I have a Firestorm 29D (3 * 8 gears, 24 total) bike. The shifting is not smooth at all. I would like to upgrade my rear derailer and shifters or groupset to Shimano altus or any other. Kindly suggest me if its possible to do so.

Current configuration:

  • Shifters: Microshift TS38-8 3X8 Speed
  • Crankset: Prowheel 24X34X42T, 170mm
  • BB Set: Sealed Cartridge
  • Freewheel: Steel, 12-32T 8 Speed
  • Wheels: Alloy Double Wall 36H Rims
  • Rear Derailleur: Microshift RD-M25

I did try tuning it using the barrel adjuster but still the shifts are not smooth.

I was thinking of replacing the entire drive train. If Altus is not that good option what do you suggest is a good upgrade?

Yes I feel the same this gearset should have been smooth but it is not :( Since I bought this bike 2 months back I have rode a distance of 1000km.

  • 1
    @Criggie: I think he counted the teeth on the smallest sprocket of the rear cassette ;)
    – Michael
    Mar 15, 2021 at 7:32
  • 2
    Are you proposing upgrading the entire drive train, or just specific components? I would be surprised if low end Shimano such as Altus outperforms Micro shift in any meaningful and noticeable way.
    – mattnz
    Mar 15, 2021 at 7:44
  • 1
    Could you clarify what you mean by "this gearset should have been smooth but it is not"? Is everything OK except while shifting, or are there problems even before/after shifting? What do you mean by not "smooth" - sound, vibration, rattling?
    – Armand
    Mar 15, 2021 at 19:59

2 Answers 2


Even cheap components should shift okay-ish, unless they are badly worn.

Shifting problems are usually caused by any combination of:

  • Bad adjustment: Incorrectly set cable tension or limit screws.
  • Excessive cable friction: Due to bad routing, worn cables, worn cables housing, missing/bad cable housing end caps or very low-quality cables.
  • Bent derailleur hanger. Look at the derailleur cage from behind the bike, it should be parallel to the center line of the bike.
  • User error: Don’t shift under (high) load. Don’t shift in a standstill.
  • Worn components. Usually the chain. You should replace the chain early enough, when it’s 0.75% stretched. This will typically be after 1000 to 4000km, depending on conditions. If you do so the cassette and chainrings can last more than 10000km. The derailleurs can also last more than 10000km.

Have you ruled out all of those? Only then would I think about a replacement/upgrade.

  • 1
    Normally, a new bike should be checked and readjusted after the first 250km or so, as cables may have stretched a bit or screws loosened.
    – Armand
    Mar 15, 2021 at 20:01

Your drivetrain should be familiar to any bike shop mechanic and they should be able to adjust it or identify any problem. In the US, it is normal for a bike sold at a bike shop to include a free "tune up" return shop visit after about 250km (155 miles) to adjust anything that has loosened during the initial use period.

If it turns out that you want to get higher quality drivetrain components with an emphasis on shift quality, I would start with new shifter(s) and rear derailleur as having the biggest effect on that.

Some links that might help:

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