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does 3x require more shifting than 2x?

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does 3x require more shifting than 2x?

Old 09-21-23, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon
I bet in the sub-$1000 range, the category with the most bikes sold every year is 1x1 coaster brake, and second most is 3x something. All those cheap, department store mountain bikes (thousands sold every day across the U.S.)? Almost all 3x drivetrains.
Any decent modern mountain bike that you would actually want to ride off road is going to have a 1x12 drivetrain.
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Old 09-21-23, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Any decent modern mountain bike that you would actually want to ride off road is going to have a 1x12 drivetrain.
Of course.

I'm not a fan of 3x, but I think it's ignorant to claim that they're dead. Perhaps dead in the mid to high end range of mountain bikes, although still selling in the millions, when all bike categories are included.
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Old 09-21-23, 02:33 PM
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3x means you need a 2x or 1x new bike.

Had a few 3x bikes gifted to us from various people over the years including very nice families of friends who died. I used them for my kids to not buy transition bikes as they were growing (we are very tall so they had adult bikes at like 10-14yo) and they were all junk. You need to constantly shift, constantly set trim, and it doesn't help that 3x comes in cheap, junky, low quality groupsets like Claris/Sora or worse that wear down quickly, never hold alignment and need constant adjustment. 100% headache.

Once I learned to live by 105 2x on road or gravel, 1xSLX groupsets MTB only I never looked back. At first it seems like the better goupsets cost a lot more but they are so much better built and longer lasting you save money due to not needing much or any repairs vs constantly taking it back to the shop.
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Old 09-21-23, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Attilio
3x means you need a 2x or 1x new bike.

Had a few 3x bikes gifted to us from various people over the years including very nice families of friends who died. I used them for my kids to not buy transition bikes as they were growing (we are very tall so they had adult bikes at like 10-14yo) and they were all junk. You need to constantly shift, constantly set trim, and it doesn't help that 3x comes in cheap, junky, low quality groupsets like Claris/Sora or worse that wear down quickly, never hold alignment and need constant adjustment. 100% headache.

Once I learned to live by 105 2x on road or gravel, 1xSLX groupsets MTB only I never looked back. At first it seems like the better goupsets cost a lot more but they are so much better built and longer lasting you save money due to not needing much or any repairs vs constantly taking it back to the shop.
I would say that's just a problem of modern triples. My 30-year triples - Deore DX, especially - are still going strong.
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Old 09-21-23, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon
Of course.

I'm not a fan of 3x, but I think it's ignorant to claim that they're dead. Perhaps dead in the mid to high end range of mountain bikes, although still selling in the millions, when all bike categories are included.
Would it be ignorant as well to point out the single speed coaster brake bikes are the most popular bikes sold? In the context of mid range and up bikes of all types 3x is dead because 2x has evolved to outperform it. These forums have not generally taken into account big box bikes so not sure why they are entering the discussion now?
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Old 09-21-23, 03:49 PM
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I finally relegated my last 2x crankset to my indoor trainer bike. My main road now has a 105 triple crank, and my (more frequently ridden) do-everything bike has a 3x Hollowtech II knockoff crankset.

Not because I can't hack the hills---roughly half my mileage in very hilly Baltimore County this year has been on my fixed-gear bike with 48/18 gearing.

I just got sick of the 53/36 or 53/34 or whatever it was. To answer the OP's original question, 2x requires more shifting than 3x, or at least it's more irritating to me, with the giant jump between chainrings.
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Old 09-21-23, 04:01 PM
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I haven't shifted for the past 15 years.
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Old 09-21-23, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon
Of course.

I'm not a fan of 3x, but I think it's ignorant to claim that they're dead. Perhaps dead in the mid to high end range of mountain bikes, although still selling in the millions, when all bike categories are included.
I still remember the revelation of moving from 3x to 1x MTB drivetrains. For me that was 2015 and never looked back. Before that I had actually converted all my 3x MTB drivetrains to double and bash setups, but modern 1x is still far better and now the only option on mid-high end bikes. The debate was over almost a decade ago for mountain bikes.

What I find interesting is that mountain bikes went straight from 3x to 1x almost overnight. 2x never really featured except for replacing the big ring with a bash guard.

Road bikes for me have always been 2x from 2x5 in the late 70s right through to 2x12 today. I expect my next road bike will be 1x13 and I wonít miss front shifting in the slightest.
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Old 09-21-23, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
Would it be ignorant as well to point out the single speed coaster brake bikes are the most popular bikes sold? ?
Probably not seeing as he said
Originally Posted by Broctoon
I bet in the sub-$1000 range, the category with the most bikes sold every year is 1x1 coaster brake, and second most is 3x something.
It would be ignorant not to read the thread before responding, some might say.
Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
In the context of mid range and up bikes of all types 3x is dead because 2x has evolved to outperform it. These forums have not generally taken into account big box bikes so not sure why they are entering the discussion now?
Are you for real? I cannot count how many multi-page threads I have read here about big-box bikes. Bald-faced lying is not a good look for you.

And if 3x is so dead, why does Shimano offer so many versions of it? Yeah, you will probably do better if you include facts with your lies ..... As you obviously decided you did not want to know Shimano offers a full range of triples ....


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Old 09-21-23, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Any decent modern mountain bike that you would actually want to ride off road is going to have a 1x12 drivetrain.
I hate to disagree with engineers or mathematicians or whatever .... but speak for yourself.

My Cannondale Rize has a 3x8 Deore/SLX drivetrain and I like riding it off-road very much.

I would be fine with a solid 1x12 perhaps ... and if you are buying, I will install it and test it. But every MTB I have owned has been a triple, and I rode and enjoyed riding each of them off-road.

Nothing wrong with those 42 or 50 or whatever-toothed pie-plate cogs ... I am sure they weigh less than one would think a giant metal disc would weigh ...balancing out the weight saved by having a front chain-catcher instead of a derailleur ..... But this is another of those "Don't gear up like the pros if you don't ride like the pros" situation.

Some bikes are designed to be ridden swiftly over several laps of a specific course and are great for that. I'd prefer (were I fit enough) to ride for several hours at a variety of paces, and as with long road rides ... I have never found myself disappointed to find the perfect ratio, but have occasionally been disappointed when I could not.

In any case .... the problem with generalities is specifics.
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Old 09-21-23, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
I still remember the revelation of moving from 3x to 1x MTB drivetrains. For me that was 2015 and never looked back. Before that I had actually converted all my 3x MTB drivetrains to double and bash setups, but modern 1x is still far better and now the only option on mid-high end bikes.
Again ... better for You and the way You ride.

I have some shots somewhere of guys riding riding single-speed rigids in a 12-hour MTB race. Go argue with those crazy floggers about how they are doing it wrong.

Different strokes ......
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Old 09-21-23, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Probably not seeing as he said
It would be ignorant not to read the thread before responding, some might say. Are you for real? I cannot count how many multi-page threads I have read here about big-box bikes. Bald-faced lying is not a good look for you.

And if 3x is so dead, why does Shimano offer so many versions of it? Yeah, you will probably do better if you include facts with your lies ..... As you obviously decided you did not want to know Shimano offers a full range of triples ....


Being nasty and calling me a liar is not a good look on you sorry to say.

A majority of those you shown are bottom tier 3x7/8 and the odd 9 and one 10 thrown in, old tech to say the least. 11 speed came out 11 years ago and we are now at 12, time has moved on.

You like to selectively respond and misrepresent my posts and mostly ignore the points you can’t answer. Enjoy your 3x system.

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Old 09-22-23, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
I hate to disagree with engineers or mathematicians or whatever .... but speak for yourself.

My Cannondale Rize has a 3x8 Deore/SLX drivetrain and I like riding it off-road very much.

I would be fine with a solid 1x12 perhaps ... and if you are buying, I will install it and test it. But every MTB I have owned has been a triple, and I rode and enjoyed riding each of them off-road.

Nothing wrong with those 42 or 50 or whatever-toothed pie-plate cogs ... I am sure they weigh less than one would think a giant metal disc would weigh ...balancing out the weight saved by having a front chain-catcher instead of a derailleur ..... But this is another of those "Don't gear up like the pros if you don't ride like the pros" situation.

Some bikes are designed to be ridden swiftly over several laps of a specific course and are great for that. I'd prefer (were I fit enough) to ride for several hours at a variety of paces, and as with long road rides ... I have never found myself disappointed to find the perfect ratio, but have occasionally been disappointed when I could not.

In any case .... the problem with generalities is specifics.
I don't know how old your Cannondale Rize is, but if you have a look at the spec of current Cannondale mountain bikes you will see only 1x drivetrains on all but the very lowest spec models, which are 2x. It's not just pro level bikes that are now 1x. It's everything above the lowest tier. You would be hard pushed to find any new mid range mountain bike with 3x drivetrain. I also had a quick look at Giant's website and again not a single 3x offering in their vast mountain bike range.

So if you are ever again in the market for a new mountain bike you are going to be faced with 1x12 drivetrains unless you go very low end indeed. Thatís exactly how I ended up there myself, but not complaining. My 2015 Specialized Enduro was my first 1x mtb (1x11 SRAM X01) and my 2019 Canyon Neuron is 1x12 X01. Everything before that was 3x Shimano XT or SRAM X9. I never used the big ring on singletrack, so always fitted a bash ring instead.

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Old 09-22-23, 03:00 AM
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There is some pretty decent 3x kit out there for those who need/prefer the 3x approach. 26" wheels next?
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Old 09-22-23, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
It's not just pro level bikes that are now 1x. It's everything above the lowest tier. You would be hard pushed to find any new mid range mountain bike with 3x drivetrain.
I am not here to dispute simple facts ... but the meanings and reasons behind those facts.

You said that anyone riding a 3x MTB really wants a 1x .... I said, "Not I."

The manufacturers offer what they think will make them the most profit. They are not interested in tailoring bikes to riders, they are interested in moving units .... riders need to tailor their riding to the equipment offered. Just as with the move away from triples .... Ride doubles and like it or don't but most of what we sell will be doubles because we are in the selling business, not the satisfying business. Buy our stuff, and be satisfied. We sell are stuff and are satisfied. What's wrong with you.

The original Model T Ford was available only in black, Did this somehow "prove" that black cars were better? No, it proved that for the sake of efficiency In The Factory, in the interest of cost containment to maximize Profit (not customer satisfaction) certain decisions were made.

1x is the new off-road thing. ... for the factories. Since I am not a factory, I am not interested is pleasing the factories.

Notice I never said that 1x was not better For You. I am not saying 2X is not better for a lot of riders in a lot of situations. I am saying I have doubles and triples, and each serves a different purpose, and serves it well.

As was noted above,. the vast majority of bikes sold in the USA are not only 1x, they are single-speed. This does not "prove" that single-speed is better .... right? or are you rushing to the garage to convert all your bikes from disc to coaster brake?

My main point here: We are two distinct individuals with two distinct sets of needs and desires. please do not make the error of assuming that what is best for you is best for everyone. (LOL ..... can you picture me calling you "Fascist"?) But seriously .... After more than 50 years of riding on the road and off, I have pretty much figured out how this bicycle stuff works. it is not the science of the rocket. I know when a triple suits my needs better by Experience, not theory. And I trust you, however long you have been riding, have also figured out how to do bicycles, and know how to meet your own needs. Just don't confound the two of us. We are different.
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Old 09-22-23, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs

You said that anyone riding a 3x MTB really wants a 1x .... I said, "Not I."
It wasnít me that said that. I think someone else might have said something along those lines, but not me.

I only commented on how 1x has totally dominated the new mtb market in the last 5 years.

Your argument appears to be that 1x was forced on us keen mountain bikers to increase profitability (Iím not sure how?), but I think the reality is that itís simply a better solution for the vast majority of riders. If that wasnít the case then there would have been a huge backlash by now and the mtb forums would be raging.

Of course there are guys like you still happily riding older generation mountain bikes with the 3x drivetrains they routinely came with. I did the same up until 2015. They do the job, but they have been superseded and chances are you will be pleasantly surprised how effective 1x is on a mountain bike. For other applications 2x and 3x might well be still preferable, but itís a close call now.
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Old 09-22-23, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
It wasnít me that said that. I think someone else might have said something along those lines, but not me.
Sorry. That is how I interpreted this statement:
Originally Posted by PeteHski
Any decent modern mountain bike that you would actually want to ride off road is going to have a 1x12 drivetrain.
I only commented on how 1x has totally dominated the new mtb market in the last 5 years.

Your argument appears to be that 1x was forced on us keen mountain bikers to increase profitability (Iím not sure how?), but I think the reality is that itís simply a better solution for the vast majority of riders. If that wasnít the case then there would have been a huge backlash by now and the mtb forums would be raging.

Of course there are guys like you still happily riding older generation mountain bikes with the 3x drivetrains they routinely came with. I did the same up until 2015. They do the job, but they have been superseded and chances are you will be pleasantly surprised how effective 1x is on a mountain bike. For other applications 2x and 3x might well be still preferable, but itís a close call now.[/QUOTE]

As I keep saying, and as I think all of us agree when not debating .... 2x is great for many road applications, and 1x is great for many off-road applications, but there are situations and riders for which 3x is better in both applications.

That is pretty much my position ... and the fact that 3x gear is still manufactured and offered for sale make me think that Shimano thinks so too ... but what does Shimano know about the bike market, anyway? They don't even read and post on BF..
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Old 09-22-23, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Chinghis
I would say that's just a problem of modern triples. My 30-year triples - Deore DX, especially - are still going strong.
Me too sort of. I had a Magna Outrageous from the 1980's with friction shifters and front 3x that was still going strong a couple years ago when I gave it away to the husband of a family friend. Reliable it was but friction shifters tend to be almost indestructible. It was heavy and clunky and junky and a couple sizes too small but back then you just bought what they had at the toy store in that case Child World and I was only 8 or 9 when we got it I remember it was a few many sizes too big back then.
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Old 09-22-23, 06:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Sorry. That is how I interpreted this statement:

I only commented on how 1x has totally dominated the new mtb market in the last 5 years.

Your argument appears to be that 1x was forced on us keen mountain bikers to increase profitability (Iím not sure how?), but I think the reality is that itís simply a better solution for the vast majority of riders. If that wasnít the case then there would have been a huge backlash by now and the mtb forums would be raging.

Of course there are guys like you still happily riding older generation mountain bikes with the 3x drivetrains they routinely came with. I did the same up until 2015. They do the job, but they have been superseded and chances are you will be pleasantly surprised how effective 1x is on a mountain bike. For other applications 2x and 3x might well be still preferable, but itís a close call now.
As I keep saying, and as I think all of us agree when not debating .... 2x is great for many road applications, and 1x is great for many off-road applications, but there are situations and riders for which 3x is better in both applications.

That is pretty much my position ... and the fact that 3x gear is still manufactured and offered for sale make me think that Shimano thinks so too ... but what does Shimano know about the bike market, anyway? They don't even read and post on BF.. [/QUOTE]
Long story short I found a nice MTB with low miles for my uncle in Italy and it was from ~10 years ago with 2x drivetrain. Also rode some 2x gravel bikes on trails and the front derailleur is the mother of many problems. It attracts so much dirt and suffers from so many failures and overcomplicates the trail experience. Recently riding with a friend of mine who has a cheap Altus/Tourney junky groupset reminded me of such, hard to shift, always losing your chain. You don't need XTR but boy there's a lower limit in quality and 1x simplifies things by a huge margin. You do lose top end that's for sure but how often to you get to descend pedaling on asphalt at over 25mph on asphalt on a mountain bike?
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Old 09-22-23, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Sorry. That is how I interpreted this statement:
Okay, just to be clear, that was simply a statement about buying a brand new mtb. Unless it is very low end (like the Walmart BSOs I was responding to) it will have a 1x drivetrain. I canít even find an example of a new 3x mtb that you or I would choose to ride off road. Most new mountain bikes wonít even have a FD mount to convert if you felt the need.

The fact that there are still masses of cheap Wally bikes on 3x drivetrains is driven by Shimano not making a cheap enough ultra-low end 1x12 drivetrain. They are probably better off being 3x8 than 1x8 and 24 speed sounds better than 8 speed. More respectable entry level mountain bikes are usually 2x with a reasonably wide range cassette. I see those at around the £500 mark. Everything above that price point goes 1x.

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Old 09-22-23, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
The fact that there are still masses of cheap Wally bikes on 3x drivetrains is driven by Shimano not making a cheap enough ultra-low end 1x12 drivetrain. They are probably better off being 3x8 than 1x8 and 24 speed sounds better than 8 speed. More respectable entry level mountain bikes are usually 2x with a reasonably wide range cassette. I see those at around the £500 mark. Everything above that price point goes 1x.
That's a good summary. I don't think anyone can reasonably disagree... unless they just want to quarrel.

BITD there were lots of nice bikes spec'ed with 3x drivetrains... mountain bikes and touring bikes, mostly. Market forces and development of alternative systems have relegated the 3x mostly to cheap, bike shaped objects. That's not to say they're "dead" in the overall biking world, just way out of favor for those who want a good, new production bike.
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Old 09-22-23, 09:12 AM
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Who would have thought that a thread concerning 3x would quickly veer off topic and devolve into the same old arguments we have read 1000 times?
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Old 09-22-23, 09:23 AM
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[QUOTE=terrymorse;23021935][QUOTE=big john;23021286]On my triple road bike, 52-39-30, I can do a lot of rides without ever using the small ring./

Shoot, back when I was doing a ridiculous amount of climbing, I had a triple and almost never used the small ring. The grade had to be stupid steep to need that small ring.



Same for me. The big ring is fine for anything that isn't long and/or steep.
opposite for me - very little / almost no climbing in the big ring

not too many climbs I could / can take with a 53 or 52 chainring ... or even current 50 or 46 ...

can use big ring on small or short climbs (rolling) - but that’s about it ... just about everything else small ring ...
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Old 09-22-23, 09:27 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta
Who would have thought that a thread concerning 3x would quickly veer off topic and devolve into the same old arguments we have read 1000 times?
And a lot of the initial responses aren't even answering the OP's question. Which one requires more shifting?
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Old 09-22-23, 09:30 AM
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t2p
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I switch between 3x , 2x, and 1x bikes on a fairly often basis

I like them all

amount of shifting is similar ? but with a double with a fairly big ring and spread will sometimes require additional shifting ... often need to shift down in the rear after shifting to the big chainring

the only setup Iím adverse to is a triple with a fairly big middle ring - middle ring greater than 34 ... for the terrain we often ride they are frustrating ... with the bigger middle rings you can be too often forced to use the small ring ... too much shifting ... guess for some they work but with 11 (and 10) tooth small on cassette you can use a double with smaller chainrings and have equal or better gearing spread

Last edited by t2p; 09-22-23 at 09:41 AM.
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