• Sven

    To gain the benefits of not worrying about the front shifter (but keep the extra ratios), couldn’t Shimano introduce the XTR “Synchro-shift” functionality to its road Di2 groupsets via eTube updates?

    • I’m not privy to any information on this, but I’d say that Shimano would be crazy not to be working on it already.

    • OverIt

      I think I read somewhere that Shimano would not do this for road, for while it’s entirely feasible, they (Shimano), felt the “quality” of the shift wasn’t good enough. The jumping around of the chain from big to small ring is much less pronounced on the syncro MTN Di2.

      Still, it’d be nice if the road Di2 user could make that choice on his/her own. :)

  • Kiwicyclist

    Matt, seems like it might be pretty useful set-up for crit racing so long as the higher gears could be managed properly for sprinting.

  • Eat More Lard

    I’ve been running a mongrel 1×10 version on my gravel bike for nearly 6 months – its a Rival equipped bike but I swapped the RD for a Force1 mid cage, installed a 11-32 cassette and put a RaceFace 42T narrow-wide on the front. The drive train is silent and the shifting has been a revelation for me! I think I bump up and down gears to maintain cadence far more than a 2x setup where I tended to “grind it out” more often. I’ve never thrown a chain.

    Saying that, on my roadies, I enjoy the range and gear selection of the 2x but for fuss free, just plain enjoyable riding, the 1x has been a great success.

    • OverIt

      Agree. I cobbled up a 1×10 using standard SRAM parts for the commuter. Was great for my generally flat routes, with 42-11/26. But with a standard rear mech I was getting chain drops on high speed coasting and then pedaling out of jarring impacts. A switch to a SRAM X9 MTN Type II rear mech solved this problem, so I imagine the dedicated 1x mechs are even better.

      I think that 2×10/11 is still the way to go for overall riding as the larger gaps (development) in gearing with a 1x would make finding that sweet spot in your cadence annoying at times.

      • RayG

        Agreed. I even got a 12-25 cassette instead on 11-25 for that reason. 11-36 on the road would be horrible.

        AFAICT, in Fig 1, the average difference between gears is 5.56″ for the 2x setup and 7.36″ for 1x. That’s a 32% larger jump in the 1x setup.

      • VK

        I have a 1x with 42×11/26 on the cx commuter. To avoid chain drop it has a narrow wide profile teeth chainring and a Paul Component’s front chain guide. Never had an issue but I have to admit that the setup is a bit overkilled.

  • Paolo

    No surprise SRAM came up with that idea. After years of development they still struggle to get the FD working properly.

    • ceedee

      Sweet burn.

    • scottmanning

      I’ve been running various SRAM groups for many years along side some Shimano. No problems on any groupset. Their WiFly dérailleur is a revelation removing the need to trim the front. Pisses me no end when I am on the Ultegra bike and I hear the grinding – oh bloody trim… As far as I can tell SRAM have put Campy and Shimano into the sin bin there.

    • Saisan

      Totally agree with your comment, I loaned a bike with Red and wondered why there was a SRAM branded chain catcher under the FD. after The first ride I knew why. I think they engineer in the fact the FD always throws the chain.

  • Jaybo

    wonder what the weight difference between a 1×11 with the 10-42 cassette on the back is compared to running a FD & 2 chainrings with a ‘normal’ sized rear cassette & RD. i love the idea of simplicity of a 1×11 (especially for crit racing, or even just on a commuter!) but as it is i find a double chainring & 11-28 a little limiting for hills.
    probably doesnt help that i’m quite fat, so i need some tiny gears for getting up hills in the first place but descend like a housebrick so need some big gears going down!

    • Many bikes already have weights added to them to get above the 6.8kg without doing anything exotic to them. However, the FD for Red is 69g, Force is 79g, and Rival is 89g. Plus the weight of the cable/housing (50g or so?). Personally, I think a greater point is significant cost savings by removing the front derailleur.

      • jules

        I think SRAM has got this wrong. to me, the big ratio increments to preserve range is a step backwards. I can still remember the days when you’d have a debate in your head about whether to shift up to the next gear on your 7 spd cassette – whether the grind would be better than the spinning in your current gear. we’re past that – 10 and 11 spd cassettes offer almost seamless ratio increments. are people really going to step back to compromising on that?

        where I think the system could work is for competitive riders, as an option in events/races/rides with a limited parcours – e.g. with little climbing, or only climbing. for that sort of one-dimensional riding, there is often no need for a 2x system. criteriums are an obvious example.

        • Dave

          Paris-Roubaix perhaps. Most riders use a 42T or even 44T as the small chain ring for that race.

      • Most of the weight savings of ditching the front derailleur, cable and housing, and shifter guts are negated by the increased weight of the rear derailleur with the clutch mechanism.

      • Tim Rowe

        The problem with weight limits is that the real danger occurs when certain areas of the frame are weak or susceptible to certain types of impacts or jarring, or where the strength of wheels is compromised.
        There’s also the factor of cost.

        I would be happy if the UCI just put a 1.3kg requirement on wheelsets and set some testing standards for frames. All of a sudden on the wheels alone you’d see the average price bikes in A grade bunches plummet, and the sport become far more affordable.

  • Tom Barrows

    you’re playing with numbers….the 50/34 is not dead, neither is a 12/28. finally, if the industry goes down the 1x route they are going to leave a lot of middle-age and older riders (who have money to spend) on the sidelines. It is marketing over function and value.

    • jules

      it’s not an either/or proposition, surely

    • Larry @CycleItalia

      Agreed. But it’s the same with triple vs double. The triple, with more ratios and a wider range compared to double sounds like marketing-maven heaven, but the stigma of the “granny gear” has almost killed it off. After a couple of seasons on a compact double, I was happy to go back to three chainrings up front. Now “improvement” is going to only one with the added complexity of a clutch in the back to make it all work? Sure, it takes a little skill and practice to smoothly operate a triple setup, but does EVERYTHING in life have to be dumbed down to “point and shoot”?

    • George Hayduke

      Don’t fret. SRAM is only trying to craft a market space, real innovation is coming from Shimano (think Di2 internal hubs with cassettes).

    • Kyle V.

      yeah, not sure why the graphs were limited to 11-26. Sure you have to pick something but I’ve been run an 11-28 with a 53/39 while racing for years and have spent the last 3 months with an 11 speed 11-32 back there!

  • Alex

    “The best part about using Force 1 was riding into a climb with a high gear ratio, and with one sweep of the right shifter paddle, moving quickly to a low gear ratio. With a 2x transmission, I would spend much more time anticipating the front and rear shifts that would be needed to find a suitable ratio for the climb. The 1x transmission allowed me to leave the shifting until the very last moment, and I couldn’t help the mad glee that came with it.”

    I do this in two button presses on my Di2. I have my rear derailleur set up to do 3 shifts with a long press. I long press down 3 cogs, then shift the front derailleur. Now i’m in basically one less gear and shift slowly as I loose momentum up the climb.

    • scottmanning

      Going down three on the back (down = to a bigger cog) is standard even on mechanical SRAM and Shim (not sure about Campy). Push the lever to the click and you get one – push the lever full throw and you get three. If you are clever enough, you can get two – just need to stop at the right place in the lever throw as there is no index for it.

      • Alex

        I should have been more clear. By down I meant into a smaller cog. AFAIK this is only standard on mechanical campy (and probably EPS).

    • donncha

      3 presses on mech SRAM.

  • scottmanning

    What’s the point? A little less complexity but less gearing options? A front dérailleur is hardly complicated. Since I run a 12-25, because it gives me an 18, and one less two tooth jump between gears the idea of going to two tooth jumps right from the 11 is a horrible idea. This has application on a CX bike where the complexity reduction is pays off and consistency of cadence is a pipedream due to terrain but not on the road. No thanks. As to Crits, the required gear is limited enough a regular cassette (11-25) will work so you don’t have the weight penalty of the massive cassette.. might be worth it there but then you would need a specific bike for crits. Hey, I just found an excuse for another bike! :)

    • Cameron Harris

      Not excuse. Reason.

    • Clarence

      Finally, somebody else who (still) uses a 12-25T and appreciates actual low rate of development.

  • Daniel

    I can see this becoming a reality in the future, but 11 speed probably isn’t enough. If you could get the mechanics of a 15 speed rear-derailleur down pat, then I can see some merit to this. Until that time, the 1x system allows you to either have a set-up with minimal jumps between the gears, or a wide range of gears, but not both. 2x systems allow you to get both of those elements for the minor extra bit of tech and co-ordination between the shifters.

    Bottom line, come back to us once a 1x system can give us more than a dozen gears…

    • jules

      good point. I wonder if 15 spd is possible within existing cassette widths? if the cassette were to be widened (i.e. with the extra cogs) – would it become necessary to make the chainring pivot to minimise ‘cross chain’? and how would you do that (a CV joint?) I think in practice they’d be stuck with existing the cassette width and be limited by their ability to reduce the cog spacing, and the implications for cog, chainring and chain strength that stem (no pun) from their being reduced in size.

  • Roger That

    Jan Ulrich would approve. The second chainring is irrelevant and is only to be used to ride back to the hotel after the race.

    • jules

      or on recovery rides while coming down from the night before

      • Roger That

        or to cake shops in the off-season.

      • _kw

        Jan is usually coming down from the night before in his car ;-)

        • jules


    • Tim Rice

      I went Absoluteblack road (shift-able) oval 50/36. With Shimano. I am still not sure why I bought the 36t ring. If I need the 36T I am on the wrong bike!!
      11-36 with a narrowwide / drop-stop 52t oval for road would be awesome. I guess it is time to quit being a tightwad and by SRAM. :p However my high strung road SS is fun also. The beauty of a road SS, no need for overpriced complex manufactured narrowwide chainring. I don’t race though I ride for 100% pleasure. I am in the process of rebuilding a 1991 Schwinn crosscut. It will be a lot of fun for club rides. Oh I am sure the attitude aired won’t get me accepted. However, road use is public, so tooling along on an ancient steel framed cross/hybrid 1x with fat tires next to old fart on his Cervelo is just going to be fun. They don’t seem to be racing either. Nor (from what I have seen) enjoying their ride much.

  • Andy Logan

    I notice the Force 1 is more expensive than Dura Ace Mechanical? So less gear for more money?

  • Il_falcone

    The title of your article is kind of provocative, Matt. That’s why I feel “urged” to give an answer: No, it certainly won’t replace the FD. 1×11 is just another option for those who think they can do with a smaller range of gears with bigger steps. Some people even swear by single speed drivetrains “as everything they need” and even do non-stop alps crossing on fixies for whatever reason.
    But those who (very) often ride their bikes in some real mountains – either because they have to because they live there or because they like it – will always look for a possibly very wide spectrum of gears with possibly equal and too big steps in between on their favorite bike(s). Just because it’s proven to be more efficient for the human body powering this marvelously efficient machine we call a bicycle.
    With regards to the problems some folks have with the front derailleur (really boys?), get a Di2 system and forget about it. It does the shifting for you and there’s no need to trim the derailleur. If you program the system to perform a 3 sprocket up- or down-shift on a long press of one of the buttons assigned to the rear derailleur you will (nearly) automatically shift into the next gear when making a front shift. So shifting a bike with Di2 is already much easier to learn than using most apps on your smart phone. And you’re intellectually capable of doing that, aren’t you?
    As you can see I’m kind of bad in expressing my thoughts in few words. But even I would have managed to deal wit 1×11 drive trains on road bikes in less than half the length of your article, Matt ;-). It was fun reading it nonetheless, thanks.

  • Sean Doyle

    No………just no. On a road bike gear spacing is primo. IMO.

  • CC

    Matt, which one is better, 1×11 or 2×5 (10sp) ? It’s a legit question, the bracing angles on the 5sp hub are very attractive over 11spd.

    • Peter

      Do you have redundant gears with the 2×5? If so then you have less than 10 real gear choices.

    • Bracing angles for an internally-geared hub trump them both!

  • Browny Bogmouth

    Been doing this on my touring bike a while with a 38 or 39 up front

  • Tom Wells


  • Peter

    I don’t race (too fat + not very competitive), so I don’t mind taking the time to fiddle with gear changes fore and aft to get the right “feeling” gear, and I do appreciate the smaller increments between sprockets. A 2x is therefore my preference.

  • Pex Parra

    for weight freaks: you mention the weight saving of 69 to 89 gr by getting rid of the derailleur. But how much more could you save in weight by eliminating one of the chainrings? Is that saving in weight compensated by the weight of a a 32 song on the cassette?
    In summary: what´s the total weight of the groupset 1×11 (50 x 11-32) vs 2×11(50-34 x 11-28)?

    • Working from SRAM’s published weights, the Force 1 rear derailleur is heavier than Force 22 (261g vs 178g) as is the cassette (300g for 11-32 vs 257g for 11-28). On the flip side, the 1x crank is lighter (679g vs 715g 53/39 crank; sorry don’t have a weight for the compact crank) as are the levers (277g vs 307g). Ignoring the chain and brake calipers, Force 1 (50 x 11-32) comes in at 1,517g compared to 1,536g for Force 22 (53/39 x 11-28). A compact crank will close the gap so the potential weight savings for the 1x transmission are minor at best.

      • Il_falcone

        So there isn’t even a weight saving? What a great innovation!

        • Tim Rowe

          It’s more about functionality – the idea being that there’s less to go wrong in the front end, that things should run smoother and more efficiently. Not everything is about weight saving.

          • winkybiker

            Not more efficiently. Better chain angles and less friction with a double up front. I’d imagine that the “thick-thin” chain-ring (apparently necessary to stop derailing) would also have little more friction than a thin-thin chain-ring as the sides of the chain drag on the thick teeth a little once the angle increases.
            I think this is a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist. It just seems to be compromises all over the place for no real benefit.

            • Il_falcone

              Exactly! Rather less efficient even if we only look into the mechanical (=transmission) aspects. And even more efficiecy losses on the engine (=human) side because of the bigger gear steps. I would like to repeat: “I think this is a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist” anymore. The FDs (especially the electronic ones) work so good and reliable nowadays there’s no reason to get rid of them.

              • Ever seen the look that a new rider rider gets when you start talking to them about how and when to trim the front derailleur before moving on to explain what cross-chaining is? That’s a problem that exists, and a 1x transmission addresses it perfectly (so does Di2 but that tech is expensive). Then there are those that just want to mash a big gear and try to use a FD with too much load on the chain.

                • jules

                  yeah like Andy Schleck ;)

                • Il_falcone

                  Yes I have. “That’s a problem that exists” with newbies. They also have a lot of other problems with riding a bike properly. Some of them also tend to fall down to one side in front of a traffic light like a felled tree because they don’t get out of their pedals. Would you then recommend them riding with flat pedals or encourage them to learn how to handle click pedals and benefit from their advantages.

                • winkybiker

                  Never have seen that look. Whether they cross-chain or have their derailleur rubbing is none of my business.

                • ZigaK

                  I would say that 1x transmission does not address cross chaining perfectly, rather poorly imo. What does address it perfectly is 2x with 5 minutes explanation and a functioning brain, capable of understanding for example what Nigerian prince is talking about. Or a Di2 if you have the monies.

      • Pex Parra

        I would have bet there was significant weight loss (200-300 gr) , but I guess it is not the case.
        Thanks you so much for the prompt and complete response!
        Greetings from Colombia, the land of Rigo, Nairo, Chaves and all of our pedaling heroes.

      • aloha

        Have you missed here the weight of the FD?
        Or this 1536 gr includes also FD?

        • 79g for the FD included (there’s another 10g for the chain spotter option).

      • AC

        Weight saving can be significant (~200 g) if you forgo the clutch derailleur and just upgrade to a wide/narrow ring coupled with a standard short cage road rear derailleur and 11-28 cassette. Savings are even higher if you gut the shift mechanism out of the left hand brifter or switch to a brake only lever.

        This has the added bonus of being much cheaper (~$80 total outlay) and, arguably, much more aesthetically pleasing with a reasonably sized cassette and no clutch mechanism or long cage on the derailleur.

        Haven’t dropped a chain since converting my CX commuter in Feb 2014 using shimano 105 and a wolftooth ring (great service to Aus by the way). Keeping the chain short probably helps in this regard. Haven’t felt a need for any form of chain catcher.

        Range wouldn’t suit a road bike but fine for many of the other uses already mentioned (commuting, crits, tri, etc.). Gear jumps don’t feel any different to running an 11-28 with a two ring setup.

  • Lots of talk about its use for crits, don’t forget about TTs and (gasp) Tris. Those guys never shift from the big ring.

    • winkybiker

      I once rode a 5:20 bike split at Ironman Australia in the small ring (42) the whole time. Not sure why I did that. Baffled me even then. I do like to spin.

  • winkybiker

    Wide gear gaps don’t bother me when riding alone, and I have the option to slightly adjust my speed to tune my cadence, but when riding in a bunch, I really like the fine tuning options that 2×11 gives me. The bunch sets my speed, so I have to set my cadence using the gears. So, for me, 1X systems would work on my commuter bike, but not my “good” bike. I also like the option of a really low gear that a 34t gives me for steep, long climbs. The 1X system just becomes more of a compromise.

    But of course, I can’t put this system on my next commuter bike (which will also have hydraulic discs) until Shimano (or Campag) do it, as each time I see those ugly SRAM hydro levers, I throw up in my mouth and a little bit of my soul dies.

    • Peter

      You’re the cycling groupset style police.

      • winkybiker

        Someone has to do it.

  • Arfy

    In Australia a chain guard is a legal requirement for roadworthiness. The front derailleur takes care of this function on multi-chainring setups, but it doesn’t seem SRAM offers a guard for 1X? I would’ve thought a guard would also help with any chain drop issues.

    • Tim Rowe


      • Arfy
        • jules

          that’s actually a requirement on suppliers of new bicycles. technically it doesn’t apply to operators, i.e. riders. the road rules do have a couple of requirments for bike ‘roadworthiness’, i.e. bells, reflectors and lights at night.

          • Arfy

            Too true, thanks for pointing it out. I do wonder how the importers are getting away with it, all local bike shops here have “fixies” without a chain guard, and they’re obviously not designed for racing as there’s no UCI compliance on the frames. We had an incident not long ago on a track bike, where one of the kids was using flat pedals and their shoe laces became tangled on the chainring, so it amazes me that the fixie crowd is allowed to get away with it. I’d hate to see the outcome of that if it happened in heavy traffic!

    • Nitro

      As someone who specifically read (all of the) road rules the other day (just to check that I really could ignore the grumpy guy who yelled at me for riding on the footpath with my 6yo and 7yo kids – perfectly legal!), I have to admit, I didn’t see this one…

      • Arfy

        Riding with kids is one of the most fun and stressful things in life. When my now 8-year-old was about 5 or 6, I was constantly reminding him to ring his bell and “keep to the left” on shared paths, it was no use telling him to slow down. Now when we’re out riding he rings the bell constantly and yells out “KEEP LEFT!” to those coming the other way like an Army sergeant! I have no idea what people think, I think they’re too shocked at being told what to do by an 8-year-old.

        • jules

          I see parents, when they see me coming on a shared path, desperately usher their kids to the side or off the path – as if I’m going to blast by them at 40 km/h on my roadie. Probably because others do precisely that.

  • TonyJames

    Have you seen the 42 tooth SRAM rear cassette sprocket? ( ) Crazy size (and crazy price) but it does mean that with a 1×11 you can get up absolutely everything. Great for long alpine climbs on a bad day but not so good if you want actual close ratio gear choice. I guess it keeps the weight down for the purists but personally I’d rather go with a double up front still.

    • Nitro

      42 on the back – that’s like a dinner plate ! Makes my mind recall a discussion on this site a few years back when people were talking about gearing for the 3Peaks, and someone said they’d rigged an “emergency gear” 1:1 setup !

      • TonyJames

        :-) yep I remember those days, for a while there was even a bolt on 4th inner ring for mtbs that dropped you down to an 18tooth I think at the front. I liked the sound of it as I was never a whippet but all the shops I went in scoffed at the idea. Then we ended up with 22×36 and the rest is history!

  • Tim Rowe

    Rather than a front derailleur, why not just use the rear derailleur to have a second function, which would be to disengage one third or one half of the pawls or shift a ratchet in the freehub? Even a simple clutch inside would achieve this. Surely this could be achieved within 150g, which is the weight saving we’re talking about.

    I’m really surprised we’re still stuck with the traditional rear derailleur system and 1 inch chain links. Given innovations in technology they seem like an anachronism which noone’s been game to redefine – not for technical reasons but for market acceptance reasons.

    • winkybiker

      You’ve lost me. What would mucking around with pawls in the freehub do?

      • Tim Rowe

        Give this a read, it should give you some ideas as to how ratios can be altered to result in different amounts of torque just within the freehub:

        • winkybiker

          Nope. Still no clue what you’re on about. The configuration in a free-hub makes no difference to the gearing. If you’re talking about internally geared hubs, that’s something completely different. It’s a technology that’s readily available but not considered in high performance systems due to its inherent high frictional losses and resultant inefficiency.

  • velocite

    I think I understand the attraction of a 1 x setup on a MTB or in cyclocross, but for the road? I don’t need the best but that’s what I want, and reducing the number of ratios is not an improvement. Reducing the complexity of the shifting operation would be though, which is why the group on my next bike will be electronic and will have only two buttons, up and down – because I’m not interested in which end is changing. It will be wireless, too.

  • Kieran Degan

    I’m a pretty entry level, basic rider. Mainly commute. This is attractive for my hilly daily commute which is all about a lower gear. I like the simplicity of the set up, less to go wrong. The semi compact would give pretty much the same range as my 46/36 x 28. I agree with the statement that it is an alternative, not a replacement. I’d love one on my commuter bike (I’ll review the Rival version for you ;)), but if I were to step up and purchase a bike for longer weekend or club rides, I’d go 2x.

  • George Hayduke

    Remember how many World Tour teams rode SRAM 3 years ago? Remember how many of them complained of chain rings shifting? Remember how few teams rode SRAM this year? And now the are phasing out the front derailleur all together. Classic.

  • Christopher Kam

    I use a Force 1 on my CX bike, with either 40 or 42 X 11/36 depending on the course. For CX racing, a 1x beats a 2x hands down. The constant turns, dismounts, crashes etc, in CX mean you never have time to shift from small to big ring anyway. Have not dropped the chain once this season. I also use my CX bike as my winter road bike after the CX season ends. Will find out how a 48 X 10/42 works on the road.

  • TrailRider

    Hi roadies. 1x rocks. You will all be riding it in 5 years time. Might as well get in early.

  • Keir

    “if asked, most riders would rather add more gears than give them up—but the promise of a simpler transmission that is easier to use is undeniably appealing”. I think I’ll stick with the complexity of a front derailleur. It’s not that hard and I’ve never had one fail. This smacks of the next marketing onslaught. On gravel grinders and CX I can understand the merit but on a roadie?

    • Il_falcone

      Agree with you with regards to road bikes. But on my gravel bike which I ride a lot I need an even bigger gear range than on my road bike simply because forest roads in mountainous regions tend to be even steeper than paved roads and often you have to stay seated when climbing because traction isn’t as good as on pavement. That’s why I need really low climbing gears. But I don’t want to forego gears enabling me to pedal / accelerate out of corners in the descends because that’s where the fun comes to town. A 2x-crank with a substantial difference in chain ring size is a must for any serious gravel biker riding in the mountains.

  • Bjorn Alkema

    I hope this hype 1×11-shit is over soon!
    Think the slogan from the mtb and road industry is; look like a pro….go slow
    Cycling is about cadance and Watt… If you don’t got the fittnes of a pro then you can forget about your cadance and an enjoyable ride

  • Frobble

    This simply isn’t for me. I run a 2×10 50/34 11/28 compact and my rides are a good mix of flat and hills. The extra gears, with smaller jumps in gear ratios, give me a better chance of finding that sweet-spot for cadence, especially when the road is undulating. That Matt the reviewer had to modify his riding style (“push a little harder”) to fit the engineering is completely backwards. Remember, this system is only purporting to make it easier to _change_ gear. When I’m not changing gear, I want to be in the _right_ gear. If the wider spread of ratios makes that impossible, then I’m working against the system, not with it.

    I just reject out of hand the argument that 2x setups are sufficiently complicated that using a 1x system is of benefit. Making something “simpler to use” when the original configuration is already _so_ simple to use is just futile.

    With only one chainring in use, I’d expect reduced lifetime on that ring and chain as every pedal stroke wears away the same teeth, rather than splitting the usage across two rings.

    Dumb. Pointless. No. Nay. Never.

  • Woot

    Woot Van Aert on Sram 1X having fun in the 2015 cyclocross world championship with a dropped chain. Did Sram fix this issue? Maybe they did?×440.jpg

  • Stephen Connor

    I’m currently running a 1 x 10 on my winter/second road bike Giant Defy 3.5. Its a complete shimano mash up 52 Chainring (with bash guard and jump stop chain catcher), HG62 (Deore) 11-32 cassette, Tiagra 4601 GS rear mech and 105 5600 Sti levers. I wanted to try the setup before dropping several hundred euro on the full kit. Its a great set up with a couple of caveats

    A clutch derailleur would be great as chain slack can induce the very odd chain drop to the outside when dumping several sprockets down in quick succession hence a chain guide / bash guard is essential. Although with well dialled in setup I believe that clutch derailleur may be overkill on the road.
    The ratio steps as you reach the upper end of the cassette (25-28-32) are slightly greater than ideal.

    I’ve been using the setup for a couple months now and i believe with 11-34 or maybe 11-36 cassette or in extremely mountainous area a 11-40, I would be more than happy to use the 1 x “one by” option on a permanent basis for all my bikes. I have used my current setup on some short steep climbs with sections of over 20% for a couple of hundred metres without issue and extended sections of 8-10% are no problem as I can achieve my regular (2×11 setup) climbing cadence for a perceived effort level with the gearing available. Its also well worth noting that in a 2 x 10/11 setup there is several gear ratios that repeat themselves or at least are so close to each that you wouldn’t be able notice the difference. I’ve reaseched this ito a reasonable level of detail using a speadsheet to calculate metres of development (metric version of gear inches) as I wanted a bike that was not just following the lastest “trend” but was actually useful to me and the type of riding i do. I made sure that I was able to match closely the ratio that I regulary use on a local climb which I regulary train on while leaving one or two escape “granny” gears below this sweetsot ratio to use on bad days.

    The recent unveiling of Sram Eagle 1×12, will make this even “one by” setup even more appealing to me as this will help to decrease the ration jump between sprockets. The sram XD freehub option would also open up a 10t sprocket which would probably allow for a smaller chainring (48t or 46t) while maintaining the a big high gear. Although Sram Eage and XD Freehub are mtn bike specific, I’ve no doubt the trechnology could easily be swapped to road either by specific groupset or a hack / aftermarket component.

    Finally, although front derailleur development has created very consistent front shifting, shifitng underload in high load situations will always be a risk and even the best equipment setup by pro-tour mechaincs can encounter problems, I clearly remember Brad Wiggins having problems with Di2 front mech resulting in his bike being thrown against a wall. The removal of front derailleur elements this risk.

  • Paul Kramer

    I’m not be as tech-savvy as many Commenters herein. But I’d love to try s “1X” chain ring. I’m assuming it’d be impossible to convert my 1995 Trek 1200 to 1X x 11X. If I could find a used bike to so accommodate a 1X x 11X, what do I (in tech language) look for in a freewheel hub, shifter, rear frame width, etc? If, e.g., I bought a 2006 Cannondale road bike what would I need to do so my bicycle tech doesn’t look at me like I’mcovered in spiders? Any help appreciated.

  • wow, I am a trendsetter. I found years ago that having a front option set was unnecessary when I was strictly on the. road. It occured to me when a friend said, “wow, you climbed that hill in 9th gear!” Don’t need front derailleur. (sp?)

    • cthenn

      IMO, this is the mindset of a person who is not very in-tune with his/her bike, and not a very nuanced rider. I’m seeing this argument all over the place. “Oh yeah, I got up that monster beast hill with my 1x drivetrain cuz I’m a badazz, and BTW, do you even lift bro?” Sorry, there is a LOT more to having the extra gear ratios than just “I can mash up that (usually very short) hill on my 1x, and when I’m on the flats, I only need my hammer gear”. You may be able to get away with a 1x if you live in the flatlands, but if you have *any* legit climbs (like 45 min to an hour or more), then you (or your knees) aren’t gonna last long on a 1x. And if you select a cassette with something like a 40t in back, then you are gonna have massive gaps in gear selection in between the top and bottom cog. It’s just not worth it, and I have yet to have someone explain to me the legitimate benefit other than laziness (“easier”/”less maintenance”/”shifting is HARD!”).

  • cthenn

    Nice commercial for SRAM…this is the only company obsessed with doing away with the FD, and all the Shimano haters and SRAM fanboys will go gaga over this idea. Never gonna happen.

  • Tim Rice


    I’d be just as happy with a 2×1 or 3×1.


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