7 speed ratios vs. 9/10 speed options???

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Kupa, Jun 15, 2003.

  1. Kupa

    Kupa New Member

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    Both my road bikes run 7 speed freewheels, 12-20 on each with a 39/53 up front. Current gears are 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20. I have a bunch of other freewheels and a variety of other gears so I can set-up a variety of rear blocks, but the 12-20 just feels so smooth.

    I can muscle up some steep (8-10%) and long (5-8 mile) local climbs just fine in the 39/18 or 20, but my cadence drops down as you'd expect.

    I've been thinking on some of the long climbs, that running a 23 or even a 25 would sure ease the pain and give me more spin, but the only way I could add in those teeth on a 7 speed freewheel would be to surrender my mid-high range smooth gearing, the more radical choice would be to switch to a 9/10 speed cassette set-up.

    To switch, I'll need to have a local frame guy stretch my steel frames' rear spacing from 126 to 130, and then I'd build up a couple of new rear cassette wheels. I'd plan on trying to stick with my friction shifting Shimano bar ends controlling the Mavic rear derailleur, and the old Campy Chorus rear- I prefer friction to index- less stress for me, quieter, and just what I'm used to... I guess it is tough to teach an old dog a new trick ;)

    The meat of my question- those of you with 9/10 speed rears, riding hard in flats, rolling hills or small mountainous areas-

    1. Do you find yourself in your 39/23 or 25 that often?

    2. Did any of you switch from older 7 speed set-ups in the past, to a 9 or 10?

    3. What were your observations after the switch?

    4. And the weird question- anyone ever successfully control a 9/10 speed with friction shifters?

    Thanks for any and all advice.
     
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  2. ant evans

    ant evans New Member

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    I have 10 speeds (11-23, 12-25) and I use them all. Can't do hills at present because of bad knees... that's what the 25 is for.

    With 10 speeds, a typical gear change is a cadence change of around 5rpm, which is about as big a change as I want while trying to train myself to spin at 90rpm.

    With 10 speeds, you'd be changing gear more often. I wouldn't want to have my hands off the bars that often.

    That said, I envy anyone with such a simple, indestructible setup. Rather than ruin the purity of the thing, I'd try to replace the whole bike, and keep the 10 speed as the gods intended.
     
  3. MidBunchLurker

    MidBunchLurker New Member

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    I switched from 7-sp (12-23 & 53/42) about a year ago. New setup is 9-sp (12-23 & 53/42). The biggest difference is racing, that's when you get to do lots of shifting on those gears in the middle.

    For the hills I find 42-23 to be adequate, but that all depends on the size of your hills (and the strength of your legs :)).

    I switched from down-tube (friction) shifters to STI at the same time so I can't comment on running friction with 9 or 10 speed, but I wouldn't expect any problems. I'm about to convert my MTB to 9sp as well, and I'm still going to use my friction thumb-shifters there - they work, why change??
     
  4. Kupa

    Kupa New Member

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    ant evans,

    You may be onto something reagrding just keeping the old bikes as they are. Good suggestion.

    MidBunchLurker

    Thanks for your observations. I think that a 23 would be fine for any of the hills and small mountains we're surrounded by out here. Getting smoothly up to that 23 is my biggest concern. I really dig single teeth jumps in the rear.

    I'm going to experiment with a 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 23 and see if that feels like a decent trade-off. I might lose some top-end, but the majority of the big speeds out here come from steep descents where no matter what you run, you're spinning like crazy.

    Cheers,

    Steve Cooper
     
  5. MidBunchLurker

    MidBunchLurker New Member

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    Something else that might be a consideration is the amount of travel in your rear derailleur. Check that it will handle the extra few mm's that it needs to.

    The other side effect I forgot to mention is slightly reduced performance when shifting chainrings. The 9 or 10-sp chains are narrower, and the newer front ders and cranksets are designed to accomodate this. With a little bit of fiddling you should be able to get acceptable performance with your existing kit though...
     
  6. freek

    freek New Member

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    Steve,

    please leave your two 80's bike as they are (clean them, polish them, maybe sing to them, but don't change it to 9/10 speed!).
    They are beautiful!

    That said, a year ago I changed from 7-speed freewheels to 9 speed cassette (on two of my bikes), and I definitely appreciate the 9 speed chain/cassette combination. Seems to run smoother than the old combination.
    And of course the added comfort of the smaller steps in shifting (I use a 12-25 cassette in the hills).

    I stuck to using down tube shifters, but had to change to 9-speed Dura Ace shifters, because of the length of the throw and the indexing.

    good luck with your De Rosa and the very rare (I guess) 753 Look.

    Freek
     
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