I have a Stumpjumper EVO R, which is set up on the 1x10 drivetrain. I love it, and it gets me up (most) all the hills around Boise. Reading my latest copy of MBA, they were saying that the gold, silver and bronze XC racers in the past Olympics all used the SRAM XX1 drivetrain.
Basically, (from what I know), that is essentially a 1x10 setup (11-36 cassette) that has an 11th gear shoe-horned onto the cassette that is super-big. Something like a 44 or so. That allows them to crawl up that super-steep hill that the 1x10 typically has problems with.
I am NOT going to go out and buy a new cassette, rear derailleur and shifter to get that set-up. I am just too close to it already, but I cannot help but wonder if there is a possibility that the manufacturers will recognize the market that just might be there to start making 9 or 10 speed cassettes that incorporate the "xx1" theory?
What would be the downfall to SRAM or Shimano building up a cassette that dumps the smallest cog (11), and replaces it (obviously on the other side) with a much bigger cog than the 36 that is typically there. Maybe a 40, or 42 or something?
Is this something that *MIGHT* be coming down the turn-pike? Or no, there is a simple reason that it will not.
(I ask this question because I was walking down the sidewalk yesterday, and saw a mid 90's mtn bike with an 8 speed cassette, but the biggest cog in it was a 34, and the next size down was probably a 29 or so. The size jump was simliar to what I am seeing with the xx1 system, so it kinda got my mind going....)