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Pick between 1x (40T) or 2x (46/30)?

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Pick between 1x (40T) or 2x (46/30)?

Old 05-09-20, 11:05 AM
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TJtheWrecker
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Pick between 1x (40T) or 2x (46/30)?

Hi all. Picking between these two for my new gravel bike. (had to return my previous model). This will basically be my only bike so want to make sure I have versatility to commute, ride on road, and not compromise on off-road. I'm not racing or anything in either discipline.

The two options are similar price and listed below:
Renegade S1: Crankset Shimano GRX FC-RX810 40T, Cassette: 11-42T
Renegade C2: Crankset 46/30T, Cassette: 11-34T
(can't post links for some reason)

Last edited by TJtheWrecker; 05-09-20 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 05-09-20, 12:38 PM
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It would be the 2x for me.
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Old 05-09-20, 01:20 PM
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To use as a road bike as well ?, 2X hand down.

The 2X you indicated gives you 15 different gears (more actually, bit that's the easy move from ring to ring), vs. 11 plus lower low and higher hi.
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Old 05-09-20, 01:25 PM
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Top gear of 40-11 (around 101 gear inches) is too limiting for me. Very limiting for paved road and smooth dirt/gravel. I vote for the 2x system (116 gear inches).
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Old 05-09-20, 01:27 PM
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If its your only bike, then 2x
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Old 05-09-20, 01:42 PM
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I vote for 1x.

It's the new hotness.
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Old 05-09-20, 02:23 PM
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Yes itíll be my only bike! There are 2 main considerations I have.
one is 2x and 1x so that suggests go with the C2(2x)

however, as I understand the Carbon models only have tire clearance upto 40mm, whereas the steel (s1, 1x) has potential 47mm for off-roading. If we can verify that, does that change things for you?
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Old 05-09-20, 02:59 PM
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Tire clearance wouldn't be a big factor. Biggest factors that I've noticed on my 2x gravel bike (46/30x11-34) vs xc hard tail (34x11-40) are close to the same low, but it is so nice to have that 11-12-13 progression. Also I like the selectable front range for gravel. 30 tooth for going into the (always blowing) wind or fresh gravel vs the 46 for a tail wind or usual riding. It's also nice to just make a front shift on rolling terrain.

To me the advantage that my 1x mtb has is fast, reliable and smooth shifting on a course with rapid turns and rollers. I'm rarely pedaling uninterrupted for longer then a minute. I've ridden my mtb a ton on pure gravel rides however, and it did just fine besides me missing the 12t cog. I'd have to have a good tailwind or descent to spinout the 34x11 (with 2.25" tires). The gear jumps between the two cassettes are basically identical.

If I did go 1x I personally would worry your low of a 40x42 wouldn't be enough. I didn't think I'd need it but I love my gravel bikes low of 30-34. It's perfect.
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Old 05-09-20, 03:28 PM
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OK setting the C2 as my first choice! Thank you all
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Old 05-09-20, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Top gear of 40-11 (around 101 gear inches) is too limiting for me. Very limiting for paved road and smooth dirt/gravel. I vote for the 2x system (116 gear inches).
116 does look good!
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Old 05-09-20, 07:22 PM
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I will create a new thread for further questions, but thank you for resolving the groupset. Sticking with 2x.
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Old 05-09-20, 08:54 PM
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Good choice, 1x is nice for a dedicated purpose bike but 2x is so much more versatile for a do everything bike.
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Old 05-11-20, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by TJtheWrecker View Post
Hi all. Picking between these two for my new gravel bike. (had to return my previous model). This will basically be my only bike so want to make sure I have versatility to commute, ride on road, and not compromise on off-road. I'm not racing or anything in either discipline.

The two options are similar price and listed below:
Renegade S1: Crankset Shimano GRX FC-RX810 40T, Cassette: 11-42T
Renegade C2: Crankset 46/30T, Cassette: 11-34T
(can't post links for some reason)

2x

However It really comes down to how you want to ride, your fitness etc...
I was 1x on my MTB but after being back on a 38/24 on my Scalpel it's easy to clip along at 20-21 mph with the 38.

So with that being said unless you regularly turn in 20+ mph averages the 40T 1x system will not be holding you back on the gravel bike.
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Old 05-12-20, 10:13 AM
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2X proven over time.
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Old 05-13-20, 11:21 AM
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I wish it was possible to answer 3x. (with modern components, 11s, hydro brakes etc)
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Old 05-13-20, 12:29 PM
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I definitely want 2x on a road bike, but for a CX/gravel machine that might only see occasional road use (and not fast group rides), I'd choose 1x.
I've had really good luck with a 42T paired with an 11-32 cassette, but I also live in a flat area.

On my 46/36 2x setup, when CX racing I was often in that awkward in-between zone where I'd be fully cross-chained and needing to jump back and forth between big and small rings. The 1x setup has simplified shifting during CX racing and still provides enough range for everything outside of long descents and fast group road rides. Aside from more simple shifting while racing, the 1x groupset was cheaper and weighs less, and is one less thing to clean and maintain.
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Old 05-13-20, 12:56 PM
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Why stop at 3x. Let's go to 4x so spinners can stop complaining. Even better, let's go 5x for some real fun.
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Old 05-13-20, 01:07 PM
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fourfa
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
Why stop at 3x. Let's go to 4x so spinners can stop complaining. Even better, let's go 5x for some real fun.
Hardy har. But in the real world, we're usually climbing, descending, or on level ground. I found the 3x10 gearing on my touring bike to match those situations quite well, while still having close ratios and enjoyably small gaps in the rear. Front shifts were logically mapped to the terrain, and relatively infrequent. It's not just about total range.

I am not a fan of any cable-actuated disc brake setup I've tried though, so I'm on 2x11 hydros now. As with all 2x setups there's some transition zone of rolling or low incline where you're constantly moving the front ring (and the rear to match). If you haven't spent a lot of time on 3x, you don't know how nice it is not to have to do this.

I guess it is possible to get a 3x hydro Di2 setup working though

I had also thought it was possible to have civilized discourse without mean-spirited sarcasm and reductio ad absurdum, but I might be wrong about that

Last edited by fourfa; 05-13-20 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 05-13-20, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by fourfa View Post
Hardy har. But in the real world, we're usually climbing, descending, or on level ground. I found the 3x10 gearing on my touring bike to match those situations quite well, while still having close ratios and enjoyably small gaps in the rear. Front shifts were logically mapped to the terrain, and relatively infrequent. It's not just about total range.

I am not a fan of any cable-actuated disc brake setup I've tried though, so I'm on 2x11 hydros now. As with all 2x setups there's some transition zone of rolling or low incline where you're constantly moving the front ring (and the rear to match). If you haven't spent a lot of time on 3x, you don't know how nice it is not to have to do this.

I guess it is possible to get a 3x hydro Di2 setup working though

I had also thought it was possible to have civilized discourse without mean-spirited sarcasm and reductio ad absurdum, but I might be wrong about that
At the end of the day this is the same exact song and dance that went on when the industry decided to switch to from 3x to 2x. People all over were screaming bloody murder with the following blanket statements:

Oh no my cadence will now be garbage whats the point of riding anymore
3x is proven why switch
Your 3x shifts like crap because you or your lbs are bad mechanics
I want my freedom gears!

At the end of the day the body adapts easily and one can easily adapt to a 1x system. If you feel like the jumps are too high well guess what, you chose the wrong gearing. The amount of cassette and chainring combinations that 1x lets you experiment with is considerably greater than 2x. Not once since switching to 1x on everything have I dropped a single chain even on suspect shifting conditions. Even on smooth as butter roads I dropped chains with 2x.
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Old 05-14-20, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
If you feel like the jumps are too high well guess what, you chose the wrong gearing.
No.

For one, I don't want to be selecting my gearing per-ride. This is partly because it's annoying to do so. More critically though, I often don't know ahead of time what a ride is going to be. Oftentimes people don't choose a route until meeting up. Once a route is chosen, it can be subject to change. Sometimes on exploration rides, it's unclear beforehand what actually exists, and the route is discovered along the way.





But the really big thing is: knowing the elevation profile does not eliminate the fundamental compromise of how many gear ratios you have and where you can put them!
It's easy to say that a 1x11 can work fine for flat spirited paved riding: you want tight spacing and don't need a lot of range, that's doable. It's also easy to say that a 1x11 can work fine for a route that just goes straight up and straight down over semi-technical mountainous terrain: you want a wide range and don't need tight spacing, that's also doable.
What if I go on a ride that has lots of near-flat spirited paved cycling, and also lots of up-and-down in the mountainous double-track? It's not like my taste for tight spacing in spirited paved riding vanishes just because I might be doing mountainous double track at some other point in the day!

Most of the miles I put onto my gravel bike are paved. Some of that is spirited group riding. Our paved roads include moderate hills, and also flat valleys. But the gravel roads in the foothills can get very steep for extended periods: there's one road near me, leading to an absolutely stunning vista 2500 feet above one of the major regional river valleys, which averages about 16% for a mile.
Even when a gravel ride takes place entirely in the steep foothills, I sometimes like to ride myself to the ride.
One of the most enjoyable rides I've ever done started as a very aggressive spirited road ride, which I split off from 40 miles in to join a gravel ride in the foothills.



Some people think that it's pointless to try to give a bicycle this sort of versatility, because it'll end up sucking at everything. In my experience, this depends on a lot of complex factors, and I think that people often paint their bikes into corners by misjudging the compromises that they're dealing with.

At the end of the day this is the same exact song and dance that went on when the industry decided to switch to from 3x to 2x. People all over were screaming bloody murder

They didn't stop screaming bloody murder because of anything to do with who was right or wrong, they stopped because the battle ended when the industry committed to their current path.

Last edited by HTupolev; 05-14-20 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 05-14-20, 01:28 AM
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I've done races like the bwr where it's mostly paved with dirt, races like grinduro where it's dirt the whole way, road only, races where it's singletrack that really should have been done with an mtb all on 1x. If I know I'm going to be on singletrack the whole way I'll pop on a small chainring, bigger ring for road, etc.

In the end 2x sucks when the stuff gets really rough which is why is pretty much extinct from cx. To say that a 1x can't be used for everything silly. Unlike 1x you are basically stuck with a set of gearing all the time in 2x because the options available are tiny. Just because you are running 2x doesn
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Old 05-14-20, 01:33 AM
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I've done races like the bwr where it's mostly paved with dirt, races like grinduro where it's dirt the whole way, road only, races where it's singletrack that really should have been done with an mtb all on 1x. If I know I'm going to be on singletrack the whole way I'll pop on a small chainring, bigger ring for road, etc.

In the end 2x sucks when the stuff gets really rough which is why its pretty much extinct in cx. To say that a 1x can't be used for everything is silly. Unlike 1x you are basically stuck with a set of gearing all the time in 2x because the options available are tiny. Just because you are running 2x doesnt mean you can now take on everything either. Go try some singletrack on 2x and shift that front under some load.
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Old 05-14-20, 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
To say that a 1x can't be used for everything is silly.
I never said it can't be used for everything. I'm saying that there are use cases where it creates compromises for little to no real gain.

Just because you are running 2x doesnt mean you can now take on everything either. Go try some singletrack on 2x and shift that front under some load.
I'm not saying that everybody should use 2x or 3x, or that using such drivetrains means that you can take on everything. You're ridiculing such drivetrains, and all I'm saying is that there are many uses cases for which they make sense.

I don't care how my gravel bike would shift under load on singletrack, because I ride almost no singletrack on it. I use it as an allroad machine. The double-track in the foothills is often rough, but it's not very technical compared with what people deal with in the modern MTB world.
When I said that there's a nearby road that averages about 16% for a mile, "road" was not a typo. It's low-maintenance double-track gravel, and it would be very awkward to ride on a skinny-tired road bike (regardless of gearing), but it's a road nonetheless. Not a trail loaded with drops and jumps and huge roots and crazy rock gardens.

Last edited by HTupolev; 05-14-20 at 03:10 AM.
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Old 05-14-20, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by TJtheWrecker View Post
The two options are similar price and listed below:
Renegade S1: Crankset Shimano GRX FC-RX810 40T, Cassette: 11-42T
Renegade C2: Crankset 46/30T, Cassette: 11-34T
(can't post links for some reason)
As much as those drivetrsins are different, those frames are different.
I would choose based on frame and then groupset.

So for this exercise, it would be option C, the steel frsmeset and build with 2x.
Why Jamis doesn't offer a 631 in 2x is absurd.


But if you are picking only on groupset and ignoring frame material and look, the 2x is great for what you intend to do.
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Old 05-14-20, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
At the end of the day this is the same exact song and dance that went on when the industry decided to switch to from 3x to 2x. People all over were screaming bloody murder with the following blanket statements:

Oh no my cadence will now be garbage whats the point of riding anymore
3x is proven why switch
Your 3x shifts like crap because you or your lbs are bad mechanics
I want my freedom gears!

At the end of the day the body adapts easily and one can easily adapt to a 1x system. If you feel like the jumps are too high well guess what, you chose the wrong gearing. The amount of cassette and chainring combinations that 1x lets you experiment with is considerably greater than 2x. Not once since switching to 1x on everything have I dropped a single chain even on suspect shifting conditions. Even on smooth as butter roads I dropped chains with 2x.
40/11 for the strongest gear rstion when road riding isn't something I want. It has nothing to do with large jumps in gearing and nothing to do with chain drop.
Its simply not enough, even for me. If I find it limiting on pavement, hardpack dirt, riding with wind, etc- then stronger riders for sure will find it limiting.
I could spin faster, but that would be out of my comfort zone for riding and it makes no sense to expect someone to significantly adjust their cadence to match the drivetrain. I simply don't pedal at 90 or 100 rpm at all times and don't see that as fun. For me, its great to do at times to work muscles in a different way when riding to reduce fatigue, but no that isnt appealing to do all the time on pavement in order to go fast when conditions are ripe.

As for the 3x rant you went on, here are some more thoughts.
My 9yo hated the 3x on her mtb so we changed it out for 1x to simplify shifting for her. It made sense based on her speed and also her confusion for what to shift and when.

My 13yo has 3x on her road bike(late 00s trek) and was confused and frustrated for such a long time, until we sat down and moved everything on a repair stand. It made sense then.

3x to me is incredible for touring bikes. Up until maybe a year ago or so, you couldn't get the gear range of a touring triple in 1x for anything remotely close to what someone would consider to be a reasonable cost.
Costs were insane to mimic the wide range of a touring triple.
I have 1 bike with a triple- my 3x9 touring/commute bike. the gearing is simple, inexpensive, and dead reliable. There is a huge benefit to such a system. But I recognize that I'm in a bit of the minority when it comes to willingness to learn gear ratios.


As for your version of history with 3x to 2x, I think a lot of it quoted down once 3x was essentially phased out from being on new road bikes. When it isnt even an oem option, there is no choice or discussion to have.
modern compact gearing has largely resolved the issue and matches old 3x road gesring so i would say 3x on paved roads isn't beneficial.
3x on touring or even lower priced gravel bikes could certainly still be beneficial since it gives wide range without big cost.
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