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Old 06-15-12, 10:20 AM   #1
pgoat
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Shimano MTB shifter - 7 speed and 9 speed compatibility

I have a 1993 MTB with 7-speed XT STI brake/shifter controls. Model/part number is ST-M085.

The shifter pods are the kind that may be removed from the brake levers via a single allen bolt. Currently I am running the bike as a commuter, with no shifter in front (just the brake lever, gearshift pod removed) and the usual 7 speeds in back.

My question - If i wanted to upgrade this bike to 9-speed, are there 9-speed shift pods that will bolt right in to the existing 7-speed brake levers?
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Old 06-15-12, 10:25 AM   #2
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Just to be clear (sorry I couldn't find a pic to post) the brake levers have a clamp that bolts around the handlebar, but the pods do not - they just bolt into a little cradle that's part of the brake lever.
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Old 06-15-12, 10:31 AM   #3
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No, Shimano STI shifter pods are full integrated into the brake lever, add to this the STI hasn't been produced for several generations of groupset now (think 10+ years) so getting one even to compare with would be hard (you can see visually this won't work from the tech docs http://techdocs.shimano.com/media/te...9830612199.pdf )

The chances of using the separate pods most likely won't work either, as they all have different mounting systems.

If you are looking to upgrade to 9 speed, would look at selling the 7 speed hardware, it's retro now, and XT level should get a decent return, check out retrobike for this, and you may be able to fund a pair of separate brake levers and a shifter pod through this.

One thing you didn't mention is spec of your wheel, being from 1993, this should be a hyperglide cassette / freehub, but 7 speed freehubs of that age are only 7 speed, and can't take 8/9/10 speed cassettes with out replacing the freehub body with a more recent one.
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Old 06-15-12, 10:37 AM   #4
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Thanks - yeah, it'd be a new wheelset. I'm currently running a spacer inside the 7-spd cassette.

I am okay with the 7-spd for commuting, but have another (lower-end) bike and was hoping to move some parts around - use the 7-spd on the lesser frame and 9-spd to the better frame...but wanted to keep those nice smooth XT brake levers with nicer 9-spd buildup, if possible.

I have to say I've put thousands of miles on those 19-year old XT shifters and brake levers and they still work as flawlessly as the day i got them. By contrast, I have 10-year-old levers and shifters (albeit LX) and while they're perfectly usable for commuting and so forth, they had issues fairly early on and certainly don't feel as sturdy or ergonomic as the XT.
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Old 06-15-12, 10:46 AM   #5
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so i guess my pod swap idea is a no-go? Oh well...
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