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Praxis Works' new 48/32T chainring combo
  • Schmuck123

    I love the idea of 10-32 or 10-36 cassette and I was thinking about that as I started reading the piece. For the crank, I am surprised there is no mention of white industries VBC system, especially as they have a new bb30 crank. The spider is intergrated into the large chain ring, so, it will will increase your choices, which will be limited by the front/rear derailleur capacities.

    • Antonio Boškovi?

      same here 10-32 would be just brilliant

    • Morten Reippuert Knudsen

      Dont think the White in the maket yet – additinally, does it have decent lift ramps?

      • Schmuck123

        The last time I checked with them, they said: “It is available in small patches directly through them”. I have been using their old crank (Square taper) on my commuter with different chainring, and I have not had any trouble with shifting.
        Lastly, if we are taking about wide rang road cassettes, we eventually will get longer cage derailleurs, which means more chain slap and more dropped chains, until somebody figures out that a clutch makes perfect sense

        • Adrian Freeman

          Schmuck123, I have a WI square taper crankset (28-42 on my CX bike and love it) with an adaptor for a bb30 frame. I can’t find anything on the WI website that will directly mount. They have press fit and BSA but my understanding is that these would not be compatible with a bb30 frame. Is that right?

          • Schmuck123

            They make a BSA for BB30 to take care of that
            Call or email them, they are very good answering any inquiry

            • Adrian Freeman

              Thanks, will do.

    • Stephen Connor

      I’ve been running 52t chainring 11-34t cassette “1X by” (10 speed Shimano 105 5600) on my winter road for over a year now. Its brilliant but would be slightly short on very low end gearing for longer steeper (<6-7%) climbs of over 20mins.
      If shimano made a 10-34 or 10-36 cassette I'd happily upgrade to 11spd. The 10t cog would enable a drop in front chainring size to 48t and still have a near identical top end ratio of 4.8:1 as a 53/11 which is a ratio of 4.83:1. You could also decrease cassette size to 32t max and still be left with plenty of low end gearing but with a cassette with less severe steps.

  • kamoteQ

    Also, keep it close-ratio in the rear, 2 to at least 3 teeth difference between cogs to keep one’s pedaling rhythm.

    • Dave Rome

      Exactly. It’s a key reason why slapping a mountain bike cassette on the back isn’t an ideal option for most road bikes.

    • James Huang

      Keep in mind that when talking about jumps from cog to cog, what matters is the percent difference, not the number of teeth. On a SRAM XX1 cassette, for example, the 10-12T shift represents a bigger change in terms of percentage than the 36-42T one.

      • ZigaK

        To be even more precise, what matters is the difference in power between the two cogs. As the speeds get higher the 10% difference in teeth count means 30% difference in power (air drag), whereas at the low speeds, 10% increase in tooth count means 10% difference in power.

        • Il_falcone

          Exactly !!!

  • Todd E

    Shimano should just do us all a favor by updating their firmware to allow mixing dura ace di2 front derailleurs with xtr di2 rear d’s. If there is enough of a market for options like the wolftooth clearly there is demand. The reason this would be superior to other wide range gearing options is because of thr clutch rear d which should cut down on chain slap. I struggle to see why Shimano doesn’t allow this when it is only a software compatibility issue. Its not like I am going to buy a new bike to spec for mtb front derailleurs, so they are missing out on the marginal sale of another xtr di2 rear d. I would swap my ultegra long cage rear for xtr in a heartbeat if I could.

    • Velt

      You can use the di2 drop shifters so long as both the front and rear are xtr iirc. You just can’t mix them.

      • Todd E

        Indeed – As per my original comment, that is precisely the problem. I would like to run xtr rear and dura ace front. Given spacing/mounting considerations most won’t be able to run an XTR front on a road bike and it is not designed for a 16 tooth jump so a 50-34 is out. A simple firmware adjustment to allow the XTR rear/dura ace front combo would solve this and make for a super easy off the shelf wide gearing solution.

        • Il_falcone

          In the beginning it worked but they removed that compatibility quickly.
          The XTR Di2 FD works great with a 16 T chain ring difference though. But it doesn’t work well with the narrow 43.5 mm road chain line. That’s why I use it with a FC-M 985 crank set with 44-28 on my gravel bike and couldn’t be happier.

        • Nick Payne

          If you want compatibility between road and MTB components, use SRAM. All the products listed on the web page https://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/technologies/exact-actuation are compatible, so their 11-speed road shifters work with their 10-speed MTB derailleurs to change across an 11-speed cassette. I have one bike equipped with Force 22 road shifters, X9 long cage rear derailleur, and Deore XT 11-40 11s cassette. The X9 specs say it will only cope with a 36t cassette, but with the B-screw most of the way in the top jockey pulley clears the 40t cog without any problem.

  • jules

    I think there are benefits here. I’m a big believer in having lower ratio gears and that these are the major limiter, rather than high ratio gears. You wouldn’t believe that, listening to many cyclists rattle on about how they could have used a 55×11 today. Funny, last time I checked you struggled to hold 200w.

    But the big leap forward I reckon will come from 1x chainrings. We’re not there yet, but being able to dispense with the whole 2x setup in front would be good.

    • James Huang

      I’ve been riding 1x road setups on and off for two seasons now, and at least where I am, I’ve always found them to be overly compromised. To get the lower gears I need for the long climbs, I end up either sacrificing the high-end or dealing with overly large jumps in the middle of the cassette. I’ve always suspected that 1x would probably be fine for people living somewhere with less elevation extremes, though, and I also generally prefer them for gravel/adventure-type bikes.

      • jules

        What I was thinking is moving to 14 spd. cassettes or so. I don’t know how feasible that is with limitations on chain line and the ability to make cogs and chains smaller and more flexible. But it would be good, and reduce the problem of limited ratio selection.

        But we started off with 5 spd. and we’re now at 11, so who knows?

        • mcalista

          I think I saw somewhere that Shimano have a patent on a 14sp system, although I suspect that we are a decade or more from seeing that in production. I suspect that 12sp may be out in a couple of years – why bother now when everyone is still in the process of upgrading to discs.

          • pamountainbiker

            Unfortunately, 12 speed isn’t going to happen anytime soon because it would require a change to rear frame spacing greater than 135. For anything even remotely road oriented you run into a couple of issues including heel strikes on bikes with a thru axle in the rear. The only reason we have 12 speeds on MTB’s now is because the cogs are so large they can cantilever over the spokes. Cogsets even for mixed gravel aren’t going to get big enough to allow this. I think 1X road will have a place, but especially among the performance set it’s too compromised in either range, steps between cogs or rotating weight outside the center of gravity.

            • Fr0hickey

              Internal hub (Rohloff)

            • Lio

              Is that necessarily true though? Campagnolo, the first company to release an 11 speed road cassette, kept compatibility with their 10 speed hub by dishing the the largest sprockets on their cassettes.

              When Shimano caught up with their 11 speed system they went the other way and extended their free hub body to accommodate the extra sprocket which is why a 10 speed Shimano cassette needs a spacer on an 11 speed hub. You can get a Shimano 11 speed cassette on a Shimano 10 speed freehub if you machine the last gear to add your own dishing ala Campag.

              Campagnolo (or any manufacturer) should be able to fit 12 sprockets in by adopting the Shimano hub design and retaining the dishing on their cassettes.

              It’s unlikely but they could even roll it out as a software upgrade to EPS and a new cassette.

      • Stephen Connor

        James I’ve already posted this above but its probably more relevant here.
        I’ve been running 52t chainring 11-34t cassette “1X by” (10 speed Shimano 105 5600) on my winter road for over a year now, probably closer to two years. Its brilliant but would be slightly short on very low end gearing for longer steeper (<6-7%) climbs of over 20mins.
        If shimano made a 10-34 or 10-36 cassette (and freehub if required), I'd happily upgrade to 11spd. The 10t cog would enable a drop
        in front chainring size to 48t and still have a near identical top end ratio of 4.8:1 as a 53/11 which is a ratio of 4.83:1. You could also
        decrease cassette size to 32t max and still be left with plenty of low end gearing but with a cassette with less severe steps.
        Also on a standard 2 x 11spd setup several ratios usually 6 or 8 closely overlap each other. I've worked this out on my 2 x 11spd setup (52/36 11-28), the difference in meters of progression is literally 2 or 3cm for the overlapping ratios. That effectively means a 22spd setup really has 18 or 19 different usable ratios.

  • Simon Wile

    I ran a SRAM 12-36 1x cassette with a ultegra DI2 mid cage derailleur for a bikepacking trip in Japan. Best configuration change I made by far and when the gradient went over 15% i was VERY happy with the extra 4 teeth on the back. 10/10 recommend the roadlink for super easy range increase.

  • Alex

    As far as standards for chain rings go I’m really disappointed that the major players (i.e. Shimano, Campy, FSA) didn’t agree upon a standard 4-bolt pattern and now third party rings may work for one crank but not another. The situation seems to be even worse with the sub-compact setups mentioned in the article. In this sense we are moving backwards not forwards.

    On another note it seems that the best system for dealing with a wide variety of chainring sizes is to use something like the Cannondale or Easton system. This way you can buy the cranks and put whatever gearing you want without worrying about compatibility because of the BCD.

    • Dave Rome

      Agreed. The replaceable spider system does seem the way forward for future proofing gearing selection. Rotor, Cannondale, Easton and a number of others are doing it well. SRAM does it with its mountain bike cranks too, so that could be a sign of things to come too (I’m just speculating).

  • ridein

    Why is a rear mech designed for 1X exclusively and not compatible for a double bike?

    • James Huang

      It’s more a function of how SRAM has designed its 1x-specific rear derailleurs, not 1x rear derailleurs in general. More 2x derailleur designs are moving to upper pulley wheels that are positioned concentric with the pulley cage pivot. Given that, chain gap (the distance between the upper pulley wheel and cassette cog) is determined by the upper knuckle position and/or spring tension, and the angle of the body parallelogram roughly follows the angle of the cassette profile. In this arrangement, the chain gap doesn’t change when you switch chainrings.

      With SRAM’s 1x-specific rear derailleurs, however, the parallelogram moves more horizontally and has nothing to do with chain gap (SRAM does this to minimize the effect that bumps can potentially have on shifting stability as impacts only move the derailleur up and down, not side to side). Chain gap is instead determined with a large offset in the upper pulley relative to the pulley cage pivot. In this setup, chain gap can only be held constant with a single chainring, as a change up front would also change the pulley cage position, and the chain gap as well.

  • Morten Reippuert Knudsen

    46/30 – Camagnolo UT please.

    When i build my road-less-traveled bike last winter/spring i had to resort to a 11-36 due to the absence of modern cranksets with road Q-factor that would carry a 32-30 chainring. Only ones available where the über expensive und undeliverable Midleburn R-O2X and Sugino’s OX901D.

    Fortunately i learned that my decomisioned Chorus 10 speed levers would work 99% with a SRAM X02 clutch type rear deraillure and a 11-36 XTR 10-speed casettte. (in combination with a +2015 Chorus 50/34 crank and a +2015 Chorus front deraillure + TRP HY/RD’s it makes a reasoable lightweigt, functional and very ergonomic sound setup)
    50/34-11/36 gives me the same low range as 46/30-11/32 – hovever just like i never use my 50-11 and 50-12 on my roadbike i would have prefered a tighter 46/30-11/32.

    Anyone tried to build a Shimano 14-36 cassette combining a 6600 junior casette and a 11-36 XTR ? 50/34-14/36 (10-speed) would make an almost optimal gearing for gravel/touring bike.

  • HughatTugun

    I am a experienced recreational rider who likes to do the hills, but I have only have half the power of the pro guys. Why would I use the same gears?? So I now have mountain bike chain wheels 40/28, combined with 11-32 rear and now I can get up most hills without strain. That’s not the same as climbing easy – just without straining. I don’t want to pedal if I am going over 40 kmh – I’ll take the rest thank you – so a top of 40T is fine. There were no problems with the changeover – just a shim added
    The test of your gearing is this: your top gear should ‘hardly ever’ be too low, and your bottom gear should ‘hardly ever’ be too high. If you are doing long hills in your lowest gear, or long segments having to stand, or avoiding/fearing the big climbs – all these mean you are over geared.

    • Morten Reippuert Knudsen


      top gear 50t-13t on 25mm 700c tyres: more than enough.

      Low gear: you (almost) cant get low enough, there is a huge difference beeing able to spin a relaxed high cadance on a long 7% ascents while still being able to climb those 12-14% secitions at the 2nd or 3rd pass of the day like it was a 8-9% climb with an ‘ordinary’ road gearing like 34t-29t.
      At least one gear blow a 1:1 exchange can make a huge difference (for me 34t-36t),

  • jjvc5

    It is about time! When I first saw that the Felt VR’s would have 46/30 chainrings I was overjoyed. I am in my early fifties with bad knees. I spin easy gears at a high cadence, and my daredevil descending days are long past. On a road bike, 46/12 is plenty for me, and a 30/25 is about the same as a 34/28, the easiest gear on many endurance bikes. Now I can run a 12-25 cassette which allows me to always be in the perfect gear.

  • OverIt

    While I’m a fan of Compact on the front for the average rider and commuter (me), and certainly sub compact for more off-road applications, I’m not sure about the XD application on the rear, and going under 11T on the cluster. With wide range cassettes, i don’t like the % change between teeth, (I struggle with these with a 50/36 & 11-28, But I reckon even with 11T you can start to feel the Chordal velocity change start to kick in. (which for 11T is 4%) I’ve not tried a 9T but I wonder if there’s a reason Shimano haven’t adopted it, and that’s because a 9T cog has 6% chordal velocity change. (for ref, 14T is only 2%). Anyone experienced with this?

    With compact front ends, you may end up forcing yourself down the cassette more and if using XD, into the “less smooth” part of the drive-train more often and maybe it’s not totally apparent, but those sort of nagging vibrations could be physically and neurologically tiring perhaps?

    Some reference material here -> http://www.cross-morse.co.uk/pdf/DriveDesign-Cross-Morse.pdf

    • ZigaK

      55/42 front, 13-34 back

      • OverIt

        Yeah, pondered this. Have you tried it?

        • ZigaK

          No I haven’t, but if I would,I’d go for miche cassettes – they have ranges starting as high as 18t

  • Nick Payne

    The Sugino OX cranks uses standard 5-arm 110BCD chainrings for the outer ring and 74BCD for the inner, so you can use anything from 34t upwards for the 110BCD outer and 24t upwards for the 74BCD inner. I fitted one of these cranks to my wife’s bike equipped with 44-30 chainrings – it’s as nicely made and finished as any crankset I’ve come across. And unlike subcompact MTB cranks, it has a narrow Q and correct road chainline.


    • Il_falcone

      “And unlike subcompact MTB cranks, it has a narrow Q and correct road chainline.”
      Which is good and fine for a road bike with 130 mm rear OLD. But I wonder why Sugino doesn’t offer a version of that crank set with a longer spindle bringing the chain line into the region of 47 to 48 mm which would be perfect for 135 (142) mm rear ends which each disc brake road or gravel bike has and also help frame designers increase tire clearance.

      • Nick Payne

        No, the correct chainline for an 11-speed cluster fitted on a 135mm OLD hub is 44.5mm. The centre cog on the cassette is 23mm from the inside face of the dropout (I measured cassettes mounted on Dura-Ace, DT Swiss, and Hope hubs, and they were all within 0.2mm of that figure), which puts it 135/2 – 23 = 44.5mm from the centreline of the frame. And 1mm on the chainline is hardly worth worrying about.

        • Il_falcone

          That’s the way I thought about the perfect chainline, too, maybe twenty years ago: The center of the cassette marks the ideal chainline. But if you design it like that you won’t be able to use some of your smaller cogs when the chain is running on the small chain ring because the chain will rub at the big chain ring and might even rub on the bigger sprocket next to it. Especially with the 16 T difference between chainrings which absolutely makes sense to broaden the gearing spectrum without making the steps in-between sprockets too big. That’s why it makes perfect sense to make use of the remarkable lateral flexibility of the modern derailleur chain and offset the chainline a little bit to the outside. It simply makes more of your gear combinations usable. 43.5 mm chainline even up to 45 mm works great with 11-speed cassettes on frames with 130 mm OLD even with really short chainstay lengths. That’s why 46 mm should be the minimum for any frame with 135 mm OLD especially in those days where even road riders seek for ever more tire and rim clearance.

          • Nick Payne

            I look at it the other way – I never use the small chainring with the outer half of the cassette; whereas I quite often cross-chain big-big rather than bother going to the small chainring at the front to get up short hills. So I’d rather the crank was displaced slightly to the inside of the ideal chainline. On most of my bikes I’m still running square taper cranks/bottom brackets, so I can setup the chainline to suit myself rather than be stuck with what the manufacturer decided.

            Even with modern cranks, you can still modify the chainline if you want. I fitted a Deore XT M785 to a touring bike, and wanted the chainline further in and the Q narrower than as designed, so I ground 5mm off the splines on the inside of the LH crank with a dremel, so that it would fit further onto the spindle and I could then fit the cranks on a 68mm BB shell without needing the 2.5mm spacer under each bearing:


            • Il_falcone

              I see, thanks! But then why not cut the spindle short by the same length? Are you afraid of the corrosion?

              • Nick Payne

                I was intending to shorten the spindle using a hacksaw and a threadless steerer cutting guide clamped to the spindle, but a quick scratch with a file indicated that the steel in the spindle was sufficiently hardened that it would only cut with a carbide grit blade, and using one of those would have made a mess of my steerer cutting guide. As the end of the spindle is in a recess and doesn’t actually protrude past the arm, I decided to leave it as is.

                I set the preload by threading in the plastic compression cap with a 5mm 1″ headset spacer underneath it, and removed it once I had the crank bolts tightened. The compression cap isn’t threaded right to the end, so even without the spacer there, it sticks out too far to be left in place in normal use.

  • Cameron Harris

    Completely off-topic: Those cadence charts are a perfect example of something I can’t read due to being red/green colour blind.

    • James Huang

      Noted! We’ll keep that in mind moving forward. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    All this makes me long for the days of the triple crankset. 30-42-52 chainrings shift in ways setups with 16 tooth differences never will (note how many pros stop at the bottom of the big climbs to put their chain back on if you doubt me) while 9 or 10 or even 11 cogs in back make getting a 1 – 1 ratio (or close to it) pretty simple. Q-factor, weight, shifting speed and the stigma of a “granny-gear” don’t matter much if you have to walk or avoid heading up the steeps in the first place. And before the “don’t knock it until you tried it” chorus starts, I tried a compact double setup for couple of seasons before going back to my beloved triple = more gear choices, smaller steps between gears, better shifting and broader range. It’s the 42/52 chainrings with a close-ratio cogset of the good old daze combined with gears low enough to get up pretty much any climb. Makes no sense to me that they’ve become almost unavailable these days, though Campagnolo still comes close, but (sadly) with 30-39-53 chainrings on their Athena 11 Triple which aren’t as nice as 30-42-52. The better choice 30-40-50 is no longer available as far as I know.

  • bielas

    This article totally omitted the 46/36 chainring combo! I know it sounds more dramatic to compare a 53/39 with a 48/32, but the reality is that is not what is happening. In the last years, and still for the most part, most of the gravel, adventure and CX bikes are using a 46/36, which is doable with a standard compact BCD110mm crankset spider. A 46/36 is already there, can be combined with high range cassettes and use a standard FD. And it works for most applications, this is the chainring combination that should be shown in those charts to see if makes sense going to the sub-compact.

  • Joachim Rosenlund

    Why no mentioning of cranks that you can run with up to a 24 tooth difference (White Industries VBC and the Sugino) – with a 50/26 crank you can run a narrower cassette, which is a great advantage!

  • Smithhammer

    Currently running SRAM 48/34t up front with a 10-40 cassette (Wolftooth expander cog) on my Straggler and it works great. Still plenty of top end but for some of the steepest off-road climbs I do, dropping into 34-40 is sweet….

  • Érico Miranda Schmitt

    Most people cant go faster than 40kph while riding alone on flat road anyway.

    But this whole idea of wide range cassetes with 2 or 1 chainring is ridiculous. You can get a triple with 24/39/53, a 12-24 cassette that has all the cogs up to 20, and have the biggest range, and absolutely no gaps. You can always cross the chain and use it as you do on a XX1. And its not heavier. You don’t have to carry a cassette the size of a dinner plate around. 24×24 is just great, and light.

    I´d add that most cyclists don´t need 53×12 and a 13 or even 14 cog would be fine. I would totally use a 13-24 corncob cassette with no gaps up to 22t. Wonderful. All I need is campagnolo to make another 3×11, as the latest Athena offers 30t as the smallest chainring, and offer such a cassette.

    Another point to this is that smaller cogs add a lot of drivetrain drag. Hence why campy made 14-23 cassettes in the past to be used with giant chanrings for TT.


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