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Let's talk about 1x11 drivetrains

Old 11-03-15, 08:10 AM
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Let's talk about 1x11 drivetrains

I got a tentative go ahead from the CFO to build a dream bike. I've been lusting over an Appleman for a few year. I love the idea of a custom build/fit, multi-functional CF bike for CX, gravel grinding, and road riding (just change tires). Here is an example: Drew's Gravel Crusher - Appleman Bicycles

I did a little digging around on the SRAM XX1 cassette, 11-speeds (10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-42). I was a little surprised when comparing ratios with my current rigs.

My Kona Dew Drop (I use for gravel and CX) has a granny-gear with 30x34 that allows me to climb while others are walking. The XX1 gives you 42x42 fairly close for climbing ratio - between the two largest smallest ratios on the Kona.

My Felt Z85 (road bike) has a big gear of 50x12 that I rarely max out at around 38 mph (I'm not a super fast descender). The XX1 gives you a 42x10 for a faster descending ratio.

I understand that the cassette with a wide range will weigh more. But you lose a chainring, front derailleur, cabling, shifter... Not sure how the weight exchange works out, not the biggest deal since I'm not a weight-weenie. I want a boom-proof drivetrain over light weight (this puts me ahead of a lot of other riders when I'm racing).

I'd like to hear for riders that have gone to the 1x11 drivetrain, especially if you ride on demanding terrain like gravel grinders.
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Old 11-03-15, 08:35 AM
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Is your rear hub compatible? What front chainring are you going to use? I use the sram X1-1000 crank ( 30 T) on my Farley fat bike with a 1x11 rear. Wide spaced cassette, ok for gravel stuff? Won't need lower than 1x1 for climbing?
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Old 11-03-15, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Is your rear hub compatible? What front chainring are you going to use? I use the sram X1-1000 crank ( 30 T) on my Farley fat bike with a 1x11 rear. Wide spaced cassette, ok for gravel stuff? Won't need lower than 1x1 for climbing?
I'm planning (AKA dreaming) a new custom bike, spacing will not be an issue for this set up. But updating an existing bike, this would be an issue for sure.

I'm thinking about a 42 chain ring - damn close to my Kona's climbing rations, the smallest two ratios on the Kona are 30x34 and 30x26. The 42x42 is right between them. I know one hill that makes a lot of people walk on the Almanzo (Oriole Rd) required the 30x34 and was still a challenge. For a gravel grinder, I should be able to hand 1x1 ratio.

For a fatbike, you need better than 1x1 for sure! I have a Pugsley and I have found climbs that the 22x36 can't manage (that's some very steep and bumpy stuff).
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Old 11-03-15, 10:39 AM
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One of my rando friends has a 1x11 on his brevet bike. I can't remember the exact tooth counts, but I remember his gear range worked out to be really close to mine, maybe 35-95". He loves it, and said he's never dropped a chain.
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Old 11-03-15, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
One of my rando friends has a 1x11 on his brevet bike. I can't remember the exact tooth counts, but I remember his gear range worked out to be really close to mine, maybe 35-95". He loves it, and said he's never dropped a chain.
That's what I wanna hear!
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Old 11-03-15, 11:55 AM
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Well, you'll never have to worry about chain rub or cross-chaining! I like the idea...as much as I think 11 sp rear drivetrains are not necessary and overpriced...a 1x setup is pretty sweet. You can always play with the chainring size to optimize your situation
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Old 11-03-15, 12:00 PM
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in '95 i did a 12,000 mile, nine month, loaded tour of the U.S on a 1x7, not a bad test of a drivetrain. XTR RD and friction shifter. never had the least bit of problem WRT dropping the chain. FWIW.

and yes, there were some gravel roads. miles of them in fact. some in Minnesota, IIRC .

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Old 11-03-15, 01:25 PM
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The thing with 1x is that you trade range for simplicity. Once you figure which end you want to give up, size ring and cassette accordingly.
I would make sure that the SRAM stuff can handle a 42x42 setup. The 10-42 cassettes and derailleurs are meant for mountainbikes and I don't know if they can handle a 42t ring. The largest XX1 ring SRAM sells is a 38. I think the SRAM mtb derailleur will work with dropbars shifters, but I'm not 100% sure. And a clutch rear derailleur is probably a good idea for a 1x setup.

If you do go with a smaller chainring (I. E. give up top end) you can also consider the SRAM road 1x stuff which doesn't use the 1x driver and has an 11-36 cassette. And if you really want a larger cog you can probably use a Wolftooth cog or similar.

Shimano drivetrain is probably harder to do because their mtb and road stuff doesn't play well together and they don't have road clutch derailleurs.
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Old 11-03-15, 02:53 PM
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It is 'marketing talk' from Appleman's site, but with this build (including Wolf Tooth) he says:

The new XTR M9050 Di2 works incredibly well with the single chainring Rotor crank.
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Old 11-03-15, 03:13 PM
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SRAM is introducing more 1x11 options this year in lower groups, check out GX. But the 10-42 cassette is still north of $100, and it requires their XD Driver freehub body.

Sunrace is now offering 10x and 11x 11-40 and 11-42 cassettes which you can find for <$70. These will still go on your existing freehub like the big XT and XTR cassettes.
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Old 11-03-15, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
The thing with 1x is that you trade range for simplicity. Once you figure which end you want to give up, size ring and cassette accordingly.
I would make sure that the SRAM stuff can handle a 42x42 setup. The 10-42 cassettes and derailleurs are meant for mountainbikes and I don't know if they can handle a 42t ring. The largest XX1 ring SRAM sells is a 38. I think the SRAM mtb derailleur will work with dropbars shifters, but I'm not 100% sure. And a clutch rear derailleur is probably a good idea for a 1x setup.

If you do go with a smaller chainring (I. E. give up top end) you can also consider the SRAM road 1x stuff which doesn't use the 1x driver and has an 11-36 cassette. And if you really want a larger cog you can probably use a Wolftooth cog or similar.

Shimano drivetrain is probably harder to do because their mtb and road stuff doesn't play well together and they don't have road clutch derailleurs.
The sram 42-10 cassette and rear der are made to fit. The front chainring won't matter. You will have to pay attention to spindle length and what crank you are using. Needs to clear the chain stay.
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Old 11-03-15, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
I would make sure that the SRAM stuff can handle a 42x42 setup. The 10-42 cassettes and derailleurs are meant for mountainbikes and I don't know if they can handle a 42t ring.
I don't get this. If you have a big ring you might need to space it right to keep it from hitting the chain stay, but why would it matter to the rear system? The wrap and the big cog should be the most important thing. Shimano also publishes front ring ranges for its rear derailleurs and I don't get it there, either.
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Old 11-03-15, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
The sram 42-10 cassette and rear der are made to fit. The front chainring won't matter. You will have to pay attention to spindle length and what crank you are using. Needs to clear the chain stay.
Oopsie, you are right. For a single ring it won't matter. All your should need is a proper length chain.
@Darth Lefty: with a multi-ring set up the rear derailleur can only accomodate so much for chainring difference. Hence the different cage lengths.
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Old 11-03-15, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
I got a tentative go ahead from the CFO to build a dream bike. I've been lusting over an Appleman for a few year. I love the idea of a custom build/fit, multi-functional CF bike for CX, gravel grinding, and road riding (just change tires). Here is an example: Drew's Gravel Crusher - Appleman Bicycles

I did a little digging around on the SRAM XX1 cassette, 11-speeds (10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-42). I was a little surprised when comparing ratios with my current rigs.

My Kona Dew Drop (I use for gravel and CX) has a granny-gear with 30x34 that allows me to climb while others are walking. The XX1 gives you 42x42 fairly close for climbing ratio - between the two largest smallest ratios on the Kona.

My Felt Z85 (road bike) has a big gear of 50x12 that I rarely max out at around 38 mph (I'm not a super fast descender). The XX1 gives you a 42x10 for a faster descending ratio.

I understand that the cassette with a wide range will weigh more. But you lose a chainring, front derailleur, cabling, shifter... Not sure how the weight exchange works out, not the biggest deal since I'm not a weight-weenie. I want a boom-proof drivetrain over light weight (this puts me ahead of a lot of other riders when I'm racing).

I'd like to hear for riders that have gone to the 1x11 drivetrain, especially if you ride on demanding terrain like gravel grinders.
I'm running a Shimano Deore XT M8000 1x11 on my Troll, with a 32T chainring.

Smooth, reliable, no issues at all so far. I initially worried the gearing would be too low, but on a Troll I'm not charging around at 25 mph and I've found the climbing at 17 gear inches easy even fully laden with panniers front and back.

So big thumbs up so far from me, and unlike the SRAM offerings, the Deore XT M8000 does not need a special hub.

Only problem seems to be that nobody can keep the groupset in stock.
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Old 11-04-15, 07:02 AM
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My Kona Dew DL has a 1x9 drivetrain with a 38T chainring. I use it on my commute which is a combination of highway and city (24km). I don't find it to be lacking anything - plenty of gear for what I am tackling.
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Old 11-04-15, 07:29 AM
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The 42 x 10-42 has the same range as my 52-39-30 x 12-29.

There's a real tradeoff between simplicity and having a lot of close range gears to get the right cadence. I don't think I'd like the 1x11, I'm always shifting to find the right cadence.


The screenshots and links are to these setups in Mike Sherman's Gear Calculator.


42 with 10-42
in 11 speed.


52-39-30 with 12-29
in 11 speed (Campagnolo).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
42 and 10-42 in 11 speed.JPG (58.9 KB, 64 views)
File Type: jpg
52-39-30 and 12-29b.jpg (76.0 KB, 63 views)
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Old 11-04-15, 08:21 AM
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Love 1x11 on my MTB- not sure i could do it on the roadie for the simple reason that i dont want to ride on mismatched hoods -- i spend 75% or more of my time on the hoods
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Old 11-04-15, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
Love 1x11 on my MTB- not sure i could do it on the roadie for the simple reason that i dont want to ride on mismatched hoods -- i spend 75% or more of my time on the hoods
SRAM offers left brake-only levers with matching hood shapes for its 1x road groups, both mechanical and hydraulic. Shimano doesn't seem to, yet.
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Old 11-04-15, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa View Post
SRAM offers left brake-only levers with matching hood shapes for its 1x road groups, both mechanical and hydraulic. Shimano doesn't seem to, yet.
In that case, i'd like it I have one of my bikes outfitted with an 11-34 MTB cassette now as it is , -- since it is a short cage derailleur, i am locked out of a few of big cogs when im in the big ring anyway

I'll wait for the Shimano version as i greatly prefer the shifting action from Big S, -- but good to know SRAM is giving more options

Shimano will be 3 years late to the party just like they were with the 11 speed MTB group i'm sure
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Old 11-04-15, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
The 42 x 10-42 has the same range as my 52-39-30 x 12-29.

There's a real tradeoff between simplicity and having a lot of close range gears to get the right cadence. I don't think I'd like the 1x11, I'm always shifting to find the right cadence.


The screenshots and links are to these setups in Mike Sherman's Gear Calculator.


42 with 10-42
in 11 speed.


52-39-30 with 12-29
in 11 speed (Campagnolo).
Dang! I love these graphs! I haven't seen this calculator before... I can tell that I will burning a few hours setting up all the bikes in my house (10 total, his and hers).

I typically find myself leaning to simplicity. I have had that time when I can't find the right ratio, but for me the best thing is to change speed to get to the right cadence and not fight with 24 available ratios.
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Old 11-04-15, 09:58 AM
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I like the idea of the 1X for reasons of simplicity but have to question how well the OP would like it when the bike is for "... CX, gravel grinding, and road riding (just change tires)."

There's becomes less to like about 1X systems, IMHO, where it comes to road riding. I could easily see those tire/wheel changes turning into chainring and cassette changes as well. Better to match the demands for higher gearing and closer ratios required for long road rides.

There's also a certain question of value. The simplicity factor cannot be undervalued if the promise of simplicity is delivered. However, this simplicity does not bring "revolutionary" advancements. The weight of a front derailleur, chainring, shifter and cable do not add substantially to the overall weight of the bike. (Consider how fantastic it would be to lose the weight of the rear derailleur and cassette!) In addition, front shifting is generally considered very good these days and while chain drop is a consideration, I have to question if the OP's build has more CX racing and less gravel grinding and road riding in mind because the later don't really suffer from the extremely occasional dropped chain.

Just some thought. I do like the look of the Appleman. There's another CF frame that I've actually bought that also might be of interest. The Asylum Cycles Meuse. It's worth a search because it meets many of the OP's criteria for versatility. Very imported but by a OR company and backed by a 3 year warranty. The finish is a little wonky as it is delivered "raw" which means you also get the unique release pattern left from the molding process.
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Old 11-05-15, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cale View Post
I like the idea of the 1X for reasons of simplicity but have to question how well the OP would like it when the bike is for "... CX, gravel grinding, and road riding (just change tires)."

There's becomes less to like about 1X systems, IMHO, where it comes to road riding. I could easily see those tire/wheel changes turning into chainring and cassette changes as well. Better to match the demands for higher gearing and closer ratios required for long road rides.

There's also a certain question of value. The simplicity factor cannot be undervalued if the promise of simplicity is delivered. However, this simplicity does not bring "revolutionary" advancements. The weight of a front derailleur, chainring, shifter and cable do not add substantially to the overall weight of the bike. (Consider how fantastic it would be to lose the weight of the rear derailleur and cassette!) In addition, front shifting is generally considered very good these days and while chain drop is a consideration, I have to question if the OP's build has more CX racing and less gravel grinding and road riding in mind because the later don't really suffer from the extremely occasional dropped chain.

Just some thought. I do like the look of the Appleman. There's another CF frame that I've actually bought that also might be of interest. The Asylum Cycles Meuse. It's worth a search because it meets many of the OP's criteria for versatility. Very imported but by a OR company and backed by a 3 year warranty. The finish is a little wonky as it is delivered "raw" which means you also get the unique release pattern left from the molding process.
I understand your point about making the jump from gravel to road. I should make it clear, I'm a recreational racer, I love competing, but have no lofty goals.

For road riding, I have a tight gearing on my Mondonico and I find myself fighting with the gears more than finding the best ratio. I will do more research on the gearing, comparing to my current road bikes with the 1x11. It is possible, the Appleman will be the gravel grinder/CX bike and not the go-to road bike. I have no plans on selling the Mondonico (I love that bike!); So I'll continue to have at least one pure road bike.

If I get the budget from the CFO, Appleman will be my go-to for a custom CF bike. There are a number of reasons, but top of the list... He's local, his shop is about 5 miles from my house. He's involved in the community, I see him at tons of local events.
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Old 11-05-15, 09:00 AM
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With most current brifters you'd have aero cable routing so the only thing amiss in the looks would be the extraneous shift lever. There would be no dangling cables or empty cable exits. Some of the brifters can be disassembled so you could delete the shift lever.

I'm blanking on the name of the company that sells brake levers with thumbies on the front.
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Old 11-05-15, 09:05 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I'm blanking on the name of the company that sells brake levers with thumbies on the front.
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06-13-10 11:08 PM

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