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Upgrading shifters..(12 posts)

Upgrading shifters..GTrider215
Aug 10, 2001 8:18 AM
Yo, i ride a trek 1000. And as u know it comes with retarded Sora Shifters, and u cant shift from the drops. Well i just want a pair of shifters that i can shift from the drops like in sprinting and stuff. All i want is the cheapest next step up from sora. Would would it be? I think 105 or Tiagra. and how much would the cheapest shimano shifters be? Thanks!

Chris Vedral
re: Upgrading shifters..Rusty Coggs
Aug 10, 2001 1:15 PM
Since your sora is 8 speed, ya gotta go with the older 8 speed RSX,RX-100, 105, or ultegra STI shifters.. 8 speed DA shifters wont cut it with your derailer. Check NOS in the QBP catalogue at or buy used. If you got a triple crankset. the 8 speed ultegras wont shift a triple and the other 8 speeders were double or triple specific.Know what you need and what you are buying.
QuestionCliff Oates
Aug 10, 2001 4:56 PM
I'm curious, a Campy type, and I responded to this question in the general forum with a plainly speculative answer. Sora derailleurs, chainrings and hubs can't handle 9 speed if you change the cassette and chain (and shifters, of course)?

Answer maybe? Where's Grzy Mky....Rusty Coggs
Aug 10, 2001 5:32 PM
I never thought of it that way,and my answer is somewhat speculative too. Eight speed hubs handle 9 speed cassettes ok.The rear derailer should be ok,as other 8 speeds except DA work with 9 speed shifters/cassettes.The front derailer cage on 8 speed is a bit wider than a 9 speed and since the chain is narrower, shifting might be degraded.Shimano recommends an 8 speed inner ring be replaced with a 9 speed ring,but am not sure how critical that is,if at all.Maybe Grzy has more specific insight and will offer corrections if necessary?
You Got Itgrzy mnky
Aug 13, 2001 9:49 AM
Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. Cheapest/most durable way would be to get 105 shifters, a 9 speed cogset, 9 speed chain, and the 9 speed inner chain ring. However, you want to make sure that the bolt circle is the same on the CR's. Shimano is famous for making things somewhat incompatible across some product lines. Your rear der. should be fine for now and a 9 speed front der. may shift better. If you stick with 8 speed you'll probably have to hit the used market which can be either good or bad. Going 9 speed now isn't too much more expensive and it sets you up for future compatibility. Check out - they have a complete kit.
Good to know. Thanks. But...Cliff Oates
Aug 13, 2001 12:56 PM
Why the small chainring as opposed to both or neither? FWIW, I think Shimano's road BCD has been 130mm for a goodly long while.
Good to know. Thanks. But...grzy mnky
Aug 13, 2001 1:48 PM
1st - do not make any assumptions about Shimano and sizing. If you're at 130 mm that's fine, but I haven't worked on the unit you mentioned so I didn't want to make an assumption. They do many tricky things with cranks and even though they look the same things can be very different. One look in the MTB world and you'll see what I mean. The term "planned obselecence" comes to mind from time to time....

The reason for the 9 speed inner CR is that it has less offset than the 8 speed and a 9 speed chain gets a bit hung up when you shift. The outer (large) CR remains unchanged so no swap is necessary. You'll find folks that say you don't need to change various things and that you can mix 8 and 9 speed w/out any problems.

What really matters is how well you want things to work - if you don't mind scraping noises and things getting worn out then that's your choice. Personally I like my bike running smooth and silent, but that's just me.
Good to know. Thanks. But...Cliff Oates
Aug 13, 2001 2:05 PM
Actually, I'm at 135mm -- Campy user here and I'm happy that way. Shimano is definitely screwing around with BCD's in their MTB products, but I've not been able to find reference to any Shimano road cranks that are something other than 130mm. FWIW, the person with the original question is running Sora, which uses a 130mm BCD.

This isn't my situation we're talking about. The rider that asked the original question was getting all sorts of answers, including one from me that was close, but changing a chainring never occurred to me. I don't like to give out bad advice, so I wanted to follow up on things. I know that the Shimano front mech is pretty sensitive, so I'm not suprised it requires a new ring.

I like my bike running smooth and silent too, that's why I run Campagnolo ;-)

Thanks again
Good to know. Thanks. But...grzy mnky
Aug 16, 2001 8:45 AM
Yeah, I'm not as familiar with the Sora/Tiagra stuff - OK not at all familiar. However, I've seen lower end bikes setup with MTB compact drives - so checking the BCD is just being cautious. Sometimes the BCD remains unchaged but other aspects of the desgin change and make things incompatible even though they look fine on first glance (just went through this with some older XT cranks).

Hey - even Campy changed the spacing between gears when they went from 8 to 9. Got into Shimano mostly b/c it made buying tools cheaper and it's easier getting things to fit between MTB and road. Gotta love the $65 chain tool for Campy 10.... ;-)
ActuallyCliff Oates
Aug 16, 2001 9:23 AM
Everybody changed spacing when they went from 8 to 9 speeds. What pissed off Campy users is that they changed the cassette spline design too, and rendered all those 8 speed hubs inoperable unless you replaced the freehub body. On the bright side, Campy stuff seems to be more easily upgraded and repaired than Shimano.

FWIW, I'm purely a roadie (or at least my CX bike doesn't much care where it goes, within reason) so I don't have to sweat compatibility issues. I did spring for the chain tool though. Good thing I enjoy collecting tools.
Not the answer,butRusty Coggs
Aug 10, 2001 6:36 PM
Back to the original post. The guy was looking for the cheap easy way to upgrade the shifting on a low end bike. That would be to just change out the shifters which are still available and can be found used at reasonable prices. My year old QBP catalogue shows 8 speed RSX and RX-100 at $139-154. Tiagra 9s were $196.They could possibly be found cheaper if one were to look.
Not the answer,butCliff Oates
Aug 10, 2001 7:03 PM
FWIW, Sheldon Brown's Harris Cyclery lists 8 speed RSX shifters for $130 but indicates they will only work with doubles.