Upgrade to 1x???

TheAntsPants

Devout Dirtbag
My supply of 8 speed parts is dwindling, especially shifters and derailleurs. I've got a few bikes, all ridden, that I want to keep my remaining 8 speed parts for, so I'm thinking it's time to move on for future builds. New 8 speed shifters stop at about Alfine (???), and used shifters are rare, expensive, low end or in janky condition most of the time round these parts. 8 speed Alfine shifter is AUD49, 12 speed Deore is AUD50!! WTF! :evil:

So, what speed should I be "upgrading" to? I'll need to buy an entire drivetrain to fit on a pre-98 frame (undecided but probably of the rust free persuasion) and freehub, so max 10 speed? I've noticed that only a few models of 9 speed shifters are available new (mostly Sunrace), so are already facing extinction. Considerations are future availability of parts, price, durability, performance, aesthetics... Chain and cassette prices go up as the gears increase...

I could buy a used bike simply to scavenge required parts, but the time, effort and left over unsellable parts does not appeal. I'm happy to hack bits to make parts compatible if that's an option.

What speed? Start hoarding 9? Suck it up with 10? Go straight to 12?! Something else? Oh, and singlespeed is not on the table! ;)
 

legrandefromage

Bin Monkey
BoTM Winner
PoTM Winner
GT Fan
Feedback
View
Obsessing too much? How often do you physically wear out a whole drivetrain or is it just an itch that needs a scratch?

1x systems are the current 'ooh, look at the size of my rear cassette' FoMo moment so if you fear the smirks at your now seemingly oversized chainrings and tiny non mansized cassette, 10x1 is relatively cheap to obtain and can be bought with new parts - SLX and old XT can still be found at reasonable prices with narrow wide chainrings by the million. Cassettes are from whomever at whatever price you could want

If you stay 8spd, use 9spd mechs and chains as they work perfectly with 8spd shifting and cassettes. Just watch out for pointy fingers at your oh so faux pas front mech.
 

greencat

Senior Retro Guru
It's a fair question imo. Especially as it sounds like they are in Australia where parts might be less available or expensive to have shipped to. And it sounds like they have a new frame to equip from scratch.

The parts that wear out most tend to be chains and cassettes - and I reckon you'll be able to keep finding compatible chains & cassettes in 7/8/9/10/11 spd for some time to come. Even modern chainsets/chainrings will work OK with it. There is no reason to expect quality shifters and mechs to not last years if not decades.

Low end or hack bike? I'd probably be looking for low end 7 speed - perhaps even with frictionless shifters. Some of that stuff is bomb proof and lasts practically forever. It's often ugly and heavy though. If you can find some nice second hand mechs/shifters so much the better.

Otherwise, for a new groupset I would go with what's available at decent value. If you can put together a 9/10/11 spd groupset cheaper than 8 spd one - go for that. Personally, I think the sweet spot was 9 speed, but Box components prime 9 set up aside, I think that ship has sailed in terms of easy availability as new.

I've got bikes with 7/9/11 speed set ups in a mix of 3x and 1x
 

TheAntsPants

Devout Dirtbag
Re:

legrandefromage":1xalji6r said:
Obsessing too much? How often do you physically wear out a whole drivetrain or is it just an itch that needs a scratch?
I've been running a 1x8 system for the last 10 odd years, mostly on road, so maybe I'm already a hipsta fashionista ;) . I'm not after massive cogs, and would actually be happiest with max 32 or 34T with 1x9, but like I said, shifters and derailleurs are thin on the ground.

I do go through chains and rings, though that's partly because I rotate stuff to extend their life. I'm currently trying to use 3-4 chainrings and chains per cassette.

Like you say, if I stick with 8 speed, then cassettes, chains and rings will be easy to come by, but shifters and derailleurs not. I've come to the conclusion that 8 speed is no longer sustainable in the long run unless you have spare shifters and derailleurs.

I'm after quality and reliability, not bling, but not bargain bin either. It looks like I have the choice of rummaging through fleabay for 9 speed shifters and derailleurs or splashing out on 10+ gears.
 

hamster

Retro Wizard
Feedback
View
As 8 and 9 speed derailleurs are identical, this only comes down to shifters.
A 1x setup has generally bigger jumps between gears AND a narrower range. Decide if that matters. I reckon you can get the same as 1x10 with a well-chosen 2x7, with the added advantage of less wheel dish and longer drivetrain life.

Up to you.
 

brocklanders023

Retrobike Rider
Gold Trader
Feedback
View
Re:

If stick with Shimano you can go up to 11sp on 'normal' rear hubs. If you're going 1x you may as well go all the way to 11 as the price difference shouldn't be huge at Deore/SLX level.

Another option is 2x 11sp. It was never popular due to 1x so could be picked up[ very cheaply (although the locust swarm due to Covid seems to have gobbled up most parts).
 

brocklanders023

Retrobike Rider
Gold Trader
Feedback
View
Re:

I should also add that I'm on 1x11 as it came on my current bike. It's not the 'upgrade' it's made out to be IMO, just another system. If my next bike went back to 2x that'd be fine as both set up's work with + and - for both.
 

legrandefromage

Bin Monkey
BoTM Winner
PoTM Winner
GT Fan
Feedback
View
A friend has fitted a 1x10 to a spare frame and even with a 36t ring he runs out of ratios - however, he does say its the perfect woods bike.
 

Mikey08

Kona Fan
If modern 1 x 8 drivetrain with a clutch mech is something your interested in then check out Box Components and Microshift. Also Sunrace do a wide range 8 speed cassette.
 

TheAntsPants

Devout Dirtbag
hamster":17u9qk4w said:
As 8 and 9 speed derailleurs are identical, this only comes down to shifters.
Good point! I'd forgotten that.

brocklanders023":17u9qk4w said:
If stick with Shimano you can go up to 11sp on 'normal' rear hubs. If you're going 1x you may as well go all the way to 11 as the price difference shouldn't be huge at Deore/SLX level.
Well, here are the price ranges I get (in GBP to make it more relatable for you folk) from SJS, ignoring the very cheapest and most expensive options. Keep in mind you'd buy multiple chains for one cassette and cheap ebay chainrings are compatible across all speeds. I suppose whether you think the difference is cheap or not depends on your budget and how much you ride.

9 Speed

Chain 13-20
Cassette 19-45
Total £32-65

10 Speed
Chain 18-28
Cassette 30-50
Total £48-78

11 Speed
Chain 20-30
Cassette 65-75
Total £85-105

brocklanders023":17u9qk4w said:
I should also add that I'm on 1x11 as it came on my current bike. It's not the 'upgrade' it's made out to be IMO, just another system. If my next bike went back to 2x that'd be fine as both set up's work with + and - for both.

I do like the clean lines and weight savings of a 1x system, so I'm set on that. I might leave this cassette number decision to the ebay gods. If a suitable 9 speed shifter comes my way in time, I'll go 9, otherwise get a whole new 10 speed assembly.
 
Top