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Mountain Bike Gearing Update???

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Mountain Bike Gearing Update???

Old 10-09-17, 09:56 AM
  #1  
jrporter 
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Mountain Bike Gearing Update???

It's been quite a while since the 1990s when I researched and wrote Mountain Bike! Virginia for Menasha Ridge Press. So much has changed, and I admit that I've drifted away from it. However, here I am at the 67 and would like to re-enter off-road and rough road cycling in some capacity. I've noticed the movement away from triple chainwheels and into single ones and am wondering how people, especially those raised on triples like myself are taking to this change in gearing. I can definitely see how the simplicity of this system might be advantageous in some respects but still curious to better know how recreational riders like it....

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Old 10-09-17, 12:51 PM
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Do the experiment. Go out riding and leave the chain in the middle ring.

I don't think the loss of top speed would matter much to recreational cyclists (and on a 1x11 or 1x12 you'd get a really small cog anyway.) I wonder if 32x42 would be low enough for a recreational cyclist at the end of a day's rising ... . facing a long, long hill on the only trail home.

I used to do some epic rides, back about the time you were doing the same .... II can remember at the end of rides my legs being so burnt out I couldn't even stand tio coast downhill. 22x36 makes a real difference after six or so hours when even 22x32 is too hard.
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Old 10-09-17, 01:29 PM
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BikeCalc.com - Bicycle Gear Inches Chart

we can do the math, or rather, plug in the numbers. what were the tooth counts on those triples and cassettes?

i have in my garage a GT Karakoram, vintage is 1992ish, as best i can tell, it was a CL find. the rings are 48-38-28, the cassette is 12-32. it obviously has 26 inch wheels, these are shod with period-correct Panaracer Dart and Smoke tires which are 2.1" wide.
>>>>> the gear inches range 23.06 to 104.83.

my full suspension bike is a 1x11 with a 30t ring with 12-42 cassette, it rides on 27.5 x 2.25" tires.
>>>>> the gear inch range goes 19.52 - 68.73.

so, as mentioned, the top gear is lacking. but the lowest gear on my 1x11 is significantly shorter than the granny gear on my GT.

------------------
what if your reference triple is 42-32-22? with a 12-32 cassette, you're looking at 18.08gi in the granny.
change the 1x setup to 28t ring with a 12-42 cassette and your low is 18.42gi... wheels and tires, as above.

you can use a 28t ring for your 1x if you are concerned about climbs. or use a bigger ring if you live a world without mountains. you can spec a tighter cassette, like 12-40, or a wider cassette, like 12-46. if you can climb it on your 90s rigid bike, you can probably climb it with 1x.

but they do sell doubles, still.
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Old 10-09-17, 01:40 PM
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I know that I won't be able to do some of those long (upwards of seven miles) climbs on gravel roads in the George Washington/Thomas Jefferson National Forest but my concern would still be gearing at the low end of the range....
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Old 10-09-17, 02:54 PM
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I switched my mountain bike from a double (24/38 crank, 11-36 cassette) to a single ring with a 32t ring and 11-42 cassette. That means I gave up the lowest gear (24x36) and had a slightly lower top gear (32x11 vs 38x11) In reality, I didn't miss either. Not even on a 12hr race with several thousand feet of climbing.

On my fat bike I went from a triple with an 11-34 cassette to a 1x with a 30t ring and a 10-42 cassette. Again, did not miss anything. Not even on a 100 mile winter race with, again, several thousand feet of climbing.

While in theory, yes I'm giving up some low range. The reality is that the low gears become more accessible and you use them more. Rather than grunting up a climb because you don't want to shift up front, you use the whole range in the cassette.

I think for a regular recreational riders a single ring makes sense. It is simpler to operate and it eliminates the front derailleur -which are prone to mis-shifting and having adjustment issues; and it can save weight. With a 11/42 cassette you don't give up usable range. And someone who needs the low end (a 28t ring) won't need the top end gears.
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Old 10-09-17, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
While in theory, yes I'm giving up some low range. The reality is that the low gears become more accessible and you use them more. Rather than grunting up a climb because you don't want to shift up front, you use the whole range in the cassette.
Thing is I never do that. I would never overwork on a climb rather than shift. I have a triple for a reason. The low gears do not become more or less a'accessible" based on how many front rings I have.

Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
I think for a regular recreational riders a single ring makes sense. It is simpler to operate and it eliminates the front derailleur -which are prone to mis-shifting and having adjustment issues; and it can save weight.
Except front derailleurs are not prone to mis-shifting ... and for a rec rider, saving the wight of a front derailleur A.) would be about balanced by the giant pie-plat 42 in back and B.) the tiny potential savings simple won't matter to a rec rider.

Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
. And someone who needs the low end (a 28t ring) won't need the top end gears.
Well that just doesn't make sense. Someone who goes up hill wont want to come down? Someone who has some big hills to climb won't also have to cover some flat ground?

I am Not disputing your personal experience. If you made the switch on a pair of bikes and it worked for you, that is important information. Some of your explanation I think is too personal.... maybe you didn't want to shift up front because you didn't set up your derailleur properly, but that isn't a general issue with triples.

I'd say the anecdotes are extremely worthwhile and the explanations are inaccurate or at least not universal, but the basic fact that you went to 1x on two bikes and are glad is useful info.
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Old 10-09-17, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jrporter View Post
I've noticed the movement away from triple chainwheels and into single ones and am wondering how people, especially those raised on triples like myself are taking to this change in gearing.
I started on triples then moved to doubles with a bash guard. Now on a single and can't see ever going back. I have the same gear range, albeit with some bigger jumps on the low end.


Originally Posted by Maelochs
Go out riding and leave the chain in the middle ring.
This isn't a valid way to test a modern single system. The good way to test it would be to go demo/test ride a modern bike with a wide range single setup.
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Old 10-09-17, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Thing is I never do that. I would never overwork on a climb rather than shift. I have a triple for a reason. The low gears do not become more or less a'accessible" based on how many front rings I have.

Except front derailleurs are not prone to mis-shifting ... and for a rec rider, saving the wight of a front derailleur A.) would be about balanced by the giant pie-plat 42 in back and B.) the tiny potential savings simple won't matter to a rec rider.

Well that just doesn't make sense. Someone who goes up hill wont want to come down? Someone who has some big hills to climb won't also have to cover some flat ground?

I am Not disputing your personal experience. If you made the switch on a pair of bikes and it worked for you, that is important information. Some of your explanation I think is too personal.... maybe you didn't want to shift up front because you didn't set up your derailleur properly, but that isn't a general issue with triples.

I'd say the anecdotes are extremely worthwhile and the explanations are inaccurate or at least not universal, but the basic fact that you went to 1x on two bikes and are glad is useful info.
The main reason for 1x is because front shifting is the weak link on the derailleur system. By going to a 2x with closely spaced rings you can alleviate it, but it doesn't negate the fact that front shifting is the issue. And the bigger the range you try to cover the clunkier it will be.

But if it makes you happy to think that only people who can't adjust a derailleur or shift will use a 1x go for it. While we are at it, you can also tell us how properly adjusted cantilever brakes are stronger than hydraulic disc brakes. And you don't need suspension if you "absorb bumps with your knees and elbows."

Edit to add: with regards to range; a person who is crawling their way up a hill (i.e. really needs the granny gear) doesn't usually also need to mash a tall gear on the flats. Which is the only place a big chainring may be needed on a mountain bike. Don't try to claim you need a 42 for downhills when DH race bikes are coming with 36t rings.

Last edited by FrozenK; 10-09-17 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 10-09-17, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by FrozenK View Post
But if it makes you happy to think that only people who can't adjust a derailleur or shift will use a 1x go for it. While we are at it, you can also tell us how properly adjusted cantilever brakes are stronger than hydraulic disc brakes. And you don't need suspension if you "absorb bumps with your knees and elbows."
I knew i was risking offending you by responding honestly to your post. I accepted that risk.

Your retort is ridiculous.

1x is the "latest thing" but the latest thing is not Always better .... sometimes it is not better at all, and sometimes only in specific situations.

Sorry if you want to sell the idea that front derailleurs are "the weak link." Equally sorry that a lot of people have been using them for decades.

I never said, either, that only people who can't make their front derailleur work want 1x. You put those words in my mouth so you could use them to ridicule me ---classic straw man. All I said was that front derailleurs work.

If a person rides such a variety of terrain that s/he needs the full range of gears offered by 2x or 3x---and you yourself admit that with 1x one has to sacrifice low or high---then For That Person, 1x is Not a better choice.

For you it has proved to be---which I already acknowledged. But you are tying to pretend that your needs and desires are universal, and anyone who disagrees is clearly an atavist.

Only in your own mind as you try to Win the Internet.

Not finding 1x advantageous to a particular riding style does not make one an atavist. You are the one trying to claim that anyone who doesn't choose 1x obviously hates progress, but that it entirely a derogatory fantasy you developed because you could not accept that anyone could have a reasonable point of view which differed from your own.

I have an F/S Canniondale with hydro discs and a 3x9 drivetrain ... and I use all my gears. And Both derailleurs work. Deal with it.

By the way .. the OP Literally Wrote the Book on mountain biking the mountains of Virginia. One could well assume he Knows about 3x, and knows how to shift, how to make his derailleurs work .... he knows how to ride a mountain bike up mountains.

Considering he almost certainly climbed all those mountains with 3x gearing ... the idea that you could convince him that his years of experience are wrong, and his 3x never really worked properly .... yeah, good luck.

He is interested in 1x gearing, and you telling hm you made the switch and don't miss the higher gears, is real and valuable information.

You trying to convince him that all the riding he did getting material for his book, couldn't possibly have happened because 3x just didn't work ... yeah, not so likely to work out well for you.
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Old 10-09-17, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I knew i was risking offending you by responding honestly to your post. I accepted that risk.

Your retort is ridiculous.

1x is the "latest thing" but the latest thing is not Always better .... sometimes it is not better at all, and sometimes only in specific situations.

Sorry if you want to sell the idea that front derailleurs are "the weak link." Equally sorry that a lot of people have been using them for decades.

I never said, either, that only people who can't make their front derailleur work want 1x. You put those words in my mouth so you could use them to ridicule me ---classic straw man. All I said was that front derailleurs work.

If a person rides such a variety of terrain that s/he needs the full range of gears offered by 2x or 3x---and you yourself admit that with 1x one has to sacrifice low or high---then For That Person, 1x is Not a better choice.

For you it has proved to be---which I already acknowledged. But you are tying to pretend that your needs and desires are universal, and anyone who disagrees is clearly an atavist.

Only in your own mind as you try to Win the Internet.

Not finding 1x advantageous to a particular riding style does not make one an atavist. You are the one trying to claim that anyone who doesn't choose 1x obviously hates progress, but that it entirely a derogatory fantasy you developed because you could not accept that anyone could have a reasonable point of view which differed from your own.

I have an F/S Canniondale with hydro discs and a 3x9 drivetrain ... and I use all my gears. And Both derailleurs work. Deal with it.

By the way .. the OP Literally Wrote the Book on mountain biking the mountains of Virginia. One could well assume he Knows about 3x, and knows how to shift, how to make his derailleurs work .... he knows how to ride a mountain bike up mountains.

Considering he almost certainly climbed all those mountains with 3x gearing ... the idea that you could convince him that his years of experience are wrong, and his 3x never really worked properly .... yeah, good luck.

He is interested in 1x gearing, and you telling hm you made the switch and don't miss the higher gears, is real and valuable information.

You trying to convince him that all the riding he did getting material for his book, couldn't possibly have happened because 3x just didn't work ... yeah, not so likely to work out well for you.
Nobody is saying that 3x doesn't work. People are saying that 1x works better. Didn't read the rest of the novel you wrote. I'm assuming is more strawman arguments and assorted logical fallacies.
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Old 10-09-17, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jrporter View Post
my concern would still be gearing at the low end of the range....
play around with the gear-inches calculator. you will see what i tried to explain... that you can gear a single to match the low gear you're used to riding on a triple.
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Old 10-09-17, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jrporter View Post
It's been quite a while since the 1990s when I researched and wrote Mountain Bike! Virginia for Menasha Ridge Press. So much has changed, and I admit that I've drifted away from it. However, here I am at the 67 and would like to re-enter off-road and rough road cycling in some capacity. I've noticed the movement away from triple chainwheels and into single ones and am wondering how people, especially those raised on triples like myself are taking to this change in gearing. I can definitely see how the simplicity of this system might be advantageous in some respects but still curious to better know how recreational riders like it....

Why did mountain bikes have triples in the first place?

In the early 1980s, for rear shifting, 13-28 was considered a wide-range freewheel. It was also difficult to make the freewheels higher-range; because there were at most 7 cogs in back, wider range meant obnoxiously wide spacing between gears even by MTB standards, and the big jumps in tooth count between cogs could also degrade shift quality.

But mountain bikes needed a wide range. There are plenty of times when you want to pedal at a decent speed on the non-technical flats and downhills, so you want somewhat-high gears, and you also might find plenty of time when you're on a steep loose uphill and need to be able to keep the cranks turning smoothly to maintain rear wheel traction, so you want super-low gears.

So front shifting was used to boost the range. A triple allowed a big boost in range, often around 80%, even while keeping the steps between chainrings small enough that front shifting was quick and smooth (i.e. ~10 teeth).

//===============================

Nowadays, things look a little different. High-end mountain bikes now come with 10-12 cogs on the rear cassette, allowing for cassettes to be made with double the gearing range of their vintage counterparts while enjoying the same spacing between gears.
For instance, the SRAM Eagle groupset has a 12-speed 10-50 cassette, creating a 500% gearing range even in a 1x system, with steps between gears averaging ~16%.
By contrast, the widest commercially-available freewheel in the early 1980s was likely the 14-38 SunTour AG, a range of 271%, and the gearing step sizes on that averaged ~28% (!).

Furthermore, a few advancements have given 1x systems special benefits. For example, there are now "narrow-wide" chainrings made specifically for 1x systems, using a special tooth profile that enjoys extremely good chain retention; systems with front shifting can't really take advantage of it because the retention prevents smooth front shifts.

//===============================

If you want the widest gearing range possible, or if you want a wide range at a low price point, 2x and 3x can still be the way to go. Same if you want tighter spacing between gears. However, many people figure that the range offered by 1x has gotten wide enough, and the spacing can be tight enough alongside the desired range, that they'd rather take the simpler system.
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Old 10-09-17, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
If a person rides such a variety of terrain that s/he needs the full range of gears offered by 2x or 3x---and you yourself admit that with 1x one has to sacrifice low or high---
This is simply not true. You're proving that you're not familiar with modern 1x setups. It's curious that you keep making such unfounded claims.
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Old 10-10-17, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jrporter View Post
my concern would still be gearing at the low end of the range....
Trying to keep this simple without writing a novel.

Wide range cassettes have solved this issue. A 1x setup using a 28T chainring up and 11-42 or 11-46 cassette...shouldn't be any problem at all for hill climbing.

Back in the days of 3 chain rings and a narrow range cassette there was so much overlap in the gearing. 1x has accomplished the same thing without the need for a front derailleur and shifter.
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Old 10-10-17, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post

1x is the "latest thing" but the latest thing is not Always better .... sometimes it is not better at all, and sometimes only in specific situations.
Actually it is. Seems like your stuck in the old school of thought. Great for mountain bikes. Road bikes are good for 2x or 3x though.

Sorry if you want to sell the idea that front derailleurs are "the weak link." Equally sorry that a lot of people have been using them for decades.

I never said, either, that only people who can't make their front derailleur work want 1x. You put those words in my mouth so you could use them to ridicule me ---classic straw man. All I said was that front derailleurs work.
Sure you can make them work...but why mess with it when 1x accomplishes the gear range you need for mountain biking?

If a person rides such a variety of terrain that s/he needs the full range of gears offered by 2x or 3x---and you yourself admit that with 1x one has to sacrifice low or high---then For That Person, 1x is Not a better choice.
28T Chainring and 42 or 46 on cassette...Not much that you can't climb with that set up.

I have an F/S Canniondale with hydro discs and a 3x9 drivetrain ... and I use all my gears. And Both derailleurs work. Deal with it.
You could easily do 1x with all that gear overlap.

Seriously dude...you need a more open mind. Here is some good reading material. Educate yourself.

Wide Range Cassettes - this is the MOST important technology of the three. The 1x plots below say it all! 2x and 3x drivetrains have a LOT of gearing overlap whereas 1x covers nearly the same useful range given the wide range cassettes.

https://www.wolftoothcomponents.com/...1x-drivetrains

https://qbp.com/call_up/single-ring-bliss
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Old 10-10-17, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by cycloaptrgangr View Post
This is simply not true. You're proving that you're not familiar with modern 1x setups. It's curious that you keep making such unfounded claims.
It's a mathematical impossibility to try to claim that a 1x or 2x setup has the same gearing range of a triple. Even in 2017 lol
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Old 10-10-17, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
It's a mathematical impossibility to try to claim that a 1x or 2x setup has the same gearing range of a triple. Even in 2017 lol
You're misunderstanding and/or misquoting what I replied to.

Here it is again:

"If a person rides such a variety of terrain that s/he needs the full range of gears offered by 2x or 3x---and you yourself admit that with 1x one has to sacrifice low or high---"

My 1x setup has a 500% gear range.

My 2x setup had a 481% gear range.

My 3x setup back in the dark ages had a 533% gear range.

Context is key. Even in 2017 lol
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Old 10-10-17, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cycloaptrgangr View Post
You're misunderstanding and/or misquoting what I replied to.

Here it is again:

"If a person rides such a variety of terrain that s/he needs the full range of gears offered by 2x or 3x---and you yourself admit that with 1x one has to sacrifice low or high---"

My 1x setup has a 500% gear range.

My 2x setup had a 481% gear range.

My 3x setup back in the dark ages had a 533% gear range.

Context is key. Even in 2017 lol
I didn't misunderstand you. It's an irrefutable fact that with a 1x setup you will sacrifice something.
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Old 10-10-17, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I didn't misunderstand you. It's an irrefutable fact that with a 1x setup you will sacrifice something.
"something"?

My comments have been about gear range.

What have I sacrificed by going from 2x to 1x? My legs and lungs would like to know. Thanks.
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Old 10-10-17, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by cycloaptrgangr View Post
"something"?

My comments have been about gear range.

What have I sacrificed by going from 2x to 1x? My legs and lungs would like to know. Thanks.
I don't care what your legs and lungs feel. Any gear calculator will show Maleochs is correct, and it's odd that it's even being debated.
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Old 10-10-17, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I don't care what your legs and lungs feel. Any gear calculator will show Maleochs is correct, and it's odd that it's even being debated.
Why can't you answer the simple question that I posed? Here it is again in case you missed it:

What have I sacrificed by going from 2x to 1x? (After all, you're the one claiming that I sacrificed something)

Again, you're ignoring the fact that my 1x has a 500% gear range and my 2x had a 481% gear range. So yeah, as previously noted, that Maelochs fellow isn't correct.
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Old 10-10-17, 11:34 AM
  #22  
HTupolev
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Originally Posted by cycloaptrgangr View Post
My 1x setup has a 500% gear range.

My 2x setup had a 481% gear range.

My 3x setup back in the dark ages had a 533% gear range.

Context is key. Even in 2017 lol
The context isn't what's been in your stable over the years, it's what's available. Doubles and triples have historically offered a wider gearing range than 1x systems, and this remains true today, albeit to a lesser extent than in the past.

I've got a 2x in my stable with a 248% gearing range, but that says nothing relevant to the thread.
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Old 10-10-17, 11:42 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
It's a mathematical impossibility to try to claim that a 1x or 2x setup has the same gearing range of a triple. Even in 2017 lol
I suggest you (and a few others) look at the chart I posted in the link earlier. Your opinions are not facts.

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Old 10-10-17, 11:43 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
The context isn't what's been in your stable over the years, it's what's available. Doubles and triples have historically offered a wider gearing range than 1x systems, and this remains true today, albeit to a lesser extent than in the past.

I've got a 2x in my stable with a 248% gearing range, but that says nothing relevant to the thread.
Context is key:

"Mountain Bike Gearing Update???"
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Old 10-10-17, 11:43 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I didn't misunderstand you. It's an irrefutable fact that with a 1x setup you will sacrifice nothing.
Corrected for accuracy.
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