Cross chain like crazy.
Originally Posted by 1Fast4500
there is also wear on the derailuer, chain rings and cogs out back, that being said I cross chain all the time, because A) I am a lazy bastard and B) It seems like I break parts long before they wear out
If I had a $600 XTR drivetrain I would probably take better care of it
I cross chain all the time and I do not break any chains (I weigh 280#). I use a steel ring and it wears just fine.
There is a good reason to stay in the middle ring. It takes a heck of a lot less time to shift the rear than the front. If you need a gear quick, it is probably more efficient to cross chain than to lose pedal strokes messing with moving the chain from one ring to another.
There is another reason not to shift into the granny. It typically has 10 less teeth and wears pretty wicked when compared to the others. And of course, it is more prone to chain suck due to increased pressure on the teeth.
A good strategy is to just STAY in the middle ring on the trail most of the time. Switch rings for SECTIONS of trail, not individual obstacles. If you aren't going to use the granny for a couple of minutes, it's probably best not to use it at all.