Make an 8-speed shifter work on a 9-speed?

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by gwhunt23, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. gwhunt23

    gwhunt23 New Member

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    I am upgrading my 8-speed bike to a 9-speed, and need to know whether I will need a new shifter unit or not. Right now I am on a tight budget, so I don't have much money to spend. Here's my bike specs:

    Trek 4300 '04
    8-speed Rapid Fire shifters
    Soon 9 speed XT hub
    Soon 9 speed crankset (RaceFace Prodigy XC)
    Soon 9-speed chain

    I will be getting the parts prefixed with soon in a little while, but my concern now is the shifter. I do not have the money for a brand new 9-speed shifter, but I heard somewhere that you could convert an 8-speed shifter to a 9-speed shifter by adding and extra washer or something. I also heard that that would facilitate 9 "clicks", but you would not have the number "9" on the shifter display. Do any of you have instructions on how to do this?

    Thanks in advance!

    -GWHunt
     
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  2. Alnamvet

    Alnamvet New Member

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    Why bother...if you are on a budget, you can get 8 speed xtr for the cost of bottom of the line 9 speed doody.
     
  3. gwhunt23

    gwhunt23 New Member

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    The problem is that the cranset that I have is 9 speed, and I do not want to ruin the teeth on it by using an 8 speed chain. I also already have a Mega 9 Deore XT rear derailluer on my bike, so I may as well use it for 9 speed.
     
  4. Duckwah

    Duckwah New Member

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    you might want to check with a local bike store but in general the reason shifters are specified for each groupset is that the spacing of the cassettes is different and therefore an 8 speed shifter will cause the rear to skip badly on a 9 speed cassette
     
  5. gwhunt23

    gwhunt23 New Member

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    Oh, I've never thought of that. Makes good sense though. I realized that I do have the money now for a shifter because I just now realized that I won't need a new hub. Thank you for your help with this, and I will be looking for a shifter on eBay.

    And another question: I have seen Deore XT shifters that look great, but the rapid-fire levers look like they are not positioned like my stock ones on the Trek 4300. See, my stock ones have one lever on top of the handlebars, and the other on the bottom. With the Deore XT levers, it looks like the levers are both on the bottom. Is that true?
     
  6. Duckwah

    Duckwah New Member

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    You are right about the shift levers

    On the higher range shimano components the rapid fire levers are both underneath. The up shift (to larger cogs/ring) is pushed by the thumb and the down shift is by index finger

    you will find it very easy to use

    if you are on a budget then get Deore or LX shifters, as long as they are 9 speed they will work fine ( i run LX shifters with XT rear) and there are plenty out there for low prices
     
  7. boudreaux

    boudreaux New Member

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    That is just hooey anyway. If you really can't stop worrying,use a 9 speed chain. Buy 9 sped shifters,as 8 speed cog spacing is 4.8mm and 9 speed is 4.34, and it don work so good.
     
  8. Hecubus

    Hecubus New Member

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    You can get a set of deore shifters as a stop gap and they will get the job done. I have seen new deore shifters going for less than $20.
    I have actually seen people use 8 speed shifters on 9 speed cogs. Once on a road bike and the other on a mountain bike. They need to be set up so the derrailleur doesn't use the smallest cog. For some weird reason it actually works to a certain extent. Shifting will be a bit lousy but I suppose it might work as a short term solution.
     
  9. Mommers

    Mommers New Member

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    im using a deore mega-9 rear mech and a 9 spd crankset on my 8 speed drivetrain.
     
  10. lumpy

    lumpy New Member

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    I just modified my old Deore Rapidfire 7 speed to shift 8 speeds. I took it apart enough so I could grind another groove for the tooth to bite on. I'd heard about the washer trick but couldn't figure out where to put it! Essentially I gave it another low gear. Works pretty darn good. I have it so it shifts nicely except into high gear where I give the barrel adjuster one flick to fine tune it. It's not like I'm in top gear that often anyway!

    I don't know about your shifters but you might take 'em apart and see what you think.

    Tim
     
  11. Greg-O

    Greg-O New Member

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    so wait..... I could run a new Deore LX crank that is made for 9 speeds, but still have an 8-speed cassette? Would i buy the 9-speed chain or not?
     
  12. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    The crank doesn't care much about what cassette you're using. The difference in chains are the width, not the link length. And I don't think the width is critical enough to cause trouble on the crank.
     
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