More than a month since I last posted here! Didn't seem that long, probably because I have been busy. I shall continue with the Boardwalk story, from where I left off the other time.
As said previously, I was very satisfied with the new 9 speed SRAM Attack shifters and the Ultegra RD. The shifting is faster and crisper compared to the stock components. However, I was later presented with a chance to upgrade and try other shifters and RD. This was because there was a new bike! My gf upgraded her bike from the Eco 2 to the Vitesse D7, very nice! Of course, I was also itching to zhng the Vitesse, and upgrade it to a 9 speed bike.
So how does this allow me to try another shifter and RD? It is possible because I would need to get another set of 9 speed components to upgrade the Vitesse. Some of the components include Kinetix Comp wheels, 9 speed cassette and chain, 9 speed shifters and a good RD. Also, her preferred shifter is a Shimano type shifter, that uses thumb and finger to shift the gears, unlike the thumb-thumb shifting of SRAM shifters.
Of course, this presented a chance to get new components! In any case, a set of new 9 speed Shimano shifters is needed, and the XT shifters fit the requirements perfectly. These XT shifters would have to be paired with a Shimano RD, and instead of getting another Shimano RD, I realised that I could just transfer the Ultegra RD over.
This leaves the door open for me to get a brand new set of shifters and RD! Also, the Vitesse would get an excellent gear system in XT shifters with an Ultegra RD.
As for me, I like the thumb-thumb shifting of the SRAM shifting system. It is only logical that I would go with a SRAM system this time.
Initially thought of pairing a SRAM MTB shifter with a SRAM road RD, but realised that they are not compatible due to different cable pull ratios. Therefore SRAM road and MTB shifters/RD are not interchangeable. This narrows the choice of system considerably, to two main choices:
1) SRAM MTB shifter+RD combo, or
2) SRAM DoubleTap 9 speed +road RD.
Checked out the 9 speed DoubleTap shifting system at MBS. For those who don't know what DoubleTap is, it is a shifter that uses the same lever for up and downshifts. Pushing the lever slightly triggers an upshift, pushing the lever further will initiate a downshift instead. I couldn't get used to it, because it was hard for me to consistently know how far to push for each type of shift. Also, this combo of DoubleTap and SRAM Force RD is more expensive than the other option.
Therefore, I decided to get the SRAM MTB shifter+RD combo. The X9 level is reputed to have an excellent performance to cost ratio, being only slightly below the level of X0, but at half the price. The X7 level is actually also pretty good, at around 70% of X9's price point. But I didn't want to have any regrets if I didn't get X9, therefore I went for X9 instead of settling for X7. With the metal bits on the X9 components, it also looks much better than the all-plastic X7.
What better shifter to pair with the X9 RD than the X9 shifters? Wanted to get just the right/rear shifter from CRC, but it was out of stock. It was not known when the stock would arrive, and instead of waiting indefinitely, I decided to get the whole set of shifters (left+right) from MBS. The X9 RD was bought from CRC though.
Installation of the X9 shifter and RD was easy. Adjusting the cable tension was a bit more tricky, since there is no barrel adjuster on the RD, and it has to be adjusted at the shifter. Also, the routing of the cable to the X9 RD requires more exposed cable. At the same time, the routing also cuts across the end of the quick release. This means that the repair stand, which I use to elevate the rear wheel for maintenance, cannot be attached easily.
The shifting performance has already been reviewed in a previous post, when I compared the XT and X9 shifters. Basically the advantage of the X9 shifters over the XT is that they have no free play (termed ZeroLoss) in the big silver lever when downshifting, which allows for even quicker shifts. The shifting quality is comparable with the XT shifting.
Very pleased with the upgrade, as it allows me to try both the SRAM and Shimano shifters and RD. I have also learnt how to install and adjust Shimano and SRAM RDs. It also works very well, with even more accurate RD movement across the whole cassette. Even though there is no gold bling on the shifter or RD, the silver portions still fit in very well with the overall look of the bike.
In the next post, more components are upgraded! This time, the handlepost and handlebar are upgraded, along with the addition of an accessory, the Biologic Air Horn.