7-9 speed drive train with a clutch- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    7-9 speed drive train with a clutch

    Alright,

    This is something that I've been thinking about for a long time, and I think I'm close to just diving in.

    I would like to set up a lower gear count drive train, like 7 to 9 speeds. I'm not looking for a wide range, but I am looking for the ability to have a wider spaced cassette with a wider chain.

    I figure there are a few ways that I could do this, but I'm seeing if anyone has any experience here.

    I figure that I could run an Archer D1X with any derailleur/cassette combo that I want. This seems like the easiest option, but I'm not sure about reliability of the Archer.

    I've also considered running the SRAM EX1 8 speed derailleur and shifter with a standard 8 speed cog. What I'm unsure of, is whether the SRAM cassette spacing matches standard 8 speed spacing, or whether it's some proprietary BS.

    BOX also just put out their 9 speed e-bike group, I figure this is another good option, but again, I'm not sure about spacing and reliability is not known.

    Lastly, I've heard that you can do some alternative cable routing with existing derailleurs to get them to work with 7-9 speed shifters. This is where I'd like to hear some first-hand experience.

    At the end of the day, the most important need that I have would be a clutched derailleur. So I either need to make a 10+ speed derailleur work with a different shifter, or see if an existing e-bike derailleur will work with a normal cassette.

    Thanks all.

  2. #2
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    If indexing isn't necessary, could always run microshift/shimano thumbies?
    The ex8 speed and the box components 9 speed does look interesting and I've been tempted to run it on non eBikes anyway...

  3. #3
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    Honestly, I just barely thought of that after posting this and I think it's the best solution.

    Microshift thumby with a 7 speed cassette and Zee derailleur should do the trick. I just ran an 8 speed chain through an old Zee derailleur that I have and it seems like it'll still run smoothly through it (not too tight).

    So I think that'll be the route I take.

    Thanks!

  4. #4
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    I hate to be Captain Obvious, but why? The options you list are $$$ and you could get 10 or 11spd XT or XTR (or even Di2) for the price of some of them.
    :nono: :thumbsup:

  5. #5
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    I get it, it sounds weird. I don't believe that an XT or XTR (especially Di2) setup would be really all that close price-wise, but even if the cost was the same, I'll take less speeds every day of the week.

    10 speed is fine, but I always found myself double shifting when I had that setup. The gear spacing is too close for my taste. I also like the perceived (note the word choice) beefiness of a less-speed setup like 7/8/9.

    I also don't need a 40 or 42 tooth cog. I'm perfectly happy running a 32 tooth low gear with a short cage derailleur. A friction shifter will encourage me to shift less and stand more which is all the better coming from singlespeeding exclusively.

  6. #6
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    I've been running my main bikes with 1x9 (32 x 11-32) for quite a while now without a clutch derailleur. I just use a good quality 9 speed rear derailleur and shifter, which can be had for cheap these days. A couple of the drivetrains use a 11 speed narrow wide chainring and they have been decent at chain retention, even without the clutch derailleur. The third drivetrain has a standard (not narrow-wide) 9 speed chainring, but I installed an old front derailleur with no shifter or cable as a chain guide on that bike and have had no issues losing a chain since, even without a clutch derailleur.

  7. #7
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    I ran a 5 or 6 speed cassette on my klunker a couple seasons back. Had like a 19-38 spread. Ran a zee short cage with a microshift thumbie set on friction. It worked pretty well for what it was. I did have to do some weird stuff to get the cable mount arm of the derailleur to clear the cogs. But that may have been from the fact that I had this on a single speed hub.

  8. #8
    BOOM goes the dynamite!
    Reputation: noapathy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
    I get it, it sounds weird. I don't believe that an XT or XTR (especially Di2) setup would be really all that close price-wise, but even if the cost was the same, I'll take less speeds every day of the week.

    10 speed is fine, but I always found myself double shifting when I had that setup. The gear spacing is too close for my taste. I also like the perceived (note the word choice) beefiness of a less-speed setup like 7/8/9.

    I also don't need a 40 or 42 tooth cog. I'm perfectly happy running a 32 tooth low gear with a short cage derailleur. A friction shifter will encourage me to shift less and stand more which is all the better coming from singlespeeding exclusively.
    Pretty sure people have been running 10spd with no complaints about "beef". Just trying to save you money and time. If it's geared too low, you just need a bigger chainring.

    If you just have to be different, there's an old tread around the interwebs about adding a 6mm spacer onto a 10spd Shimano RD with SRAM 9spd shifter IIRC. I was planning to do it since I had a few extra 9spd cassettes and wanted the clutch RD. I got as close as buying a spacer until I ran across a deal on 10spd parts. Now the 9spd stuff is relegated to my gravel hardtail so no need for a clutch.

    Here's one thread about it, but there are others.
    :nono: :thumbsup:

  9. #9
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    You've got a point. I think I'm maxed out on chainring size, but I need to look into that. I did like the 10 speed that I had back in the day...

    You've got me thinking...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    Pretty sure people have been running 10spd with no complaints about "beef". Just trying to save you money and time. If it's geared too low, you just need a bigger chainring.
    This. When 9spd came out, people riding 8spd said it was not strong enough. When 10spd came out, people riding 9spd said the same thing. And this continued to where we are now, 12spd.
    IMO modern stuff works so good, and nowadays it's dirt cheap to keep a 10spd group maintained.

    OP, what kind of cassette spacing do you like? A 10spd 11-36 has the same spacing as an 8spd 11-28 just with two extra gears at the low end.

  11. #11
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    Iím still using 5 - 7 sp set ups on all my vintage bikes. 10 speed cassettes are nice and they certainly have closer spacing with the extra gears. I never feel out gunned riding a 7 speed. Before everyone jumps in and calls me a Luddite all my road bikes are running 10 speed groups which work fine too.
    A garage full of steel frames means happiness.

  12. #12
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    I'm currently running an 11-36 7-speed setup:

    Bolany 11-50 9-speed cassette off ebay (with the 50t and 42t cogs removed)
    SRAM GX 11-speed deraileur (with the low-gear stop screw cranked in)
    SRAM 9-speed shifter
    KMC 11-speed chain

    You could also leave the 42t on and run this as an 11-42 8-speed (50t is too big for the GX der). I've searched high and low, cheap and expensive, and this was the first wide-range cassette I've found that has decent spacing right out of the box (I normally build my own gear stacks). Wider ratios are great, but you want the % steps to be reasonably consistent. And a bit closer in the small cogs IMO.

    The EX intrigued me in that it was wide-ratio, and designed to take power during shifts. But the ratios absolutely stink, as does the price.

    Anyway, I won't go close-ratio again - absolutely can't stand it for mountain biking.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    Iím still using 5 - 7 sp set ups on all my vintage bikes. 10 speed cassettes are nice and they certainly have closer spacing with the extra gears. I never feel out gunned riding a 7 speed. Before everyone jumps in and calls me a Luddite all my road bikes are running 10 speed groups which work fine too.
    Not jumping you. To me it's about not about the extra cogs at the back. I worked at a shop for a while where 90% of the time I worked on vintage bikes. Anywhere from 5spd to 8spd. What it made realise is just how much better it is to use modern stuff and how much better it works. I don't care if it makes me faster or anything like that, it simply makes my life easier and I can focus more on just riding my bike and having fun.

  14. #14
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    My favorite cassette that I've ever run, was a 13-34 7 speed cassette. The jumps were 15-20% between each cog, and it just seemed to feel right. Of course, that was on my road bike.

    Now on that bike I have an 11-34 10 speed set up, and I don't hate that either.

    With regards to my comment about beefiness, I did say that it is 'perceived'. I know that 10/11/12 speed setups are plenty strong. But it is nice to have wider chains and wider spacing between cogs. If anything else, it makes tuning the system a bit faster, but again, my 10 speed road setup is pretty good.

    So I think maybe I need to acquiesce and just see if there is a 10 speed cassette that will fit my needs.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post
    With regards to my comment about beefiness, I did say that it is 'perceived'. I know that 10/11/12 speed setups are plenty strong. But it is nice to have wider chains and wider spacing between cogs. If anything else, it makes tuning the system a bit faster, but again, my 10 speed road setup is pretty good.
    Setting up Shimano 10spd road derailleurs is the worst. That's why they changed the cable pull and pull ratio on 10spd MTB stuff and then on 11spd road and MTB.

    I have a 1x10 on my now grocery getter. Zee, Deore, XT mix. I know this is gonna be hard to believe but it happened to me twice. I changed the cable, didn't touch the barrel adjuster at all, and I swear it shifted absolutely perfect.

  16. #16
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    If you want to tinker, then have at it. Might be worth putting together a bike specifically for tinkering with weird shit like this.

    Me? I'm not much for tinkering. Some tinkering can be fun, but I certainly want my main bikes to require minimal amounts of tinkering. Both the 10 and 11spd drivetrains I've had have required exponentially less tinkering than the previous 9spd and earlier drivetrains I had. The one I'm building now is going to have the new XTR drivetrain on it, but I think I'll get the 11spd version simply because I don't need the range of a 10-51 cassette, and I also don't really care for the tighter ratios of the 10-45 12spd. Hopefully by the time I need to replace the cassette, an XT microspline version will be available for less money.

    I don't believe for a second that the improved reliability of more recent drivetrains has anything to do with the number of speeds. Just that derailleurs are so much better now...less slop, more precision, etc. That said, I'm not impressed with Eagle and how SRAM tried to address chain drop with those narrow-wide cogs on the cassette, and the new issue that created of the chain occasionally getting out of sync. I also don't like the narrow-wide RD pulleys SRAM uses. Have had problems with those getting out of sync on demo bikes and then the chain jamming.

  17. #17
    Loud tyres save lives
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shinkers View Post

    I've also considered running the SRAM EX1 8 speed derailleur and shifter with a standard 8 speed cog. What I'm unsure of, is whether the SRAM cassette spacing matches standard 8 speed spacing, or whether it's some proprietary BS.
    From what I recall, the EX1 cassette uses ten speed spacing, a ten speed chain and a ten speed shifter modified to work as eight speed.

    John
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  18. #18
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    It looks like there will be soon a new 7-8 derailleur with a clutch.
    The new Schwinn Walmart bikes ( yeah I know lol ) come with a so called
    Pro Rush drivetrain. Maybe their own brand.

    1x7 with a 30t n/w chainring and a 14-38t freewheel and a 1x8 with a 13-40t freewheel and a trigger shifter.

    Anyway the derailleur has a clutch with a ON switch on the back.
    I can't find more information about that brand.

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  19. #19
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    My experience, Iím using a Sram X0 9 speed shifter, shimano XT 8000 11s derailleur, sunrace 11-40 9s cassette with KMC 9 speed chain. Got a foot in each camp brand-wise, but works brilliantly. All went together straight out of the gate.

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