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doctorfrau
02-17-2004, 03:57 PM
I'm in the process of road bike shopping, and I'd like to know if there is a major difference between the 8-speed cassette and the 9-speed cassette? There seems to be a major price-jump to get those extra 3 "gears", and I'm wondering if it is worth it.

Problem is, I live in West Virginia (the state), so there are lots of hills and mountains to haul my butt up- no matter which road bike I decide on. I definitely need a triple ring set, but will 24 speeds be enough, or should I cough up the cash for 27?

Does it really help? Are those other three on the "extremes", or are they stuck somewhere in the middle of the range where I won't notice the difference?

So far, I'm considering either a Giant OCR3, a Trek 1000C, or a Specialized Sequoia, and all have the 8 speed cassette.

Thanks for any input!:)

pedalfaster
02-18-2004, 05:10 AM
Spring for the 9, even if you have to wait an extra month or two to save up the cash.

It's not so much that you need the extra gearing, but it's more about buying the technology. Shimano is already moving on to 10-speed gear clusters and 8-speed is then "two generations" old. You'll have a much much easier time with upgrades and finding simple components if you go ahead with the 9 speed now.


Lucky you living in WV! Beautiful country, great riding :)

Adventure Girl
02-18-2004, 08:17 PM
Originally posted by doctorfrau
I definitely need a triple ring set, but will 24 speeds be enough, or should I cough up the cash for 27?

Does it really help? Are those other three on the "extremes", or are they stuck somewhere in the middle of the range where I won't notice the difference?


It depends on how many teeth each of the cassette gears have. Not all 8-speeds have the same gears. Not all 9-speeds are the same. Assuming that both bikes you are comparing have the same chain rings (probably 52/42/30) then you have to compare how many teeth each of the gears on the 8-speed or 9-speed cassette have.

If the 8-speed gears range from 12 to 26 and the 9-speed is 12 to 28, your lowest gear (easiest to pedal) will be slightly lower on the 9-speed (8-speed low gear 30:26. 9-speed low gear 30:28). It all depends on the number of teeth. But they do make 8-speeds that are 11 to 34. That would have a REALLY low low gear.

As far as "old technology" goes, I agree with pedalfaster in principle, but there is one more thing to consider. The 9-speed may need more fine adjustments. There is less space between the gears, so the derailleur needs index more precisely, or you may have some trouble shifting. On the high end components (Dura-Ace or Campy Record) the derailleurs are very accurate. But on lower end parts, the 8-speed might be less problems than the 9-speed. If you don't go with the higher end parts, your 9-speed bike may spend more time in the shop for adjustments. (Just my opinion... not fact). I hope this helps.

doctorfrau
02-20-2004, 08:23 PM
I may have found a compromise!! (although I do still have to come up with the money)

My LBS has a last year's model Trek520 touring bike on sale for a couple hundred $ off, which puts it in the range I was going to spend anyway. It has the 52/42/30 rings w/ 9-speed 11-34 !!! I'm not interested in racing, so the heavier-duty frame and components aren't a problem, and I get the gearing that I wanted!!

Gads - now the question is, will they hold it for me while I scrape up the money?:D


Thanks for the lesson on gearing!!!!

Adventure Girl
02-20-2004, 11:24 PM
That combination sure has a wide range. An 11-34 cassette is a pretty common combination on a mountain bike, but pretty rare for a road bike. But I guess the 520 is considered a "touring" bike as opposed to a "road" bike. You should be able to climb ANYTHING with those gears!

I hope it works out for you. If you're pretty sure that's what you're looking for and if the bike fits you, maybe you could put a deposit on it to put it on hold. Getting last year's model should get you a pretty good deal. That's what I ususally do with helmets. $150 helmets are $80 when the new models come out!! And the difference is often times just the color.

Good luck!