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  1. #1
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Putting together drivetrain - confused

    Hi, first time poster here, I hope you folks can help me out. I recently got a 1997 Gary Fisher Big Sur frame for $20. It's in great shape and I'm figuring it'll be my new bike. I have a '91 trek 7000 but it's never really fit me right, it's pretty heavy, I'm just kind of tired of it. I have thumbshifters on it though, because I love thumbshifters, and I was thinking of just swapping over the drivetrain (7 speed) to the Fisher because that's how much I love thumbshifters. But if I do that I have pretty much 1 choice for a derailluer, a NOS Deore DX (the lx on it is wore out), and then my trek is dead in the water. I've tried to find some old 7 speed hubs/cassettes, but I haven't found anything.

    So searching around various places I've thought of putting an 8 speed drivetrain on the Fisher and use my deore thumbshifters and hope the "extra click" works or just use 7 of the gears. But 8 speed stuff seems hard to find and I just can't figure out all the different compatabilities. A crankset has to be specifically for 8 or 9 speed apparently? Same with derailleurs? 8 and 9 speed hubs are the same but the cassettes are different, but 8 and 9 speed derailleurs are different and one won't work with the other?

    Did I mention I don't have much dough?

    See, I've found various cheap components around- xt hubs for $30 and 8 speed xt cassettes for $30, but no 8 speed derailleurs besides a deore that's 8 or 9. So I guess my question boils down to- what should/can I do if I want an 8 speed drivetrain for reasonable $$? Can a 9 speed derailleur work with an 8 speed cassette? Can I get at least 7 clicks out of my deore thumbshifters on an 8 speed derailluer or are they completely incompatable now? I don't even understand what makes a derailleur 8 or 9 speeds, I mean, it covers the same area, right?

    Besides eBay, any recommendations on places that have NOS shimano stuff? Like 8 speed derailleurs or, heck, 7 speed hubs and cassettes? Sorry if this is a bit rambling, I just don't know where to start. One thing I do know- I don't want a freakin' 9 speed drivetrain if I can help it. Thanks.

  2. #2
    如果你能讀了這個你講中文 genericbikedude's Avatar
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    Can your thumbshifters switch to friction mode? If so, you can get a casette with any number of speeds. Either way, however, I remember from my bike shop days (last year) that several bike distributors can order 7-speed casettes. Just walk into any bike shop and ask. If they don't have it in stock, ask to look at their J&B catalog.

    You dont REALLY need a 9-speed sprcific crank for 9-speed, or an 8-speed crank with 8-speed etc, unless you REALLY REALLY care about minute performance details, or if you REALLY REALLY must have the logos match.

    Don't worry about the speeds on the derailler--just make sure that it has the range to cover your casette, and the tooth capacity to take up the slack in your chain.

    Forget NOS, you can get NNS.

    Lastly, keep the thumbshifters.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    So it's all just a load of crap?

    I know I can go friction, but would I be able to get 7 gears sis? Or does it take up too much cable? And- what about Sram? Could I thumbshift a sram derailleur? Friction I figure I could- would the clicks work at all? btw if it's not obvious- I don't understand the mechanics of sis. I always thought the clicks were in the shifter and that's it.

    Last question- any recommendations of places to find parts? I've been checking out icycles, jenson, and bikeman. Any other good places? I'm not finding a wide selection of cranks out there- I'd like to get something reasonable that's not shimano.

  4. #4
    如果你能讀了這個你講中文 genericbikedude's Avatar
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    Yes, it is MOSTLY a load of crap, but you should continue to make sure, lest you run into one of the instances where it is NOT a load of crap. These are rare, but do pop up. For example: SRAM deraillers and shifters. You can use a SRAM derailler with a shimano shifter, but not a shimano derailler with a SRAM shifter.

    But if you use friction, you can forget all this sh*t, and also lose the annoyance of always having to tweak your cable tension.

    For 7-speed cassettes, go to a LBS. For cranks, try nashbar, or a LBS that stocks good used stuff.

    The "clicks" ARE in the shifter. The only time they arent is with rare and crappy old shimano stuff, and with certain internally geared hubs.

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    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help.

    So it looks like any 8/9 speed shimano compatible cassette hub will work, and derailleur will work in friction, I may be able to get some clicks or I may not. But I guess the chain is sort of crucial- I can only really use an 8 speed chain with an 8 speed cassette I suppose, but a 9 speed derailleur with an 8 speed chain should work?

    Crap, there's some more questions. Every derailleur I find is 9 speed- do I have to use a 9 speed chain with it? Will that 9 speed chain mean I have to use a 9 speed cassette?

    Shimano wants me to go 9 speed but I don't want to go.

  6. #6
    如果你能讀了這個你講中文 genericbikedude's Avatar
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    You can get an 8-speed derailler somewhere I'm sure. They work with regular 3/32" chain.

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    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genericbikedude
    Yes, it is MOSTLY a load of crap, but you should continue to make sure, lest you run into one of the instances where it is NOT a load of crap. These are rare, but do pop up. For example: SRAM deraillers and shifters. You can use a SRAM derailler with a shimano shifter, but not a shimano derailler with a SRAM shifter.
    Nonsense....There are sram/shimano shifters/ R derailers that are fully compatible. There ae sram shifters/RDs that are not shiamno compatible.

  8. #8
    cs1
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    Senior Member cs1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimJ
    Hi, first time poster here, I hope you folks can help me out. I recently got a 1997 Gary Fisher Big Sur frame for $20. It's in great shape and I'm figuring it'll be my new bike. I have a '91 trek 7000 but it's never really fit me right, it's pretty heavy, I'm just kind of tired of it.
    Then get rid of the Trek instead of P*ssing away your hard earned cash on a bike that doesn't fit. All the rest of your post becomes useless. I did the same thing you are talking about and all it did was give me fits and cost tons of money. Sell the Trek frame on ebay and use the cash for your new frame or a paint job for it. Good luck.


    Tim
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

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    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    It's my dad's old bike and I want to give it back to him if he wants it. For right now I just bought enough stuff to build the new bike- fork, stem, aheadset, I'm going to swap everythng from the trek over to it and see how it rides. I still don't know if the new frame is going to fit me better, after all.

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    Senior Member Jameson's Avatar
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    maybe i missed something but you can use a sram shifter with a shimano deraliur(sp) I have an Lx rear derailleur( better) with Sram Attack shifters, nine speed so maybe that's different. I bought the combo sold as a combo from Pricepoint.

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    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    The main thing is keeping my Deore thumbshifters. If I was going to give those up there'd be no problem I'd just piece together the best cheap stuff I could fine- trying to incorporate the thumbshifters into a new drivetrain is the confusing bit. I want to use thumbshifters forever.

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    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimJ
    I have thumbshifters on it though, because I love thumbshifters, ..... I don't even understand what makes a derailleur 8 or 9 speeds, I mean, it covers the same area, right?
    Marketing is what makes RDs 7,8 or 9 speed. FDs of higher speed have slightly narrower cages.That won't really matter with thumb shifters. Use any SIS shimano RD except pre 9 speed DA, but you need to pay attention to wrap and big cog capacity.In general, stick with a mtb type with a mtb bike. You can also use Sram RDs that are of the non ESP type. Cranks aren't speed specific either.That's more marketing.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    SRAM makes shifters rear derailleurs with 2:1 actuation, and 1:1 actuation. The former will work with Shimano, the latter won't.

    If you use a 9 speed front derailleur with a 7 or 8 speed cassette, regardless of the shifter used, your chain will rub at some point. The 8 speed (or 7) chain is only fractionally wider than the 9, but just enough that it will cause problems on some applications.

    An 8/9 speed hub will accept a 7 speed cassette with a small spacer.

    If you must keep the thumbies, go with XT 8 speed from ebay, and you'll have the easiest time finding parts. If that's not within budget, I can only suggest a unicycle.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimJ
    Besides eBay, any recommendations on places that have NOS shimano stuff? Like 8 speed derailleurs or, heck, 7 speed hubs and cassettes? Sorry if this is a bit rambling, I just don't know where to start. One thing I do know- I don't want a freakin' 9 speed drivetrain if I can help it. Thanks.
    If you can stand ebay, you can get a new set of DX 7 speed hubs for less than $35 shipped. http://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-Deore-DX...QQcmdZViewItem

    Seller has excellent feedback as well.

    Ed
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Great info guys, thanks.

    I've got 2 pairs of deore thumbies and may be getting a pair of xt soon (ebay), so I'm set for shifters. I've been told only the XT's have an extra click (I don't think they ever had actual 8 speed thumbshifters) but my Deore's have one, right after the lowest gear. Even if it doesn't work I won't mind, I generally only use 5 gears anyway. I've read that the suntour 8 speed xc's work great but they're $50 a pair.

    I may go for those hubs, thanks for the link, I don't know. I've got Deore LX on my Trek and they've been fine, I was just kind of excited about getting new fat-bodied XT hubs for cheap. I'll probably just stick with swapping over the stuff from the other bike first and make sure it is my new ride.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    By the time you add in spokes and labor, it's not really worth it to lace up rims to LX hubs if you can get some XT hubs for a bit more.

  17. #17
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    Without reading all of the responses, there is no problem using a new 9 speed derailleur and a new 8-9 speed hub. You just need a spacer for the 7-speed cassette to bring it out. I did this for years on my MB1. Just make sure you get the correct spacer depending on if you have an IG or HG cassette. That might require very little trial and error by your LBS.

  18. #18
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expatriate

    If you use a 9 speed front derailleur with a 7 or 8 speed cassette, regardless of the shifter used, your chain will rub at some point. The 8 speed (or 7) chain is only fractionally wider than the 9, but just enough that it will cause problems on some applications.
    A thumb shifter has all the trim needed.

  19. #19
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aroundoz
    Without reading all of the responses, there is no problem using a new 9 speed derailleur and a new 8-9 speed hub. You just need a spacer for the 7-speed cassette to bring it out. I did this for years on my MB1. Just make sure you get the correct spacer depending on if you have an IG or HG cassette. That might require very little trial and error by your LBS.
    Well, there is more to it if he has an IG cassette. New 8/9 HG hubs aren't threaded on the end for the screw on first cog.

  20. #20
    Senior Member TimJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    Marketing is what makes RDs 7,8 or 9 speed. FDs of higher speed have slightly narrower cages.That won't really matter with thumb shifters. Use any SIS shimano RD except pre 9 speed DA, but you need to pay attention to wrap and big cog capacity.In general, stick with a mtb type with a mtb bike. You can also use Sram RDs that are of the non ESP type. Cranks aren't speed specific either.That's more marketing.
    I forgot to ask, what's "DA"? As in "except pre 9 speed DA"?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    The XT thumb shifters don't have an extra click per say, rather they have lever travel below the first click stop which effectively makes the shifters 8-speed compatable.
    Becareful buying/selling bike parts on-line. I learned the hard way. :(

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  22. #22
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    A thumb shifter has all the trim needed.
    A thumb shifter won't magically widen the derailleur. At extreme angles (bordering on cross-gearing) there may be some rub. It would be very simplified to use an 8 speed derailleur up front.

  23. #23
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    ^^^....There is somethng about friction shifting that speaks to simplification,if you understand it.

  24. #24
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism
    The XT thumb shifters don't have an extra click per say, rather they have lever travel below the first click stop which effectively makes the shifters 8-speed compatable.
    Even at that, shimano 7 speed cog spacing is 5mm and 8 is 4.8mm. Close enough it usually works,but not always good enough for some.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    ^^^....There is somethng about friction shifting that speaks to simplification,if you understand it.
    So you've never tried to get a 9 speed front derailleur to work on an 8 speed drivetrain. Especially on a bike with short chainstays. My comment is based on experience, yours is based on theory.

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