Old 01-20-21, 11:55 AM
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My girlfriend has a Specialized Rockhopper that she loves, except she really struggled with the push/push shifters for the front derailleur because she has small hands (she's 4'11" and 99lbs, so, yeah, she's small!!). Initially I swapped out for SRAM gripshifters but that front mech was still finicky at times and it frustrated her. The bike came with a Shimano Altus 2x8 drivetrain and I've since swapped that out to a SRAM NX 1x12 with a gripshift for the rear mech. The bike is now running a Sunrace MZ90 12 speed HG cassette (11-50t) on the same hub the bike came with. Yes, new chain and new rear mech are mandatory, but you can probably get away without changing the bottom bracket and crankset if you're creative. I sourced parts through both amazon and worldwidecyclery - the cassette, rear mech, chain and shifter came to about $275 (the DUB bb and cranks added to the cost but, again, you could probably skip those parts) and I did all the work myself. She's thrilled now to have such a wide gear range, and only having to shift the rear mech.

So, yeah, you can definitely change a Shimano 8 speed to 10 speeds or more without much trouble at all.
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