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Old 09-11-07, 09:07 AM   #1
Flash
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some thoughts on lower-level component groups that are supposed to suck (Alivio)

I highly doubt that when the Shimano engineers were designing Alivio they sat around a table and said: "let's design a component group that will suck and that riders will spurn in favor of our higher-level offerings"

however, we see daily how alivio and other lower-level component groups are regularly dismissed on this and other boards e.g.:

-- "nice bike but stay away from alivio"
-- "upgrade immediately, alivio is trash"

etc

This makes me wonder how bad Alivio and other budget component groups really are. I rode Tiagra/Deore for five years on a daily commute, left the bike out in the rain and snow all the time, never cleaned the mud off it etc. and never adjusted anything. It just kept on chugging.

I've never owned a bike with Alivio. I'm curious if anyone can provide real-world data on how Alivio performs over time and whether it's as bad as people seem to think.

Let me also throw this out there: is it possible that rider weight has something to do with component lifespan e.g. do heavier riders place more stress on components relative to lighter riders, leading to shorter lifespan for component groups ridden by the bigger guys.

thanks
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Old 09-11-07, 09:22 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Flash View Post
I highly doubt that when the Shimano engineers were designing Alivio they sat around a table and said: "let's design a component group that will suck and that riders will spurn in favor of our higher-level offerings"
This isn't how manufacturing works. First, engineers build a decent quality product, shimano xt level, lets say. Then the marketing dept. says, ok thats great, but we also need a product thats costs 30% of that one. And so the engineers have to design a cheap product, which means cheaper, heavier materials, looser tolerances, higher production rates, etc. The result is a product that does not perform as well, but is cheap. Then the marketing dept also decides they need a high end product.. thats where xtr comes in.

Alivio is crap, btw, stay away from it.
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Old 09-11-07, 09:34 AM   #3
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This isn't how manufacturing works. First, engineers build a decent quality product, shimano xt level, lets say. Then the marketing dept. says, ok thats great, but we also need a product thats costs 30% of that one. And so the engineers have to design a cheap product, which means cheaper, heavier materials, looser tolerances, higher production rates, etc. The result is a product that does not perform as well, but is cheap. Then the marketing dept also decides they need a high end product.. thats where xtr comes in.

Alivio is crap, btw, stay away from it.
No problem, but, you still have live human beings designing Alivio and they must take some pride in their work, don't you think? The point of my original question: is it possible the engineers truly believe Alivio is crap?

Also, re: your caution to stay away from Alivio, can you explain why?

thx
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Old 09-11-07, 09:38 AM   #4
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You are missing the point. Engineers don't design Alivio to be crap, in fact it has few, if any, real design flaws, but it is manufactured for so little money, with low tolerances and cheaper materials, that it ends up being crap. The design is fine, it's the execution of the design (ie manufacturing) that leaves a lot to be desired.
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Old 09-11-07, 09:55 AM   #5
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I had lower end components (Altus/Alivio) on an old Cannondale. I later upgraded to Shimano XT (cranks,derailluers, brakes) and there was a noticeable difference in the quality. It also lightened up my bike. I wouldn't say anyone elses bike or parts are crap, but if you can spring for better components, you will notice a difference in everything from the way your bike performs to how much longer they will last.
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Old 09-11-07, 06:20 PM   #6
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My 94 GT has Alivio and back then it was middle of the road stuff. It's still kicking (yes, the original parts) today as a rail trails bike.

That said, yes the higher stuff like XT works smoother, but I really can't say it's more durable. It shifts nicer and it's lighter. I'm using XT because I can afford to. If someone was just starting out, I'd never tell them that Alivio is junk or Sram X4 is junk. It works, just not as smooth as higher end stuff. That said, I think XTR/X0 is a waste of money. All you are getting is lightweight, easy to break parts. Deore and Deore XT/X7 work just fine for most people and are DURABLE.
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Old 09-11-07, 06:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pete Fagerlin View Post
Preach it brother! Easy to break! Not durable!



nice! did you do all that damage yourself?

As for the topic. My bike has Acera level components. While they're not as smooth, they get the job done, simple as that
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Old 09-11-07, 07:02 PM   #8
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You get what you pay for. Will Acera level stuff work? Sure, you can tune things pretty well, to get things working pretty slickly. But they still won't feel as nice as higher level parts tuned to the same level. They will develop play/slop faster, and subsequently become more difficult to get tuned back into that same good working shape. It's cheap. Sure, you can buy several sets for the price of one set of top shelf stuff. Will it last as long or longer?

It comes down to how and what stuff you ride, how abusive you are to your stuff, and what you're willing to pay for that. Maybe you're fine with just replacing a crappy worn out cheapy rear mech more often than a nicer one that keeps on ticking.

I've found the sweet spot for me to be the XT and X.9 level stuff. Not as light as XTR or X.0. But loads cheaper. For me and my riding, I'm not willing to pay that extra price for the top shelf stuff. Am I missing out? Would I notice a huge difference in performance and durability? Maybe, maybe not. Never had one wear out from use - they've all been killed by rocks/wrecks.

Unless someone wants to give me a set of X.0 stuff, and Jucy-7 brakes, I'll stick with my X.9 and Juicy-5 setups.

Last edited by scrublover; 09-11-07 at 07:08 PM.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:23 PM   #9
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One of my bikes is 7 years old and has a Deore/ Acera drivetrain. Replaces cables last year and it works perfect.
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Old 09-11-07, 07:30 PM   #10
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im running 6 year old LX 9-speed on my mountain bike, and its durable as all get out, but again its basically a heavier version of xt...

i also have older alivio rear derailleur in 8 speed and it shifts crisp and smooth with sram shifters (pretty sure they are shimano compatible haha).

HOWEVER the alivio is mostly stamped steel with plastic parts. the lx is mostly alloy with the only plastic being the cable adjuster and the idler wheels. The alivio i wouldnt take offroad, while the LX...well its been beaten on rocks, sticks brush and shifts as well as it did the day i first put it on and tuned it, 6 years ago. if i put the alivio through that, it would have probably broke by now.

all my bike is missing for complete LX group would be brakes...i gotta try to find some '01 era LX v-brakes in good shape...
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Old 09-11-07, 07:44 PM   #11
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I've got an old set of Alivio hubbed Mavic wheels from 1995 that are still running today. They were retired from hard singletrac use but spin fine for my road/snow singlespeed. I believe when they were new, Alivio occupied a different quality tier than it does today. As far as the new stuff goes I'd say scrublover gave a good accounting.
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Old 09-12-07, 06:13 AM   #12
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I've noticed on my friends bike that he has to tune his alivio more often the I do my deore. From what I've seen though, other than an extra tune here and there, it works fine
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Old 09-12-07, 06:45 AM   #13
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Nope, exact same position. One step above Acera. Back then, there wasn't a "Deore", but rather STX/STX-RC. Then LX, XT, XTR just like today.
Ahhhh, that's right. I'd forgotten that, thanks for the correction,
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Old 09-12-07, 07:37 AM   #14
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You are missing the point. Engineers don't design Alivio… is manufactured for so little money, with low tolerances and cheaper materials, that it ends up being crap.
Responses from actual Acera and Alivio users on this thread suggest otherwise.

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Originally Posted by Too Rass Goat View Post
My 94 GT has Alivio and back then it was middle of the road stuff. It's still kicking (yes, the original parts) today as a rail trails bike.
Use of Alivio in real world situations: conclusion, it works

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Originally Posted by Too Rass Goat View Post
That said, yes the higher stuff like XT works smoother, but I really can't say it's more durable. It shifts nicer and it's lighter. I'm using XT because I can afford to. If someone was just starting out, I'd never tell them that Alivio is junk or Sram X4 is junk. It works, just not as smooth as higher end stuff.
XT is lighter and shifts more smoothly than Alivio, Too Rass can’t say it is more durable based on his experience.

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Originally Posted by Pete Fagerlin View Post
Preach it brother! Easy to break! Not durable!
Pete’s pictures demonstrate that XT is quite durable

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Originally Posted by BenLi View Post
As for the topic. My bike has Acera level components. While they're not as smooth, they get the job done, simple as that
score one for Acera

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Originally Posted by scrublover View Post
You get what you pay for. Will Acera level stuff work? Sure, you can tune things pretty well, to get things working pretty slickly. But they still won't feel as nice as higher level parts tuned to the same level. They will develop play/slop faster, and subsequently become more difficult to get tuned back into that same good working shape. It's cheap. Sure, you can buy several sets for the price of one set of top shelf stuff. Will it last as long or longer?
Acera works but doesn’t feel as nice as top shelf, also more tuning of Acera may be required over time

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Originally Posted by probable556 View Post
One of my bikes is 7 years old and has a Deore/ Acera drivetrain. Replaces cables last year and it works perfect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nymtber View Post

i also have older alivio rear derailleur in 8 speed and it shifts crisp and smooth with sram shifters (pretty sure they are shimano compatible haha).

HOWEVER the alivio is mostly stamped steel with plastic parts...The alivio i wouldnt take offroad...
Must take Alivio off road to test ;-)

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I've got an old set of Alivio hubbed Mavic wheels from 1995 that are still running today. They were retired from hard singletrac use but spin fine for my road/snow singlespeed.
So far those who have used Alivio, Altus, other low end components in real world situations are saying these component groups work fine, far cry from the “Alivio is crap” blanket statement we sometimes read. Btw I have Deore on my bike, it’s the highest level component group I’ve ever had.

I turned this into a Poll, just in case any closet Alivio/Acera/Altus/SRAM x.4 users want to say something nice about components that are supposed to suck ;-) Please vote, it is private, results could be interesting.

cheers
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Old 09-12-07, 07:41 AM   #15
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Obviously, the lower level stuff works - and works well. If you are a "bang for the buck" guy, this is the stuff for you. The more expensive stuff is better - there is no question. However, there is also a diminishing return the farther you go up the component food chain.

... Brad
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Old 09-12-07, 07:58 AM   #16
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I think its more "how" you ride and not "what" you ride. I had a bike with Acera/Acera drivetrain and I took so/so care of it, and rode easy/medium XC trails, and a lot of road on it. It worked fine, I've always taken care to ease up on the pedals when shifting (pedal hard, use momentum to slow down pedaling while coasting, shift, continue pedaling) with practice it's easy to do on relatively steep hills. My bike now has an Acera/Deore drivetrain, the deore rd has required fewer adjustments but other than that they seem to perform the same. (Acera adjust every 200-300 miles, Deore was last adjusted 700 miles ago and is still working)

My wife however... had a bike that had Acera/Acera drivetrain, and she always shifts very hard, she shifts while pedaling hard up a hill or pedaling hard to maintain speed, so her shifting sounds like "CLICK CLICK KA-TINK!!". I tried to show her how to go easy on it but she either refuses or doesn't get it, I'm not sure. But the Acera/Acera wouldn't stand up to the abuse, needed constant adjustment, shifted into the spoke protector a few times, and eventually broke. Her current bike has LX/XTR drivetrain, which is doing great under the abuse so far, hasn't needed adjustment in about 300 miles, but I'm sure will eventually fail if it continues.

by the way my dad's old Hardrock has Altus/Altus and friction shifters, never had a problem with his
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Old 09-12-07, 08:17 AM   #17
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No problem, but, you still have live human beings designing Alivio and they must take some pride in their work, don't you think? The point of my original question: is it possible the engineers truly believe Alivio is crap?

Also, re: your caution to stay away from Alivio, can you explain why?

thx
No they believe its a lower end component that works perfectly for a slightly lesser rider. The riders on here are pushing the bikes and components higher than this part was really designed for and thats why these riders say it "sucks"
If you found a casual rider on a MUP with an alivio they probably have no problems with it and think its wonderful and would recomend it to any of their friends.
Its the riders working a lesser component beyond what it's engineered for.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:48 AM   #18
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Just yesterday, I started experiencing shifting problems with my rear derailleur alivio. I had the bike since Friday, so I'm still learning how to ease the shifting and don't pedal hard when shifting. I think i broked it though because it's always making noises now.
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Old 09-12-07, 09:56 AM   #19
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I think your cables have stretched and you need to turn the barrel adjuster out a bit and it will work fine.
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Old 09-12-07, 10:02 AM   #20
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Just yesterday, I started experiencing shifting problems with my rear derailleur alivio. I had the bike since Friday, so I'm still learning how to ease the shifting and don't pedal hard when shifting. I think i broked it though because it's always making noises now.
Its probably out of adjustment... Cable might have come loose...?
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Old 09-12-07, 10:06 AM   #21
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My GF's Hardrock Comp has Alivio and I wasn't to happy about this component group...since its 8 speed for the money I paid. But it seems to be doing great. I test rode the bike and I was surprised how well it shifted.
For her riding level, I think its great; she is learning to ride... But as soon as something brakes, I'm going to XTR... Even though its overkill for her and my riding style...the savings in weight and performance is worth it!!!
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Old 09-12-07, 10:23 AM   #22
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Pete’s pictures demonstrate that XT is quite durable
You mean XTR.




I had an LX rear der. that lasted a few months on my XLT. Then X.9 with maybe a few more months than the LX.

My XT has been kickin for well over twice that and still laterally rigid. I don't bang them on rocks and I don't lay my bikes down on them. The LX parallelogram linkage got loose, and the X.9 main pivot developed alot of play.

I think there's a definate advantage in the XT level of componentry.

Oh yeah...I forgot. My super-duper PG990 red ano cassette lasted me around 5 months. My XT lasted well over a year. I check my chain growth and clean/lube religiously.

I'm not a SRAM fan. I'm beginning to derail here...


Yes, XT over Alivio any day.
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