If you want to use bar end shifters mounted on Paul Thumbies as friction shifters, would it really matter that much if you went from Shimano Alivio to Deore LX? I mean, can the difference be only noticeable when in indexed mode?
Also, will a 9 speed rear derailleur travel farther than an 8 speed derailleur? I mean, if your spoke protector breaks, would there be a chance that a 9 speed derailleur on an 8 speed cassette could go too far and hit your spokes?
Is there any chance an 8 speed chain could rub against the sides in a 9 speed derailleur?