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I have an Orange 2017 Diamondback Hook that came with an SRAM 1x8 drive-train.

I'd like to upgrade it to increase the range. What are my best options?

Thanks!

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    You want more range - is that more gears with smaller spacing between? Or a larger large gear for easier climbing ? It may be more cost effective to stay with 8 speed, and fit a different cassette/chain, assuming your derailleur can handle a larger large.
    – Criggie
    Jan 8 '20 at 2:21
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As you have a 1x drivetrain with non-integrated brakes and shifters upgrading it to one with more gears is relatively simple. You need to replace the shifter, rear derailleur and cassette and chain at a minimum. You can also replace the crankset and bottom bracket.

As you have an 8 speed cassette the freehub body will take up to an 10 speed cassette with no problems. Some 11 speed cassettes will fit (but I would not put an 11 speed system on this bike).

You can take your pick of SRAM and Shimano 9 and 10 speed drivetrains and decide how much you want to spend, taking into account paying a bike shop to do the installation or buying necessary tools if you do it yourself. In the latter case you may have to do research to teach yourself how to do the installation properly also.

I would not spend money to upgrade more than a few steps above SRAM X3 on this entry level bike. You won't see the benefit as the frame, wheels and brakes are all still at the lower level.

Very often, especially with low end bikes, upgrades are not worth it, it's more cost effective to simply buy a better bike (and sell the old one). That way you get an upgrade of all the components in one go.

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  • Why not 11 speed? Shimano 11speed MTB cassettes will work just fine on an 8spd hub. Jan 8 '20 at 15:45
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    Cause just how much do you want to spend on parts for a bike that's only $700 new to begin with?
    – Affe
    Jan 8 '20 at 18:17
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As Criggie suggested in the comments: likely the best value upgrade to increase range in gearing would be to stick with the 8 speed system, and replace the cassette or chain ring. If you want to have easier gearing you would replace the cassette, and if you want faster gearing you would replace the chainring (or you could potential replace both and further customise your gearing).

There are many inexpensive steel cassette's available online, and often the ones with large sprockets come with a free derailleur hanger extender (11-40/42 or similar, for example by Sunshine). Similarly steel chain rings are inexpensively available (38T or similar, for example by Deckas).

To calculate the change with some examples:

  • Currently your easiest gear ratio is 1.0 (32T chainring divided by 32T biggest sprocket on cassette) and your fastest gear ratio is 2.9 (32T chainring divided by 11T smallest sprocket on cassette).

  • You could get easier gearing by installing a 11-42 cassette: easiest gearing would be 0.76. Fastest gear would stay the same.

  • Or get faster gearing by installing a 38T chainring: fastest gearing would be 3.45. Easiest gearing would worsen to 1.19
  • If you replace both, your fastest gearing would increase to 3.45 and your easiest gearing would still improve to 0.9 (compared to current 1.0).

(as a price reference, as of this writing it's possible to buy both the cassette and the chainring including the derailleur hanger extender for a total of USD27 incl. shipping)

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