If yer riding up as well as down 9spd is a BIG difference, I find the extra gears mean I always got a good gear for whatever I'm climbing and a super low 34t is nice.My road bike with only a 7spd cog is really at a disadvantage on climbs
One of my bikes has a 5 year old 7spd acera derailler working OK with a 9spd cassette all I changed was the cogset/chain[HTML_REMOVED]changer.It just takes a little fine tuning/hanger straightening/cable replacement.
if yer just going downhill splitting in another 2 gears dosent make much differenece so 7 or 8 spd is fine but shimano isn't gona bother with that for such a small market.
Shimano couldnt even bother to show up on time for Banshee and make no mistake they could care less about losing PIP's business cuz its less than a spit in the bucket compared to what they sell to giant …they probably don't have a clue what happened or why he is going SRAM ,the reality of dealing with a BIG company
for me I think I will stick with the standards already setup .I'm not thrilled with shimano's attempts to make an all in one brake lever/shifter for example,altho it is good on road bikes(STi brake/shifters). I like to have stuff that I can swap around depending on what bike needs what or what I am building up
I think 8sp REPLACEMENT parts will be available for a little while and 9spd for a long time
SRAM is gona pickup the crumbs that shimano doesnt want,I would be willing to give them a try
9spd chains do seem to break more than 8spd.I use sachs mostly cuz I can always get em cheap at MEC