Getting shifty: 8 or 9 speed old bike options?

Woz

Old School Grand Master
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You could always build a strong wheel with a 7 speed free-hub for 130mm spacing and put 8 out of the 9 speed sprockets on it.

Warning though! There are compact and non-compact 7 speed freehubs, the later will not let you put an 11T sprocket. I think the last iteration of STX-RC 7 speed gruppo was a compact freehub if it helps.
 

legrandefromage

Bin Monkey
BoTM Winner
PoTM Winner
GT Fan
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Drop that shonky Deerhead rear mech! Suntour did well for a reason with their slant paralegrolgramam mechs until Shimano stole the patent/ idea/ purple quality street

9 shifts slicker than 8 simply due to the physics of the cogs being that much closer together and really does feel nicer out and about

Theres plenty of non shimano hardware for chains and cassettes that shift well and look good as well as longevity

Check the frame for chain clearance though as the chain may catch the rear stay in the bottom cog
 

hamster

Retro Wizard
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You could always build a strong wheel with a 7 speed free-hub for 130mm spacing and put 8 out of the 9 speed sprockets on it.

Warning though! There are compact and non-compact 7 speed freehubs, the later will not let you put an 11T sprocket. I think the last iteration of STX-RC 7 speed gruppo was a compact freehub if it helps.
Just done that with an 8-from-9 fro the wife's bike. I ditched the 11T (11-32) and the next cog is 12T and has lockring serrations anyway. Fitted beautifully on a DX hub.
 
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