I do like the sound of the 29er cassette for us because of the 36T I don't think that my 11 year old and I have the Power to bend a cassette but I could be wrong??

    Also thinking of changing the 38T timing rings but not sure what would fit on my crank it's 5 bolts

  7. #7
    "the big red train"
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    We run the HG-61 on our ECDM and have had no problems. We totally love the 36t low gear for climbing. I think that the x-9 shifter/derailleur combo with a hg-61 would be a sweet set-up. We run the x.0 drivetraain with hg-61 cassette and 7701 chain and are very happy with the performance.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zibell View Post
    We run the HG-61 on our ECDM and have had no problems. We totally love the 36t low gear for climbing. I think that the x-9 shifter/derailleur combo with a hg-61 would be a sweet set-up. We run the x.0 drivetraain with hg-61 cassette and 7701 chain and are very happy with the performance.
    Sweet that's what I want to hear!!
    As soon as Sarah's Soccer season is over We need to get out to the loop with you Guys thinking a Sunday ride with the group would be Ton's of Fun!!

  9. #9
    PMK
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    Curious, what front ring set are you guys running, paired with the 36 tooth stump-puller. I ask wondering if it is even possible to pedal a 24 / 36 and still move forward without falling over.

    FWIW, we have never run the 36 series with the spider, being that large, it is probably beefed up to handle those loads.

    PK
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  10. #10
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    FWIW, we ride 22t granny gear with the 11-36t XT (10 sp) cassette on both of our 29er tandems. Note that this low gear is very close to a 22t granny with 34t (9sp) cassette on a 26" wheel, but not quite as low.

  11. #11
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by ds2199 View Post
    FWIW, we ride 22t granny gear with the 11-36t XT (10 sp) cassette on both of our 29er tandems. Note that this low gear is very close to a 22t granny with 34t (9sp) cassette on a 26" wheel, but not quite as low.
    Exactly, so a 22 / 36 on a 26" wheel will be, well I don't know but it will be really low.

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

  12. #12
    "the big red train"
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    Sounds great, just let us know when you guys are ready for a ride and we can meet.

  13. #13
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    Running low gear of 24 front x 36 rear on a 26" wheel. As I / we get older and especially after too many hours in the sadddle sometimes it is not low enough. Have even looked at changing cranks so I can run the smaller BCD required for a 22 up front. Maybe in a few more years.

    Not fun trying to find a smaller BCD, ISIS splined Race Face Turbine LP. I looked one Saturday and sort of lost motivation when I found the 11-36 cassette. Changed to that and am good for a few more years I hope. Not a big fan of all those cogs digging into my King hub though. Even with the SS hubshell they dig in a lot.

    Are they now making the 11-36 on a carrier? Please share the part number as I did not see one like that when I got mine. Very interested.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ds2199 View Post
    FWIW, we ride 22t granny gear with the 11-36t XT (10 sp) cassette on both of our 29er tandems. Note that this low gear is very close to a 22t granny with 34t (9sp) cassette on a 26" wheel, but not quite as low.
    Quote Originally Posted by PMK View Post
    Exactly, so a 22 / 36 on a 26" wheel will be, well I don't know but it will be really low.

    PK
    Really low = No more pushing

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zibell View Post
    Sounds great, just let us know when you guys are ready for a ride and we can meet.
    Sounds good I wanted to do this Saturdays Memorial Ride but a few things came up.........

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevoo View Post
    Running low gear of 24 front x 36 rear on a 26" wheel. As I / we get older and especially after too many hours in the sadddle sometimes it is not low enough.
    LOL.......that is the main reason why I want to go to a 36T also don't get much help from my 11 year old some times I think she just sticks her Legs out and let's me do all the work

  17. #17
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC Mike View Post
    Really low = No more pushing
    Yes it's low, but is it possible to go that slow and still have control or not fall over?

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

  18. #18
    "the big red train"
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    Here's a little story about our search for the perfect gearing. We bought our ECDM a little over 6yrs ago when the wife was 6mos. pregnent with our son. At first the gearing (24t front/34t rear) was fine for towing our son in his Burley. Then as he grew and got heavier and we were able to take him on more ruged trails the gearing wasn't low enough for some of the climbs we rode. I found a single right crank arm on ebay the correct length with the 58/94 b.c.d. I changed our gearing in the front to 20/32/44 with 11-34 cassette and that worked nice. Nice until our son was 4yrs old and too big for the Burley. I found a Shocker Trail-a-bike for him and all was good except the rig was heavy and needed a lower gear. Thats when I added the hg-61 12-36 cassette. With the 20/36 gear we can climb up the side of a building, not really but you know. Now as our son is turning 6 he is helping on the peddling and we can ride just about everything except tight switchbacks. Even at the 20/36 low gear we are moving forward up the hill and I can still control the bike.

  19. #19
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    Quick update..........
    picking up my 9 speed tomorrow it's not the way I thought I would be upgrading but just could not say No

  20. #20
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC Mike View Post
    Quick update..........
    picking up my 9 speed tomorrow it's not the way I thought I would be upgrading but just could not say No
    Did you have 4 or 5 arm cranks?

    If it was 4, I had an entire drivetrain that was used but still had a bunch of miles left in it I offered for free a few weeks ago. Was not a 36 but rather a 34.

    Hope your speed setup works well for you. The proper gearing is huge for your enjoyment.

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMK View Post
    Did you have 4 or 5 arm cranks?
    Let's just say in less then two hours I will have both........
    Yes I got Lucky

  22. #22
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    Quick picture of my 9 speed upgrade
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Input needed for 9 speed upgrade-dscn5703.jpg  


  23. #23
    PMK
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    Entirely new bike???????????????

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by PMK View Post
    Entirely new bike???????????????

    PK
    Yup 2003 and No road trip this time
    From the looks of it now the L/M is going to be better just like you said in my first thread "looking for mtb tandem"

  25. #25
    PMK
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    Quote Originally Posted by XC Mike View Post
    Yup 2003 and No road trip this time
    From the looks of it now the L/M is going to be better just like you said in my first thread "looking for mtb tandem"
    Cool!!!!!!

    From experience, as you shop for a fork, be very aware of the axle to crown dimension. Those frames stay much better with shorter forks. The additional 1 degree of slackened headtube angle is very noticed with a longer fork. For us, the longer fork made the slow speed handling require a lot of focus and strength. At moderate speeds the handling is better.

    I would start looking for a Marzzocchi Drop Off Triple. These came on a lot of Kona Stinkys. They are very easily modified for good handling and a very simple design that's easy to work on / with.

    Enjoy that bike.

    PK
    Reps! We don't need no stickin' reps!

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