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  1. #1
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    SD-7 vs XT, Integrated vs separate, and other brake lingo...

    I'd like to upgrade my 7 speed integrated shifters/brake levers as well as the V-brakes. I'm thinking about Avid SD-7 or maybe Shimano LX or XT. I need some advice.

    1: I'll need to find a set of stand alone 7 speed shifters. Any recommendations for online stores that would still stock something like that? I'll also check the LBS of course. The 7 speed drivetrain is still OK, so I'm leaning towards buying separate brake levers and stand alone 7 speed shifters. When the current wheel/hub, cassette, etc bite the dust I can upgrade the shifter and whole drivetrain to 9 speed.

    2: What are the pro/cons of using integrated shifter pods? Is there a difference in performance? I'm thinking that its a way for Shimano to cut corners, but they seem to sell decent quality components like XT and XTR as integrated models. What kind of buyer buys integrated?

    3: The SD-7 seems to be priced in the middle of LX, XT and have similar features like reach adjust and leverage adjust (those features sound cool). The SD-7 has variable leverage adjustment vs 3 step Servo-Wave. The XT BR-M750 has long cantilever compared to BR-M570. Shimano has parallel push linkage.... not sure about SD7.

    (from pricepoint)
    LX brake+lever kit: $60
    SD-7 brake+lever kit: $70.
    XT brake+lever kit: $95
    LX brakes+lever+shifter: $100 STI
    XT brake+lever+shifter: $135. STI

    Anyhow, can someone quantify the performance difference and give me an idea if XT is worth an extra $25? I guess I'm curious about the advantages of catridge brake pads as well. I don't think Shimano has catridge pads, but I don't know if that matters.

  2. #2
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Can't help you on the shifter front but brake wise I strongly recommend SRAM 9.0's - come complete with Koolstop cartridges, and a wonderfully designed noodle. Lever wise I'm happy with bog-standard Deore, I don't see the need for more adjustability, but theres plenty of choice in levers.
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  3. #3
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    i think the reasoning behind the integrated shimano stuff is to save a bit of weight and also save some room on your handlebars. I used to run XT pods w/ XT brake levers and having the 4 clamps in total took away a lot of space. I like the feeling of shimano levers though. I'm running full XTR (integrated) and the levers feel comfy and the brakes are really powerful. I had some Deore brakes and levers on my crap bike and they feel really good too. the deore wasn't parallel push, but they were still quite strong. Cartridge pads are a bit cheaper to replace than a whole unit (ie: post and pad). i'd say go for the XT stuff if you can afford it. They have leverage and reach adjustments as well and the brake levers don't get sloppy bushings compared to the lower model Avid's. XT stuff lasts a long time. anyways, good luck w/ your choice man.

  4. #4
    Scooby Snax
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    I was looking at upgrading a 7 speed drive train to a 9, My lbs, reccommended against this, rear axl spacing?
    But then I heard that tis was only a problem with aluminium bikes?
    any input?

  5. #5
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    The major reason against is cost - you'll certainly need new shifters, probably a new rear derailleur, possibly a new chainset, and probably a new rear wheel (unless you've got a seven speed cassette on a 8/9 spd hub). You're frame should be okay though! .

    Whether it's worth it is debateable.

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  6. #6
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    yeah, I'm still iffy on the converstion to 9sp due to cost. Like other have said (I'm still figuring it all out myself), you'll need new chainring, wheel, hub, derailure, chain, cassette. Oh hell, might as well throw in a new crank and BB as well.

    Some folks say just buy a new bike, but I look at bikes with LX-XT drivetrain and they are still more expensive than just buying a new drivetrain.

    Thats why I'm just looking at the brakes right now. If and when I can't find 7 speed components I'll go ahead and splurge for the drivetrain.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bikerider's Avatar
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    Originally posted by snowman3
    I'd like to upgrade my 7 speed integrated shifters/brake levers as well as the V-brakes. I'm thinking about Avid SD-7 or maybe Shimano LX or XT. I need some advice.

    1: I'll need to find a set of stand alone 7 speed shifters. Any recommendations for online stores that would still stock something like that? I'll also check the LBS of course. The 7 speed drivetrain is still OK, so I'm leaning towards buying separate brake levers and stand alone 7 speed shifters. When the current wheel/hub, cassette, etc bite the dust I can upgrade the shifter and whole drivetrain to 9 speed.
    I'd avoid 9-speed for as long as possible, especially on a mountain bike that sees dirt. You can get 11-34 7-speed cassettes if you need a wide range of gears. Brand new 7-speed Rapid Fires are still available at the STX level; they go for about $40 CDN here. The shop may tell you otherwise but they just want to sell you a whole new drivetrain. I don't see how this would be an upgrade over what you have now unless yours are broken.

    2: What are the pro/cons of using integrated shifter pods? Is there a difference in performance? I'm thinking that its a way for Shimano to cut corners, but they seem to sell decent quality components like XT and XTR as integrated models. What kind of buyer buys integrated?
    Certainly not me - I tend to avoid 'integrated' anything. As soon as one shifter dies, you have to buy a new set of both. Shimano integrated levers and shifters with the early Rapid Fire and screwed a lot of people who wanted or needed to use V-brakes instead of cantis. I'm surprised you can find integrated sets in 7-speed. I hope you don't think you can use 9-speed shifters with a 7-speed drivetrain.

    3: The SD-7 seems to be priced in the middle of LX, XT and have similar features like reach adjust and leverage adjust (those features sound cool). The SD-7 has variable leverage adjustment vs 3 step Servo-Wave. The XT BR-M750 has long cantilever compared to BR-M570. Shimano has parallel push linkage.... not sure about SD7.
    I have LX Servo Wave Levers on one bike and Speed Dial 5's on another. I like the ergonomics of the Shimano handles but I don't like the Servo-Wave (cable attachment/pull) design and I'll stick with the Avids from now on.

    The Avid Single Digits don't use a linkage mechansim. The Avid Arch Rival is their linkage model which I own and really like. I would not use the XT as a front brake as it will squeal and squeal and you will never be rid of it. Do a search on here or any mountain bike site and you will see what I mean. I wouldn't use stock Shimano brake pads myself, I'd put Kool Stops on right away.

    In sum, I'd buy the Avids over anything and I'd get the LX's over the XT's. I wouldn't buy integreated pods.

  8. #8
    Senior Member bikerider's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Scooby Snax
    I was looking at upgrading a 7 speed drive train to a 9, My lbs, reccommended against this, rear axl spacing?
    But then I heard that tis was only a problem with aluminium bikes?
    any input?
    There seems to be this idea that all 7-speed MTBs had 130mm spacing and that only 8/9 were 135. In fact, only the earlier 7-speed bikes were 130mm and of those, the steel frames can easily accomodate the 5mm spread, though if it were me, I'd stick with 7-speed.

    You can measure the frame yourself with a ruler and the rear wheel removed.

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