Last year’s review of the 9-speed microSHIFT ADVENT drivetrain quickly became one of GRAVELBIKE’s most popular articles. With Shimano and SRAM dominating the market, many riders–myself included–were naturally curious to learn more about the budget-priced drivetrain that boasted improved reliability and durability. My initial impressions of the ADVENT components were certainly positive, but how would the microSHIFT drivetrain fare over the longer haul?
I logged roughly 800 miles on the ADVENT components before publishing my initial review. The majority of those miles consisted of daily commutes on a hard tail e-bike which had been converted into a dedicated commuter. And during those 800 miles, the microSHIFT components performed flawlessly, easily competing with competitors’ pricier items. Testing the group’s long-term performance, though, would require many more miles.
Since posting the original microSHIFT review, I’ve ridden an additional 1,200 miles on the aforementioned ADVENT-equipped e-bike, bringing the total to approximately 2,000 miles. During this second test period I purposely limited (drivetrain) maintenance to lubing the the test-bike’s chain and cleaning the derailleur’s pulleys only when absolutely necessary. No cable or housing changes, no chain cleaning, and no adjustments to the shifter or derailleur.
The results? Excellent–no missed shifts, no dropped chains, and the microSHIFT drivetrain performed beautifully, regardless of weather or the test rig’s bare bones maintenance plan. With their pedal-assist motors, e-bikes are notoriously hard on drivetrains (and brakes), and in all honesty, I was surprised by the low-cost components’ durability. The standard KMC X9.93 chain, however, did show noticeable wear after 1,800 miles (between 0.5% and 0.75% using Park’s CC-4 chain checker), necessitating replacement. I haven’t been able to detect any skipping with the new-chain/worn-cassette combo, and I expect the ADVENT cassette to be good for another 500 miles or so.
If you’re shopping for a new bike–or revitalizing an older one–don’t shy away from microSHIFT’s ADVENT components. What the wallet-friendly parts may lack in the bling department, they more than make up for with performance and durability. And if you’re not a flat-bar fan, microSHIFT now offers ADVENT-compatible thumb shifters and drop-bar levers (which I hope to test soon).
Disclosure: microSHIFT provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.