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New tourer - 1x vs 3x

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New tourer - 1x vs 3x

Old 12-02-23, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by kba002
Hi Badgerjockey,
am planning to get a Surly Bridge Club for touring, 90% pavement and some off trail trips. I am wondering, if the 1x gear train is enough. The current model goes from 17-80 gear inches. I wonder, if 80 inches would be good enough top gear. I will be travelling with all my gear, so I don't think I will spin out on flats, but I am fine coasting down hill. I was wondering, what your experience with touring 1x chainring ?

Cheers
B
I've toured a lot with a bike with this 17 g.i. low gear, although with a higher top gear of about 103.
--important questions to give you an opinion--have you toured yet?
-how much weight on bike
-on road or off road
-do you expect to be in mountains or steep off road stuff, or steep on road stuff?

Last edited by djb; 12-02-23 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 12-02-23, 11:40 AM
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I'm down at 15.7 gear inches for lowest gear. Top gear only 81.5 gear inches. I dislike walking uphill and I rarely pedal when going downhill. Downhill = resting in preparation for the next uphill.
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Old 12-02-23, 12:11 PM
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As Robow noted, you can change a chainring. Not sure how easy it is to add chain links to the chain, as I have no idea how many speeds that is, but a larger chainring could mean more links are needed. On my Rohloff (internal gears in the hub) fitted bike, I use a 36T chainring for touring, but for unladen riding around near home, I add four links and put on a 44T chainring for higher gears.

A range of 17 to 80 is 470 percent. Generally, you want more range for touring, but need it less for general riding or road biking.

My road bike has 355 percent.

Randonneuring bike has 504 percent. (Long distance, endurance, minimal weight on the bike.)

Light touring bike 558 percent.

If I could easily get a wider range on my heavy touring bike that has a Rohloff rear hub, I would. It has a range of 526 percent, gears range from 16.2 up to 85.1 gear inches. But that is the way that the hub was designed, so the range can't be easily expanded. I find that I spin out on long shallow downhills when touring. But I am unwilling to give up my low gear for steep hill climbing with a load to get a higher downhill gear.

Only you can decide if you want to make an expensive change for a wider range or are you willing to accept the range as is. And, as noted, you can certainly increase or decrease the entire range with a chainring change.
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Old 12-03-23, 01:12 AM
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Thanks everyone for all the inputs, it has been very helpful.
I used to bike tour before with a Giant FCR, which had pretty high low gear, which made me push the bike on some steep hills. Now am a lot older and less fitter, so would definitely love the much lower 17" gear.
I am hoping to have this as my one all around touring bike (if that's possible) to do pavement touring (90%) with steep hills and bit of off road touring as well, while carrying all the gear (100-110 kg, including me) . Coming to think of it, I don't think I will be super fast, I probably would be tired after cresting the hill and would be happy to coast
I checked with my local bike shop and was quoted $600 for making it into 2x. I will try 1x for my first tour and if I miss high gear, I can always switch it to 2x.

Thanks Yan, good to know its possible to tour with 80"
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Old 12-03-23, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by kba002
......I checked with my local bike shop and was quoted $600 for making it into 2x. I will try 1x for my first tour and if I miss high gear, I can always switch it to 2x....
It's not just the high-low range.
You also need to consider the gear spacing.
1x with an adequate range will have odd or too large spacing between gears.
2x with well-selected rings and cassette will just about double your gear options.
This is ueber-important when touring with heavy gear and/or into the wind.
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Old 12-03-23, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
It's not just the high-low range.
You also need to consider the gear spacing.
1x with an adequate range will have odd or too large spacing between gears.
2x with well-selected rings and cassette will just about double your gear options.
This is ueber-important when touring with heavy gear and/or into the wind.
yes, BUT this bike comes with a 11 speed 11-50 cassette which has nearly the same jumps as a 9 speed 11-34, which a lot of us have toured on and have perfectly fine jumps between gears.
Here is the 11-50 jumps, so really its not all that different than most touring bikes out there.
Yes, I would prefer a double with a closer range cassette to get the yummy goodness of closer ratios, but hey, this will work just like what most of us ride.
Any yes, a double is better all around, I'm just showing that this will be fine also. 1x are the in thing, and for off road stuff they work great. The companies that set up bikes with 1x are just going with the flow of popularity and frankly, quietly saving money happily with less parts to put on a bike.

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Old 12-03-23, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by kba002
Thanks everyone for all the inputs, it has been very helpful.
I used to bike tour before with a Giant FCR, which had pretty high low gear, which made me push the bike on some steep hills. Now am a lot older and less fitter, so would definitely love the much lower 17" gear.
I am hoping to have this as my one all around touring bike (if that's possible) to do pavement touring (90%) with steep hills and bit of off road touring as well, while carrying all the gear (100-110 kg, including me) . Coming to think of it, I don't think I will be super fast, I probably would be tired after cresting the hill and would be happy to coast
I checked with my local bike shop and was quoted $600 for making it into 2x. I will try 1x for my first tour and if I miss high gear, I can always switch it to 2x.

Thanks Yan, good to know its possible to tour with 80"
good to know the details. This will work for you and I can guaranty you that you'll be happy having this low gear. Just be aware that a double is much more versatile for what you want to do. Perhaps look into other bikes first with the main interest in looking at gearing. The BC is a great bike, I love my Troll for being a similar sort of bike, but perhaps do some good research into similar bikes that come with the same low gearing, but a double with a wider range of gearing.
Also, if you ever go with a double, be sure that you get the advantage of a tighter cassette, so smaller jumps between shifts but still with a good low gear like this, and obviously higher gearing which is nice. 80 g.i. would be too low for me and around 100 is a really good ballpark figure to achieve.

good luck learning gearing details if you have the interest
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Old 12-04-23, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by robow
The one nice thing about a 1x is that if you wanted a touch higher high and could tolerate a slightly higher low, is to throw a chainring on up front with 2 more teeth which is what I would likely do in your case, but that's just me.
If there only was a way to switch between a smaller and larger chainring without having to stop and break out the allen wrench...

I kid. I used to study the shift pattern of my 2x drivetrain and try to minimize the steps between gears with double shifts (front and rear). These (slower) days, I basically use my 2x drivetrains as if they were 2 separate 1x drivetrains, doing most of my shifting on the rear cassette and only switching chainrings when I need the higher or lower range.
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Old 12-04-23, 09:24 AM
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Range, when considering 1x vs 3x, is no longer an issue with the more recent, extremely expensive, 10-52 cassettes (i.e. 520% range).

Steps is something else, however. Shifting down from 12 teeth to 10 means a 16% torque increase....

See here for a 1x 32:10-52 drivetrain compared to a 3x 22-36-48:15-34. The former means steps of more than 15% vs 5% for the latter. 1x makes sense for racing; 3x is more appropriate for touring.
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Old 12-11-23, 02:22 AM
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As a sidebar, I read these threads with great interest. The trend toward single or double front cranks with larger than 36t rear cassettes along with all the mathematical equations for gear inches and gear steps, chain line, etc. is fascinating. But it still seems to me that the "sweet spot" is either a 3x8 or 3x9 set-up matched with either a 34t/36t cassette. Everything else seems to be trying to replicate these gearings with something "simpler". I've been running 3x setups for over 40 years and for the money/cost and ease of use/replacement, I just haven't seen something come across the market that beats it. Am I missing something?
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Old 12-11-23, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
yes, BUT this bike comes with a 11 speed 11-50 cassette which has nearly the same jumps as a 9 speed 11-34, which a lot of us have toured on and have perfectly fine jumps between gears.
Here is the 11-50 jumps, so really its not all that different than most touring bikes out there.
Yes, I would prefer a double with a closer range cassette to get the yummy goodness of closer ratios, but hey, this will work just like what most of us ride.
Any yes, a double is better all around, I'm just showing that this will be fine also. 1x are the in thing, and for off road stuff they work great. The companies that set up bikes with 1x are just going with the flow of popularity and frankly, quietly saving money happily with less parts to put on a bike.


Are companies saving money on their end with 1x? I genuinely dont know what everything costs at wholesale.

At retain though...
A SunRace 11-50 11sp cassette is $80 right now.
A SunRace 11-36 9sp cassette is $25 right now, and there are multiple 11-36 9sp cassettes for less than $20.
That is of course just the cassette pricing.

Below are internet retail costs from domestic reputable retailers and the lower end cost was selected for each.

The 1x on the BridgeClub-
- Cues U6000 1x crankset $70
- Cues U6000 shifter $35
- Cues U6000 GS RD $70
- Cues U6000 11-50 cassette $130
- KMC 1.93 chain $25

A 3x9 drivetrain-
- Shimano Alivio T4060 48/36/26 crankset $57
- Shimano Alivio 3x9 flat bar M2010 shifters $44
- Shimano Alivio M3100 triple FD $25
- Shimano Alivio M3100 long cage RD $37
- Shimano Alivio 11-36 9sp cassette $24
- Shimano HG53 9sp chain $20


Even you remove the Cues cassette that the Whipped Butter Bridge Club uses and get the SunRace cassette mentioned earlier, retail for each setup certainly doesnt give the 1x a price advantage. Again, not sure about wholesale.

^ these numbers arent run to argue with you, I really just cited your post as a jumping off point in case anyone has more info on the cost difference side of the discussion.
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Old 12-11-23, 03:25 PM
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I strongly suspect the companies are saving money on less parts, but I realize that 1x work really well for a lot of users. I just still feel that a double with a tighter 11 speed would be a great combo, closer jumps between gears which is always nice to ride with, and a wider range overall than a 1x
other than off-road stuff where a 1x is great, it would have great advantages, other than having to easily shift the front sometimes
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Old 12-11-23, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
I strongly suspect the companies are saving money on less parts, but I realize that 1x work really well for a lot of users. I just still feel that a double with a tighter 11 speed would be a great combo, closer jumps between gears which is always nice to ride with, and a wider range overall than a 1x
other than off-road stuff where a 1x is great, it would have great advantages, other than having to easily shift the front sometimes
Fewer parts, but also less labor cost, both assembling the bike and also for the bike shop to do any fine tuning before putting it on the sales floor.

And if the bike shop has to give a free tuneup or two to the new bike owner, that is more labor to make sure things are shifting just right.

A 1X has one derailleur to adjust. A 2X also has a front derailleur that is pretty easy to adjust but that does add more labor time. And a 3X takes even more time, especially if it is an indexed front shifter, as getting the middle gear adjusted just right can be a bit more labor cost.

My 3X8 bikes are pretty easy to adjust and shift the front derailleur because the front shifter is friction, but not many people want to buy a new bike that has a friction front shifter any more. I do not mind that for the front derailleur because I rode derailleur bikes for decades before I owned an indexed derailleur bike, thus it is second nature.

I certainly understand why some people want a sequential shifter on a 1X, it is so simple to operate. A 2X or 3X, you have to think about every gear change and which shifter to shift, or maybe shift both simultaneously.

That said, there are a lot of people that only shift the front when they run out of gears on the chainring that they are using at the moment and then need to shift the front.
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Old 12-12-23, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Fewer parts, but also less labor cost, both assembling the bike and also for the bike shop to do any fine tuning before putting it on the sales floor.

And if the bike shop has to give a free tuneup or two to the new bike owner, that is more labor to make sure things are shifting just right.

A 1X has one derailleur to adjust. A 2X also has a front derailleur that is pretty easy to adjust but that does add more labor time. And a 3X takes even more time, especially if it is an indexed front shifter, as getting the middle gear adjusted just right can be a bit more labor cost.

My 3X8 bikes are pretty easy to adjust and shift the front derailleur because the front shifter is friction, but not many people want to buy a new bike that has a friction front shifter any more. I do not mind that for the front derailleur because I rode derailleur bikes for decades before I owned an indexed derailleur bike, thus it is second nature.

I certainly understand why some people want a sequential shifter on a 1X, it is so simple to operate. A 2X or 3X, you have to think about every gear change and which shifter to shift, or maybe shift both simultaneously.

That said, there are a lot of people that only shift the front when they run out of gears on the chainring that they are using at the moment and then need to shift the front.
I do agree on the simpler labour etc for a store.
I also agree on how nice friction front shifting is--I actually enjoy the "aesthetic" of friction front shifting--super quiet, smooth, exact, which has a nice "user friendly" aspect to using, which is part of the physicalness and pleasure of riding a bike.
My triple fd setups are pretty straightforward, but I realize that some fd's are a pain in the arse to get right, as you noted, especially the cheap and nasty ones.

and yes, most riders don't think of their shifting, and a lot of riders don't have the inclination or thinking, so are pretty confused by multiple chain rings. I have a friend, she's been riding a bike for well over 50 years, and she still doesnt really understand how gears work, yet other riders pick it up super fast and instinctively understand how its often good to shift up once at the rear when you go down to a smaller chainring.

and with all that said, I'm totally for more speeds, once they reach that reliability and price range point that doesnt mean spending a gazillion dollars for a cassette.

but preaching to the converted here, I know.....
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Old 12-12-23, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by djb
...
I also agree on how nice friction front shifting is--I actually enjoy the "aesthetic" of friction front shifting--super quiet, smooth, exact, which has a nice "user friendly" aspect to using, which is part of the physicalness and pleasure of riding a bike.

My triple fd setups are pretty straightforward, but I realize that some fd's are a pain in the arse to get right, as you noted, especially the cheap and nasty ones.

... and with all that said, I'm totally for more speeds, once they reach that reliability and price range point that doesnt mean spending a gazillion dollars for a cassette.

but preaching to the converted here, I know.....
I do not mind friction for the front, but really strongly prefer indexed for the rear.

My rando bike, I think I tried four different front derailleurs before I picked one of them, which happened to be the first one I tried.

The most recent bike I built up from parts was a 3X8 in 2017. Out of a lot of options, I went with that for it being robust, easy to adjust, easy to repair, parts are easily replaceable, and very reliable. Last time I bought a new chain and cassette was at the beginning of the pandemic, the chain was about $12 and the cassette was $26 USD. Since I have four bikes that take the same 8 speed cassette and six bikes that use the same 8 speed chain, my spares shelf is easier to maintain. I have several years of chains and cassettes on hand. My 3X8 systems, when I remove 6 gears for cross chaining, I still have a very nice gear distribution of 18 gears without duplicates.

Yup, a receptive audience.
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Old 12-12-23, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
It's not just the high-low range.
You also need to consider the gear spacing.
This is uber-important when touring with heavy gear and/or into the wind.
Just for fun, let's pair a 42/26 compact crankset with an...Enviolo Trekking hub, 22T sprocket.

61 to 16 gear inches on the 26T; 99 to 26 gear inches on the 42T. No gear steps. None.
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Old 01-01-24, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes
I would do a 2x if I am doing a more modern touring bike with say 11 speed. You will loose out on maybe a bit of top and end and possibly some bottom end but you can do quite well. My plan for my next touring/gravel bike is 44-30 and 11-42 at the back. It should get enough of my 3X9 touring bike currently which works fine for most stuff and since this bike won't be as heavily loaded it should do quite nicely.

1x is great for something's but fully loaded touring not so much unless you love pushing or a lot of spinning out. I love it on my MTB and my hybrid and certainly my single speeds and fixed gears, but for longer distance stuff I am just not a huge fan.
This is what I'm using on my new bike, chainring 46/30, the original cassette was 11/42, it was working the very best, I replace the cassette with 11/46 just to see,it's still working good, but I cannot use 46/46, it is ok as I don't need it and I got more grannies gears for hills.
it's give me a range of 641%, with lowest of 18/high 115, so far shifting is fine and 115 if fair going down on a loaded touring bike.
one day I will try 26/44 with cassette 11/46, probably won't be able to use 44/46,but I would get a range of 708% with the lowest being
14.4 with my high 110

Last edited by ve9vic; 01-01-24 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 01-01-24, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ve9vic
This is what I'm using on my new bike, chainring 46/30, the original cassette was 11/42, it was working the very best, I replace the cassette with 11/46 just to see,it's still working good, but I cannot use 46/46, it is ok as I don't need it and I got more grannies gears for hills.
it's give me a range of 641%, with lowest of 18/high 115, so far shifting is fine and 115 if fair going down on a loaded touring bike.
one day I will try 26/44 with cassette 11/46, probably won't be able to use 44/46,but I would get a range of 708% with the lowest being
14.4 with my high 110
When you say "but I cannot use 46/46", if that is because you do not have enough chain links, if you ever accidently shift into that gear you could do some damage. I try to avoid shifting into cross chained gears, but on some long tiring days, it happens.

If that is the case, I suggest you add two links. It is better to lose the ability to use your smallest couple cogs with your smallest granny gear due to insufficient derailleur cage to take up the slack than to accidently shift into the big and big.
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Old 01-01-24, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
When you say "but I cannot use 46/46", if that is because you do not have enough chain links, if you ever accidentally shift into that gear you could do some damage. I try to avoid shifting into cross chained gears, but on some long, tiring days, it happens.

If that is the case, I suggest you add two links. It is better to lose the ability to use your smallest couple cogs with your smallest granny gear due to insufficient derailleur cage to take up the slack than to accidentally shift into the big and big.
Yes the chain is not long enough to get up there 46/46, I could probably use 30/42, on my former bicycle I had 36/22 with a cassette 11/42, but with 36 being the biggest on my
Chain ring I was spinning too much, now with 46 on my new bicycle, it is much better, here where I live there are a lot of hills, 6% up to 12% grade, I only use the big chain ring 46 going down and yes I have to be careful. At the moment, I try to experiment with different chain ring in my shop during winter. The only place where I can find chain ring of different sizes is WHITE INDUSTRIES, good, but very expensive.
Plus I will have to use their BB of 30mm
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Old 01-01-24, 11:54 AM
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Have you considered adding two chain links, one would be a quick link?

I assume you have one quick link on the chain, thus you would need to buy one more, and if you are lucky a bike shop might be able to give you one extra regular link (with inner plates) from a chain that they had cut shorter.

But I have no clue how many speeds you have or any details about your chain. The most speeds I have on a bike is 10, so if you are using an 11 or 12 speed chain, I can't comment.
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Old 01-01-24, 12:45 PM
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Ve9, I highly recommend that you look at the parks tools YouTube video on determining chain length, and put the proper length chain on.
you're just asking for trouble that could cost you a crap load of money in drivetrain and even wheel damage if your derailleur guess into the spokes (unlikely, but it's crucial not to have a chain too short)
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Old 01-07-24, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
Ve9, I highly recommend that you look at the parks tools YouTube video on determining chain length, and put the proper length chain on.
you're just asking for trouble that could cost you a crap load of money in drivetrain and even wheel damage if your derailleur guess into the spokes (unlikely, but it's crucial not to have a chain too short)
I have a 11 speed and yes I just ordered two chain links. Thanks.
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Old 01-07-24, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ve9vic
I have a 11 speed and yes I just ordered two chain links. Thanks.
Yw, for in the future, or any other bike, it's good to learn the fairly simple but guaranteed way of sizing a new chain for a given drivetrain.
A good skill to know.
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Old 01-07-24, 08:50 PM
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Hi, I haven't read all of the posts here, but the response is excellent!

​​​​I've been touring on intermittent trips, mostly simple two nighters, but a few week long ones as well, the last couple of years. Most of the touring we do is on dirt roads and single track in hilly terrain. You could say we are mountain biking.

I use two chain rings without a front derailleur and stop to move the chain from one ring to the other. The bike is a 1x essentially, but with two ranges. The lowest range is for very steep single track climbs. I do not see other riders doing this, but it works great for me.

We just got back from a week long tour doing half dirt and half urban riding. This was the most road riding I've toured on in a while and I definitely spun out a lot in my high range.

I'm now forced to renew my drivetrain because it's all worn out. I'm going to continue to use two chain rings, no front derailleur, and continue to spin out on some roads. If I tour on the road, I'll take my gravel bike then.

​​​​​​Now if I were to road ride a tour, I would do something else to that bike. I love the back country. I prefer to ride where cars don't go.

Anyway, the two range 1x is something that works for me off road. It would be easy to put a derailleur on. Where the front shifter goes, I have a dropper post lever.

​​​​​​I'm with those who think 2 chainrings is better. I used to ride a triple most of my life.

Now that 1x is ubiquitous, I am more interested in a front derailleur and 9 speeds because I'm a rebel.
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Old 01-08-24, 07:29 AM
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What's the advantage of moving between chainrings by hand? Saving the weight of the front derailleur? It's only 100 grams.
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