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Upgrade Path - Shifter/Derailluer - 8/9 speed

1071 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  motoxkfx123
I recently upgraded my brakes and now need to purchase trigger shifters as my brake/shifter combo will no longer work. I currently have low end Shimano FD/RD and an 8 speed cassette. I would like to only get shifters but looking ahead to when other components wear out brings up a few questions. Most current stuff seems to be 9 speed so I would imagine I will want to lean towards upgrading to 9 speed as parts wear out. Will any 9 speed shifters work with 8 speed RD and cassette? Will 9 speed RD work with 8 speed cassette? Is there anything I am missing in my thought process?

Thanks in advance for the advice.
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Spacing between the cogs on the cassette is different between an 8 and 9 speed derailleur, so the indexing in 9 speed shifters is different. If you look on eBay, you can probably find a Shimano cassette pretty cheaply and then you'd need a new chain to go with the shifters.

Really though, there's not a whole lot of benefit to going 9 speed if you have 8 speed. You'll get a slightly wider range of gear ratios between the two, but it won't be a huge upgrade.
Go with 9spd shifters, chain, and cassette if you can afford to. This will give you a far better selection of available replacement parts now, and in the future. But, you must replace all items listed, and possibly the chainrings if they are worn.
You can mix and match, to a point, but it's not really a good idea to. Things really need tweaking to make it work. I used an 8 speed shifter on a 9 speed cassette for awhile, but the hassle got to be more than the savings were worth.

What's your budget? You really don't need to go nuts, here. LX shifters are fine, and you can pick them up for a song. Same with a cassette, I still use an old SRAM 7.0 cassette that I've had no issues with. Probably should research what they make in that level now, but they used to be more durable than Shimano. Deralleur.......mmm......I really wouldn't go less than XT, lower models tend to be less responsive. Best to change the FD too, narrower cage for the chain. No need to go above LX on that, not like there's any real improvements as you go up, and you can't kill 'em.

Probably a couple hundred bucks there, but worth it. Better to spend the money up front and ride, than try to upgrade in pieces and spend half your time on the trail with a screwdriver in hand.
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Unless you have your heart set on upgrading everything to higher-end components, just keep it 8-speed and get some cheap 8-speed shifters (actually all you can get these days in 8-speed is cheap shifters, Alivio should be fine).

If you do go to 9-speed, you will need a minimum of new shifters, chain, and cassette. You should be able to use your old rear derailleur (unless you switch to Sram X-series shifters) and get acceptable shifting from your front derailleur.
I am not sure about shimano, but you can convert a bike to a decent 9-speed sram setup for under $100 without shopping around too much
Lambda - what spec to you consider "decent" sram.

I think I am leaning towards some sram TRX shifters and just put some more miles on the rest of the drivetrain. As long as it lasts me a year I'll have a good christmas list for next year.
Most Sram components are not compatible with Shimano, but the TRX is. So, yes, this would be a good option. Also, any of the 8spd Shimano shifters will work.
go sram i did and never looked back. i think sram shifts better than the shimano i use to run xt shifters and derailleur. here is what i got for around $130 scram PG-990 X-9 shifter derailleur. less the chain that was 50 bucks by its self.





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