Author Topic: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring  (Read 13177 times)

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Offline Tom

10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« on: January 28, 2010, 10:54:54 am »
Anybody using a 10 speed set-up for touring? Any experience with the IRD 11- 34 cassette coupled with new Ultegra 10 speed shifters?
Tom

Offline aggie

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2010, 11:23:59 am »
I have the IRD cassette with Shimano shifters (Dura Ace).  The rear derailler is the Deore XT (big enough to handle a 34).  So far it works fine and provides me a very low gear (triple crank) to climb any steep hills.  The adjustment is a little sensitive.  As the cable stretches, down shifting (larger gear) in the middle gears takes a little bit of time.  It is temporarily fixed by the barrel adjusters but I find the best "fix" is to take it to a bike shop and have them fine tune the shifting.  No problem with the cassette. 

I would like to try the FSA XX cassette but was told that you had to have the whole package for it to work properly. 

Offline Tom

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2010, 11:49:56 am »
aggie- this is good news. I hate bar ends, and am hoping that a 10 speed set up such as yours will work as the 9 speed STI shifters seem to be getting harder and harder to find. My full set up might be Ultegra 52-39 with a Salsa 28 triple, Ultegra front d, XTR long cage rear d and the IRD 11 - 34. Gives me a 21.9 gear inch low. Only drawback I can see for sure is that the rear d won't handle a small - small combo (which I never ride in anyway). I haul a Cyclone trailer, and find I need this set to get over the Cascades and (I hope soon) Rockies. I have heard set-ups like yours are touchy, but I'm hoping good initial set up plus break in plus occasional barrel adjustments will keep it in trim.

Not married to this plan, however, and a 9 speed with the XTR 12 - 34 is an option.

Thanks for the post!
Tom

Offline John Nelson

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2010, 12:45:20 pm »
9 speed STI shifters seem to be getting harder and harder to find
This greatly surprises me. Many of the latest model bikes are still being built with them.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2010, 12:54:45 pm »
Durace, Ultegra, and 105 only come in 10 speed (unless you can find some vintage stock).  Tiagra is still 9 speed.  Tiagra is not a bad shifter for a touring bike, if you must have STI.

My bigger concern, would be if 10 speed chains have the durability needed for touring.  When they offer 10 speed on a mountain bike, I will consider 10 speed on a touring bike.
Danno

Offline Tom

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2010, 01:47:25 pm »
Shimano also makes something called the R-600 which is, I think, somewhat of a generic 9 speed STI shifter. I hear Paddleboy's concern about the chain... I share that as well. I'm no engineer, but I'd think the torque put on a MTN bike chain, what with all the sudden speed bursts, would be a lot higher than the steady pressure of an old, light (I weigh about 159) tourer grunting up a long grade hauling a well-balanced trailer.
Tom

Offline aggie

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2010, 03:42:39 pm »
SRAM is making their xx line which is designed for cross riders (I meant SRAM XX instead of FSA in the post above).  As this is a 10 speed set up they have a chain designed for it. 

I'm currently using the Shimano 10 speed chain and haven't had any problems.  I tow a Bob with about 40 lbs of gear.  I do change the chain more often than I did on my regular road bike.  I change it about every 2k miles.  I'm not riding any single track and so far it has been very dependable.

I opted for the Deore xt drive set up when building the bike.  It helps that the cranks are a little further apart than a traditional road bike set up (I avoid the bow legged pedal stroke = less wear and tear on knees).  Plus I have the triple crank with a small gear that combined with the 34 tooth rear cassette allows me to spin while climbing.  I don't use it often but it is sure nice when I'm going up an 8% grade.  I'm very happy with the set up and other than the minor adjustment issue it has performed great.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2010, 05:54:31 pm »
Shimano also makes something called the R-600 which is, I think, somewhat of a generic 9 speed STI shifter. I hear Paddleboy's concern about the chain... I share that as well. I'm no engineer, but I'd think the torque put on a MTN bike chain, what with all the sudden speed bursts, would be a lot higher than the steady pressure of an old, light (I weigh about 159) tourer grunting up a long grade hauling a well-balanced trailer.

My weight is closer to 200 lbs, and I was a roadie first so I don't tend not exert high torque when I ride.  I spin my way to the top.  I also replace my chains when the chain gauge says to.  I just can't afford to replace the other parts that a worn out chain destroys anymore.

I was thinking more about how hard it is to maintain the bike while you are on a tour.  I have been reading an account on crazyguyonabike about a couple that is riding from Vancouver.  The last posting I read had them in Belize.  They have had problems with rims cracking, and chain/cassette failures.  A lot of their route has them on dusty roads, and it sounded like that is what has been contributing to their drivetrain issues.  Mountain bike drivetrains go through so much abuse, and keep working.

Sometimes Shimano seems like an evil corporation.  They have their planned obsolescences.  Every few years they introduce a narrower chain and call it progress.  My recollections only go back to 5 speed clusters.  To be honest, we are into diminishing returns here.  9 speed does not ride any better than 8.  Road groups and mountain groups have been pretty much lockstepped, until 10 speed clusters came along.   Mountain biking has been unable to embrace the transition to 10 speed.

So I just don't know if cross riding is an equivalent torture test to mountain biking.  I do know that I am not prepared to spec a touring bike with 10 speed components.  It sounds like you are already locked into a 10 speed set up, so go ahead and make it work for you.

This reminds me of the STI shifter versus barcon shifter wars that pop up every few months.  Is a barcon shifter more robust that an STI shifter, yes.  Can an STI shifter be made to work on a touring bike, yes (if you do the additional maintenance).

There is also a similar debate of panniers and trailers, and steel frames versus everything else; but I am not going there.  :o

Danno

Offline aggie

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2010, 07:46:21 pm »
Building a bike is a series of compromises: money, functionality, durability, riding style, etc.  I've had a bike with bar end shifters but I prefer the STI style.  When I built my current touring bike I wanted the Dura Ace shifters and a mountain bike drive-train.  Shimano had stopped making the 9 speed and all I could get was the 10 speed.  Initially I had a 9 speed cassette even though the shifters were 10 speed but with some adjusting it worked just fine.  Occasionally I would have to double shift because of the difference but since I don't wait until the last second to shift it worked just fine.  Later a different bike shop recommended the 10 speed IRD cassette that offered the gear range I was looking for as Shimano wasn't making a 34 tooth gear.  (SRAM XX has a 32 or 36 tooth cassette.)  I decided to give it a try and so far it has been working without any major problems (my only "problem" is my rear wheel breaking spokes).  I'm also 200+ pounds and I'm too old to try to mash gears going uphill.

One bike mechanic recommended that I lube my chain at night.  This give the lubricant a chance to "dry" so it picks up less grit.  Less grit on the chain means less wear which means longer life.  So far this advice has extended the life of my current chain. 

Offline danacf

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2010, 08:18:42 pm »
Tom, I've been running with your proposed setup (Ultegra 52-39 with a Salsa 28 triple, Ultegra front d, XTR long cage rear d and the IRD 11 - 34) for 5,000 miles and have been extremely happy with it.  The only difference is that I have a 26T Salsa.  The setup has very evenly spaced gears and a great low end.
I haven't had any trouble with cable stretch either.  I don't remember the last time I adjusted it.
 

Offline Tom

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2010, 11:13:46 am »
Thanks to all who have added posts to this thread. I'm finding it very valuable. While I'm not married to anything at this point, I've been concerned about dwindling supplies of 9 speed shifters, particularly in more remote parts of the US and Europe. I contacted a number of shops here in Portland, OR and the wrenches either didn't have them (but could order them) or were "amazed" to find an R 600 in stock. I've had to replace a few DA 9 speed shifters over the years so, while no doubt a low probability on any given tour, it is something to consider.

I particularly appreciate the comments on the IRD cassette- the other largely unknown variable to me.

I'm curious about danacf's use of a 26T Salsa. Lots of distance from your 39- any chain drops? My plan, dorky as it is to purists, is to install that little device low on the seat tube and just inside the small chain ring that nudges a wayward chain back in place.

My frame builder is concerned about the small-small (28/11) combo I'm considering (along with the large-large (52/34))- that the rear d, despite the long cage, isn't rated for such a large gearing spread. It's kind of a non-issue for me since I never ride in small-small or large-large anyway. Have to presume dana doesn't ride in small-small either or hasn't noticed any chain contact with the chain stay.

I agree with aggie about chain lube at night/ride in the morning. That's my approach, along with wiping the chain down before that morning ride. I also use the Park Tool chain cleaning system pretty regularly.

Again, thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. Very helpful insights.
Tom

Offline danacf

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2010, 07:13:57 pm »
I dropped the chain shortly after getting the bike, installed the N Gear, and haven't dropped it since.  I think I actually dropped the chain with the 30T granny, before I swapped it for the 26.  I remember the shop telling me they didn't take out any links on the chain, and I just counted the links and got 116.  I think the correct size should be 114.  Anyway, there is ample slack in the 52/34 combination, which of course is not used, but should be taken into consideration for safety reasons.  You can also run the granny down to 26/17, leaving only the 15, 13, and 11 cogs unusable.  Why anyone would want to use those gears is beyond me.  My bike has 45cm chainstays.  I am easy on my equipment, taking the pressure off of the drivetrain when I shift and not forcing anything.  The 10sp chain has 5,000 miles on it and still has some life left in it, so I don't think there is any significant difference between the 10sp and the 9sp.  I rode a 15sp wide range half step plus granny bike for years, my current set-up is as close to that as I could come, and like I said before, I have been very happy with it.

Offline DaveB

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2010, 09:59:25 am »
FWIW, I understand Shimano is going to 10-speed for their MTB groups for 2011.

Offline whittierider

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2010, 12:49:14 am »
Quote
My bigger concern, would be if 10-speed chains have the durability needed for touring.  When they offer 10-speed on a mountain bike, I will consider 10-speed on a touring bike.
They're definitely strong enough, as the professional racers who can leg press over a thousand pounds use 10-speed and even Campagnolo 11-speed; but 10-speed chains and cassettes cost double what the 9-speed ones cost, and they don't last as long.  For this reason, I and my family are stopping at 9.  I would be more concerned about the IRD cassettes since when I looked into them a year or two ago, the few reviews I could find on them were all terrible, with everyone breaking teeth on them.  It's possible they have improved, but I would want to know for sure.  Regarding the shifters though, Dura-Ace ones with their beautiful finish share the inside mechanism with some lower-level shifters.  I don't remember how far they go down-- at least to Ultegra and maybe to 105.  Since today's Tiagra is as good as Ultegra of a few years ago, I would not hesitate to put Tiagra on it if you want 9-speed.

Offline briwasson

Re: 10 speed vs 9 speed for touring
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2010, 12:10:28 pm »
While I still prefer 9 speed for all my bikes (save for my MTB that is still 8 speed), I too see the writing on the wall unfortunately. I have several sets of Ultegra STIs squirreled away for Armageddon :-)

10 speed setups have been used on tandems for a few years now with good results from what I understand. In fact, tandems are a good area to look at as a barometer for sorts when considering touring drivetrains, as 1) they tend to have very wide gearing and 2) the combined torque of a tandem team puts a lot of stress on drivetrain components. Santana specs 10-speed on all their new road tandems, and have what they call a custom wide-range 10-speed cassette of 11-34, (which I presume is actually the IRC cassette) coupled with an Ultegra triple crank (53-39-30 presumably).

On our touring tandem we run 48-38-24 with an 11-34 9-speed cassette. Ultegra FD and an XTR RD with Ultegra STI shifters. Some front shifting/trimming issues occasionally, but not too bad. I run a similar setup on my single touring bike, but with a 50-36-24 TA crank, Dura Ace FD, XTR RD and Ultegra STI shifters. The 11-tooth small rear cog is overkill, but I had a hard time finding a wide-range cassette with a larger small cog (12t), so I live with it.