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I'm setting up my wife's old Giant Yukon for my 11 year old and I'm thinking about upgrading to a 9 speed. I don't care about the extra gear but I'd like to put an 11-34 cassette on it and I can't find anything more than 11-32 in an 8 speed. The other reason I'm considering the change is the Deore shifter and derailleur doesn't work all that well and Sram X.7s (or LX) can be had fairly inexpensively.

My question is if I make the change, will I have to change the chainrings? That may put it over my expense threshold at which point he'll have to suffer with the 11-32 and push the bike until he muscles up!
 

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But if you don't change the rings then you're likely to have shifting problems as the rings will have the wear pattern of the old drivetrain and the new one won't. You could also wear your new components faster than necessary. Don't forget the new chain too. Same reason.
 

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mbmojo said:
I'm setting up my wife's old Giant Yukon for my 11 year old and I'm thinking about upgrading to a 9 speed. I don't care about the extra gear but I'd like to put an 11-34 cassette on it and I can't find anything more than 11-32 in an 8 speed. The other reason I'm considering the change is the Deore shifter and derailleur doesn't work all that well and Sram X.7s (or LX) can be had fairly inexpensively.

My question is if I make the change, will I have to change the chainrings? That may put it over my expense threshold at which point he'll have to suffer with the 11-32 and push the bike until he muscles up!
In my opinion, 9-speed is not an upgrade, especially for someone who may be new to the concept of multiple gears and the inherent problems caused by cross-chainline shifting.

Keep the 8-speed, you'll spend more time riding together instead of tweaking 9 speed drivetrain issues. If you need to have a lower gear you could pick up a 20 tooth granny ring for about $15 online. 8-speed SRAM twist shifters can be had for $28 at Cambria Bike.
 

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k1creeker said:
In my opinion, 9-speed is not an upgrade, especially for someone who may be new to the concept of multiple gears and the inherent problems caused by cross-chainline shifting.

Keep the 8-speed, you'll spend more time riding together instead of tweaking 9 speed drivetrain issues. If you need to have a lower gear you could pick up a 20 tooth granny ring for about $15 online. 8-speed SRAM twist shifters can be had for $28 at Cambria Bike.
I completely agree. 8 speed shifts better.
 
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