I recently refurbished a 24 speed MTB with new cables, new chain and a proper clean. No matter how much I tried I could not get the shifting to be as smooth as a 9 speed system. It had a certain clunkiness to it that wasn't present in Shimano 8 speed systems from 20 years ago. I have experienced this before with 'Alivio' and other modern 8 speed parts which made me wonder, do these 8 speed parts actually work properly?

Also, if anyone knows, are they deliberately engineered to be borderline clunky so that there is a reason to buy the better 9 and 10 speed parts?

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    Are you sure you have the right shifter/derailer/chain combo for this? – Daniel R Hicks Nov 14 '11 at 0:03

All my four bikes with deraileurs use shimano 8-gear cassettes. Although I have never had a 9 or 10 geared bike (I think it is too many gears, no need for that), I could say it works properly or not depending on many factors, mostly these:

  • If the cassette is worn, shifting gets worse, because the engagement points are not the same anymore;
  • If the deraileur has lateral play, same way: shifting gets a little less precise, although I would say this is not the worst problem, see ahead;
  • If HANGER IS BENT, then no matter what you do, shifting is terrible, as @user2839 said. If you set the upper gears to be right, the lower ones will be offset, and vice-versa.
  • Finally, if cable is not running smoothly inside the housings, there will be problems too.

But I would never put the blame on the cassette being 8-speed.

Hope it helps!

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  • I've had experiences with worn out shifter levers too! – Jahaziel Nov 15 '11 at 23:25

I had this problem once: no matter how much I adjusted I could not achieve positive shifts into every gear. It turned out my derailleur hanger and derailleur were bent. Either of these could contribute to your problem.

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I have only had the one eight speed, so my sample is not statistically significant, but it worked beautifully... Way better than my current 9 speed, which is clunky.

Think you maybe just got a bad one.

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  • Me too. My Acera setup works no worse than the 10 speed Deore. However, putting an year or two on the system results in 1)grime buildup 2) lack of oil 3) not perfectly tuned gears (because I'm incompetent) 4) worn cogs, chainrings etc. Therefore, I would reason, the difference new vs used is somewhat significant. – Vorac Aug 1 '14 at 9:40

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