friction shifting and derailleur quality
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?