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Old 07-12-10, 10:26 PM
  #1  
jmaher
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I have an old style Birdy Red with a Alivio 8 speed. Shifting isnít as smooth as it once was and I am thinking about an upgrade. As far as I can see I really only have two choices unless I want to replace the rear wheel and both of them require staying with an 8 speed.

First option Ė find an old (but new old stock) LX Deore 8 speed SGS Derailleur and switch to an 8 speed older Sram twist shift or 9 speed Shimano rapid fire shifters. I canít find any older XT or XTR options at a reasonable cost.

2nd Option Ė use a new Sram x.9 derailleur (these state they are 8/9 speed) and use a Scram 4.0 or 7.0 8 speed shifter.

In either case I would also replace the 8 speed cassette with a new one and a new 8 speed chain.

Any thoughts? The Sram option seems to use newer technology but would that make it better?

I have done a little building of other bikes but I am really a novice. Either process doesnít sound too hard but will I see a benefit? And which would be the best alternative? Any one with any experience feel free to chime in.

Thanks in advance.

Jim
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Old 07-12-10, 11:31 PM
  #2  
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You can fit a 9 spd cassette on your wheel if you want to drop 8 speed. The derailleur doesn't know how many speeds the cassette is so use any with the capacity you need to manage your chainrings. You'll need to use the correct shifter for the cassette you go with as well as the correct [8 or 9 spd] chain.

Any modern setup 8 or 9 speed will work well for you...if your existing parts look like they are in good shape it may only be a matter of new cables and adjustment to get crisp shifting again.

https://sheldonbrown.com/speeds.html
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Old 07-13-10, 07:16 AM
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Vik,

Thanks for the link - I have read through it. When I took the bike to my local shop they told me that the wheel would not take a 9 speed cassette as it was built for 8 speed and that it was missing the spacer that would be been included to allow for to fit a 9 speed by removing the spacer. IN short that there wasn't room to fit a 9 speed.

I may start with new cables but am curious how much improvement (if any?) that I would see with higher grade parts.

Jim
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Old 07-13-10, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jmaher View Post
Vik,

Thanks for the link - I have read through it. When I took the bike to my local shop they told me that the wheel would not take a 9 speed cassette as it was built for 8 speed and that it was missing the spacer that would be been included to allow for to fit a 9 speed by removing the spacer. IN short that there wasn't room to fit a 9 speed.

I may start with new cables but am curious how much improvement (if any?) that I would see with higher grade parts.

Jim
Curious, an 8spd cluster takes up the same space on the freehub as a 9spd .. I've done the 9spd in place of 8spd many times .. on the Birdy, if you do change rear derailleur for something like a SRAM X-9, you need the long cage version to be able to wrap enough chain when folding to keep the chain on the chainwheel... if it were me, and the bug had bit, I'd swap in a 9spd cluster, 9spd chain, long cage X-9 derailleur, and X-9 thumb shifter... but if you are just after crisper shifting, I'd start with the cable (lube, routing, no kinks), then a decent 8spd thumb shifter.
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Old 07-13-10, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by jmaher View Post
Vik,

Thanks for the link - I have read through it. When I took the bike to my local shop they told me that the wheel would not take a 9 speed cassette as it was built for 8 speed and that it was missing the spacer that would be been included to allow for to fit a 9 speed by removing the spacer. IN short that there wasn't room to fit a 9 speed.

I may start with new cables but am curious how much improvement (if any?) that I would see with higher grade parts.

Jim
Well I'd say give the 9spd a shot trying should take 60 secs if you can find someone who's got some basic bike tools...if it doesn't work then you know for sure. I've never heard of a spacer that would not let you use a 9spd, but I'm not a pro bike mechanic.

As far as how would new parts improve your shifting?...

- if your current parts are fine then it's quite possible new cables/adjustment would be all the potential improvement you'll see and new parts on top of that won't add anything.

- if your existing parts are worn out/damaged/really dirty then new parts could add some significant improvements.

If you replace the cables/housing and adjust the existing equipment.....also clean it if it's dirty....you'll know part of the answer and the new cables/housing can be used if you decide to install new parts...and I wouldn't install new parts without new cables/housing.
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Old 07-13-10, 10:25 AM
  #6  
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Well - as Bruce and Vik both seem confident that a 9 speed will work I am going to price out the X9 option and see if I can find a good deal on the parts. Apparently I caught the bug.

Jim
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Old 07-13-10, 12:07 PM
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Dropout spread went to 130 for 8 speed cog when 7 was not enough, 9 just compressed the stack so stayed with 130.
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Old 07-13-10, 06:01 PM
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My Birdy (Alivio technically) needs regular cleaning of the rear-most section of cable housing, and it restores like-new shifting.

1. Remove rear housing section, squirt in WD-40. Wait. Blow out.
2. Wipe inner clean with rag soaked in WD-40.
3. Reassemble.
4. Enjoy as-new shifting.
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