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Converting Ultegra 6800 to 1x

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Converting Ultegra 6800 to 1x

Old 07-05-17, 10:56 AM
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Converting Ultegra 6800 to 1x

Just picked up my GT Grade recently and it came with a 52/36 crank. I was going to switch out the chainrings for 50/34, but think it might be better served as a sub compact ratio (48/32) or going 1x.

Any options to convert to 1x on a Ultegra crank? I'm pretty sure there aren't any 48/32 chainrings that will fit, but maybe someone can school me.

Thanks.
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Old 07-05-17, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by BigPoser View Post
Just picked up my GT Grade recently and it came with a 52/36 crank. I was going to switch out the chainrings for 50/34, but think it might be better served as a sub compact ratio (48/32) or going 1x.

Any options to convert to 1x on a Ultegra crank? I'm pretty sure there aren't any 48/32 chainrings that will fit, but maybe someone can school me.

Thanks.
Roadie compact gearing uses 110BCD....the lowest you can go with 110BCD is 34 or 33. Getting 48/32 means a new crankset.

Lots of options exist to convert a Hollowtech to 1X, you'll need the ring and spacers and bolts to do it. Course you'll probably also want a new rangier wider cassette and a Wolf-Tooth hanger to let your RD leverage said cassette.....so in the long run it really probably isn't much cheaper than a 48/32 or 46/30 crankset (both of which are about $200 USD thereabouts).
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Old 07-05-17, 11:29 AM
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I converted my CX bike with 50/34 Ultegra crank bike to SRAM 1x with a 40T front ring. Easy. I used the SRAM 1x ring - it included the nuts/spacers to put the ring at the mid-point of where the old chainrings were.

Optimally, you want to replace the RD for a 1x-specific model with a clutch, but many report no issues with chain retention and they do sell chain guide devices that also help with chain retention. And you may want a wider-range rear cassette. I already had SRAM 10-speed shifters so I went with a Rival 1x RD and a new 11-36 10-speed cassette. Works perfectly. If you have Shimano shifters than you probably want to go with the Shimano equivalent 1x parts which I'm not familiar with.

I'm a huge proponent of 1x and will never buy another new bike with a FD. Just makes things so much simpler. The tradeoffs of reduced gear spread and slightly bigger jumps were completely non-consequential to me - the only real compromise was not having a gear for going faster than about 27-mph, but I have no desire to pedal to faster speeds. But.....it sounds like perhaps you want very low gears though and when you start putting a very small chainring on the front of a 1x system, your top end becomes more limited, especially if you don't want to go with a new SRAM XD hub in the rear which would allow 10t cassette.... I think Shimano's smallest cog in the back is 11.

- Mark

Last edited by markjenn; 07-05-17 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 07-05-17, 11:57 AM
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Thanks for the replies. This bike will also be used for long fondo's as well (after I switch to road tires) as gravel rides so I'm looking to have a good balance. Thinking that if I went 50/34 and needed more low end I could just change out the rear cassette (which is currently 11-32) to a 11-36 and I'm golden. That will keep me in line with anything I want to do on the road. Or course going with a 48/32 crank would do that as well.

I had 1x on both of my previous mtn bikes and really liked the simplicity of it, not to mention a little bit of weight loss. If I were to go 1x, I was thinking either going with a 40t or 42t in the rear and a 38t front.

I guess there are more options than I thought.
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Old 07-05-17, 12:18 PM
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I don't know the compatibility issues with a Shimano 1x RD and your current shifters, but a 38t front and 11-42t rear would be a very nice combo for all all-arounder that could do some pretty serious climbing. But you'd probably "top out" at about 25 mph.

- Mark
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Old 07-05-17, 12:35 PM
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I installed a Wolftooth Roadlink extender on my 6800 rear derailleur. I'm running a 40 tooth big rear cog.
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Old 07-05-17, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by mtn_cyclist View Post
I installed a Wolftooth Roadlink extender on my 6800 rear derailleur. I'm running a 40 tooth big rear cog.

What are you running up front?
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Old 07-05-17, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by bigposer View Post
what are you running up front?
48/36
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Old 07-05-17, 04:03 PM
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Sugino OX91D Compact+ comes in twelve different sizes, from 52/36 down to 44/30.
Pricey though.
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Old 07-05-17, 06:14 PM
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44/36 very close to your current 34/28, while 44/11 compared to 50/11 will lose you about 3.8mph off of your speed @ 90rpm. Throw on about 15 more RPM in that gear and you've gotten that speed back... if you feel like whizzing your legs around while moving 30mph.

So a 44T front with an 11-36 cassette will cost you some top end, but not hurt hills, and you get to do the shifting with one hand. How much that narrow-wide chainring will cost you depends on what Ultegra crank you have-- if it's a 6700/6750, you can be set for $20-25 (USAMade.) If it's a 6800, that ring might run near $80 (Wolftooth.)
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Old 07-05-17, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
44/36 very close to your current 34/28, while 44/11 compared to 50/11 will lose you about 3.8mph off of your speed @ 90rpm. Throw on about 15 more RPM in that gear and you've gotten that speed back... if you feel like whizzing your legs around while moving 30mph.

So a 44T front with an 11-36 cassette will cost you some top end, but not hurt hills, and you get to do the shifting with one hand. How much that narrow-wide chainring will cost you depends on what Ultegra crank you have-- if it's a 6700/6750, you can be set for $20-25 (USAMade.) If it's a 6800, that ring might run near $80 (Wolftooth.)
Yeah actually looked at the Wolftooth option today. Thought if I went that route I would either do the 38t or 40t and change cassettes to a 40t. Not sure how a 38/11 or a 40/11 would work on the road though. I would think that having a 1:1 ratio between crank and cassette would be ideal for steep climbs.
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Old 07-05-17, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by BigPoser View Post
Yeah actually looked at the Wolftooth option today. Thought if I went that route I would either do the 38t or 40t and change cassettes to a 40t. Not sure how a 38/11 or a 40/11 would work on the road though. I would think that having a 1:1 ratio between crank and cassette would be ideal for steep climbs.
How necessary it is depends on the surface. But a 1:1 or less is a nice option.

2 weeks ago opn Tour de Nebraska, I had an 11-15% gravel hill with pea gravel...and I loved having my 30/32 gearing, which is sub 1:1...part of the reason for needing it...hill was pea gravel, and even with 44mm GravelKings I couldn't get out of the saddle without spinning my rear wheel.
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Old 07-05-17, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by BigPoser View Post
Yeah actually looked at the Wolftooth option today. Thought if I went that route I would either do the 38t or 40t and change cassettes to a 40t. Not sure how a 38/11 or a 40/11 would work on the road though. I would think that having a 1:1 ratio between crank and cassette would be ideal for steep climbs.
I have close to 1:1. 38t up front, with 11-36. Good for my steep gravel hills and I don't need top end speed when on the road.
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Old 07-05-17, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by BigPoser View Post
Yeah actually looked at the Wolftooth option today. Thought if I went that route I would either do the 38t or 40t and change cassettes to a 40t. Not sure how a 38/11 or a 40/11 would work on the road though. I would think that having a 1:1 ratio between crank and cassette would be ideal for steep climbs.
That's where I am-- I have a 42T up front and an 11-42 in the back to get me that 1:1-- which can come in super handy some days. That asymmetric crank stuff from Shimano makes everything a problem. I have the old 5-bolt 110bcd stuff, and can pick up narrow-wides for $25. If I weren't so lazy about it, I could likely benefit from changing to a bigger chainring on days I'm not going to be doing a lot of climbing... but I'm so comfortable with the 42T.
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Old 07-06-17, 08:50 AM
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In my experience, cludged-together 1x with a non-clutch RD is asking for chain retention issues, especially on rough gravel. I'm also personally not a fan of 1x for road/gravel usage. I'd just go with a 50/34 and get a wider range cassette. I run 50/34 and 11-36 on my gravelly road bike and I can essentially climb brick walls on it.

This is not an inexpensive swap. The Grade shouldn't come with such aggressive roadie gearing.
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Old 07-06-17, 09:10 AM
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Man there really are a lot of options. I need to find a good gearing mix for road and gravel. Leaning toward going with a 50/34 upfront, keeping my 11-32 in the back, and if I really need to go lower, then I can change the rear for an 11-36.
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Old 07-06-17, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by BigPoser View Post
Man there really are a lot of options. I need to find a good gearing mix for road and gravel. Leaning toward going with a 50/34 upfront, keeping my 11-32 in the back, and if I really need to go lower, then I can change the rear for an 11-36.
What tire size? 50/34 is quite tall gearing if you're running a 40mm-class tire. A 50x11 with a 44mm tire, is equivalent to a 53x11 with a 700x23 tire.
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Old 07-06-17, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
What tire size? 50/34 is quite tall gearing if you're running a 40mm-class tire. A 50x11 with a 44mm tire, is equivalent to a 53x11 with a 700x23 tire.

Just put on some Clement MSO 36c's.
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Old 07-06-17, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by BigPoser View Post
Man there really are a lot of options. I need to find a good gearing mix for road and gravel. Leaning toward going with a 50/34 upfront, keeping my 11-32 in the back, and if I really need to go lower, then I can change the rear for an 11-36.
This is a good plan IMO (cheaper too). I ended up with 46/34 up front and 11-34 in the back. I can do 99% of everything I want. 11-36 would do it for me but I was limited by my rear derailler. It was rated at 32T max but I pushed to to 34T and it works fine. Would have to add the Wolftooth if I wanted to go bigger. You might be able to use 11-36 depending on which RD you have.
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Old 07-06-17, 01:07 PM
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What about going with a 52/34 up front and either an 11-32 or a 11-36 in the rear? I would assume I'd need the Wolftooth rear derailleur piece though.
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Old 07-06-17, 01:45 PM
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OK, so I just recently converted a 105 5800 over to 1X which is the same asymmetric 110 BCD as Ultegra 6800. The best bang for the buck way to do this is with the following parts:

*Wolftooth DropStop Chainring for Shimano 110 BCD asymmetric cranks (I'd go with 44t myself)
(yep they make 1X rings for your Ultegra crank)

*Wolftooth Tanpan (changes the cable pull ratio for Shimano road shifters to work with a MTB derailleur

*Any 11 speed Shimano or SRAM mtb derailleur with a clutch (I like XT)

*Cassette for your riding style, and chain of course. I personally like an 11-36 for a road bike 1x

All done for around $230 - $300. I prefer this setup over using a Roadlink as the clutch derailleur gives you better chain retention, gives you wide range compatibility out of the box, and almost completely eliminates chain slap.

EDIT: By the way, I saw reference to spacers and such. It's worth noting that the Wolftooth 110 BCD chainrings are offset already for chain line, so you don't need a spacer kit.

Last edited by cellery; 07-06-17 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 07-08-17, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BigPoser View Post
What about going with a 52/34 up front and either an 11-32 or a 11-36 in the rear? I would assume I'd need the Wolftooth rear derailleur piece though.
I know this is gravel section, but is there any chance you may consider power-meters in the future for your GT Grade? If there is a chance, I would try stick to Shimano crank.
I have a Praxis crank and its such a pain to try and get powermeter for them. There are pedal versions which are transferable but if its crank based, most of the bigger brands only cater for Shimano.
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Old 07-08-17, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by cellery View Post
OK, so I just recently converted a 105 5800 over to 1X which is the same asymmetric 110 BCD as Ultegra 6800. The best bang for the buck way to do this is with the following parts:

*Wolftooth DropStop Chainring for Shimano 110 BCD asymmetric cranks (I'd go with 44t myself)
(yep they make 1X rings for your Ultegra crank)

*Wolftooth Tanpan (changes the cable pull ratio for Shimano road shifters to work with a MTB derailleur

*Any 11 speed Shimano or SRAM mtb derailleur with a clutch (I like XT)

*Cassette for your riding style, and chain of course. I personally like an 11-36 for a road bike 1x

All done for around $230 - $300. I prefer this setup over using a Roadlink as the clutch derailleur gives you better chain retention, gives you wide range compatibility out of the box, and almost completely eliminates chain slap.

EDIT: By the way, I saw reference to spacers and such. It's worth noting that the Wolftooth 110 BCD chainrings are offset already for chain line, so you don't need a spacer kit.
Great info.
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Old 12-28-17, 03:59 PM
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A slight revive but wanted to ask if anyone who converted to shimano 1x has had issues with the left hydraulic brake shifter being jittery or unstable due to the lack of gearing cables?

Iíve ready varying accounts and any opinions are appreciated, thanks.
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Old 12-29-17, 10:46 AM
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Why on earth would you do this?

The only reason SRAM "pioneered" the 1x drivetrain is because they couldn't make front shifting that worked worth a darn.

If you have a Shimano drivetrain, enjoy their smooth front shifting. They did some good engineering there, and it's so worth it.
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