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Single ring and wide-range cassette drivetrains are gaining popularity, so is this the end for the front mech

The drivetrain on a modern road bike has evolved loads since the early days when a rod was manually operated to move the chain onto a different sprocket, with electronics now commonplace and ever wider range cassettes providing enough gears to tackle even the steepest mountain climbs.

Most modern road bikes combine two derailleurs to move the chain across the rear cassette and front chainset, and it works well thanks to many years of product development. We probably take them for granted. But there's a move in some parts of the cycling world to simplify the drivetrain and it threatens the future existence of the front derailleur.

The arrival of SRAM’s 1x11 drivetrain a few years ago, a groupset which ditched the front mech and instead combined a single chainring with a wide-range cassette, provided another path. Such groupsets have become hugely popular on mountain bikes and we've seen cyclocross and adventure bikes also being specced with the company's groupset in recent years but could the same happen to road bikes?

What are the benefits on a road bike?

The simplicity is certainly appealing. With just one shifter, changing gear is much more intuitive than having to manage the front and rear derailleurs. For beginners, that's going to be an obvious benefit. There’s one less component to fail as well (though front derailleur failures are rare) and on bikes designed for wider tyres, removing the front derailleur can provide additional clearance around the rear wheel and seat tube area.

Read more: Beginner's guide: understanding gears

sram rival 1 first ride2

A short history of the front derailleur

Early users of double chainsets didn't even bother with front derailleurs; they pushed the chain from the large to small chainring with their heels at the bottom of a long climb, then stopped at the top of the hill to manually lift it back to the big ring. In the 1930s, French cycle tourists began using mechanisms to move the chain, as they realised being able to change gears was useful on the flat as well as when you had a long climb ahead.

Front derailleurs of the 1930s were usually actuated by cables; rod-operated front derailleurs appeared in the 1940s, and provided very quick and efficient shifts. You had to reach down towards the bottom bracket to operate them, which looks awkward to modern riders who are used to brake/shift levers, but was reportedly quite straightforward.

Read more: First Ride: SRAM 1x Road

Since then, the front derailleur really hasn't changed much at all. It's still a basic component, comprising two metal plates that shove the chain across the chainrings, and the stiffer those plates the better the shifting. But making plates stiffer by making them thicker also adds weight, so gear makers have added ramps and pins to the chainrings, bringing a real improvement in front shifting performance. The biggest recent development has been the addition of a motor in the electronic systems made by Shimano, Campagnolo, SRAM and FSA.

The 1x charge – the industry speaks

But the cycle industry is in a great period of technological development at the moment and everything is up for change. Chainsets have evolved from triples to doubles over the years with loads of configurations available, but a definite trend towards lower ratio setups like a compact, semi-compact and most recently, sub-compact. So if lower gears are popular, why not go all the way and use a smaller single ring?

For mountain biking, a single ring chainset makes a lot of sense. Changing gears is easier with just one gear shifter, there's one less thing to malfunction, mud and ground clearance is improved, weight is lowered and suspension designers are freed from the limitations of having to factor in a front derailleur when locating pivots. And any loss in gear range is compensated for by a wide-range cassette, with SRAM’s introduction of a 10-42t cassette and more recently 10-50t with its 12-speed Eagle groupset.

SRAM has been instrumental in the popularity of single ring drivetrains, but SRAM’s Global Drivetrain Category Manager Ron Ritzler doesn’t think fans of the front derailleur need to worry just yet.

"Will the front derailleur disappear? Probably not yet as there are certain users, like some elite athletes, who need the range and the steps to perform at their best – but can it kill the front derailleur for users who spend their time in cyclocross, commuting, adventure riding and in events where fast precise single ring performance is preferred; heck yes,” he tells us.

“We still make front derailleur and 2x rings that work really perfectly, but we love the fact that there are some many people using road bikes in new ways that make 1x the right choice."

While SRAM has been cheerleading the benefits of single ring drivetrains, Shimano isn’t really embracing it. Shimano’s Ben Hillsdon says the versatility of the double ring setup is just too good to ignore.

“Essentially the front derailleur doubles the number of gear ratios available to a rider, and, therefore, gives riders smaller steps in shifting between their biggest gear and their lowest gear,” he says. “That means riders have a wider range of gears, a smoother pedalling experience and their cadence (ie leg speed) can stay constant.

“That, in turn, brings a physiological benefit as muscles and joints are saved from being overworked, which can be crucial when it comes down to the sharp end of a race. The versatility of a double-ring setup is that you can go anywhere without compromise. However, for those riders choosing simplicity, our strategy is to offer drivetrains that can be set up in many different ways for different styles of riding.”

Read more: Your complete guide to SRAM road bike groupsets

Polygon Bend CT5 - crank.jpg

But a front derailleur gives you more gears, right?

One of the biggest advantages offered with the introduction of the front derailleur was massively increasing the range of gears. That was an obvious advantage with a 5-speed cassette many decades ago. Over the years, the number of sprockets on the cassette has increased and is now up to 11 (and 12 in the mountain bike world).

Not only has the sprocket number increased, but the size of the sprockets has gone up: most racers predominantly used 11-23 cassettes a few years ago, but 11-28 is now common in the pro peloton and many sportive bikes now come with 11-32 cassettes.

Of course, removing one of the chainrings reduces your available range so to combat this SRAM introduced a whopping 10-42 cassette. It was instrumental in winning over mountain bikes as it was possible for a single ring drivetrain to offer nearly the same gear range as a conventional compact drivetrain.

Read more: SRAM Rival 1 review

How does a single ring drivetrain compare to a conventional drivetrain? Favourably, if you look at the numbers. Combine a 44t single chainring with an 11-36 cassette and you have a gear range from 33 to 108 inches. That’s very nearly the same as the 32.8 to 122.7 range that a conventional 50/34 and 11-28 setup provides, typical of many sportive bikes these days.

You can adjust the size of the chainring and the cassette to tailor that gear range to suit the geography of your local terrain and riding style, whether solo touring rides or racing, much like you modify a current drivetrain with different chainsets and cassettes depending on whether you want top-end for racing or low-end for riding in the mountains.

While the gear range compares favourably, where the 1x setup falls short is in the jumps between the gears. This will concern those cyclists who like to be in the perfect gear for the optimum cadence at all times. How big a concern the larger jumps between gears will be to you depends largely on the type of cyclist you are, the sort of riding you do and your terrain. There is much work being done to provide cassettes that can help smooth the transition in the most frequently used gears, with 3T's Gerard Vroomen developing two versions of a 9-32t cassette that looks to be a good choice.

Kinesis Tripster AT - cassette.jpg

So should you ditch the front derailleur?

That depends. There are clear advantages and disadvantages to a 1x drivetrain at present. It’s unlikely we’ll see the front derailleur confined to the history books anytime soon, especially given Shimano’s dominant position in the market. That'll certainly be the case for regular road bikes and especially race bikes where tradition rules.

Where we expect to see single ring drivetrains really start to become a lot more popular is on bikes where the disadvantages are outweighed by the advantages offered by a simplified drivetrain, where the ultimate range isn't as critical and where the bigger jumps aren't as much of an issue.

Read more: Will your next bike be a gravel bike?

We’re talking about cyclocross bikes (where many racers have been going single ring for many years already with home-brewed solutions) and the gravel and adventure bike category where 1x has pretty much established itself as the groupset of choice. But with the likes of the 3T Strada and Whyte Wessex One, two road bikes designed around 1x11 drivetrains, we could be looking at more road bikes devoid of front derailleurs in the future.

Whyte Wessex One

Ultimately, though, the modern groupset is too good for many cyclists to want to make a radical change. But the rise of wide-range cassettes does provide an interesting alternative that will appeal to many cyclists, which means we might see a few less front derailleurs on road bikes in the future.

Do you ride a bike with a single ring drivetrain?

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

95 comments

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Roadie_john [85 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Meh.

It'll be like the "radical' Mike Burrows Giant TCRs that ONCE used. They appeared pre-season with all sorts of tech, but by the time the races started they had all the usual kit on - not the adjustable stems, plastic-spoked wheels or adjsuatble layback seatpins.

1x would be great for a crit bike or TT bike as most riders only use one ring for those events anyway, but for a road bike for any kind of hilly race, they'll need the overall range and the small gaps between gears. 

And for consumers, I'd go for it on the TT bike and probably a crit bike, even living somewhere hilly, but the price doesn't reflect the saving in complexity and materials.

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daturaman [45 posts] 1 year ago
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I did a single ring conversion on my mtb and love it, although the 40T extender sprocket I chose was probably not low enough for me. I've never felt the need to do similar for my road bike - an 11-28 cassette with 50-34 is just enough for me to climb most hills in my area. Switching to single ring means you lose the ability to drop down (or go up) more than a couple of gears at a time. I need that for undulating terrain.

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vonhelmet [1434 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I looked at going for 1x when I built a gravel bike earlier this year, but the cost was utterly ridiculous.  There was no way I could justify it.

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Daveyraveygravey [701 posts] 1 year ago
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don simon wrote:
Daveyraveygravey wrote:

In the article it says "ground clearance is improved" (for mtbs).  Why or how is this?  A front mech is several inches above the BB, so where is ground clearance a problem?

I am anti 1x.  It looks shit, and if you are so thick you need " the simplicity" of one shifter, you probably shouldn't be allowed out on your own.  A semi compact chainset and 11 speed Ultegra gives me a perfect set up for riding in the UK.  If I moved to the Alps, I'd get a compact.  

1x for the road - you never have the right gear.  You can't climb steep hills because you can't turn the pedals at 40 rpm.  You can't go downhill fast (or even on the flat with favourable conditions) because you're spinning at over 120 rpm.  And everywhere else you're always not quite in the right gear...

 

Rubs chin...

Regarding the ground  clearance, is the bb the measure of this, or would we consider it to be the result of a smaller chain ring having a smaller radius because there's no need for a front mech?

Secondly, as long as you're not riding a 53/39, please don't mock the choices of others. riding up Morcuera on a 53/28 is doable, difficult and slow, but doable.

 

I apologise for causing offence.  But I am just not having the argument that it is simpler.  

 

1x should be renamed "Half by" and then people might have an idea about what is really going on.  Gears were invented to give people options, this is the opposite of that.  I've had some arguments with off-roaders about this, but I still can't see the benefit.

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alansmurphy [2284 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I get the benefit for off roaders, the front mech is an obvious place for dirt so in event and general maintenance (can't spell) it makes sense to lose it if they can get the range required. Most downhillers could probably use a hub with 5 gears in it and not have a traditional chain.

 

If it's fit for purpose, fine. Most 'propoer' roadies that want varied terrain, cadence, smooth changes etc. wouldn't get this from 1x and don't get any of the so-called benefits either... 

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fukawitribe [2888 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Daveyraveygravey wrote:
don simon wrote:
Daveyraveygravey wrote:

In the article it says "ground clearance is improved" (for mtbs).  Why or how is this?  A front mech is several inches above the BB, so where is ground clearance a problem?

I am anti 1x.  It looks shit, and if you are so thick you need " the simplicity" of one shifter, you probably shouldn't be allowed out on your own.  A semi compact chainset and 11 speed Ultegra gives me a perfect set up for riding in the UK.  If I moved to the Alps, I'd get a compact.  

1x for the road - you never have the right gear.  You can't climb steep hills because you can't turn the pedals at 40 rpm.  You can't go downhill fast (or even on the flat with favourable conditions) because you're spinning at over 120 rpm.  And everywhere else you're always not quite in the right gear...

 

Rubs chin...

Regarding the ground  clearance, is the bb the measure of this, or would we consider it to be the result of a smaller chain ring having a smaller radius because there's no need for a front mech?

Secondly, as long as you're not riding a 53/39, please don't mock the choices of others. riding up Morcuera on a 53/28 is doable, difficult and slow, but doable.

 

I apologise for causing offence.  But I am just not having the argument that it is simpler. 

 

...but mechanically it's demonstrably simpler, isn't it ? Surely you can see that ?

 

Daveyraveygravey wrote:

1x should be renamed "Half by" and then people might have an idea about what is really going on.  Gears were invented to give people options, this is the opposite of that.  I've had some arguments with off-roaders about this, but I still can't see the benefit.

Except it's not "half" the gearing, e.g. this is the gearing overlap on 52/36 with 11-28

http://www.gear-calculator.com/?GR=DERS&KB=36,52&RZ=11,12,13,14,15,17,19...

 

..so about 50% more gear range with a 2x setup. Here's the same setup with 46 front ring and a 11-42 cassette at the back.

http://www.gear-calculator.com/?GR=DERS&KB=36,46&RZ=11,13,15,17,19,21,24...

 

To me, that looks to be around 5 mis-matches which you could argue are 5 / 22 "missing" options. Ideal ? No. Half ? No, not for me.

 

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MikeFromLFE [20 posts] 1 year ago
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Bmblbzzz wrote:

And an addition to the "journalists don't check anything nowadays" file:

"One of the biggest advantages offered with the introduction of the front derailleur was massively increasing the range of gears. That was an obvious advantage with a 5-speed cassette many decades ago."

Did anyone ever make a 5-speed cassette? I really doubt it. I think you might mean a 5-speed freewheel. 

I don't know about 5 speed cassettes, but 6 speed was readily available with a Sturmey Archer hub and a cyclo double freewheel! So, no the 5 speed derailleur didn't massively increase the range of gears! 

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Miller [281 posts] 10 months ago
5 likes

This is an old article, did something change?

Meanwhile, single-ring racing did not go so well for Aqua Blue... 

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srchar [1563 posts] 10 months ago
2 likes

I just don't see the point for road riding. Big gaps in the rear cassette can really ruin a ride for me, especially when you find yourself riding into a headwind or up a long, slight incline.

I have 50/34 & 14-26 on my commute bike and 52/34 & 12-29 (or 32) on my best bike. I don't see how a 1x system with even 12 speeds can replace either of those.

How much maintenance does a front mech need? In my experience it's the least troublesome part of the drivetrain.

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MarkiMark [104 posts] 10 months ago
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Looks like comments have covered every opinion, but just my simple input - I have run 1 x 11 on my mountain bike for years, and it makes a huge difference, but not what was mentioned in the article. In (good) mountain biking you are constantly moving from up to down to flat in very short distances, and having to change a front and rear to cope with quick changes in terrain was a nighmare. 1 x solves this brilliantly. On a road bike this situation is amost never encountered, so question the need for a 1 x other than simplicity. 

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mattsccm [428 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

What puzzles me is the cry that a front mech is a weak point. Unreliable maybe?  Marketing and thats all in that respect. Cobblers. Its the simplest, most fool proof moving part on a bike and its being replaced by a complex clutch mech that dangles close to the ground. Weight. I fail to see that the guts of a changer plus a cable and mech add up to the over long rear mech plus all those sprockets .  Complexity? Really ? Whats complex? its automatic.

 And there we come to it. If you don't know any better then you don't know the whole story. If all you know is a single ring then you don't know whats wrong  A single ring suits the new MTBers who can't pedal properly .

A single is ok for flat TTs and real CX  ( not messing about off road)

Marketing and nowt else.

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Paul__M [52 posts] 10 months ago
2 likes

Funny thing was when I was a youth the traditionalist mocked me for having a ten speed - wasn't I up to a  five speed, did I go for every gimmick? Now the traditonalists say eleven is insufficent. Cycles may have changed a lot, but cyclists have changed even more.

In the year since the article we still don't have 1*12 speed road, but we can see it is at proto stage, and there's the 13 speed Rotor too. Looks like a decent solution, but they may never make the mass market.

Personally, if I'm going to have a front mech, I've probably enjoyed *3 most, because 90 percent of the time I can just leave it in the middle. Sure the granny gear is clunky, but rarely used so who cares.

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jaysa [157 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

On roads, many casual riders with front mechs have not the slightest idea how to choose the right gear - constantly stuck in a 36 inch or 110 inch gear, who knows: gear or brain seized up?  Those with single mechs, often with twistshifts, seem to get it about right..

For casual riders, 1x is great: cheaper, conceptually simpler, less bits to break ?

I prefer to ride at the right cadence, so prefer 2x for road and 3x off-road.

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vonhelmet [1434 posts] 10 months ago
1 like
srchar wrote:

I just don't see the point for road riding. Big gaps in the rear cassette can really ruin a ride for me, especially when you find yourself riding into a headwind or up a long, slight incline.

I have 50/34 & 14-26 on my commute bike and 52/34 & 12-29 (or 32) on my best bike. I don't see how a 1x system with even 12 speeds can replace either of those.

How much maintenance does a front mech need? In my experience it's the least troublesome part of the drivetrain.

A gappy cassette is a right pain. My cross type bike has 46/36 up front and 11-32 ten speed at the back. The cassette has big gaps in the middle. I’d hate to think what it would be like if I were trying to cover 50/11 at one end and 34/28 at the other in just 12 speeds on my main road bike. 

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A_Moses [12 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

Some interesting posts here, but moot for me. I've given up trying to buy an SRAM Rival 1x11 groupset. When I finally got through to someone at SRAM they seemed to be proud of the fact they don't sell groupsets and that it's near impossible to buy their kit.

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 10 months ago
2 likes

I've just invested in another triple set up, so 3x11 24/39/50  + 13-30, hello mr 20%.

People ditching the front drailleur are simply making it harder work for themselves whatever the activity IMHO.

IF I decide I want to cart a shedload up a lot of inclines day in, day out, I'd probably opt to fit something like a 34T but even with my lardy arse and aging legs I can still just about manage to do 14% inclines with that gearing with a reasonable load, not for very long mind but low enough gearing to get me over the worst, being able to twiddle away on a 7%-8% without spewing/having to stop/do zig-zags is why a front drailleur and a triple for those environments is essential for me and many others.

1x is dead, long live the FD!

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fixation80 [77 posts] 10 months ago
3 likes

Well I have a single ring shopper bike with 21 gears, it is equipped with the Sram 3x7 ( seven block on 3 speed hub), named shopper as that is it's main use, it will happily go on any terrain with the 28 tyres. Up to now the chain has derailed a couple of times, mainly due to my abuse of the system, no doubt a thick and thin chainring would sort that out but for the short journeys I do on the bike it is not worth the outlay. Ratios I know not, my legs and lungs tell me when to change gear, I live in a lumpy area and the gears are fine. I use a close ratio compact 9 speed on short time trials, local flat course, the small ring being a godsend on a return to HQ with thick legs. I'm not a hero, just an eighty one year old putting some effort in!

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shutuplegz [85 posts] 10 months ago
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It's horses for courses..... For road use, for most 'casual' cyclists, or beginners, a 1x system is the way to go, it is much easier to use. You change one way to 'easier' gears, the other way to 'harder' gears. As has already been pointed out it is amazing though how many 'experienced' cyclists you still hear/see badly cross-chaining so still don't really 'get' how a 2x system works (and don't get me started on how many expensive bikes I see/hear being ridden with rusty, squeaky chains!) but maybe it is just not important to them as long as it works!

However, as a cyclist becomes more experienced, maybe takes part in sportives, maybe joins a club and rides faster paced club runs, maybe goes for local Strava segments, and then maybe even tries their hand at racing, the importance of having the 'right gear' for the particular road, weather and (if applicable) race conditions gradually becomes more and more important and steps between certain gears become more of a problem. That step to someone on a sportive might mean they have to go a bit slower on a particular climb, rather than blow their kneecaps off in a hgher gear but they might actually be glad of that at the time. However, the same step to someone going for a sprint in a race could be the winning margin.

I myself do the bulk of my miles (commuting) on a 1x11 system, well, it is actually Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub gears with Di2 shifting and belt drive but will happily do longer rides on this bike too (it is a drop-bar 'performance' bike rather than a hybrid or similar) and only very rarely have I found myself lacking a gear - usually when I am tired and flagging on a long climb, when small differences in gearing have a bigger physical/mental impact. 99% of the time though, for me riding on my own, commuting or 'leisure' rides (i.e. 16-18mph average) over a variety of terrain (sometimes do big climbs and up to 50 miles on this bike) it is fine.

For longer, weekend rides however, my 'best bike' is 2x11 and although I have a very slightly wider gear range on this bike I often used find on undulating rides I was frequently switching between big and little rings but this is much improved after changing from 53t to 50t for the big ring (I am no racer!).

Personally I think many new-starters are put off by the complexity of front and rear derailleur gears so I think 1x11 could help alot of those people get into cycling more readily and enjoy their rides more, without constantly thinking whether they are in the right gear or not. Those people might then get more interested in the sport and could then relatively easily upgrade to a 2x (or 3x) system when/if their requirements change.

So I think both systems will be around for a long time as there are pro's and con's for each setup, and if you are lucky enough to have more than one bike there are good arguments for owning both systems depending on the type of ride you are going on. Thats what I told my wife anwyay.....

 

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oxford_guy [10 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

I've never found using a front derailleur problematic at all, even on triples (which I think still have their place, on loaded tourers, at least), and prefer closesly-spaced gears, but wide gear range. Also, although this is probably not a very valid reason, I don't like the look of the (relatively) small chainring and huge dinner plate cassette on a 1x road bike.

So I can't see myself moving to 1x any time soon for road bike riding.

 

 

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Beeg Reeng [1 post] 9 months ago
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I’ve been predicting and/or hoping for a future that doesn’t feature the front derailleur; I can’t stand moving to the granny ring it feels like a lot of hard work for little gain. Maybe a result of commuting on a fixie but seems to me the same range is very nearly there with one front ring. Shifting the front is no drama but it feels a bit much ado about nothing if you ask me. My prediction is us roadies will get there in the end and we’ll look back and wonder why we ever bothered!

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OldRidgeback [3221 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

I had the chance to build up a really nice tourer using a steel Raleigh frame a neighbour was throwing out (why some people chuck out good stuff escapes me). It had built-in adjusters. I've some old but still decent road wheels in the cellar and a decent old mech.

The plan was to build a 6 speed for hacking around, old school but nice. I like the idea of a simpler layout with a rear mech only. Fewer cables means less maintenance.

I still kick myself that I never got round to picking up the frame from my neighbour. 

 2

 

 

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slappop [80 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

I think for non-sporting cyclists, the front mech should deservedly die; I've seen too many casual cyclists struggling in the wrong gear because they don't know what to do with the front cogs.

But I won't ever give it up, I love having close ratios on the rear cogs and, particularly, get a lot of pleasure out of the 'double squeeze', going from small to large at the front and two down at the rear (maybe with a 'blib' for another one at the rear). It's part of what makes cycling feel like an art form.

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srchar [1563 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
Beeg Reeng wrote:

I can’t stand moving to the granny ring it feels like a lot of hard work for little gain.

What do you operate the lever with?  Your tongue?

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Simon E [3843 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
slappop wrote:

I think for non-sporting cyclists, the front mech should deservedly die; I've seen too many casual cyclists struggling in the wrong gear because they don't know what to do with the front cogs.

So having a choice of 2 chainrings is too complicated for newbies and 'non-sporting' cyclists so they shouldn't have one?

Why can't they choose for themselves and either learn or continue in ignorance, like in any other activity? You don't tell people who start playing cricket that they'll have to buy a really wide bat because they can't hit the ball every time with a normal one or walkers be told their coat isn't waterproof enough to walk up hills. And unfortunately we all know that poor cycling technique isn't limited to gear selection!

It would be great if 1x models were available at a range of price points (Islabikes have been doing it since their inception). And not just flashy ones with huge cassettes that cost £80 or more to replace.

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CXR94Di2 [2726 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

Ive got 3 front ring in digital form

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Dingaling [110 posts] 9 months ago
6 likes
Beeg Reeng wrote:

I’ve been predicting and/or hoping for a future that doesn’t feature the front derailleur; I can’t stand moving to the granny ring it feels like a lot of hard work for little gain. Maybe a result of commuting on a fixie but seems to me the same range is very nearly there with one front ring. Shifting the front is no drama but it feels a bit much ado about nothing if you ask me. My prediction is us roadies will get there in the end and we’ll look back and wonder why we ever bothered!

You need to get some experience.

Get a bike loaded to a total riding weight of, say, 115kg, ride it 20 miles up a mountain pass over 3500m, ride fast down the other side  then tell us there's no need for a front derailleur.

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Borch [1 post] 8 months ago
0 likes

Hi! I have an adventure road bike whith an 1x transmission: Chainring 40t + 10-42.

In winter my rinding is mainly in tarmac and not very steepy and I'm going to buy another chainring. I don't have to much experience and I would like to ask for advise, I wonder if buying the 44t or 46t, considering I'm going to keep with me the 40t in case I need.

Thank you

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srchar [1563 posts] 8 months ago
4 likes
Borch wrote:

I'm going to buy another chainring. I don't have to much experience and I would like to ask for advise, I wonder if buying the 44t or 46t, considering I'm going to keep with me the 40t

Have you thought about getting a front derailleur?  They allow you to switch to a different size chainring at the flick of a lever.  Fabulous invention.

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ktache [2122 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
Borch wrote:

Hi! I have an adventure road bike whith an 1x transmission: Chainring 40t + 10-42.

In winter my rinding is mainly in tarmac and not very steepy and I'm going to buy another chainring. I don't have to much experience and I would like to ask for advise, I wonder if buying the 44t or 46t, considering I'm going to keep with me the 40t in case I need.

Thank you

Changing a chainring out in the wilds is not something I would like to attempt, chainring bolts can be a bit fiddly, for me always better to remove the chainset to chainge the ring.  You probably would want to remove links on the chain too.

The alloy bolts on my XTR almost want to cross thread.

Start at the 44.

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LastBoyScout [637 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

I have no intention of going 1x on my good road bike, as I like the close ratios achievable with 2x over long distances.

CX/commuter bike would be ok with 1x11 and have certain advantages, but I'm only riding them for an hour, tops, at a time. I probably only use about 4 gears on my commute anyway and could custom spec a cassette for it.

Can see the advantages of 1x on an MTB, as close ratios aren't such an issue.

However, cross-chaining across 11 gears just can't be a good thing and cost of cassettes puts me right off.

Wheel strength must surely become an issue with the amount of dish required to accomodate 12/13 speed cassettes, unless the dropouts become wider.

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