upgrading an old drivetrain

by Veeman   August 19, 2014  

New member here - Greetings all.

I have a great old '97 Kestrel with the original Shimano 600 2x8 groupset. Naturally, it's getting quite worn. I've been advised that my replacement choices are either go find OEM 600 components (which are terribly expensive - espceially for older technology), or upgrade to an entirely new groupo (which I wouldn't mind doing).

However, if I go with an upgraded groupo, I am limited because of width issues on the rear wheel for a new cassette. Otherwise, I will also have to replace my wheels (which I don't want to do). Specifically, I've been told that I cannot go to any of the newer 11 speed sets (which isn't necessary for my budget & riding goals). If this is correct, then I still have some attractive options, such as going with a Shimano 105 2x10 groupo.

My concern is that it really is compatable before I buy a new set and find out it's not a compatable upgrade for whatever reason(s). I'd greatly appreciate any advise/experience on this matter. Thanks!

9 user comments

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Your wheel/freehub might not be wide enough to take a 10 speed... I'm sure someone better informed than me will know about 8/10 speed cross compatibility. Other than that, you should be ok I think. You'll need some barrel adjusters to go where your shifters once were and guide the cable onto your frame.

posted by bashthebox [764 posts]
19th August 2014 - 18:42


9 speed should be fine .... Tiagra is solid and cheap now that the 10 speed
variant is around Smile

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [925 posts]
20th August 2014 - 10:26


I would just drop any Shimano 8 speed parts on it providing you keep the rear mech and the cassette matched capacity wise. Cable pull remains unchanged so you don't have to use 600. Any new old stock 8 speed such as Sora or 105 will will work just fine. If the cranks are solid new chain rings are easy enough to get.

The 600 is a effectively a group copied from Suntour kit (yes they nicked the idea) and it set the pattern for most 90's kit.

posted by MKultra [387 posts]
20th August 2014 - 12:21


What's the rear hub? Also 600? If so you should have no issues going to 10 speed without changing the rear wheel.

Which parts are worn out? You may only need a cassette, chain, and shifters to complete the 10 speed conversion.

A full 105 group should work fine, but I don't think it would be a good investment unless you find an amazing bargain. If it were mine, I would upgrade as little as possible, or buy a complete bike.

posted by Derny [112 posts]
20th August 2014 - 16:47


Grateful to you, Derny and the other commenters as well. Glad to hear a 10 speed upgrade is doable. You raised an excellent concern regarding the financial feasiblity of investing $$ in an older bike. So what do you think about this:

I can get a brand new 105 complete groupo set from bow to stern for less than $600. So even if I purchase additional accessories such as cables, tape, etc., I'm thinking that I'll have a full (albeit older) carbon bike with every single component replaced with a brand new 105 2x10 groupo - all for less than $700. The bike may not be worth that much on the resale market, but if it sets me up for the next 10-15 years of recreational/sprint tri riding, where else could I get that for $700

All that being said, fire away if you don't think this qualifies as an amazing bargain, or you see some other flaw in my logic. And again, thank you.

posted by Veeman [2 posts]
20th August 2014 - 18:09


8 to 10 is fine, might just need a spacer on the cassette.

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [893 posts]
20th August 2014 - 20:56


8,9 and 10 speed share an identical freehub, so long as you change the shifters, cassette and chain you will be fine.

However there is no difficulty at all in sourcing and replacing 8 speed components, I do so all the time, what do you need?

posted by drfabulous0 [407 posts]
20th August 2014 - 21:21


Veeman, I doubt your wheels will last another 10-15 years if you ride much, so assume that fairly soon you'll have to add the cost of wheels to the $700 you are planning to spend.

I'm not saying you're crazy to want to replace the whole component set, I just wouldn't take that approach unless the frame is special for some reason. I would replace whatever needs to be replaced, maybe ride it a few more years and sell it, or just sell it now.

If you assume replacement wheels are $250 and your other parts are $700, you're up to $950 already. Add to that whatever you think you could get if you give the bike a bath and sell it. That's already approaching the price of a discounted new 105 carbon bike, or a nice used bike much newer than your Kestrel.

posted by Derny [112 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 7:07


I'd agree with Derny on this. The best value options are either to replace 8 speed with a new Claris groupset or pick up secondhand 8 speed parts dirt cheap from other people who have upgraded.

10 speed gearing isn't any faster than 8 or 9, you just pay two or three times the price for a new chain or cassettes.

Otherwise a new bike would probably be better value and nicer to ride.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2416 posts]
22nd August 2014 - 10:54