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10 spd vs 9 longevity, who has experience with both to comment

Old 04-15-15, 09:34 PM
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10 spd vs 9 longevity, who has experience with both to comment

When I think of the next bike I will buy or build up, I do wonder if any of you have noticed a diff in drivetrain life from 9 to 10. I wonder because more and more 10 spd stuff if pretty standard (Tiagra has been 10 for a few years now) and my feeling is that given the same riding and maintenance by me, 10 is probably not really diff than 9, and I like the idea of getting an extra useful cog in the deal.

It also seems that prices of 10 spd stuff is fairly reasonable also, so if any of you have experience with 10, how has it been compared to 9?

Over the last 25 years or so, I've ridden 7spd, still ride a 8sp and 9sp, and it seems to me that even when comparing 7 to 9, I still get about the same life out of chains, easily 5000km or more.

I realize drivetrain maintenance is the kicker here, and I don't think I'd go 10 for a far flung trip, but even then I wonder about that because mtn bikes come with 10 a lot now so the parts are out there (middle of nowhere Ubekistan would be diff than major cities in N America, Europe or even some of Latin America).

I'm curious to hear how your experiences have been with 10, thanks
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Old 04-16-15, 04:02 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
Over the last 25 years or so, I've ridden 7spd, still ride a 8sp and 9sp, and it seems to me that even when comparing 7 to 9, I still get about the same life out of chains, easily 5000km or more.

I realize drivetrain maintenance is the kicker here.

I'm curious to hear how your experiences have been with 10, thanks
I think you do a remarkable job of maintnining your chain, and 10 speed shouldn't be a problem. I used to tour with 9 speed, and I was happy with slightly <3,500km. with my chain. Maintainance was mediocre. I still have a 26" full load tour bike with 9 speed. I haven't toured with 10 speed, but I intend to do so. I regular ride my road bikes with 10 speed, and I was nerveous at first about the durability of the chain. My fear was unfounded. I religiously clean and oil my chain every day that I ride, and this has paid off. I now have GT Grade Alloy 105 that has won my heart, and it has 11 speed. So far, the chain has shown good durability. I'll definitely use it for light touring, which is really my touring style.

Last edited by wheelinthai; 04-16-15 at 04:07 AM.
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Old 04-16-15, 07:46 AM
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I probably keep my chains cleaner than I did 20-25 years ago, but for the last 15 at least, I just use rags regularly to wipe down excess chain oil and when I do apply oil I do the "one drop per link" thing so there isnt too much excess all over everywhere, and I rewipe quickly often too.
*All that said, I do ride in rain but not that much on dirt roads, so I think my mileage is a reflection of general good riding conditions and not minding doing regular wipedowns of stuff and "flossing" of cassettes. I do this for all the bikes in the household so I have it down pretty fast, so while I do it often, I do it quickly (ie, Im not someone who takes their chain off to clean it)

Also I'm a slight fellow and not very strong plus I don't mash gears, so I don't put a lot of force on a drivetrain.

I do realise there is the 10 mtn bike cable pull issue vs road stuff issue to deal with, but I do see there are work arounds (thanks to posts on here about SRAM). I still think if I were to do a trip in Latin America or somewhere, I still might stay with 9 speed, but this thread is more about me mulling about 10 becoming more and more common on lots of bikes. My feeling is that not many people on this forum use 10, but I figured I'd put this out there anyway.
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Old 04-16-15, 08:19 AM
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It's a myth that the newer chains for more cogs wear faster than the older ones. The wear parts are the rollers and pins, and they aren't really any smaller as far as wear area, just narrower. The metallurgy of the chain is much more important. The same is probably true of the cogs. I've had 9 and 10-speed stuff, and never noticed a difference. I replaced fewer chains when I was riding 8-speed, but I didn't ride nearly as much and it was more of a burden then to pay for a new chain.

Personally I don't even try to keep track of how many miles I get out of a chain. I replace it when it is worn out and otherwise I don't think about it. I just can't bring myself to care.
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Old 04-16-15, 08:21 AM
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Got Less miles from 10 spd chains compared to 9 spds.
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Old 04-16-15, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
When I think of the next bike I will buy or build up, I do wonder if any of you have noticed a diff in drivetrain life from 9 to 10. I wonder because more and more 10 spd stuff if pretty standard (Tiagra has been 10 for a few years now) and my feeling is that given the same riding and maintenance by me, 10 is probably not really diff than 9, and I like the idea of getting an extra useful cog in the deal.

It also seems that prices of 10 spd stuff is fairly reasonable also, so if any of you have experience with 10, how has it been compared to 9?

Over the last 25 years or so, I've ridden 7spd, still ride a 8sp and 9sp, and it seems to me that even when comparing 7 to 9, I still get about the same life out of chains, easily 5000km or more.

I realize drivetrain maintenance is the kicker here, and I don't think I'd go 10 for a far flung trip, but even then I wonder about that because mtn bikes come with 10 a lot now so the parts are out there (middle of nowhere Ubekistan would be diff than major cities in N America, Europe or even some of Latin America).

I'm curious to hear how your experiences have been with 10, thanks
In my experience with my 10 speed drivetrain, I definitely get less miles vs 9 speed. And that's considering all else being equal that I treated both drivetrains the same way with the same care.

A couple of things you need to consider before you jump into 10 speed. Starting with 10 speed, you have to match chain with the specific drivetrains. If you have a Shimano 10 speed cassette, you have to use specifically a Shimano 10 speed chain to have it shift properly. If not, it will either shift ok or terrible. It's not much use to you touring if you've got only a few gears accessible. Likewise with SRAM. And it has to be a matching system to fully work smoothly. This is not the case with 9 speed. And despite Tiagra having 10 speed, the cassette and chain are still more expensive than 9 speed. For touring purposes, I would say 9 speed is perfectly fine. The 1 extra cog benefit is when you have a 36T rather than a 34T, but you can get a 12-36 HG400 9 speed cassette but you need to use a specific Shimano hub designed to take on the extra torque while using 36T. I never did upgrade to that hub and it seemed to work just fine with my road touring bike with a normal sealed god knows whatever name brand hub.
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Old 04-16-15, 09:19 AM
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1/8" bushing chains are really long wearing Im using a bushed 3/32" Whipperman on my Rohloff and Sturmey IG hubs

Derrailleur bike a Sedisport was what I used , [ 7 speed freewheel-Phil Hub ] 1 chain per tour (3 months )

Touring IMO, It's the gear ratio range that matters not the speeds count 8 should be fine for the Cassette crowd.

^^ the above .. steel Driver _ nothing light and fancy.

Chain parts thinner= less bearing surface to share the wear, FYI.

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Old 04-16-15, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by pacificcyclist
If you have a Shimano 10 speed cassette, you have to use specifically a Shimano 10 speed chain to have it shift properly. If not, it will either shift ok or terrible.
My Salsa Vaya (3x10) shipped with a KMC X10 chain (not Shimano) and it shifts just as well as my full-Shimano 6800 road bike. Perhaps you mean a chain designed specifically for Shimano's 10-sp gears (agreed), rather than only a Shimano chain
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Old 04-16-15, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by fourfa
My Salsa Vaya (3x10) shipped with a KMC X10 chain (not Shimano) and it shifts just as well as my full-Shimano 6800 road bike. Perhaps you mean a chain designed specifically for Shimano's 10-sp gears (agreed), rather than only a Shimano chain
Thanks for making it clear. It's for the Shimano 11-36 Dynasys SLX cassette that I'm using on my Masi's 2x10 drivetrain that you need a Shimano specific 10 speed chain. I've tried the KMC and all makes and while they work, they shift poorly under severe load climbing steep hills loaded with gear. My Masi came stock with a Tiagra rear cassette and KMC x10 chain and that worked good but gearing too high. Shimano has a 10 speed chain that now works with SLX cassette and is cheaper and price similar with KMC x10, but not a lot of shops like to carry that particular type. Most shops in my area are catered towards the higher end crowd and want Ultegra/SLX quality chain, whereas the 9 speed SRAM and KMC chains can be had universally at cheaper prices and abundance in quantity which is why my 29er off-road touring bike is equipped with 9 speed.
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Old 04-16-15, 12:04 PM
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I debated 8 vs 9 speed when I built up my first touring bike over 10 years ago. I went with 8 speed. I was so happy with it that six years later when I built up another touring bike, I went with an identical drive train. I have never seen a need to try the 9 speed, ... or the 10 speed, ... ... or the 11 speed, ... ... ... or are they up to 12 yet? I buy the cheapest KMC chains, I replace at 0.75 percent stretch instead of waiting for a full 1 percent. Works well for me.

I toured the Pacific Coast last summer with a friend. He was running 7 speed on his Titanium frame bike.
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Old 04-16-15, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I debated 8 vs 9 speed when I built up my first touring bike over 10 years ago. I went with 8 speed. I was so happy with it that six years later when I built up another touring bike, I went with an identical drive train. I have never seen a need to try the 9 speed, ... or the 10 speed, ... ... or the 11 speed, ... ... ... or are they up to 12 yet? I buy the cheapest KMC chains, I replace at 0.75 percent stretch instead of waiting for a full 1 percent. Works well for me.

I toured the Pacific Coast last summer with a friend. He was running 7 speed on his Titanium frame bike.
Functionally speaking, especially if one runs a triple up front, 8 speed is fine, maybe even ideal. But nowadays, 8-speed parts are becoming scarce in the aftermarket, whereas there is a glut of 9-speed, as people move up to 10 and 11 speed. So, if you were to do a build now, I believe that you would find that 9-speed is cheaper than 8-speed, and MUCH cheaper than 10-speed, strictly due to supply and demand.
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Old 04-16-15, 12:23 PM
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A few of you have said less with 10, would any of you hazard a guess to how much less--10%, 25% 50%? If not a huge diff, I have no problem living with that. In terms of cost, I'd be happy with a bonus cog that fits in between somewhere and if I spend the cost of an additional chain once every few years, it's really not an issue.

So any takers on a guesstimate?
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Old 04-16-15, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by pacificcyclist
If you have a Shimano 10 speed cassette, you have to use specifically a Shimano 10 speed chain to have it shift properly. If not, it will either shift ok or terrible.
My experience is different. After using up whatever Shimano chain might come with a group set, I've always changed over to KMC X10 series chains. They shift as good or better on Shimano Ultegra and Dura Ace cassettes which is mostly what i run.

I'm not really sure about wear. I jumped from 7 speed SIS on the downtube, to 9 speed Dura Ace very briefly and now have a bunch of 105, Ultegra or Dura Ace 10 speed bikes in my family. I dont' track chain wear or mileage, I just change them when they start to measure long.
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Old 04-16-15, 12:44 PM
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First post in touring... OP, if you can discern a "quality of riding" equation that answers the question, "Is the possible extra life of a 9-speed chain of greater value to an extra gear in my touring?" I'd love to see it. Because, unless I'm mistaken, that's the crux of your interest. Haha

Seeing as you're a light fella and are spinning your gears, couldn't you use an extra gear somewhere in the middle? I could almost always use an extra climbing gear. There is a ancillary benefit of having the extra gear in the rear where grabbing for one last gear is helpful.
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Old 04-16-15, 01:03 PM
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Cale, not sure if you saw this in the roadie dept, but here maybe is an answer of the "why", not quantified though... Sorry

" I have toured with 6, 7,8 and 9. The more cogs the merrier for me, when riding a70lb bike, big jumps between shifts are a right pain in the keester--been there done that, and have embraced happily going up one each time. Riding 9 for five years has had no less durability or functionality issues for me whatsoever, except for enjoying wider spread range and or closer jumps.

And I ain't getting any younger, hence thinking of another cog to play with.
For instance I really like a 9 SPD 12-27, and the 10 SPD 12-30 has the same cogs but with the 30 added on. Use a crank like a 48/36/24 and the ten spd 12-30 would make a nice setup. "

I would add that yes, an extra cog in the mid area would be great. If I used a 44/34/22 with the aforementioned 12-30 ten spd, there would be a really nice 12-13-14-15 bit that would get used a lot in the 34 ring (around 15 to 25kph range I reckon. I ride a 42/32/22 and am in the 32 on the 12 14 16 cogs a lot. With a 22 granny and a 30t with 26x1.5 tires, it would be a bit under 19 gear inches, throw on a20 and it would be lower.
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Old 04-16-15, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by andr0id
My experience is different. After using up whatever Shimano chain might come with a group set, I've always changed over to KMC X10 series chains. They shift as good or better on Shimano Ultegra and Dura Ace cassettes which is mostly what i run.

I'm not really sure about wear. I jumped from 7 speed SIS on the downtube, to 9 speed Dura Ace very briefly and now have a bunch of 105, Ultegra or Dura Ace 10 speed bikes in my family. I dont' track chain wear or mileage, I just change them when they start to measure long.
Shimano 10 speed road and mountain cassettes while having the same spacing both require a different chain. From Shimano manual; 10 speed road chains are different from 10 speed mountain (Dyna-sys) chains. The Dyna-Sys chain is a directional chain that is made to shift better with 10 speed mountain drivetrains. I run the 10 speed Dynasys mountain bike cassette and yes I've tried the KMC x10 chain because the original Tiagra cassette came with the KMC x10. It was cheaper compared to the only available Dyna-sys XT chain (which is a weak chain). But at last, the KMC did not work too well when shifting under severe load. It's a touring bike and it takes a load and goes up a steep hill. I need the 34T and 36T cog rather than 23T or 30T max on a road cassette. I wasted so much time fiddling with it 2 years ago so I decided to stick with Shimano. Today, the new cheaper HG54 Deore Dynasys compatible 10 speed directional chain which is the same price or sometimes cheaper than the KMC x10 is what I'm using now on my 2x10 drive train and is widely available at least where I live, but don't know if it's widely available elsewhere. I know the XT version is popular and available in most mountain bike shops.

I apologize if I didn't make it clear in the first place.

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Old 04-16-15, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
I do realise there is the 10 mtn bike cable pull issue vs road stuff issue to deal with, but I do see there are work arounds (thanks to posts on here about SRAM). I still think if I were to do a trip in Latin America or somewhere, I still might stay with 9 speed, but this thread is more about me mulling about 10 becoming more and more common on lots of bikes. My feeling is that not many people on this forum use 10, but I figured I'd put this out there anyway.
If you were to use mtb cassette with mtb RD, you can make it work with 10 speed STI shifters. You just need the 9 speed RD from Shimano.
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Old 04-16-15, 02:12 PM
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New to ten terminology but that's a pain to have to keep track of which specific chain----but that said, even on a very steep hill loaded, I still shift as I always have, with a well timed back off of pedal pressure, essentially I never shift under load proper so perhaps not an issue. (And I suspect another factor of drivetrain life for me over the years)
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Old 04-16-15, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
Cale, not sure if you saw this in the roadie dept, but here maybe is an answer of the "why", not quantified though... Sorry

" I have toured with 6, 7,8 and 9. The more cogs the merrier for me, when riding a70lb bike, big jumps between shifts are a right pain in the keester--been there done that, and have embraced happily going up one each time. Riding 9 for five years has had no less durability or functionality issues for me whatsoever, except for enjoying wider spread range and or closer jumps.

And I ain't getting any younger, hence thinking of another cog to play with.
For instance I really like a 9 SPD 12-27, and the 10 SPD 12-30 has the same cogs but with the 30 added on. Use a crank like a 48/36/24 and the ten spd 12-30 would make a nice setup. "

I would add that yes, an extra cog in the mid area would be great. If I used a 44/34/22 with the aforementioned 12-30 ten spd, there would be a really nice 12-13-14-15 bit that would get used a lot in the 34 ring (around 15 to 25kph range I reckon. I ride a 42/32/22 and am in the 32 on the 12 14 16 cogs a lot. With a 22 granny and a 30t with 26x1.5 tires, it would be a bit under 19 gear inches, throw on a20 and it would be lower.
We're of a similar mind. I don't know the answer to the chain question except that thinner chains do appear to be of lighter weight and strength. I've never read or heard a sensible argument for why it should be otherwise. Of course, a key issue is "of like quality". (Can of worms if you ask me. Haha)

I have the Tiagra 12-30 10 speed group set on my latest build though it is presently a general purpose bike, not a touring machine. So I have it matched with a compact double. My carbon Kuota has a 9-speed 12-24 group with a 30/39/52 crankset. Very nice. Triples can fashion up all sorts of gearing solutions but they can't add that super easy "fine tuning" step when your want to give or take a little less.

Last edited by cale; 04-18-15 at 09:52 PM. Reason: add clarification
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Old 04-16-15, 03:22 PM
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It's been my (non-touring) experience that 10-speed chains wear out faster than 9-speed chains. My first modern touring bike was a 9-speed and I was disappointed with the chain-life I was getting so I switched to 8-speed for my custom build --> much better.

I have no idea if its due to metallurgy, shifting, cross-chaining, or whatever, but my experience indicates that there is a mileage difference.

Additionally one irrefutable difference --> the replacement cost.
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Old 04-16-15, 03:33 PM
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Around here, a good 8 chain , kmc I think I got last time, was about $15, medium quality 9 speeds are about 25 or 30 I think. I know folks tell of much cheaper prices but that tends to be online and in the States, stuff is more expensive here. I know chains come in diff qualities, but the SRAM 1031 ten spd is about 30 bucks here.
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Old 04-16-15, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
Around here, a good 8 chain , kmc I think I got last time, was about $15, medium quality 9 speeds are about 25 or 30 I think. I know folks tell of much cheaper prices but that tends to be online and in the States, stuff is more expensive here. I know chains come in diff qualities, but the SRAM 1031 ten spd is about 30 bucks here.
Online prices are cheaper.
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Old 04-17-15, 10:50 AM
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My 8sp chains last about 25% longer than my 10sp chains and cost half as much. That's a pretty good value. However, good 8sp cassettes are hard (and getting harder) to find, especially if you want more than 32t. If you don't mind 11-30 or 11-32 range and a heavier (i.e. lower end) cassette, then there are still plenty to be found. If I were to build a new tourer today, I'd choose 10sp if I planned to stay in the developed world, or 8sp (maybe 9sp) if going off the beaten track.
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Old 04-17-15, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jeffpoulin
My 8sp chains last about 25% longer than my 10sp chains and cost half as much. That's a pretty good value. However, good 8sp cassettes are hard (and getting harder) to find, especially if you want more than 32t. If you don't mind 11-30 or 11-32 range and a heavier (i.e. lower end) cassette, then there are still plenty to be found. If I were to build a new tourer today, I'd choose 10sp if I planned to stay in the developed world, or 8sp (maybe 9sp) if going off the beaten track.
thanks. The last time I replaced the chain and cassette on my old 8spd mtn bike commuter, I was able to find a 11-28 that I had on it before, but as you say, 11-32s are popular because a lot of 8 spd hybrids came with that not too many years ago (my wifes old hybrid has this). I tend to agree with you on your take on the intended use vis-a-vis 10vs9vs8 and I would go more with 9 for off the beaten track.

Like I said, the actual cost of chains isnt a big big issue. I always think along the lines that if you dont use your car for just a few weeks and commute by bike, you've saved enough money not buying gas to buy a lot of chains...I've just been curious because I havent used 10 and none of my biking friends do either, so wanted to hear some experiences of forum members who do.
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Old 04-17-15, 01:05 PM
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Now there still are 8 speed bikes the cassettes are steel so model strata does not Matter.
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