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1x vs 2x

Old 09-05-23, 03:01 PM
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I think the best way to solve this is to play around with a gear calculator (I like Sheldon Brown's) and try to determine what cadence range you're comfortable with, then plug in all the numbers and see if they work.

In general, a person who doesn't need a big range of gears, or someone who is happy with a wide cadence range (like 75-100 RPM) would likely enjoy 1X. Someone who likes to fine tune their cadence and needs a decent range of gears would probably want 2X.
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Old 09-05-23, 04:31 PM
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I really think the 1x vs 2x thing is nothing more than personal preference. They're both great in their own way.

Me? I prefer 2x as I often ride my gravel bike on the road to get to the rough stuff and also with a bunch at times, so I like the smaller gaps in the cassette to keep my cadence where I like it.

Going 1x can also free up the other shifter for use with a dropper post, if that's your flavour.


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Old 09-05-23, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by tempocyclist
I really think the 1x vs 2x thing is nothing more than personal preference. They're both great in their own way.

Me? I prefer 2x as I often ride my gravel bike on the road to get to the rough stuff and also with a bunch at times, so I like the smaller gaps in the cassette to keep my cadence where I like it.

Going 1x can also free up the other shifter for use with a dropper post, if that's your flavour.




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This ^

One thing that always makes me laugh is the comment that 1X means no front derailer, which is true, but most mt. bikers who donít road ride think that front shifting sucks, which is not the case. My recent 105 system from 6 years has dead on perfect front shifting. My Di2 system is even better and can, If I choose to enable it, take eliminate any thinking needed to enable as to when I need to shift the front derailer. I could easily see myself switching to a GRX Di2 system on my gravel bike, with synchro enabled.
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Old 09-06-23, 03:29 AM
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As many others said, it is a personal preference and it also depends where the OP started from. As many others said, it would be a good idea to do a gearing calculation.

When I was looking into than a few years ago, I went on XL and put together a quick spread sheet with current (at the time) bike Gear Inch and gear gapping. I looked what GI I use the most and what gap I really don't like. Then, I looked at different cassettes etc.
I tweaked the 2x road orientated bike and bought a 1X gravel bike, swapped the chainring to get the GI range I wanted. At the time, I thought I would ride road in 2x and offroad/cyclocross in 1X.
a couple of years later, I built a hill climb bike and it is all about weight saving so 1X only with a small ring and 2X gravel cassette (smaller range). I found the MTB XT and XTR 9s cassettes are lighter than ultegra cassette so I went for that; now, I ride this hill climb bike with bigger ring on the road because it works, is simpler and lighter. I also found out that many European Ultra distance road racers ride endurance road bike in 1X with a aero chainring and a "medium range" cassette because with 12 gears, the gaps are small enough and the simplicity is key.

My last 2X was converted to 1X last month because I share that bike with my wife and she does not get on with 2X.

Note that I proceed in the same way when I built my kids MtBs and race road bike; I observed how they got on with existing (at the time) equipment, got some feedback and swapped parts accordingly and based on the XL calculations.

Would I get a 2X again? yes if I was racing Crits but I prefer MTB and Cyclocross. For general cycling/training, I can't be bother with 2X

Last edited by Fentuz; 09-06-23 at 03:34 AM.
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Old 09-06-23, 04:04 AM
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It is best not to get hung up on other's preferences and hang ups when choosing. Do you need to be in the exact gear or are you fine varying cadence or effort a bit to account for a little higher or lower gear? For some the jumps are huge with a 1X for others they usually shift more than one at a time any way and spinning a cadence of 90 vs 100 vs 110 in a given situation isn't a big deal or even a concern at all.

For me my 1X has gaps that are a complete non issue. No way am I going to be doing a lot of double shifts to get in the perfect gear even when on one of my bikes with a double (or triple). For you that may not be the case.
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Old 09-06-23, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Fentuz

Would I get a 2X again? yes if I was racing Crits
1x crit bikes are actually pretty common in the midwest. There's almost never a need to be dropping into a small ring on our typical crit courses. I know several people who run 48T front 1x with a SRAM 10-33 cassette. The 48x10 is roughly equivalent to a 53x11 top gear, and this cassette still has single tooth jumps from 10-15.
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Old 09-06-23, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Kids, these days!!! Back in my day, we rode bikes with 3 chainrings...in the snow...uphill both ways!!
You forgot barefoot...
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Old 09-06-23, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
You forgot barefoot...
I'm not that old. I'm "toeclips-and-straps" old, or from the "pre-clipless era", if you prefer.
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Old 09-06-23, 01:39 PM
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It really comes down to whether 11 speeds are enough in a particular situation. Off the pavement it is clearly enough for the great majority of riders and this is reflected in how the bikes are fitted out by the manufacturers.

One thing that greatly changed my use of the gears on my road bikes is the advent of brake shifter levers. I make twice as many shifts, in particular on hilly terrain, as I did on bikes with downtube shifters. I make far fewer shifts on my mountain bikes on the trails.
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Old 09-06-23, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
It really comes down to whether 11 speeds are enough in a particular situation. Off the pavement it is clearly enough for the great majority of riders and this is reflected in how the bikes are fitted out by the manufacturers.
It seems weird to have to point out in this thread that 12 speed drivetrains are a thing.
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Old 09-06-23, 10:48 PM
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13 speed is also a thing,,,,, Campagnolo
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Old 09-07-23, 04:06 AM
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My 1x11 cyclocross bike dubbs as my backup road bike.

Simple solution - two rear cassettes. I have a broad range cassette for punchy gravel rides and single track, and a tight range cassette for road rides.

It takes 10 min max to change cassettes.
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Old 09-07-23, 09:48 AM
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A 3x solves all these problems, but I'm old and afraid of change.
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Old 09-07-23, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Canker
13 speed is also a thing,,,,, Campagnolo
Yes - if you don't need massive range and you want to go 1x, this is the best choice.
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Old 09-08-23, 10:42 AM
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All the gearing comments are relevant but also consider for some bikes the 2X version reduces tire clearance. So think about if you want to max out tire size.

For me if just gravel roads and tarmac id go 2X for the range. Add in some mountain bike est roots and rocks id want 1X.

When I changed from an old Madone to a Domane I had a chance at a Checkpoint SL7. It was 1X SRAM electronic with 37V wheels. Price was a little out of what I wanted to spend. I thought hard about it. The shop had in stock the crank, derailleur and shifter to convert to 2x. I still think it would have been nice to be able to switch back and forth from 1X to 2X. Then a second set of Pro 37 or 51 wheels for road duty. I did get the Pro 51s for the Domane and have gravel tires on the wider OEM wheels for mild gravel.
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Old 09-09-23, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by biker128pedal
All the gearing comments are relevant but also consider for some bikes the 2X version reduces tire clearance. So think about if you want to max out tire size.
True.
And this has always been odd to me, since my old gravel bike had 435mm chainstays, could fit a 50mm tires with 2x, and used a 68mm bb shell.
My current geavel bike has 430 chainstays, fits a 2x easily, used a 68mm shell and clears 47mm tires.

Neither use a dropped chainstay, or a chainstay plate, or any other kludge.
Not really sure why some designers seem to shrug and just say 'we could only create clearance for a 42mm tire and 1x is required.'
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Old 09-09-23, 10:11 PM
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I got into the whole 1x with my MTB and still love it there. Not certain the chainring, think its a 30t, but here on Long Island I never use the largest cogs, and riding in CT and Upstate I found I still didn't run out of gears though I'd have to use the 46t to get by. That got me thinking 1x gravel would be good but it ended up just always being a compromise. With a 40t chainring and a wide range cassette I couldn't always make the steepest climbs, long climbs often had be wishing for a better gear half the time, and the top out speed wasn't great. A tighter cassette made climbs harder though long climbs more bearable, while a I couldn't go taller on the chainring even though I wanted to go faster on long downhills without spinning out due to the steep climbs I ran into off island. Add in bikepacking equipment and the situation really deteriorated. Glad to stick with 2x for gravel and road.

Originally Posted by Eric F
Kids, these days!!! Back in my day, we rode bikes with 3 chainrings...in the snow...uphill both ways!!
Which is why you needed that third ring.
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Old 09-10-23, 03:18 AM
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2x or 1x.

Depends on geography , depends on bike. Depends on rider.

I have both. I like both. I enjoy both. options are good,
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Old 09-10-23, 04:09 PM
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I'm sticking with 2x on my gravel bike. It makes the bike a more versatile bike. I've been on rides where I've never left the big chainring... but I've also been on some where the conditions have been more difficult and I've spent most of the ride in the small chainring. In either of those situations, I could have done with one chainring, but not the same one. If you have multiple gravel bikes, or always ride in about the same conditions, 1x can work well. But it wouldn't work as well for me. As others have said, it depends on the rider and the riding conditions which would work better. For me, 2x just makes a more versatile bike.
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Old 11-17-23, 07:38 AM
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I just finished up a 10,520 mile perimeter tour of the US on a Bombtrack Hook EXT-C running a 1x with a 10-42 cassette and a 38 tooth chainring and 650b wheels with 47mm WTB Byways.I went through three mountain ranges, with grades up to 16% and miles and miles of flat empty roads in the desert. The Pacific coast highway was all up and down for hundreds of miles and not once did I have an issue with gearing. I did hundreds of miles of gravel and hundreds of miles of singletrack, along with thousands of miles of pavement. In my opinion, I hit it spot on for gearing. I wasn't wishing for any more gears and the simplicity of it makes it one less thing to worry about. Just my two cents. I'm 58 and definitely not the strongest rider in the group, but I'm a persistent SOB that doesn't know when to stop.
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Old 11-17-23, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by chief9245
I just finished up a 10,520 mile perimeter tour of the US on a Bombtrack Hook EXT-C running a 1x with a 10-42 cassette and a 38 tooth chainring and 650b wheels with 47mm WTB Byways.I went through three mountain ranges, with grades up to 16% and miles and miles of flat empty roads in the desert. The Pacific coast highway was all up and down for hundreds of miles and not once did I have an issue with gearing. I did hundreds of miles of gravel and hundreds of miles of singletrack, along with thousands of miles of pavement. In my opinion, I hit it spot on for gearing. I wasn't wishing for any more gears and the simplicity of it makes it one less thing to worry about. Just my two cents. I'm 58 and definitely not the strongest rider in the group, but I'm a persistent SOB that doesn't know when to stop.
38t with 10-42 sounds good

I have a 40t 10-42 1x bike - works well - but would prefer a 38t ring over the 40t (trade off some top-end for a lower gear)

bike was originally equipped with a 44t ring which was too big for me
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Old 11-17-23, 10:53 AM
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In my family of bikes, 1Xs win, 2-0 while the 3Xs watch with a look of detached amusement. (The 1Xs all being fix gears; some with choices of cogs. A 2X made a brief appearance in household 2 decades ago but one trip up Laurelhust Rd put an end to that. (4) 3Xs; (2) 7-speeds, (1) 9-speed and (1) fix gear.)
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Old 11-17-23, 11:52 AM
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I've been riding 38 x 11-42, and have been pretty happy with it. For the rides I typically do in my area, it's everything I need.

However, at a recent race/event, I found myself looking for one more step - on both ends - at some point in the day. A beautiful, long and mild downhill had me spinning a little faster than was comfortable for an extended duration, with tired legs. The most brutal climb of the day, that took us to the halfway point of the route had me slow-grinding the 42. All that said, I'm going to stick with my current setup since it works for my everyday needs.
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Old 11-17-23, 01:53 PM
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I just recently switched back to 2x with my current GRX 400 hydraulic shifters, 46:30t chainring, 11-36t XT cassette, GRX 400 FD and Ultegra RX800 RD. I get higher gearing with decent low gear, smoother chain line in both high/low gearing and my chainring wear is spread out. The Ultegra RX800 RD shifts fast as well making my gravel bike a more responsive all-arounder. Plus I was able to get total drivetrain weight near/equal the same as running 1x with proper component selection. I've also recently started immersive waxing my chains and have really perfected my FD tuning. I think all those aspects combined truly help.

Though I still think 1x is very good. It really depends on the cyclist and local terrain one will ride in.
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Old 11-18-23, 10:28 PM
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I prefer a 2x. If I wasn't worried about top end speed, I'd be just happy with 1x. I've got a few 1x11 and 1x12 MTBs, so I do appreciate a good 1x set up. However, I'm frequently using both ends of the spectrum on my gravel bike...lots of extended climbing, but also some road descents that I'd spin out on most 1x set ups. I'm running a 48/31 and an 11-40 rear cassette with the GRX 810 derailleur. It gives me decent climbing gears, but still retains the top end of the stock bike.
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