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Altus vs ARX

Old 09-08-16, 08:35 AM
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Fahrenheit531 
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Altus vs ARX

The stock Shimano Altus shift setup on my Voyageur 11.8 is tolerable. Unfortunately I've developed a real preference for better-than-tolerable, so I'm looking at other options. I have some mid-80s ARX waiting for the right bike (both derailleurs and the auto-trim shifters), and since the Voyageur has clamp-on shifters the switch would be painless from an installation standpoint.

Would I see a real difference in performance if I swapped them out, or would it be more of a lateral move?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-08-16, 08:47 AM
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...when you set it up, did you use stainless die drawn cables, plastic lined index cable housings, and a spiffy KMC X-plate chain ? If so, it ought to shift pretty crisply. Anyway, my own Altus stuff shifts cleanly, and I'd try to improve those things before I started swapping.

ARX is pretty good stuff, too. And as you are doubtless aware, newer (technologically speaking).
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Old 09-08-16, 09:06 AM
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I would also say you should consider upgrading the chain, cables and likely freewheel also before you start swapping components. That being said the ARX is a nicer DR and would likely improve shifting some, the main difference spec wise between the Atlus and ARX stuff is in weight which wont't have any real effect on something like Voyager.
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Old 09-08-16, 09:21 AM
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Thanks for the quick replies!

Can't say for sure on "stainless, die-drawn" ninja cables, although they came from the LBS and those guys know I don't want crap stuff on my bikes so I'd give a tentative yes on that. Chain (Shimano, not KMX) and housing are both new and good.

And as I said, the Altus shifts well enough. Perhaps I'm imagining it's less than it is because the ARX has been hanging around for a while and I'm finally in a situation where it's a viable option. Everything else that's come through here has had braze-on shifters and was a no-go for the top-mount ARX shifter assembly.

I'll give it another assessment on my commute today. Throw in a bunch of unnecessary shifts or something. haha
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Old 09-08-16, 09:23 AM
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Get a modern freewheel, if you don't have one already. It a great equalizer.
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Old 09-08-16, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by fender1 View Post
Get a modern freewheel, if you don't have one already. It a great equalizer.
Yes, modern freewheels paired with a modern chain are amazing. I always agonize over a new bike with a nice vintage freewheel knowing a new freewheel will be so much better shifting.
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Old 09-08-16, 11:59 AM
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I suspect this is going to be more of a lateral move. The slant parallelogram and auto-trim of the ARX is mitigated by the sprung B-pivot and Centeron pully of the Altus. From a practical standpoint, the Altus has a cable adjuster and a much easier cable routing. The ARx cable mounting bolts also have a reputation for being prone to stripping.

However, for optimum friction shifting, I'd use one of Shimano's slant parallelogram SIS compatible derailleurs and run it with a Hyperglide compatible freewheel and chain.
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Old 09-08-16, 12:09 PM
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Since you already have it- throw it on there and make up your own mind!

Worst it *might* cost you is a cable and an end cap, but you might be able to re-use either or both.

I still have an AR that was on my World Sport and then had it on my Raleigh- I haven't had a project for it in a while- but that thing was great.
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Old 09-08-16, 12:45 PM
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Both are equally Meh.
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Old 09-08-16, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaphod Beeblebrox View Post
Both are equally Meh.
+1

Seek a Suntour Cyclone and yee shall be shifting happily ever after.
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Old 09-08-16, 02:36 PM
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ARX is good as far as derailleurs go, but I could never get used to the auto-trim shifters when I had them on my NIshiki Olympic 12. Great concept but it just doesn't work as well as the promise. It puts the shifters above the downtube instead of on each side of it always felt awkward to me, and hard to locate by feel.
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Old 09-08-16, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by zukahn1 View Post
I would also say you should consider upgrading the chain, cables and likely freewheel also before you start swapping components. That being said the ARX is a nicer DR and would likely improve shifting some, the main difference spec wise between the Atlus and ARX stuff is in weight which wont't have any real effect on something like Voyager.
Agreed, a modern design freewheel, chain and a Suntour Cyclone derailleur will make a significant difference in shifting.
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Old 09-08-16, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Zaphod Beeblebrox View Post
Both are equally Meh.
Clear. Concise. Equal parts informative and hilarious.
...Thread closed! hahahaha
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