The Mule is undergoing a transition, a metamorphosis. She hasn't been able to shift gears in the back for a few years now. Finally, now that her rider is getting old, it's time to ease the pain and downshift on those hills and hauls. I don't care much about 9-speed in the rear exactly but I found a good 9-speed shifter and as 7-speed shifters have become increasingly rare I figured it was time to make the jump - not "the leap," though, as I've stuck with Shimano. I've been stockpiling parts for the operation for a few weeks now.
I finally got around to going forward with the project the other day. It included: the newer right-side shifter/brake lever combo; a new brake cable and housing - the old housing was so shot; new 9-speed cassette - the hub was already 9-speed since we got the new rims a couple years ago - been running a spacer behind the 7-speed cassette; newer 9-speed chain - the one off the road bike after it got a new chain.
Everything went on mostly smoothly. On the test ride, though, I realized that the middle chainring was not really grasping the chain as it went around the bottom. After further inspection I noticed that the chainring has become very sharky. Sharp, jagged teeth. So I'm working on getting lined up with a replacement for that too. In the meantime I can ride fairly smoothly on the Granny or Big ring.
I didn't change the rear derailleur. I wasn't sure if it would work with the new setup. It does - almost. It won't shift into the largest/lowest gear so really it's only an 8-speed. Pretty good, though. Maybe I'll replace that someday, too.
Man! That's the most work Mindful Mule has ever had done on her. She sure is getting expensive in her old age. But worth every penny. My Kingdom for a Mule…