which is the more important part in gear changes

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  • which is the more important part in gear changes
  • I think generally ‘better’ doesn’t mean smoother, it means lighter. If you got SRAM X7,X9, or X0 – I think they’d work the same, but vary in weight. SRAM seem much better to me, shifter/mech wise.


    people will tell you different things. I don’t like high end shifters and see no point in high end rear mechs – they all wear out or get broken in crashed.


    I agree with the cynic, however gear shifters are far better protected than your rear mech.

    IME clean gear cables are more imortant


    A compromise.

    You need good shifters and mechs and cables.

    Or just wait, save and buy the best you can afford-why compromise?

    I’ve had bikes with LX shifters and XTR rear mech and abike with XT rear and deore front mechs with XT shifters.

    I reckon shifters as the mechs after Xt just get lighter.

    XT shifters and mechs job done.

    Premier Icon nickc

    The thing is, the higher up the model ranges you go, you start to get plastic replaced with metal, and better tolerances, and lighter materials, so whilst new, they’ll shift pretty similarly, after a while the lower grade components will develop a bit of play that the high end stuff just won’t get. You can tune it out mostly, but it never hurts not to have to do it…

    Premier Icon seven

    just thinking about if i was to upgrade rear mech and shifters, now i know it would be ideal to get top end model of each, but being cost conscious which part (mech or shifter) offers more to the smooth shifting experience (ie. buy the best you can of the important part and down grade the other)

    (hope that makes sense – i think it does but then i know what i mean)


    The two biggest improvements i’ve made to my shifting have been high end shifters and a top swing (conventional) XTR front mech. I liked my deore shifters, and initially disliked the lack of feedback my XTs give me, but they shift like gunshots and have never let me down. Look good too 🙂

    Plus as mentioned above, shifters last ages and are well protected, so you won’t be shelling out again for a while.


    Good shifters feel nicer to use, but don’t necessarily work any better, or survive being crunched into the ground/knees/trees any better than cheaper ones. I’d argue my XTR ones actually have *too* light an action – it’s far too easy to change 2 or 3 gears at a time when trying to change one when going at speed over bumpy ground.

    Rear mechs have a pretty hard life and are essentially consumable items. (the only one I’ve had that’s lasted more than a year is my SRAM XO, which compared to X9 has been good value as it’s lasted about 5 times as long). Again good ones don’t work any better than cheap ones when they’re new, but the expensive ones don’t go sloppy as quickly. They still break when you smack ’em on a rock in exactly the same way though.

    Biggest difference is in cables. Good cables, well looked after will make the cheapest and nastiest of components shift well. Knackered ones will make a full on super bling Yumea-ed up XTR set feel like shite.


    My experince of shifters is a bit limited, only had XTR rear mech, the old style, its been faultless now for years, when I bought my bike it came with deore shifters, LX front mech and the XTR rear, it didnt take long for the front mech to develop a lot of play and the RH deore shifter pod fell to bits, replaced those with XTR ones then and I have never had any trouble since, the only thing I ever have to change is cables and since swapping to full length cables thats a rarity, and I only buy the cheap cable now rather then the expensive 3 piece cables I used to buy.

    XT is always a good mix of performance and price, but I think the XTR stuff is worth it, if you can afford it, just because it does what its supposed to, time and time again, and in my case in a virtually maintenance free enviroment!.

    Not tried Sram so cant comment on that.


    … and a top swing (conventional) XTR front mech.

    doesn’t make any sense?


    top swing is non-conventional. Conventional are much better (don’t get rattly quickly)

    Top swing (the cage is above the seat tube clamp)


    Posh shifters feel nicer but don’t shift any better. Even when the cheaper ones get (a little bit) rattly, they still shift fine.

    Rear mechs are similar, I do find XTR last longer before they go sloppy (which does affect shifting) but the cost is a lot higher so if you break mechs then cheaper is better.

    Shifting is also smoother with chainrings/chain/sprocket in good condition so consider that too.

    Bu99er, i typed that off the top of my head thinking I had it right.

    i shall henceforth resort to “the-one-where-the-derailleur-cage-hangs-beneath-the-clamp”


    x9 shifters, work well and also haven’t got the stupid gear number windows, and an x7 rear mech, shifting is fine and its a bit cheaper if I smash the rear mech….


    Given the choice i’d have top end shifter and mid to high range mechs.
    Shifters tend to be well protected and mechs less so (although i’ve never damaged a front mech riding).
    XT (or X9) throughout would be the ultimate is price / reliability. Im running a combination of 50:50 XT / XTR because its stuff i’ve got hold of for a good price, if not it would be XT across the board.

    Depends on how careful a rider you are i guess.


    XT all round and replace your inner / outer cables frequently. Clean and lube.

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