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How important is the RD in the overall shifting performance?

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How important is the RD in the overall shifting performance?

Old 06-19-11, 08:30 PM
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HazeT
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How important is the RD in the overall shifting performance?

I just bought a bike that came with the magnificent Shimano Altus group , while it's enough for my needs "towing kid around", I wanted to try the hype of SRAM and see how does it works. I heard it requires less cabling, never misses a shift, shifts quicker, more reliable, can work even if you forget to put the cables, weights less then 1g... you know, all the things you can read around. I just got a pair of X7 shifters on ebay for cheap now I need the RD, cassette and chain. From the Altus group you can figure out that the bike also have a cheap frame and probably not worth of upgrades so I'm looking to spend the least.
So back to my question, if I go with the X7 shifters and a 9sp X4 RD, am I going to be missing anything in the SRAM Hype experience? or should it perform as good as a pair of X7's? I've always heard that it's the snifter that matters and the RD is of little importance. What do you think?
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Old 06-19-11, 08:48 PM
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as far as derailleurs go, the front is not as important as the rear. the rear is a big deal.

keep in mind...it's not just one component that makes anything good or not, it's the whole shebang. yes, a rear derailleur is very important in shifting, if it's bent, if it's off, shifting sucks and it's horrible. but companies make their stuff to work with their stuff. just getting an awesome derailleur or just getting an awesome shifter won't necessarily work as smooth or awesome as it was intended unless you get the whole system, which was made to work together.

getting a shifter and a rear derailleur should feel a bit better, of course it will be even better with the right chain (some chains are directional dependent and meant to work with the little lips that help catch it and move it up and down the cassette) and the right cassette (some cassettes have little grooves to help the chain move, more shifting points than other cassettes) etc etc.

still, a good shifter should work better than a not as good shifter. will you notice the difference? will you care? that depends on how (i hate to use the phrase but i'm gonna) "in tune" (ugh, i used the phrase) with the bike you are.

not sure if that answered your question...i hope it helped a little.

Last edited by pablosnazzy; 06-19-11 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 06-19-11, 11:09 PM
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I don't have any experience with SRAM, but I have seen how a rd can change things. I had an *ahem* GMC Denali with its sora level components. I was having tons of trouble keeping it shifting like I wanted. I got an old ultegra rd from a friend that came of a ss conversion he was doing. I threw that thing on and found a whole new world. This derailer was at least 15 years old when I got it, but it worked like a champ. No more problems shifting issues. This was about 5 years ago and that sora/ultegra combo is still going strong. Long story short, even a low-end shifter can be made nice by a good derailer.
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Old 06-20-11, 08:36 AM
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FWIW, I have 3 bikes with Alivio drivetrains and have found no reason to upgrade any of them - all perform flawlessly.
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Old 06-21-11, 12:35 PM
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Well, mine is altus not alivio.... and I'm not changing because I need to, it's just because I want to try the SRAM and see if I like or not.
I will buy the 2011 X7 RD and see how it works.

Thanks everybody for the replies.
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Old 06-21-11, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by HazeT View Post
Well, mine is altus not alivio.... and I'm not changing because I need to, it's just because I want to try the SRAM and see if I like or not.
I was simply pointing out that there are mid-range options that perform very well (there are other people reading this besides you). The only glaring difference between SRAM and Shimano is the rear cable-pull ratio which some say, when comparing roughly equivalent groups (eg. X7 to LX), gives SRAM a slight performance edge. I've also heard a lot of people claim that Shimano stuff is generally more durable, so the "hype" as you call it is a combination of marketing and hearsay, neither of which is particularly objective or scientific.

All that said, you are obviously free to try anything you like, I wasn't arguing with you.

Last edited by scyclops; 06-21-11 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 06-22-11, 06:36 AM
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I don't know if the X7 has a different amount of lever action than the X4, but I hate my Sram shifters. It feels like I am going to dislocate my thumb from having to push it so far before it clicks. I am dreaming of SLX or XT right now. I also am not a big fan of all that exposed cable, and "around the corner" plastic stationary "pulley". I guess I'm a Shimano guy, and won't feel satisfied until the Sram is off of my bike. The manufacturers seem to like it so it is spec'd on a LOT of bikes now. Maybe it's cheaper so there's less overhead?,,,,BD
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Old 06-22-11, 08:44 AM
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I'm one of the guys that found Shimano more durable than SRAM, 'clops.


I've owned x.9 for a short while and went back to Shimano b/c the pivot bushing on the X.9 RD prematurely wore out. I installed a complete X.7 group on my friend's ride and it still shifts like madd. SRAM is good stuff, but I prefer Shimano.

I've got XT RD / Shifters / SLX FD on the Komodo.
Deore shifters with a crappy Tourney RD on the Crapper as a 1x9. (broke my old XT RD in mud one day)

As refined as both companies are now, you can't go wrong with either. I think the sweet spot with SRAM is X.7 due to the price/performance ratio. If I'm going to shell out for quality over budget...I'll always go with Shimano XT. It's a workhorse.

Last edited by ed; 06-22-11 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 06-22-11, 04:30 PM
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Yeah, I'm in the Shimano camp myself, if for no other reason than I've always been happy with it, even the cheaper stuff. Matter of fact, I've never even owned a bike with SRAM derailleurs.
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Old 06-22-11, 07:23 PM
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I once had the old SRAM 9.0 stuff with twist shifters...suck. I also had "Gripshift" with an 8spd XT setup before a 10spd roadie hooked up with an 8spd dirt ball to spawn the 9spd love child we all hold so dear.
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Old 06-22-11, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ed View Post
....a 10spd roadie hooked up with an 8spd dirt ball to spawn the 9spd love child we all hold so dear.


Oh, I'm sorry, were you being metaphorical?
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