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1x11 or 2x11 - gravel/road plus bike recommendation

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1x11 or 2x11 - gravel/road plus bike recommendation

Old 12-05-20, 01:30 AM
  #1  
lukasamd
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1x11 or 2x11 - gravel/road plus bike recommendation

Hello, I have Planet XLS CX bike and make some changes now. Used it for many purporses, but now want to make "final" configuration


  • I do not plan to race anymore (I started few times before),
  • I do not plan to attack Strava KOMs, because probably I will remove my Strava account.
  • I also do not plan to ride very long trip (200 km or more) often - maybe 1 or 2 times per year, no more. Usually I will ride flats, about 40-70 km on roads (many low quality), gravels. If solo or in small group - probably faster than slower. Sometimes with big group, but then much slower. Also will be 2-3 times per year in the mountains, I need 1:1 or close to it then.
  • I will use Gravelkings SS 700x35c tires.
And now two possible variants. I have a lot of parts so we do not see at prices here.



Variant A: 1x11s

- 42T crankset (maybe XT, maybe GRX)

- 11-34T cassete (HG800) for flats and 11-42/11-40T (XT) for mountains

- RD: GRX RX810



Variant B: 2x11s

- FC-R460 48/34T crankset

- 11-34T cassete (HG800)

- RD: Ultegra RX800 / GRX RX812



What do you think, what will be best option?
I like simplicity, so 1x is very attractive.

Both uses the same cassete on flats (11-34), but even if I will decide to use 11-40/42 on 1x configuration, it's no problem - first six cogs are the same, with 2T differences between each so... It's still more than ok.
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Old 12-05-20, 04:34 AM
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By no means an expert but there's nothing wrong with going bigger than 1:1 if you want to go up hills with poor surface quality.

I use a 38 narrow-wide ring and an 11-40 cassette on my fun retro-mod gravel bike. That was in a very hilly environment with snow around. Close ratios don't matter too much to me on the rough stuff, so I'd go bigger rather than smaller on the back if I were you. Especially if you want to carry stuff on the bike like camping gear or 10 beers. Or both.
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Old 12-05-20, 12:47 PM
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You're overthinking this. Just get a nice bike with wide tires and go ride. It's not a moon launch, you know...
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Old 12-05-20, 05:19 PM
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I've never found 2x to be complex or difficult, so each time this is asked, I say 2x. I just don't find anything wrong with it and the upsides are tighter gearing and wider range. That then works best for me since probably 40% of my riding is on pavement(getting to and from gravel). Tight spacing with larger crank is nice on pavement and wide range is nice for gravel.

There is no right or wrong- just assess how you will ride(you have) and decide which works best for you in those scenarios. There are benefits and drawbacks.
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Old 12-05-20, 08:17 PM
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I like my 2x for cross. I'm not fit enough to use that 48t on an actual cross course and while I haven't been on a true cross course I've been riding a number of easier mtb courses and enjoying the 32/11-34. While with 27c tires I've found the 48t to be fast enough for everyday riding and training. It might be in an actual cross race that I could need to shift to the 48 but I've noticed that 11 and 12 speed don't seem to mind cross chaining as much as 8, 9 or 10 did for short distances and an 34/11 is reasonably quick for the short sections of pavement I've ridden in the local races. At the same time I can ride any road around here and never need to leave the large ring, same with any of the bike paths. Kind of dual function but I like it.
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Old 12-06-20, 02:00 PM
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I have been 1x curious for quite some time, but never felt like I could get the top gear and low gear that I wanted. But now the industry really wants everyone (except people buying low-end hybrids) to be on 1x. I can't see that trend being reversed any time soon, and the current difficulties have accelerated it. Even fairly low-end bikes are coming with 1x now.

I think the hybrids will be next. A lot of people that buy them are not very experienced and probably will do better with 1x. But it's hard to make narrow wide chainrings out of sheet metal.
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Old 12-06-20, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I have been 1x curious for quite some time, but never felt like I could get the top gear and low gear that I wanted. But now the industry really wants everyone (except people buying low-end hybrids) to be on 1x. I can't see that trend being reversed any time soon, and the current difficulties have accelerated it. Even fairly low-end bikes are coming with 1x now.

I think the hybrids will be next. A lot of people that buy them are not very experienced and probably will do better with 1x. But it's hard to make narrow wide chainrings out of sheet metal.
This for sure- entry hybrids with wide range 1x would be great.
I ride with 30-40 teens a few times a week for 5 months each year and they use entry Trek 3x7 hybrids.
It takes a lot of riding for the first timers to understand gearing and use it properly.

Wide range 1x would be much simpler for the entry rider.
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Old 12-06-20, 03:40 PM
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I always found it curious that Shimano did a great job with Di2 shifting to the point where shifting the front is automatic. They obviously feel that 2X is still desired and useful.

@the OP. I would think that your 1x choice of a 42 front and 34 rear is not going to give you much low gearing for hills. I’m of the opinion that 2X is the best choice on a gravel if there’s any chance of time on asphalt.

Last edited by Steve B.; 12-06-20 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 12-06-20, 09:43 PM
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1x is great for specialized purposes but for a road/gravel bike I'd want and have 2x.
I wanted a fairly tight cassette for road riding so I could find a comfortable cadence no matter the speeds so 11-32. For the gravel riding I needed some climbing gearing so 46/30 crankset. For me it has been a pretty good compromise but if I were building it now I'd go for a GRX 48/31 crankset and get a bit more top end back, not that it really matters. 11-34 cassette just on my gravel wheelset wouldn't be a bad idea either, some crazy gravel climbs around here.
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Old 12-07-20, 12:31 AM
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I'm not sure, but probably I can't install GRX 48/31. I use CX70 top pull front derailleur because it's feature of that Planet X frame. It had 105 5700 FD down pull in original and something like "roller", but it didn't work great so I replaced that by top pull FD.
That CX70 can work fine with RX600 46/30 and changed chain line, but... will work with bigger difference (17T on 48/31)? I afraid no, and then I will have to mount roller again and change also FD to GRX - without guarantee of success
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Old 12-07-20, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I have been 1x curious for quite some time, but never felt like I could get the top gear and low gear that I wanted. But now the industry really wants everyone (except people buying low-end hybrids) to be on 1x. I can't see that trend being reversed any time soon, and the current difficulties have accelerated it. Even fairly low-end bikes are coming with 1x now.

I think the hybrids will be next. A lot of people that buy them are not very experienced and probably will do better with 1x. But it's hard to make narrow wide chainrings out of sheet metal.
They dont need to use a narrow wide. they will do the same thing that little kids and super cheap bikes have always done. a plastic/aluminum chain guide. it works fine, actually works great if you dont bash them on rocks.
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Old 12-07-20, 11:35 AM
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2x

Period


32/48 w/ 11-34 cassette covers all the needed ranges with no gaps.
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Old 12-07-20, 02:09 PM
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1x is good for solo riding, or for more casual rides.
2x is good for a bike that is going to be ridden in a group, where you can't always choose the pace, and good for a bike that is both ridden fast on the road (i.e. slicks) and grind up a gravel climb.

Really, its a matter of if the cadence gaps matter to you.

2x is pretty simple (and on my bike was lighter). Simplicity wise, I have less chain/cassette wear on 2x, because I'm not spending much time in small cogs (<14t). Sprinting or doing hard accelerations on small chain rings is going to cost you over time with maintenance/wear. And the tight ratios on a shimano 2x just shift so tight and quick. But, if you are not spending a lot of time hammering at 25+mph, that stuff is not an issue.

1x does look nice and clean.
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Old 12-07-20, 03:17 PM
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Chas58 pretty much nailed it.

I'm a 1x fan and have two drop bar gravel/cx bikes with 1x drivetrains, but it is definitely more specific and more limited than 2x. As a blanket statement, 2x is going to give you more range and more flexibility, with tighter gear spacings. I like 1x for the simplicity, clean aesthetic, and elimination of a component that I don't really need for the type of riding/terrain I'm doing. It's one less thing to maintain and get clogged up with mud, one less part to replace if broken, and one less shift to think about when CX racing. I run either a 40 or 42T front, paired with an 11-32 or 11-34 cassette. It's so flat here that 90% of the time I'm only using 3-4 gears when I'm out riding, and if there is a climb or a downhill, it's over in a matter of seconds. The gear jumps on those cassettes are perfectly acceptable to me.

That said, if I made 2-3 trips to the mountains every year and/or did rides with significant climbing and descending, I'd likely choose 2x for a gravel bike. I would definitely want 2x on a dedicated road bike, or really any bike that I would use in fast group rides. (I have done some fast group road rides on my 1x CX bike and it's fine, but not ideal).

FWIW - The Shimano GRX 800 front derailleur only weighs 95g. In comparison, those large rear cassettes often add more weight than you save by removing the FD and a chain ring.
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Old 12-07-20, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Cpn_Dunsel View Post
2x

Period


32/48 w/ 11-34 cassette covers all the needed ranges with no gaps.

On the other hand... a 42T with the same cassette covers all the needed range I encounter, so why bother with two front chainrings?
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Old 12-07-20, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by lukasamd View Post
Hello, I have Planet XLS CX bike and make some changes now. Used it for many purporses, but now want to make "final" configuration
  • I do not plan to race anymore (I started few times before),
  • I do not plan to attack Strava KOMs, because probably I will remove my Strava account.
  • I also do not plan to ride very long trip (200 km or more) often - maybe 1 or 2 times per year, no more. Usually I will ride flats, about 40-70 km on roads (many low quality), gravels. If solo or in small group - probably faster than slower. Sometimes with big group, but then much slower. Also will be 2-3 times per year in the mountains, I need 1:1 or close to it then.
  • I will use Gravelkings SS 700x35c tires.
And now two possible variants. I have a lot of parts so we do not see at prices here.



Variant A: 1x11s

- 42T crankset (maybe XT, maybe GRX)

- 11-34T cassete (HG800) for flats and 11-42/11-40T (XT) for mountains

- RD: GRX RX810



Variant B: 2x11s

- FC-R460 48/34T crankset

- 11-34T cassete (HG800)

- RD: Ultegra RX800 / GRX RX812



What do you think, what will be best option?
I like simplicity, so 1x is very attractive.

Both uses the same cassete on flats (11-34), but even if I will decide to use 11-40/42 on 1x configuration, it's no problem - first six cogs are the same, with 2T differences between each so... It's still more than ok.

I was going through the motions when I first built my gravel bike. I decided to go with a 1x11 setup and got the Easton EC90SL cranks that way I can easily swap chainrings. Check out my bike here...


You can read my parts list on my build here... https://www.manualpedal.com/gravel-b...ibis-hakka-mx/

Personally, I like the 1x11 setup and I'm running a 40T currently and I have a 42T ring as well which I haven't swapped yet. I'm not as fast as I am on my road bike but that's what my road bike is for. In terms of racing, I plan on racing my gravel bike next season hopefully if COVID permits. I will put the 42T ring on it for that.
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Old 12-07-20, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
On the other hand... a 42T with the same cassette covers all the needed range I encounter, so why bother with two front chainrings?
...because for a lot of people 34.5 gear inches isn't low enough?
So then they get a bigger cassette and the jumps are larger, which they may not like.

You know this though...right?
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Old 12-07-20, 05:13 PM
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I'm going to disagree with most of the other posts, the ones that suggested an 11-34 cassette. I run a 10-42 cassette with a 46/30 crankset on my road/gravel bike. My dedicated gravel only bike is 1x, a 30T chain ring and a 11-46 cassette, with 29x3 tires. Not much top end, but it is not necessary on gravel. My Gf's gravel bike is 27.5 x 2.1, with 1x, 32T chain ring and a 9-46 cassette. That's for mountain gravel, but I have a 42T chain ring to swap out (with a separate dedicated chain) for flatland riding.

If you want low gears, like for touring or bikepacking, I think you need a minimum of 12 more teeth on your largest cassette cog than your smallest front chain ring, whether you go 1x or 2x.
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Old 12-07-20, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
...because for a lot of people 34.5 gear inches isn't low enough?
So then they get a bigger cassette and the jumps are larger, which they may not like.

You know this though...right?
I guess posting absolutes, which is what I was responding to, doesnít apply to everyone.

Iím sure you know that as well.
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Old 12-07-20, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
I guess posting absolutes, which is what I was responding to, doesnít apply to everyone.

Iím sure you know that as well.

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Old 12-10-20, 08:50 AM
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I have come to the conclusion that there are two kinds of people -- those that know they need lower gears and people that don't know they need lower gears.
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Old 12-10-20, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
This for sure- entry hybrids with wide range 1x would be great.
I ride with 30-40 teens a few times a week for 5 months each year and they use entry Trek 3x7 hybrids.
It takes a lot of riding for the first timers to understand gearing and use it properly.

Wide range 1x would be much simpler for the entry rider.
Heck, in addition to hybrids, entry level Mountain Bikes would REALLY benefit from 1x! My son as a triple on his (as many of them do), and pretty much the only thing that slows down our rides together is his chain getting sucked! Big fan of 1x here - and I ride my gravel bike around 70% mountain singletrack so it works well for me.
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Old 12-10-20, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
Heck, in addition to hybrids, entry level Mountain Bikes would REALLY benefit from 1x! My son as a triple on his (as many of them do), and pretty much the only thing that slows down our rides together is his chain getting sucked! Big fan of 1x here - and I ride my gravel bike around 70% mountain singletrack so it works well for me.
Yes, I've set up mountainbikes for my 2 kids and wife as 1x. Its fantastic. The 3x driveteains for mtb are so heavy and clunky.
microshift has a 9sp and 10sp 1x drivetrain thats affordable for converting older or more entry level mtbs to 1x. Its what I used for the most recent switch.
1x9 is so much easier for an 8 or 9yo to conceptualize than 3x7, which is what's on 90% of kids mtbs.

I cant see changing my gravel bike to 1x. Maybe if companies stop investing in 2x I will feel like there is no other option, but hopefully thats long in the future.
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Old 12-10-20, 03:24 PM
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I dunno, these manufacturers seem to know what they're doing. My mt bikes are 32/10-50 (XC), 30/10-50 (enduro) and 28/10-42 (fat bike). I was skeptical of GRX 2x but the gearing is pretty perfect. I ride 90% of the time in the big ring, on the flats using 15-19 teeth (middle of the cogs), on many hills using 25-30 and down the hills using 11-13. On the steep ups, having the 31 chain ring is great and I haven't run across a gravel hill I can't grind up in 31/34. So, my experience is that, for gravel, Shimano figured it out.
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Old 12-10-20, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
Heck, in addition to hybrids, entry level Mountain Bikes would REALLY benefit from 1x! My son as a triple on his (as many of them do), and pretty much the only thing that slows down our rides together is his chain getting sucked! Big fan of 1x here - and I ride my gravel bike around 70% mountain singletrack so it works well for me.
for sure, 3x suxs! I don't drop a chain on my 2x (ultegra) bike, but remember the hassle of 3x. Maybe that PTSD is why people want 1x. Certainly it is confusing for new/casual riders. Makes sense!

I was going through the motions when I first built my gravel bike. I decided to go with a 1x11 setup and got the Easton EC90SL cranks that way I can easily swap chainrings. ... In terms of racing, I plan on racing my gravel bike next season hopefully if COVID permits. I will put the 42T ring on it for that.
Nothin against Just ride, but this is a big reason why I went 2x. I've spend years changing gears with a wrench and chain whip on my velodrome bike. I'm over it. When I go out with mountain bikers, or hardtails on gravel and just listen to the talk about trying to figure out what chain ring they want to run for the conditions, or the next event - I'm good with 2x. I can change my chain rings (an cogs) with the flip of a switch. I mean I love 1x and fixed gear in their element, but I'm over it now.

(and yeah, if you are not racing, doing gravel climbs, and road sprints on the same bike - 1x is great for many people).
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