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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    293

    9-speed vs 10-speed?

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    I'm ready to buy a cross bike and I've been looking at Giant and Cannondale... My husband is telling me that I should get a ten speed because that's what our other bikes are, so it will make swapping parts much easier. But, it seems that only the really high-end cross bikes are 10-speed. The more affordable versions are 9-speed.

    Is there any other benefit to spending the extra money to get a 10-speed?

    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Md suburbs of Wash. DC
    Posts
    2,131
    I'm glad you asked this question, since the same issue is what initially inspired me to consider a new bike. I'll be interested to see what responses you get. In the meantime:

    One of the issues I have with my current 'cross bike is that the 9-speed cogset makes it more difficult to ride steep hills. If you're only riding in 'cross races, though, a 9-speed may be sufficient. From what little I've seen of 'cross racing, it seems that any hills that steep are run up rather than ridden up. If, though, like me, you use your 'cross bike as an "everything" bike, you might find that a 10-speed expands your options.

    At first, I was going to keep my current bike and upgrade to a 10-speed cogset and derailleur, but I'm thinking now that I'm going to go with the 2008 Specialized TriCross Comp Double, which has a 10-speed 11-28 cogset. I don't know if that bike is in your budget, but it's a good one to consider. You could also look at the TriCross Sport Triple, which has a ton of gears at a lower price.

    (And yes, Regina, I'm back to considering a higher-level TriCross. My LBS guy said that it would cost significantly more to build up from a frame from scratch, so my obsession with the Salsa is waning )
    "How about if we all just try to follow these very simple rules of the road? Drive like the person ahead on the bike is your son/daughter. Ride like the cars are ambulances carrying your loved ones to the emergency room. This should cover everything, unless you are a complete sociopath."
    David Desautels, in a letter to velonews.com

    Random babblings and some stuff to look at.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    1,080
    I'll weigh in.

    If you're racing, find out if there is neutral support at your local races. If so, find out what they offer. One of our local series only has 9-speed wheels, so if you're running 10-speed you'll need your own support.

    I started out with Shimano 9 speed on my cross bikes (there wasn't Shimano 10 speed at that time). I run Campy 10 speed on my road bikes. Over the years, I realized I had way too many duplicates of things that weren't interchangeable (namely, wheels and cassettes). So I eventually transitioned my cross bikes to Campy 10 as well. And I wouldn't have it any other way now. Not to mention all the shifting confusion created when switching almost daily between Shimano and Campy.

    One advantage of running Shimano 9 speed is that you can run a mountain bike rear derailleur and a 34 cassette so you get fabulous climbing gear. Although your races may not be too hilly, you may want to do some trail riding on your cross bike and I found the extra gearing really helped me. With Shimano 10-speed, you can only go up to a 27 in the rear. With Campy 10-speed you can go up to a 29 in the rear.

    Much of your decision will depend on your fitness and the terrain you plan to ride.

    The other decision is what to run in the front. I run a compact crank with a 48-34. I can also switch this to a 50-34 if I plan to do lots of road riding on my cross bike. I typically don't run the 50-34 during the race season because of the additional chain slack. Some racers just run one chainring in the front.

    In CA, we have a variety of courses and at least one every year has a hill that just kicks your butt! I found the 34 extremely useful, especially in seasons when my climbing wasn't as good.

    Hope this helps!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    293
    Thanks for the replies!

    I am considering racing, and my husband is sure to push me to do it if I get a cross bike, but I'm not dead set on it yet... Chicago is very flat, so the local courses have a couple of rolling hills, but not much in the way of steep hills. I would probably do quite a bit of road riding, and a little bit of trail riding.

    Regarding race support, there is no neutral race support. There's a wheel pit and that's it.

    I have a compact double on my road bike (though I'm not sure of the numbers), and that works fine to get me up most hills in the area... so it sounds like a 10-speed would be okay (based on Velogirls comment) and would make switching parts a lot easier? Especially if racing and using the wheel pit, right?

    Thanks again for helping me figure all of this out!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,409
    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl View Post

    One advantage of running Shimano 9 speed is that you can run a mountain bike rear derailleur and a 34 cassette so you get fabulous climbing gear. Although your races may not be too hilly, you may want to do some trail riding on your cross bike and I found the extra gearing really helped me. With Shimano 10-speed, you can only go up to a 27 in the rear. With Campy 10-speed you can go up to a 29 in the rear.
    Yes, this is exactly the setup I have! We have no flat rides around here to speak of- lots of hills. I have the mtn rear derailleur and 34 cassette with a triple up front, and that gives me a HUGE gear range. I find I use my very lowest gear often to get up the steepest hills. I love it. But if i lived near fewer hills this setup would probably be overkill.

    People make the mistake of thinking a 10 speed will automatically give you a wider gear range and lower gears than a 9 speed. Not true. It just means there are more gears within whatever range you have and less of a jump between them. Theoretically, you could have a 15 speed bike but your highest and lowest gears might still be the same as my 9 speed, depending on your cassette-to-front ring setup. You might just have more gears in the middle with less spread between them. At that point one would likely shift 3 at a time because there would be so little noticeable difference between them. Hope this explains a bit.

    Oh, and....10 speed seems to be the "new thing" and so 9 speed parts are not "quite" as easy to get now. So if it's ease of getting parts and swapping parts you want try the 10 speed. If you don't care about swapping much, are good at searching out parts online, and want major hill gears, you might want to consider 9 speed.
    Personally, I'm not so sure that 10 speed is here to stay, and I'm happy with my 9 speed setup.
    Last edited by BleeckerSt_Girl; 08-10-2007 at 11:28 AM.
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172
    Quote Originally Posted by Kalidurga View Post
    (And yes, Regina, I'm back to considering a higher-level TriCross. My LBS guy said that it would cost significantly more to build up from a frame from scratch, so my obsession with the Salsa is waning )
    Fickle!
    But to build it up is to customize it just the way you want it. Like a Burger King Whopper!

    Folks here have given some great input.
    Seems like 9 vs. 10 - for compatibility, you need to really decide what your scene is about. For gear ranges, thou must always consult the almighty gear chart. (your results may differ, as it doesn't show a 48 tooth crank, and is based on a 700 x 23 tire. But...plug it into an excel spreadsheet, and you can do the math for just about any combination)
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
    2003 Klein Palomino - Terry Firefly (?)
    2010 Seven Cafe Racer - Bontrager InForm
    2008 Cervelo P2C - Adamo Prologue Saddle

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2
    I think the best reason to go with the 10 speed is the compatibility issue. I finally have all my road and cross bikes with Shimano 10 speed which makes it easier to be able to use my road wheels as pit wheels. However, I would also say that my first year of racing cross it probably wouldn't have mattered as I'm not positive that I would have ran the whole course, changed my wheel and got back in the race. Now that I've been racing for awhile I would as I would want the points for our series even if they were for last place.

    The only thing that I don't like about the 10 speed cassette is that it is much harder to clean out mud, grass and other random crap that accumulates when there is a bad weather race. The 9 speed was spaced just a tiny bit wider so was easier to dig out all the gunk. It's still doable with 10 speed but it is a little more work.

    Have fun with cross!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    3,997
    I guess my question is - why do you need the extra gear? Think about the riding you do... will you use it?

    If your racing and riding is mostly flat... well, you probly don't need a 10

    If you don't need it, then it doesn't matter if the bike you want comes with a 9 speed...

    However, Lisa explains exactly how the range of gears in a 9 or 10 can work...

    And BikeBetty has an excellent reason for getting one type or the other if you have more than one bike...



    Just re-reading my post - I think I have managed a good waffle without being particularly helpful!


    Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
    "I will try again tomorrow".


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    293
    RoadRaven - Therein lies my quandry!

    I think I've decided to go with a 10-speed since that's what my husband has, so we'll be able to use each other's wheels if necessary.

    Thanks for the help!

    Once I actually bite the bullet and buy a new bike, I'll be sure to post pictures.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    44

    Adding in after the fact...

    I'm probably adding my 2cents after the fact! lol! However, I think you are making the right decision with the 10-speed, I run a 10speed durace, it's flat here in Florida for cross, and it worked well in Georgia for other types of hillier races. Also I road train a lot on my cross bike, it's easy to switch out my road wheels, (rather than having to wrestle with tires) and my husband has awesome wheels that are 10 speed so then I can switch out with him and use his wheels

    You should try cross racing! Racing cyclocross is really fun, low key without a lot of pressure, unless you want to have pressure. Very different from the road scene.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    407
    Quote Originally Posted by Sheesh View Post
    RoadRaven - Therein lies my quandry!

    I think I've decided to go with a 10-speed since that's what my husband has, so we'll be able to use each other's wheels if necessary.

    Thanks for the help!

    Once I actually bite the bullet and buy a new bike, I'll be sure to post pictures.
    Good choice. When you race CX this fall you will appreciate the extra gears and ease of shifting. Chicago might not have many hills ,but CX is cold, rainy, snowy and muddy here in the midwest....and those extra gears are necessary because all you do is slog through mud half the season. Extra gears are nice on you legs when you attend a double header.

    I've been injured all mountain bike season, so I'm really getting excited to race CX. I was planning on doing a few Chicago CX races since I know a few of the racers there. But it seems like WI's CX's is so packed this year, that there might not be enough time...

    http://www.wicycling.org/CycloCross/crossSchedule.htm
    Just keep pedaling.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    293

    WI Cross

    My husband is talking about doing some races in Wisconsin this year, depending on how the schedule fits with everything else we have going on. We only have four (this year, five) races in Chicago, so I hope we're able to make it to Wisconsin!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    3,997
    Quote Originally Posted by Sheesh View Post
    I think I've decided to go with a 10-speed since that's what my husband has, so we'll be able to use each other's wheels if necessary.
    Most excellent basis for a decision, Sheesh. Very practical.

    Go bite the bullet and get a new bike!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    293
    RoadRaven - I have bitten the bullet and ordered a new Redline Conquest Pro. Should be here within the next week or so!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    3,997
    Most excellent, Sheesh

    I just went to redlinebicycles.com
    I know very little about cyclocross bikes, as our stable is mostly road race bikes


    but... this is one sweet looking machine

    Very much looking forward to hearing more when you have extended your "family"
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