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  1. #1
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    8 Speed vs. 9 Speed vs. 10 Speed?

    I have a 1983 SR road bike which is currently configured with downtube shifters and a seven-speed freewheel.

    I'm thinking to upgrade to brifters, and I've been looking at eBay.

    My question is, what are the pros and cons associated with 8 speed vs. 9 speed vs. 10 speed?

    What I mean is, I'm going to abandon the 27" wheels and everything else (except maybe the brakes, if I can find a way to put Koolstop pads on Shimano Arabesque brake calipers). So the rear dropouts will be spread to 130mm, and I was thinking, why go with a used 8 speed group when I can just go with 10 speed Ultegra or whatever? In for a penny, in for a pound, etc.

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    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    do the brakes have sufficient room to let the pads be adjusted 4mm lower and still be parallel to the rims? you need that to put 700c wheels on a 27" bike. On one bike, I needed about 1.5mm more than was available but there was plenty of metal on the ends of the brake calibers, so I used a small round 'rat tail' file to lengthen the hole that the pads fit in.


    my take on 8 vs 9 vs 10. 10 requires unique everything, uses very thin sprockets and a very thin chain. its more fragile, your parts will wear out faster.

    8 or 9 is the sweet spot, IMHO. if you're buying new stuff, there's better crank sets and derailleurs available in 9-speed than in 8 speed. Personally, I'd try and find an older 105 or ultegra 8 or 9 speed set and use that.

    your old bike, as a 7 speed, it probably has 125mm between the rear dropouts (aka the nut-to-nut width of the rear axle). anything new will be 130mm. you'll need to 'spread' the rear triangles of the bike about 5mm. if its steel, this isn't hard at all, if its aluminum or whatever, forgetit.

    re: swappnig the brakes, assuming they are sidepulls or centerpulls, getting new brakes may be harder than you think, as all the new ones use flush mounting hardware and won't fit through the old holes in the brake bridge and fork crown.

  3. #3
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    do the brakes have sufficient room to let the pads be adjusted 4mm lower and still be parallel to the rims? you need that to put 700c wheels on a 27" bike.
    I think they do, but I have not tried yet. I will try, because I'm curious.

    Brakes are pictured below.


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    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    yeah, see, you're almost at the limit of travel on them now. grab the brake, measure how far from the top of the rim to the top of the brake, then adjust one of them as far down as it goes, and measure that again. if its not a good 4mm difference, you'll likely find the brakes are hitting the 700c rims just a little too high. now, I've suffered with this and trimmed a bevel on the top of the brake shoe, and then later broke down and filed them as I described to give me another 1-1.5mm of downwards reach. on the brake I did it on, there was adequate room for this.

    those Shimano 600 were classic brakes. 600 became Ultegra in later generations. Until DuraAce came out, the 600 was Shimano's best stuff.

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    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    IMHO 7 or 8 speeds are perfect. They still use a "normal" width chain and the parts are so much cheaper. Most of my bikes are 8 speed now because it's too hard to find good 7S shifters (and to an extent cassettes). RDs are easy to find, FDs can be a bit tricker but you just need to get an older one or compromise with a 9S unit. Cranks are fine, you can use a new crank with older rings.

    To me, 9/10/11S is just unneeded expense and shortened drivetrain life. I see no benefit. 7 and 8 speed rears give me all the range I need with plenty of steps in between.

    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    Until DuraAce came out, the 600 was Shimano's best stuff.
    Sorry to veer off topic, but this isn't true. Dura Ace has been around since 1973. In the mid 70s, 600 wasn't all that great and was found on some pretty low end bikes.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Do the math.. what gear ratios do you really need,, 'speeds' is s cog count inventory, nothing more..

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
    I have a 1983 SR road bike which is currently configured with downtube shifters and a seven-speed freewheel.

    I'm thinking to upgrade to brifters, and I've been looking at eBay.

    My question is, what are the pros and cons associated with 8 speed vs. 9 speed vs. 10 speed?
    8 speed allows an 11-18, 12-19, or 13-21 cassette with good spacing (one tooth jumps through the 19 cog) for road riding (although it's worth nothing that the stock road triple 30 ring paired with a 21 large cog is the same as 42x28 or 39x27).

    9 speed allows 11-19, 12-21, or 13-23.

    10 speed nets 11-21, 12-23, or 13-25/26.

    The side plates are thinner and cassettes more expensive, although with people getting 20,000+ miles out of a $24 - $40 (starting price for Shimano and Campagnolo 10 speed cassettes) that's not too interesting.

    10 speed chains start at $20, although that's still not too interesting.

    As a Campagnolo guy you'll want to upgrade to 10 (with current Record/Chorus QS levers or 2010 Veloce/Centaur Ultrashift levers) or 11 (Chorus or better shifters) to retain the same multi-cog shifting capabilities of down-tube levers and most ergo levers made since 1992. 8 is a very bad choice since the shifter small parts have been discontinued and NOS supply dried up, poor cassette choices, and unique cog pattern.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 12-24-12 at 02:30 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
    if I can find a way to put Koolstop pads on Shimano Arabesque brake calipers
    It's not exactly hard, you just bolt them on....

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    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    I like 9 speed.
    Cassettes are only a couple $ more than 8 and come in a MUCH wider variety of combinations.
    Chain might be $5-10 more, but considering the miles you get out of one, it's a non issue.
    Shifters will be a little more. I'm not familiar enough with road shifters to have a feel for that.
    Going to 10 speed, nothing is cheap.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
    .....if I can find a way to put Koolstop pads on Shimano Arabesque brake calipers.
    You can purchase Kool Stop brake shoes (complete pads, backers, etc in one unit) to replace the OEM Shimano shoes or, better, purchase Kool Stop "Dura Type" pad holders and pads to replace your current shoes. After that all you have to replace are the slip-in pads.

    Here is the Dura Type pad holder and pad assembly link: http://www.koolstop.com/english/road_pad.html

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    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Forget the ebay parts accumulation route if you are going 8/9/or 10 speed (too costly). Instead, pick up a nice donor bike locally, swap the entire drivetrain: wheels, cassette, shifters, derailleurs. Resell the donor and you are done.

    I have done mostly 8 speed as I tend to find more donor bikes in that configuration. But I also have done a handful of nine speed.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    You can purchase Kool Stop brake shoes (complete pads, backers, etc in one unit) to replace the OEM Shimano shoes or, better, purchase Kool Stop "Dura Type" pad holders and pads to replace your current shoes. After that all you have to replace are the slip-in pads.

    Here is the Dura Type pad holder and pad assembly link: http://www.koolstop.com/english/road_pad.html
    Edit: OK, I found your other thread and see that you know about the Dura Type pads and holders. See my posting there as to why you should use them.

  13. #13
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    You can purchase Kool Stop brake shoes (complete pads, backers, etc in one unit) to replace the OEM Shimano shoes or, better, purchase Kool Stop "Dura Type" pad holders and pads to replace your current shoes. After that all you have to replace are the slip-in pads.

    Here is the Dura Type pad holder and pad assembly link: http://www.koolstop.com/english/road_pad.html

    I tried the Dura Koolstops, but the channel on the calipers is too narrow for them. To use them I would either need to file/drill the calipers, or somehow reduce the diameter of the fitting on the pad itself.

    I have a friend who put Campy 8 speed on a 1990's Vetta. He got the whole drivetrain plus a wheelset for $400, and it came out great. He's not had to replace anything yet, however, but that's what got me thinking about this.

    On my main road bike, I have a compact crank with a 10-speed 11-28 cassette, which I like very much. So I am inclined to replicate that, if I can. But I don't want to throw money at this, only to find out something isn't feasible after I have the parts in-hand. For example:

    Quote Originally Posted by Pierce
    re: swappnig the brakes, assuming they are sidepulls or centerpulls, getting new brakes may be harder than you think, as all the new ones use flush mounting hardware and won't fit through the old holes in the brake bridge and fork crown.


    Would you elaborate on this? Are you saying something like this can't easily be used? Help me to understand.

    Currently the RD is an Arabesque long cage, and the freewheel is a Sachs 13-28. If I could get decent brifters and keep the drivetrain otherwise unchanged, that would be very tempting. Is that a realistic solution?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
    I tried the Dura Koolstops, but the channel on the calipers is too narrow for them. To use them I would either need to file/drill the calipers, or somehow reduce the diameter of the fitting on the pad itself.
    That's not an issue I'd forseen, sorry, I didn't mean to seem patronising with my earlier post

    Your best bet would be modifying the calipers - the slots are probably only about a millimetre too narrow, so you'd only be losing half a mm from each side. The best way would be to drill the ends to the diameter you want, then file away the excess material between the two holes. That gives you rounded ends and avoids notches, which would tend to act as stress concentrations and potentially weaken the caliper.

    If you do still want to replace your calipers, read http://www.sheldonbrown.com/calipers.html#recessed.

    The whole article is worth looking at, but it should load at the section that answers your question.

    As for brifters operating with your current drivetrain, is your current right-hand shifter indexed? If so, a set of 7-speed Shimano brifters (you'd be looking on eBay or something, they're not made anymore) might work with it, although I'm not sure if Shimano messed with their indexing standards at any point.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    A voice with sad experience here: Might be more cost-effective to sell the SR and buy a used road bike set up the way you want.

    I had a Univega Gran Rally (great bike) that I fitted a 700c wheelset to. Used an 8 speed 12-28 cassette. Spreading the frame the few mm was literally done by hand. Aligned the dropouts vertically with a 12' Crescent wrench. Kept the down tube shifters. No need to change anything beyond that. Could use the same Shimano 600 derailleurs and crankset.

    I've sunk too much money into projects that ended up being up being almost as good as a decent used bike that I could have bought for less.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Its the gear ratios that count, 'speeds' is a parts inventory..

    What gear ratios do you actually use and need? count teeth, do the math .

  17. #17
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Merkel View Post
    A voice with sad experience here: Might be more cost-effective to sell the SR and buy a used road bike set up the way you want.

    I had a Univega Gran Rally (great bike) that I fitted a 700c wheelset to. Used an 8 speed 12-28 cassette. Spreading the frame the few mm was literally done by hand. Aligned the dropouts vertically with a 12' Crescent wrench. Kept the down tube shifters. No need to change anything beyond that. Could use the same Shimano 600 derailleurs and crankset.

    I've sunk too much money into projects that ended up being up being almost as good as a decent used bike that I could have bought for less.

    I appreciate your advice. To be direct, I have a soft spot in my heart for this bike. Stupid, maybe, but that is my problem. The frame was made in Osaka before the Yen got strong, so I think it is a good frame and I enjoy riding it. (My poor man's Rivendell equivalent.) But at the same time, I would like to get the shifters on the bars, and if I can do that without wasting a lot of money, it would make me happy. It is an opportunity to learn, to tinker, and so forth.

    @Airburst, that article by Sheldon Brown is very helpful, many thanks. I will have to investigate the brake issue in more detail.

    The shifters are Shimano 600 Arabesque style, and not indexed. They have proprietary Shimano bosses under them, but I recently saw something which made me start thinking again about upgrading (this contributed, too).

    My main road bike has Ultegra 6700 on it, and I like it better than the downtube shifters. However I learned to be lazy about shifting (i.e., refrain from shifting frequently) while riding the 1983 SR, which is probably a good thing.

    The collective wisdom here is considerable. It's such a great resource.
    Last edited by ZippyThePinhead; 12-24-12 at 01:35 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
    I appreciate your advice. To be direct, I have a soft spot in my heart for this bike. Stupid, maybe, but that is my problem.....
    And I have a Schwinn Continental in the garage waiting for restoration because mine was stolen 33 years ago. No need to explain soft spots.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

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    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
    Would you elaborate on this? Are you saying something like this can't easily be used? Help me to understand.
    it would be easiest if you could find and examine the brake mounting on a newer road bike that uses modern 'dual pivot' brakes, and compare this with the 'side pull' brakes you have. the mounting bolt on the brake caliber assembly on the newer brakes is much shorter, and doesn't go all the way through the fork crown (in front) or brake bridge (in the rear), and instead of a conventional nut and washer holding the brake on like you have, the new ones use a recessed nut thing that disappears completely into the hole....

    ...ah.. Sheldon Brown to the rescue. again.
    http://sheldonbrown.com/calipers.html#recessed

    explains it all. and its worse now, a couple years ago I flat out couldn't find ANY new brake calibers suitable for traditional mounting.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
    I appreciate your advice. To be direct, I have a soft spot in my heart for this bike. Stupid, maybe, but that is my problem..........
    I totally understand.
    I've stuck a ridiculous amount of money in to my late younger brothers 74? Takara 10 speed road bike.
    It's now a 27 speed FB road bike/hybrid/commuter that is used by my best friends son.
    It's not pretty, with the original bright red paint being more of a primer red color now, but it's still on the road.
    I'd like to think he is pleased.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyThePinhead View Post
    To be direct, I have a soft spot in my heart for this bike. Stupid, maybe, but that is my problem.
    It's the same "problem" that keeps me riding a bike built in 1956 simply because my family has owned it from new!

    As for the shifter issue, check out Retroshift http://retroshift.com/

    The proprietary shifter bosses would be an issue in that the DT shifters you have wouldn't fit on the Retroshift levers, but those levers probably cost less than you'd pay for the brifters alone these days, so it might be worth seeking out a set of shifters that fit them, seeing as that would probably be cheaper than getting hold of the Shimano indexed 28-13 7-speed freewheel that you'd need to work with the brifters....
    Last edited by Airburst; 12-24-12 at 06:25 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    your old bike, as a 7 speed, it probably has 125mm between the rear dropouts (aka the nut-to-nut width of the rear axle). anything new will be 130mm. you'll need to 'spread' the rear triangles of the bike about 5mm. if its steel, this isn't hard at all, if its aluminum or whatever, forgetit.
    Many of us have jammed a 130mm wheel in our old Cannondales. No big deal. Just don't "cold set" it (permanently bend to 130mm)

    Here's a 100+ page thread about upgrading old frames to modern drivetrains:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...STI-s-or-Ergos
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  23. #23
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airburst View Post
    It's the same "problem" that keeps me riding a bike built in 1956 simply because my family has owned it from new!

    As for the shifter issue, check out Retroshift http://retroshift.com/

    The proprietary shifter bosses would be an issue in that the DT shifters you have wouldn't fit on the Retroshift levers, but those levers probably cost less than you'd pay for the brifters alone these days, so it might be worth seeking out a set of shifters that fit them, seeing as that would probably be cheaper than getting hold of the Shimano indexed 28-13 7-speed freewheel that you'd need to work with the brifters....
    See, this is why I asked. You smart people know all the angles, new products, and so forth. Awesome collective and individual experience, wisdom, insight. A person just can't go wrong here.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastJake View Post
    IMHO 7 or 8 speeds are perfect. They still use a "normal" width chain and the parts are so much cheaper. Most of my bikes are 8 speed now because it's too hard to find good 7S shifters (and to an extent cassettes). RDs are easy to find, FDs can be a bit tricker but you just need to get an older one or compromise with a 9S unit. Cranks are fine, you can use a new crank with older rings.

    To me, 9/10/11S is just unneeded expense and shortened drivetrain life. I see no benefit. 7 and 8 speed rears give me all the range I need with plenty of steps in between.



    Sorry to veer off topic, but this isn't true. Dura Ace has been around since 1973. In the mid 70s, 600 wasn't all that great and was found on some pretty low end bikes.
    Personally, I like 7 sp too. But shifters, quality that is, are the hard part to source. While chains might seem to be weaker I'm not sure if they really are. MTBs have hung onto 9 sp as standard way longer than the road bike crowd. They seem to get pretty good life from their chains under much harder conditions.
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    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
    Personally, I like 7 sp too. But shifters, quality that is, are the hard part to source. While chains might seem to be weaker I'm not sure if they really are. MTBs have hung onto 9 sp as standard way longer than the road bike crowd. They seem to get pretty good life from their chains under much harder conditions.

    I think the weak spot on 10 speeds is the thinner sprockets. 9 speed teeth are nearly the same thickness as 7/8 speed teeth, and the 9 speed chain is only a little bit narrower.

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