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The People’s Liberation Drivetrains

Old 08-30-17, 05:38 PM
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The People’s Liberation Drivetrains

Did anyone else read this article on Bikepacking dot com?

The People's Liberation Drivetrain - BIKEPACKING.com

I thought it was a good read, but my PLD is even more guerrilla. I have all the parts for a 1x9 set up that was going to go on my AWOL, but will now go on a future fully rigid 29er bikepacker/urban bike (or something else: whatever I get a frame for, basically).

I plan to run:

A Blackspire Snaggletooth 32t Narrow Wide Chainring on Deore Cranks;
A Sunrace CSM990 9-speed 11-40t cassette;
A Shimano Sora medium Cage derailleur with Wolftooth Roadlink; and
An Alivio trigger shifter.

I don't really need advice on my drivetrain, I as just wondering if anyone else had come up with a similarly cheap alternative 1x set up.
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Old 08-30-17, 06:54 PM
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It would be nice if they just told us about the parts and how they work without all the drama and hyperbole.
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Old 08-30-17, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
It would be nice if they just told us about the parts and how they work without all the drama and hyperbole.
Sure, I can see that. I thought it was a bit of fun, though, even if the drivetrain is still quite expensive and not really a "people's drivetrain."
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Old 08-30-17, 07:31 PM
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What the hell is the point? Is it REALLY... REALLY that hard to shift a front derailleur? This is on a bike packing website. You know, the people who load their bikes with 10s of pounds of equipment to go camp somewhere? A few ounces saved by eliminating a chainring is DEFINITELY going to help... /sarcasm
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Old 08-30-17, 08:03 PM
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I made a snarky reply, but I deleted it. I thought it was a somewhat interesting article, from a mechanical perspective, and I am personally interested in budget 1x drivetrains.

I get that 1x set ups are not everyone's cup of tea, but I was genuinely curious to get the opinion of other people about cheap and improvised 1x drivetrains.
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Old 08-30-17, 10:13 PM
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...except the one in the article isn't cheap, and with all those bleeding edge components, I wouldn't call it improvised either.


Very well, I'll tell you about my 1x:
For my fatbike, an SE Fat Ripper 26, originally a singlespeed, modified to be 7spd.


cheap origin-8 fat hub, using a 7spd cassette with spacer instead of a full 8spd cassette due to chainline considerations.
11-34 sunrace cassette

Surly Mr Whirly crankset with the widest spindle - as the frame was meant to be single speed and didn't have crank arm clearance for the narrow version.
chainring then had to be spaced back inwards with spacers.
26t surly steel ring

9spd shimano shadow derailer, chosen for its ability to handle the 34t cog
as well as it retaining the old 6/7/8/9spd pull ratio compatibility.
mounted to the track-ends frame using a wierd 'chain-tug-with-derailer-hanger' gizmo -basically a derailer hangar that mounts to your rear axle.

an ancient shimano xt m738 series 8spd shifter pod
because it's the nicest shifter that will work with 7/8spd drivetrains.
-vintage 8spd is better built than modern low-end 8spd


anyhow:
the 26t x 11-36 (yeah that's a tiny chainring!)
gives a low gear of 21.6" gear inches
which is just enough to get me up hills
and a high gear of 66.6" -I'm not that fast anyway, so this doesn't bug me.

The gearing range works for me, and being for offroad at low speeds the steps between cogs are just fine.

a sunrace cassette and 7spd chains makes for cheap replacement when things wear out. Which is good considering that tiny 26t cog means I go through a chain every 3-4 months.


In my opinion, 10,11,12 speed cassettes for going 1x drive are overrated for many situations. 7/8speeds is viable if you're careful with selection, and has the great advantage of super cheap chains ($5 for me, instead of ... $40+per)

Marketing is pushing for 1x10+ however, in that the rear derailers capable of handling the 40+tooth cogs are only available in 10spd and above, with a new dynasys pull-ratio that is not backwards compatible...
-my workaround, was a 'normal' sized cassette with a tiny chainring up front

sorry that wasn't well organized...
cheap, not too heavy, no bleeding-edge tech
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Old 08-30-17, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PDKL45 View Post
I plan to run:

A Blackspire Snaggletooth 32t Narrow Wide Chainring on Deore Cranks;
A Sunrace CSM990 9-speed 11-40t cassette;
A Shimano Sora medium Cage derailleur with Wolftooth Roadlink; and
An Alivio trigger shifter.

I don't really need advice on my drivetrain, I as just wondering if anyone else had come up with a similarly cheap alternative 1x set up.
A clutch derailleur is desirable for off-road usage.

I can definitely see the appeal of 1x. I just need a stupid wide range for my riding. Bike 1-2 mi on flat pavement, extended climbs with 15% grade, followed by back down. The 15-18% slogs require a stupid low gear at my fitness level, and the flat pavement means that pedaling at 18-20mph is also good.
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Old 08-30-17, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
...except the one in the article isn't cheap, and with all those bleeding edge components, I wouldn't call it improvised either.
I know, right? I actually mentioned that in a deleted reply. I liked the article, but I thought that his "budget" drivetrain was still pretty darn expensive; I bought three 11-40 9-speed cassettes for just a little over half what he paid for his SRAM 11-42 cassette. And no stress on organization, your set up sounds really interesting.

Last edited by PDKL45; 08-30-17 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 08-30-17, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
A clutch derailleur is desirable for off-road usage.
It definitely is, but I am using what I have available and things within my n+1 project budget. I want to build a light urban bike for flat river paths with fat, slick tires that will probably never see a trail in its life.
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Old 08-31-17, 02:04 AM
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ah yes the clutch derailers.
Shimano marketing is clearly aware that the average rider's need for 10+ cogs is tenuous at best.
They encourage you to upgrade by withholding clutch technology from trickling-down to lower numbered drivetrain speeds.

my 7s bike has worked just fine without it, a slap guard on the chainstay to keep the paint from chipping, and a simple chainguide on the front ring as insurance against dropped chains.


Now, I actually do possess a clutch derailer on one of my other nicer bikes. It definitely prevents chain slap. Not a clear game changer for practical value though vs the older way of dealing with it...
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Old 08-31-17, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
ah yes the clutch derailers.
Shimano marketing is clearly aware that the average rider's need for 10+ cogs is tenuous at best.
They encourage you to upgrade by withholding clutch technology from trickling-down to lower numbered drivetrain speeds.

my 7s bike has worked just fine without it, a slap guard on the chainstay to keep the paint from chipping, and a simple chainguide on the front ring as insurance against dropped chains.


Now, I actually do possess a clutch derailer on one of my other nicer bikes. It definitely prevents chain slap. Not a clear game changer for practical value though vs the older way of dealing with it...
Do you have any pics of your bike? I'd be keen to see the derailleur hanger/chain tensioner to see how you got around that hurdle.
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Old 08-31-17, 05:11 AM
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not at the moment
here's a link to the Gizmo thing though

Problem Solvers

basically a chain tug, with a derailer hangar attached to it.
so you can take a singlespeed frame with track ends (rear facing slots) and mount a derailer on it
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Old 08-31-17, 05:54 AM
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On my cargo/commuter bike i am running:

8 speed
This is the cheapest option while maintaining a reasonable number of options of cassette. Cheap chains, cheap cassettes.

Stock 22-32-42t chainrings
Gives me all the range to go up any hill with load, including towing a trailer. Most of the time i am in 32t but it helps to spread out the wear with the other two rings.

12-32t cassette
Lowest gear of 17.88 inches. 12t is chosen because of the closer ratio in the higher end 12-14-16- instead of the more common 11-13-15- which i find the 18-15 jump too big.

Altus M310 3x8 shifters
I have never found any grade of shifters to be deficient in precision so i settle for the lowest grade. And the gear indicator is below the bar, freeing up space for bells etc.
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Old 08-31-17, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by PDKL45 View Post
I know, right? I actually mentioned that in a deleted reply. I liked the article, but I thought that his "budget" drivetrain was still pretty darn expensive; I bought three 11-40 9-speed cassettes for just a little over half what he paid for his SRAM 11-42 cassette. And no stress on organization, your set up sounds really interesting.
I think it's more expensive than the article lets on as well. His cassette is an XD drive so he needs a freehub body to handle it. As far as I can tell, those go for $75 to $80. That pushes the total for the "People's Liberation Drivetrain" to over $500 which is a bit more bourgeois than proletariat.

Originally Posted by PDKL45 View Post
It definitely is, but I am using what I have available and things within my n+1 project budget. I want to build a light urban bike for flat river paths with fat, slick tires that will probably never see a trail in its life.
Yet, somehow, we dealt with rear derailers without clutches for most of 40 years now. One way to keep the chain from bouncing is to shift up to a larger ring on a downhill...Oh! But you can't do that on a 1x. Just another thing to add to the growing list of limitations
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Old 08-31-17, 08:17 AM
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Clutch RD's are a win, with or without an FD. I won't buy another MTB or another derailleur for a MTB without one. But that means 10-speed or higher. This isn't really a problem, 10-speed isn't that expensive.

The shifts on that 9x11-40 look pretty wide. There's now an 8-speed too Looking at the cogs I think it ought to go 16-19-23 and not 15-18-22
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Old 08-31-17, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by corrado33 View Post
What the hell is the point? Is it REALLY... REALLY that hard to shift a front derailleur? This is on a bike packing website. You know, the people who load their bikes with 10s of pounds of equipment to go camp somewhere? A few ounces saved by eliminating a chainring is DEFINITELY going to help... /sarcasm
I'm with you. 1x systems may have a place in a closed circuit where the rider knows what to expect and doesn't need a lot of range. But out in the real world, there are ups that need a very low gear and downs that are way too long to just coast down. I don't have a 1x system and I'm not going to go to one anytime soon because, on paper, they just look horrible. The gear train in the article offers this compared to a "normal" 9 speed triple. Similar low but there's no high end.

At the beginning of time, the highest gear available for mountain bikes was a 44/14. This is an 83" gear and was frustratingly low. I found myself spinning out less than 30 mph and having to spend way too much time coasting.

The problem...on paper, at least...I have with 1x is the "either/or" nature of them. You can have a high gear or a low gear but not both. Why is that better? I can, and have, taken that triple and pushed it lower. Add a 36 tooth cassette cog or lower the inner ring on the crank to a 20 or both. That way I can climb anything and not have to coast for miles and miles on downhills. Plus I have lots of choices in between.

I (somewhat) get the simplicity thing but I feel that most people's problems with front derailers have more to do with the mechanic than with the mechanicals.
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Old 08-31-17, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I'm with you. 1x systems may have a place in a closed circuit where the rider knows what to expect and doesn't need a lot of range. -snip
I (somewhat) get the simplicity thing but I feel that most people's problems with front derailers have more to do with the mechanic than with the mechanicals.
Exactly. A properly adjusted front derailleur should shift quickly and easily. The benefits outweigh the cons for me.

Benefits:
  • Much wider gear range
  • Cheaper
  • Built in chain guide!
  • Wear is spread to 2 or 3 chainrings so it wears more slowly

Cons:
  • Slightly heavier
  • Another shifter up on the bars getting in the way of the dropper post controls.

I'm not an idiot. I know how to get my left thumb to work with my right to get into the gear I want. And my brain is fast enough to do BOTH things very quickly. (And I don't even have to think about it! Imagine that!)

Seriously, what are the benefits of 1x? When's the last time someone ACTUALLY broke a front derailleur out on the trail? I've broken EVERYTHING on my bike, except the front derailleur. If someone says "simplicity" I'm just going to assume you're handicapped in some way because it really does not take a lot of brain power to shift two shifters like we've done for decades...

Last edited by corrado33; 08-31-17 at 09:20 AM.
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Old 08-31-17, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I'm with you. 1x systems may have a place in a closed circuit where the rider knows what to expect and doesn't need a lot of range. But out in the real world, there are ups that need a very low gear and downs that are way too long to just coast down. I don't have a 1x system and I'm not going to go to one anytime soon because, on paper, they just look horrible. The gear train in the article offers this compared to a "normal" 9 speed triple. Similar low but there's no high end.

At the beginning of time, the highest gear available for mountain bikes was a 44/14. This is an 83" gear and was frustratingly low. I found myself spinning out less than 30 mph and having to spend way too much time coasting.

The problem...on paper, at least...I have with 1x is the "either/or" nature of them. You can have a high gear or a low gear but not both. Why is that better? I can, and have, taken that triple and pushed it lower. Add a 36 tooth cassette cog or lower the inner ring on the crank to a 20 or both. That way I can climb anything and not have to coast for miles and miles on downhills. Plus I have lots of choices in between.

I (somewhat) get the simplicity thing but I feel that most people's problems with front derailers have more to do with the mechanic than with the mechanicals.
Haha. Agree. Once you align it with the small ring, it's pretty much set.
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Old 08-31-17, 10:17 AM
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1X drivetrains with disk brakes, gigantic rear low-gear sprockets, and fat tires (and sometimes full suspension) = you really want a motorcycle.
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Old 08-31-17, 10:20 AM
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lol I knew the triple evangelists wouldn't be quiet for long
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Old 08-31-17, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
lol I knew the triple evangelists wouldn't be quiet for long
Evangelism works both ways.
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Old 08-31-17, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Evangelism works both ways.
[Citation needed]
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Old 08-31-17, 10:49 AM
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Trendy bike stuff, writer goes for a catchy title., may get free stuff for doing it.
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Old 08-31-17, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
[Citation needed]
See: History. World. Religions.

See also: History. World. Religions. Politics.
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Old 08-31-17, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
lol I knew the triple evangelists wouldn't be quiet for long
I'm honestly surprised the 1x advocates haven't seen through the marketing. Minimal benefits, maximum price. That's the marketing strategy for bike "innovations" now-a-day. 1x included.

Tell me, what ARE the benefits of 1x? I know one that nobody has mentioned, but I'll let you guys figure it out.
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