Shifting Quality: 8 Speed vs 9 Speed vs 10 Speed vs 11 Speed Cassettes
Are there any shifting quality differences between said cassettes?
I heard an opinion today regarding said cassettes in that when they started adding gears beyond 8, it apparently affected shifting quality via moving the cogs closer together, etc.
If so (To any degree) can someone expand on this?
Does an 8 speed or a 9 speed shift smoother than a 10 speed or an 11 speed?
Thanks for any input .
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I'd say that there's a much bigger difference in quality between a nice, new cassette and chain and a crappy, worn-out cassette and chain. I think cheaper cassettes below a certain point tend to wear faster, or have less tolerance for wear, but I don't think that there's anything inherent about an 8-speed cassette that would make it shift less smoothly.
FWIW, I currently have a bike with a 6-speed freewheel, two with 9-speed cassettes, and one with a 10-speed cassette. I had 8 on one of the 9-speed bikes for a while. I get good shifting out of all of them, although on both the mountain bike and the 'cross bike (the two 9-speed bikes,) I notice a lot of degradation when mud starts getting sprayed into the cassette, or all over the bottom bracket. Go figure. On the road bike, which I generally only ride in cleanish conditions, shifting usually only gets bad if I screw up the tune or buy a new chain and discover I'm due for a cassette too.
Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
You often read that people buy the latest groupset and say that shifting is much better when in reality they replace old worn our parts with new parts..
In my experience, there isn't much difference in shifting between 8,9 or 10 speed however I feel it's easier to keep an 8 speed in tune since the tolerances aren't as tight.
I agree with what's been offered thus far, but IMO/E all things being equal (as in, comparing new 8, 9, 10 spd drivetrains) the more cogs, the tighter the tolerances. Drivetrains being mechanical, those tight tolerances mean (for example) keeping the 10 spd drivetrain cleaner and in a better state of tune than say an 8 or 9 spd.
Originally Posted by Dave Hickey
JMO, but I think the best compromise was/ is 9 speed drivetrains, but I wouldn't base a buying decision on that opinion, because with minimal care the current 10 spd groupsets perform well. What's more important is matching gearing to the terrain and fitness of the rider.
AND... that used FRESHLY cleaned drive line sure does shift... much better than dirty.
Not a good one to offer an opinion of a 10 speed since my road and mountain bikes are still 7 speed.
That said, I've done a lot of customizing cassettes/cogs and spacing and generally run with 8 speed spacing over 7 speeds. My wife and my son run 9 speed on their mountain bikes. My wife runs 8 speed on her road bikes.
I personally think that an 8 speed drive train with a 9 speed chain offers a great combination. Shifts well, very little maintenance, very tolerance forgiving.
Keep in mind that I come from a 6/7 speed age where there wasn't this preoccupation with super tight cluster ratios and, unless you raced, a 2 tooth jump was no big deal. As I have aged the extra gears are just there to add range.
There's not a big difference in maintenance between 8-speeds and 10-speeds.
There is a difference in going to an 11-speed.
8-10 speeds use the same type of rear hub, but an 11-speed uses a different one.
If you're buying a new bike, and have the choice between 8, 9, and 10 for little difference in price, go for the 10-speed. It will give you more choices on the rear cog. And you'll get a little better grouping.
For new bikes with Shimano, you'll see this grouping.
Claris - 8 speed
Sora - 9 speed
Tiagra - 10 speed
105, Ultegra, DA, Di2 - 11 Speed
(DA - Dura Ace; Di2 - Electronic shifting)
So you're actually going to better group sets with more speeds. Also, right now, the better group sets probably do have a little better shifting than the lower group sets.
When I bought my bike (Fuji Sportif 1.3 C - 2014), one of the reasons why I bought it over a similar bike was that I was getting Tiagra over Sora for only $50. I'm still a newbie (Clyde; 50+), so I didn't need the really top groupsets. And it would have been at least a $200 jump from Tiagra to 105. So, I got what I thought was the most bang for my buck in this area.
To answer your question. If you buy a brand new bike, you should have smoother shifting on the better groups, which have more speeds.
Last edited by ColaJacket; 05-05-2015 at 10:40 AM.
I have had lx, dx, xt, xtr, ultegra, chorus, and record ranging from 8 speed to 11 speed.
Newer stuff works better and more reliably than stuff from the late 80's and early 90's. Nothing works perfectly all the time.
Keeping your drive train clean goes a long way in making stuff work well and last longer. Additionally, you have to accept that stuff does wear out.
If you are looking for new bikes, your budget will make the determination.
Re smoothness: I actually prefer the clunk of my old record (9 speed) to the smoothness of my ultegra 11 speed. But, that may be more of a campy vs shimano thing. I haven't ridden campy since the early 2000's. So, i don't know how the new stuff feels.