Review: MicroSHIFT Advent drivetrain

Cycle magazine editor Dan Joyce tests the Advent 1x9 drop-bar drivetrain from MicroSHIFT

Until now, drivetrain developments such as clutch derailleurs and dinnerplate cassettes have only been available in 10-, 11- and 12-speed. Advent offers them in 9-speed and, for flat-bar bikes only, also in 8-speed.

I tried the 1×9 drop-bar version: SB-M090 levers (£125/pair); RD-M6195M clutch derailleur (£70); and CS-H093A 11-42 cassette (£49). This setup will work with any 9-speed chain, any chain-retaining chainring and any 8/9/10-speed Shimano-spline Freehub.

A wide-range 2×9 setup is possible – though you’ll need to supply the front shifter and derailleur – as there’s a longer arm Advent rear mech with a capacity of 47t (versus 41t for the shorter-arm 1× mech tested). So you could run a 50-34 road double or 40-24 Alpine double.

I first tried Advent on a road bike but the derailleur fouled the 42 sprocket; it wanted a longer hanger or a longer B-screw. But on my Genesis Vagabond it’s been working well.

The upshift lever (to move to a smaller cog) is located above the downshift lever. It’s accessible from both hoods and drops, unlike Shimano’s old ‘mouse ear’ button. Advent’s main concession to its budget is the external gear cable that’s likely to rub on a bar bag.

While it isn’t compatible with Campagnolo (or Shimano or SRAM), the Advent shifter uses a Campag gear cable, which has a smaller nipple. The nipple of a standard gear cable will snag internally, delaying or preventing shifts (unless you butcher the shifter casing).

The sprockets are: 11, 13, 15, 18, 21, 24, 28, 34 and 42, the last being aluminium. Those are big steps to the 34 and 42. The derailleur handles them well enough, however, and I don’t mind larger jumps in or out of bailout gears; the step between 15 and 18 is more noticeable. Total range is ~380% for 1×9- speed Advent, giving gears of 24-91in on my Vagabond.


Recommended. Advent puts wide-range 1x or 2x gearing in reach of those with shallower pockets and longer drivetrain-life expectations.

Other options

Shimano GRX RX400 £558

Shimano GRX RX400 drivechain

Tiagra-level 2×10 groupset with hydraulic discs, 46-30 chainset, and a clutch mech that works with an 11-36 cassette. (*Levers, mechs, chainset, callipers.)

MicroSHIFT BS-M10 £90

Microshift BS-M10 bar-end levers

Bar-end levers for 10-speed Shimano MTB derailleurs. I previously used just the RH lever, an SLX derailleur and an 11-42 cassette on my Vagabond.

First published in Cycle magazine, August/September 2019 issue. All information correct at time of publishing.

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Tech spec

Price: £244 (as tested).
Weights: brifters 391g/pair; derailleur 388g; cassette 454g.
Available from: MicroSHIFT.

Pros & cons

+ Budget
+ Wide-range grifter gearing
+ 9-speed durability
– ‘Washing line’ gear cable