Does The Future Have Fewer Gears 2x7 NSMB AndrewM (2).JPG
Editorial - Does The Future Have Fewer Gears pt VI

Going To 14 Speed

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Mar 15, 2021
Reading time

Coming Back To Bash Rings

It all started with my review of the Wolf Tooth BashSpider. Oh, how I missed having a bash ring! It turns out, that smooth and reassuring bracelet of aluminum between my drivetrain and various toothy trail features matters way more than I remembered. And, in use, I vastly prefer the rotating bash option over a fixed bash taco mounted to my frame's ISCG tabs. The BashSpider however, is expensive. Never mind buying into the CAMO system if you don't already have a ring, and plenty of folks already have a 4/104 bash ring sitting at home in a parts bin. Surely there's a more min-maxed solution?

It's a CINCH really. Well at least if you own a Race Face crank. If you're running SRAM then North Shore Billet has your back - although there is an element of buyer-beware as some of the CINCH cranks do not have the spider's outer faces machined for a bash ring. This one does and as much as it clashes with the rest of my classy build, it meant I could mount up the only 4-bolt, 104-BCD bash guard still in my collection. That would be this decade-old, anodized orange beauty from Straitline Components.

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Usually I'll see Race Face's CINCH cranks sporting a direct mount chainring; however, there is a CINCH-spider options for those that want to run a bash guard or *GASP* two chainrings.

Once the spider was installed to accommodate my bash ring, it didn't take long before my brain simply couldn't ignore the Grannie tabs. Where the Wolf Tooth BashSpider is a dedicated 1x system, the CINCH spider is a throwback to another era, way back before mountain biking completely divorced the front derailleur. For me, this is coming back around to some of my first experiments with 1x drivetrains. For quite a while after I'd ditched the front derailleur, I also had a manual-shift Grannie option mounted for those climbs that were just too brutal for my 32x36t, then 30x36t, then 30x42t.

Now I'm looking at a 32x51t SHI-12 drivetrain and thinking, why not run a lighter-weight, cheaper cassette with the gears I normally need and then have a bailout option for the killer pitches? Particularly the ones where I'm going to stop and catch my breath at the top anyways. If I'm running two narrow-wide chainrings we're talking about a few seconds to swap rings manually. Further advantages of the Grannie ring, even without playing with the cassette, are the much straighter - and, therefore, lower wear - chainline thanks to its inboard position and more even wear since I'll be climbing in a wider range of cogs. Oh, the number of cassettes I've seen with completely worn down aluminum big/low gears while the rest of the steel cogs look great.

Once I'm manually shifting front rings, and ditching the pie-plate-sized gears, I'm opening myself up to a conversation about lower unsprung weight and much shorter, AKA better, rear derailleur cages. Then I start ditching cogs for a significantly better chainline! It's a beautiful rabbit hole to fall down frankly. And it's made that much more beautiful, in these strange times of massive bike parts shortages, by the fact that the two-ring setup opened up my bike re-using a number of half-spent parts, and some better than new parts, sitting in my bin.

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A 32t Race Face 4/104 narrow-wide ring stacked with a spaced out 26t Wolf Tooth 4/64 narrow-wide ring.

Tanpan Math

The XTR shifter in a drawer dilemma has plagued me for some time. A 9-speed M970 XTR shifter is worth close to bupkis on the used market. But, at the same time, this generation of XTR shifter is the one bicycle drivetrain product I feel truly gets better with age. It is the first shifter to use dual-release (a downshift can release one or two gears) and the action is at least as good as the current XTR.

Once I had committed to running fewer cogs mated to a manual 2x system, I knew 9-clicks wouldn't be a barrier, it was just a matter of getting the old 9-speed Shimano shifter to speak nicely to a current clutch rear derailleur. Enter Wolftooth Tanpan ratio convertor. These little beauties are expensive but I did the math and even at 45 USD/60 CAD it was a relatively sound investment into the XTR shifter I already owned.

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Wolf Tooth's Tanpan seemed like an expensive purchase for such a little widget, but I think it was a solid value in terms of getting this sweet XTR M970 shifter, which I already owned, back into play.

Originally intended to allow for the use of Shimano's long cage and clutch-equipped mountain bike derailleur with the cable pull of Shimano's road 'brifters,' my Tanpan is the 10spd model. This is designed to allow the use of a 10spd (or 11spd) Shimano mountain bike derailleur with a 10spd road combo brake/shift levers.

Fortunately for me, while the 10spd Shimano mountain changed the cable-pull-ratio from 9spd, the 10spd and 9spd road components pull the same amount of cable per click. Additionally, 9spd is the last time that Shimano's road and mountain bike shifting was fully interchangeable. Ergo, the 10spd Tanpan will allow my 9spd Shimano XTR shifter to deliver up to 9-clicks of 10spd spaced shifting. Now, that may sound like I'm one cog short of a full cassette but I only wanted 5-clicks, and later 7-clicks, anyways.

Why My 2x5 Failed

My original plan was to go with a 2x5 (10spd) drivetrain, ramping my min-maxing by using old drivetrain spares that I already owned. Unfortunately, after my first real mountain bike ride, I had to reconsider. If I had an infinite amount of money, time, or connections I would 'just' make myself a custom 5-speed cassette that covered my 15-36t range with even jumps. But my experiment is based on an old 10-spd XTR cassette with a bit of life left that I managed to scavenge, and that limits options because of the composition of the cassette. The six lowest ratios (biggest cogs) are grouped in pairs and eliminating that middle pair makes for a massive jump both in terms of the ratio I'm trying to pedal and also for the Zee derailleur to make.

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The Zee derailleur would actually admirably shift the jump from the 21t to the 32t but it was still too much of a compromise in gear spread and shifter quality.

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The chain line was glorious in all gears in either chainring. This block is 15-19-21-32-36. It is shifted outboard so the 21t cog and 32t ring are near-perfectly aligned.

The gearing ended up being 15-19-21-32-36 and I was happy with both the high and low gears on my initial foray. The 15t paired with my 32t chainring occasionally proved a touch annoying riding from home, compared to having an 11t or 10t cog, but on the local trails I never need a harder, gear and I ended up staying with this ratio for the second generation.

Climbing single-track, the 32t and 36t cogs proved plenty relaxed mated to the 32t front chainring except when they didn't. For long grinds, it's a few seconds at either end to manually drop the chain into my 26t front ring and for short sections on otherwise less-vertical trails, I am happy to just stand and crank in the 32t ring as needed.

I should note, when talking about these gear ratios, that I am running a 27" rear wheel, having mulleted the Banshee Titan, and I would have preferred smaller chainrings, or larger cogs, with a dual 29'er setup.

Many Rides On 2x7

Even with adding a couple more cogs, my chainline stayed beautiful in all the ratios with both front chainrings. The final system consists of seven cogs, with 10-spd spacing, with the spread being 15-19-21-24-28-32-36. Being an M980 cassette, the 21-36t cogs are titanium. I actually haven't weighed the final product but the complete cassette weight was 272-grams and I swapped out three steel cogs (11t, 13t, 17t) for a series of aluminum spacers so that goes a decent way to offset the addition of the spider, Grannie, and four chainring bolts when compared to even a top-end 12-speed cassette.

Shifting is as crisp as anything I've ridden both up and down the stack. I had no learning curve in terms of ditching the shift-under-any-load feature of Shimano's SHI-12 HG+ systems but I suppose that would be the one complaint that anyone who's happily adopted bad shifting etiquette may have about my setup using it on the trail.

I am happy enough with the chainline, in all gears, with the 7-spd setup that I would probably stick with it even if I had the option to go to a 2x5 using whatever cog sizes I want. Given a custom option, I would actually really like to try a 7-spd system running 12-16-20-24-28-32-36, which I think would remove any complaints I have on the road and still deliver what I'm looking for in the woods.

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That beautiful chainline. Dropping down to seven cogs, even with wider 10-spd spacing compared to 12-spd, makes for the potential of a great chainline in every ratio.

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I'm also running non-Boost chainring spacing with a Boost 148mm rear end which would help with better chainline in the low gears even if I was still on a 12-spd setup.

Chainline may have been the driving raison d'être but another major plus in my books has been ditching the long-long derailleur cage. Even with the Titan's 155mm of rear-wheel travel, the super-short-cage Zee derailleur has no problem accommodating my gear range - all ratios work perfectly with both chainrings - and that's with the spaced-outboard 36t cog requiring quite a bit more b-tension than the derailleur would usually have in the same position relative to the freehub body.

Every time I handle a Zee rear derailleur I have to remind myself that this is actually a budget product. The much-more expensive Saint products are very nice, but this derailleur comes in around the SLX level and I don't think I'm alone in thinking that the quality in materials and manufacturing seems higher than any generation of SLX product.

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I love the look of a super-short cage rear derailleur. The snappy performance, and price, of a Zee rear mech are also very attractive.

Mated to that beautiful XTR shifting, pushing-and-pulling the Zee derailleur along my cassette stack is, I think, a better feeling shifting system than any of the Shimano 12-speed clutch setups. Even with their clutch detuned. Whether it's some magic of the Tanpan, or there is the proof behind my opinion that M970 is the best mountain bike shifter that Shimano's made, or I've drunk a six-pack of confirmation bias, I'm completely stoked on riding the system.

I actually use the 26t Grannie ring a lot less than I thought I would, which I attribute in part to the reduced effort required to turnover the smaller, 27", rear wheel. The Titan is by no means a lightweight, but it goes uphill very efficiently, if not quickly. I'm spending more time in the 36t than I would accept if I was still the combination of awful low-gear chainline and aluminum that high-performance 12-speed drivetrains bring to the trail, but with the relatively tight jump from 32t to 36t cogs allowing me to spread the load quite well and that over-mentioned straight chain, and the titanium cogs, it's no concern here.

When the going uphill does get steep, I'm the last person who'd complain about the odd 5-second break for a manual shift. There's still enough gear range running the 26t narrow-wide ring that I don't bother putting the chain back up into the 32t until I'm ready for some proper downhill.

My 2x7 drivetrain actually is a 14-spd system. By that I mean, it has 14 distinct ratios with no exactly overlapping gears between the 26t and 32t narrow-wide front rings and my selected cogs.

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If you have a really nice shifter that's been retired to a drawer, or can pick one up for a song, the Tanpan wasn't too finicky to setup and works as advertised.

Does The Future Have Fewer Gears?

There are lots of locales where it's desirable to have a bigger high-gear than 32x15t. And, 500%+ gear ranges make for really good marketing spiels. And maybe some places where it's both necessary to have a true-Grannie ratio - via a massive 50t or 52t pie plate - and where a rider can't stop for 5-seconds to manually move the chain back up to the 32t at the top of the climb. And some carbon frames have a minimum ring size of 30t or the chain will be sawing through the chainstay. Plus, 1x systems do look cleaner and it seem a bit contradictory to be making claims about reduced unsprung weight while also trumpeting how much I love running CushCore.

All that aside, whether it is for the potentially lower unsprung weight, super-shorty derailleur cage, an opportunity to use old-but-awesome drivetrain parts, or simply a desire to be different, I know this system has some appeal. Surprisingly, it isn't even the kind of deep-bicycle-nerd appeal that makes the more casual observer's eyes fog up when they make the mistake of asking about something they find weird about one of my bikes.

I like the system to such an extent that a full suspension bike's compatibility with two rings up front is suddenly a real purchasing decision consideration . While I don't think front derailleurs are coming back any time soon, (I, for one, wouldn't be willing to give up the chain security of narrow-wide rings) but I can imagine seeing more manually-shifted 2x systems on the trail.

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Comments

craw
+5 Andrew Major tashi Carlos Matutes Derek Baker Tremeer023
Cr4w  - March 15, 2021, 7:22 a.m.

Oh wow the Tanpan is like a QBP Travel Agent. That you had to revive this technology makes me tear up a little. Tears of Bullshot.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Cr4w
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 7:30 a.m.

The Tanpan is like a Travel Agent with an engineering degree. Much more precise ratio conversion to convert shifting than to mix-match Canti v. V-brake cable pull. 

Originally planned to use a friction thumbie with this setup but the XTR 9-speed shifter really is that sweet.

Reply

Poz
+1 Andrew Major
Poz  - March 15, 2021, 10:03 a.m.

I recently installed a Tanpan on my gravel rig to 10 speed 105 shifters and a 10 speed deore rear. It works great. 

It’s a clever piece of engineering. Pricey but it has typical wolftooth quality of build and function.

Reply

grassblade23
+1 Andrew Major
Dan Burris  - March 23, 2021, 3:41 p.m.

On my road bike, I use a tanpan, (at the RD, not at the shifter,) to mate 10 speed 105 shifters to a Zee RD, shifting a 11-32 XT cassette. 1x10 road is so much easier than 2x10 for me, and I only gave up 3 top gears I wasn't using anyway. (38/11-32 is just as low as 5-34/11-28) I have been on this for a couple of years and I love it.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Dan Burris
Andrew Major  - April 6, 2021, 2:50 p.m.

How you found the Tanpan has needed more adjustment over time? This far it’s been set and forget for me.

Reply

grassblade23
0
Dan Burris  - April 6, 2021, 11:35 p.m.

Mine hasn't. I forget sometimes that it is there.

edgibson22
+1 Andrew Major
edgibson22  - March 15, 2021, 6:51 p.m.

How about xt 7 speed thumbie?  Have them on my town bike and they are still the best. I'd buy an 11 speed one in a heartbeat if Shimano or Sram made one. But won't give up indexing. Multi release has nothing on thumbshifters that index perfect.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 edgibson22
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 7:36 p.m.

If I’m doing thumbies it’s friction every time.

In terms of lightening fast indexing, SRAM does make Eagle GripShift. I know I’m in the minority but I love GripShift - especially the newest versions.

Reply

edgibson22
0
edgibson22  - March 15, 2021, 7:51 p.m.

I ran friction for years because I was too lazy to tune my ancient 7 speed and it was great on the days I hit every shift perfect but unfortunately that didn't happen every day. Then it sucked. But on a good day you can shift better and smoother than any indexing system. 

Let's here more about the Titan. I'm on a v2 spitfire and I love it. But want a v3 frame or a Prime. Don't need either but want. Probably just mullet the spitfire for kicks.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 DancingWithMyself
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 9:35 p.m.

My Titan review was becoming an unwieldy monstrosity so I'm going to be releasing small chunks that can be chipped off - like this piece on 2x7. 

Here's what's out so far if you're interested in a peruse:

Titan First Look

TriAir Shock Review (plus extensive comments on Titan in comments)

And to a lesser extent:

Your Next Bike (2023)

Revenge Of The Nerd Brands

It's a bike very much worth exploring if you're looking to make a long term investment in a very adaptable bike. The advantage of a Titan or Prime is they make for a better mullet platform than the 27" bikes.

edgibson22
0
edgibson22  - March 15, 2021, 6:51 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

edgibson22
0
edgibson22  - March 15, 2021, 6:51 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

mrbrett
+1 Andrew Major
mrbrett  - March 15, 2021, 7:37 a.m.

Mind blown. Was running a manually shifted 2x ring setup on my commuter for a while (one ring for trailer, one ring for no trailer) but hadn't considered it on a mountain bike. This "the complete cassette weight was 272-grams" is what was the most interesting to me here.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 mrbrett
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 8:08 a.m.

I really should weigh it now too because; I’d guess the aluminum spacers shed a decent amount of weight v. the steel cogs.

Reply

xy9ine
+7 Andrew Major Cr4w Pete Roggeman Martin Luix Velocipedestrian Spencer Nelson
Perry Schebel  - March 15, 2021, 8:27 a.m.

you big nerd andrew. i love unorthodox tinkering like this. not sure i could wrap my head around the manual front shift tho; i like my uphill to downhill transitions to be quick & seamless. i DO love smaller cassettes & the venerable shorty zee mech tho. currently running 26t x 10-42 w/ a gs mid cage; was contemplating 24 x 10-36 w/ a short cage, but wasn't sure how the small ring would play with my pedaling kinematics (the 26 is working well, so 24 just may be feasible). anyways, keep dorking out!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Pete Roggeman Luix
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 8:38 a.m.

I only use the Grannie for sustained climbs where I’m going to have a break at the top anyways. For example, I just pedal the 32t for the climbing sections on Pangor, Boogie, Pipeline, etc.

In the 26t and I hit a short downhill? I just ride in the 26t. Interesting re. Kinematics - the Banshee is fine in either but I prefer stomping about in the 32t. Certainly 26x36 is as easy as I need with the Banshee so maybe I should try that?!?!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 9:06 a.m.

Ahhhh. Now you have me wondering if I can’t turn a 28t 64/104 ring with a mini-bash X 15-36t. Part VII?!

Reply

craw
+1 goose8
Cr4w  - March 15, 2021, 9:18 a.m.

26x10-42. My man. 

I ran 28x11-36 a few bikes back and it looked comically small compared to the pie plates that were just starting to show up.

Reply

xy9ine
+6 AJ Barlas Cr4w taprider Spencer Nelson Tremeer023 Dan Burris
Perry Schebel  - March 15, 2021, 9:37 a.m.

huge pie plates & ground scraping derailleurs are an affront to my sense of aesthetics. and the additional unsprung weight? *rolls eyes aggressively*. used to run short cage rd's & compact cassettes back in the freeride days (and just suffer up the climbs). this is a happy compromise of sorts.

Reply

craw
+2 Andrew Major Dan Burris
Cr4w  - March 15, 2021, 10:59 a.m.

Me too. Those super low gears don't work for me. Maybe it's my high center of gravity but 30x51 and I'd be crawling. I work better with muscle and momentum. I'm still on 32x11-42 and it's great. I'm going to try a 30t ring next time to see if I can notice a change in antisquat behaviour.

Reply

fartymarty
+2 Tremeer023 Dan Burris
fartymarty  - March 17, 2021, 12:34 a.m.

You're all singing my tune.

I'm a huge fan of the Zee mech.  I started with it on my bastardised Keewee Cromo 8 (26 pedallable DH bike w. single crown forks) with 11-36.  That got moved to my Krampus and I added a 42 cog (freehub munching HG500 11-42) and then onto my Murmur.  I love that it's tucked away yet will do a 42 cog.

Reply

goose8
+1 Andrew Major
goose8  - March 16, 2021, 4:32 a.m.

I'm running a 26t oval with a 10-42 cassette. Works great for the terrain I ride.

Reply

martin
+5 Andrew Major Cr4w Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian werewolflotion
Martin  - March 15, 2021, 8:54 a.m.

I so much enjoy reading about those unusual things you come up with Andrew! New tech is cool but I find ideas like that are more interesting to read!

When I bought my new drivetrain, instead of getting the 12 spd 11-45t cassette, I got the 12 spd Deore 11-51t all-steel cassette and a 30t front ring (thanks Race Face for making a Cinch shi-12 steel ring!) so I wouldn't have to use the 51 that much and have a better chainline on the 45t. That way the 51t would see limited use, and the steel rings would last very long anyway.

I don't know if I'd still have enough range for high-speed sections or long flat commutes between places, but going to a 28t or even 26t front would mean that I could go for the next smallest cogs on the cassette and have even more centered chainline, without having to go for a manual 2x front setup. With the wide 55mm boost chainline from Shimano, maybe we will need to choose a front ring to "select" which rear cogs will see the most use and "adjust" chainline accordingly?

Unfortunately, that still keeps the unsprung weight high and derailleur cages long, but adds clearance at the BB. The big Deore cassette's weight is still 594g of unsprung mass, but it will keep me from stopping and get my gloves dirty to switch front rings and keep my crankset setup the same : )

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Cr4w Martin
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 9:14 a.m.

Thanks Martin!

I ride all over town spun-out on my Walt so comparatively 32x15t is a high gear. I’ve been looking at 12-XX road cassettes wondering if I can Frankenstein my 12t-36t cassette just to erode that critique of the system a bit (and now Perry has me wondering if I could go to 1x7-spd with a 28t).

The super-short cage is worth the odd greasy glove finger! Just look at that thing v. any 12-spd system!

Actually, as an aside the drivetrain I really want to test is a short-cage SRAM Force clutch derailleur with the corresponding flat bar shifter. It’s basically updated XX1 and the 10-42t is all most folks need.

Reply

craw
+2 Andrew Major goose8
Cr4w  - March 15, 2021, 9:20 a.m.

You need to keep a Ring Pop ring in your jersey pocket for shifting duties.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+1 Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 9:29 a.m.

I don’t have an inner-brakeless-BMX-kid but if I did I wonder if I could shift with my foot. Maybe even on the fly?!

Reply

morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - March 15, 2021, 9:44 a.m.

Schlumpf!

Reply

xy9ine
+1 Andrew Major
Perry Schebel  - March 15, 2021, 10:20 a.m.

evidently they're still around! i kinda / sorta think that a refined iteration of this type of thing (hammerSchmidt 2.0?) with a 7-8 speed compact cassette & short cage could have contemporary validity. pull a bunch of weight off the back wheel, allow for wider flange spacing and/or narrower wheel / better chainline, use more robust, less exposed derailleur & much cheaper cassette...

http://www.schlumpfdrive.com/index.php/home-en.html

AndrewMajor
+1 Cr4w
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 10:45 a.m.

If I was going to do that I’d track down a Hammerschmidt

Would love to see where that tech could have gone.

Sethimus
+1 Christopher Daniel
Sethimus  - March 15, 2021, 11:03 a.m.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 11:34 a.m.

Nope. Don’t want the weight on the rear wheel. Hammerschmidt had that much very right. 

Also not willing to give up my King-Hydra-P321-etc quality hub.

morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - March 15, 2021, 4:14 p.m.

Drag on the Hammerschmidt was sooo bad though.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 4:18 p.m.

Thankfully it wasn’t a reduction gear though so you were only managing drag on fast DH sections and on the road - it was wide open climbing. I ran a dinglespeed for a while with an XTR shifter and it worked great. BB life was my biggest issue.

martin
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian
Martin  - March 15, 2021, 10:44 a.m.

10-42 is probably good for most people indeed. I'm not the fittest around and this winter I'm riding 32t x 11-46 on my fat bike and I can climb pretty much all the steepest pitches even in sub-optimal snow conditions with 1900g tires/tubes. I'm not going to lie, the 46 gets a lot of use though haha. It's a nice luxury to have.

Your article has inspired me to be more attentive to what gear ratios I'm using on my "main" bike this summer and find out what I really need, then see what can be done to get the optimal chainline and unsprung weight setup with my current crank options. (Shimano M8120 and RF Aeffect R).

The older I get, the more I like geeking on bike stuff even if the "gains" are not even considerable for me. I'm always aiming for the most reliable/silent/efficient setup, it's part of the fun!

Thanks and keep sharing your original ideas!

Reply

AndrewMajor
+2 Martin Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 10:57 a.m.

Cheers!

Yes, the adult-LEGO fun factor here is undeniable.

Reply

Suns_PSD
+6 Andrew Major Cr4w bingobus Neil Carnegie taprider Greg Bly
Sun Hester  - March 15, 2021, 9:49 a.m.

What if someone designed, like some sort of automatic device activated by the rider that could shift between those front chainrings without having to stop and swap it by hand? In this way, you wouldn't have to stop and could just keep going. That would be cool. I'd at least recommend a waxed chain to keep oily grime off your hands/ gloves/ grips. 

I too pay attention to dumb things like unsprung weight reduction, chainline, ground clearance, etc... The best set up realistically is an 11 speed XX1 set up with preferably an aftermarket 11 speed wide ratio cassette. I run the Helix 11 speed which shifts beautifully, but then I'm already on my second one and the product has been out for all of 2 months (warranty replacement). I also run a pretty low 30T front oval chainring as I find in my conditions and on my 29er this keeps my chain right about the middle of the cassette most of the time and also increases AS notably over a 32T. I also find for AM riding that the fine difference between gears on a 12 speed is counterproductive and results in double shifts needed often.

The SRAM 11 sp cassette only weighs 264 grams. with a 420% range. Can also add the Wolftooth 46T 11th gear.

The Garabunk 11 speed 10-48 weighs 295 grams with a 480% range. Requires derailleur extender. The 10-46 however does not.

The Helix 11 speed weighs 315 grams with a 511% range and shifts XTR like on my AXS derailleur. The spacing is correct as well. Just don't be applying firm power while shifting in of out of the Al 11th gear ime.

If Shimano ever releases that Wide Ratio 11 speed cassette that they had showed as the preference of their sponsored riders but then pulled, that will be the absolute ticket.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+4 Zero-cool Nologo twk Spencer Nelson
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 10:40 a.m.

Weight is only a minor factor to me. Beautiful chainlines, ‘old’ standards, using parts I own - lots of winning here.

I’d go manual over front derailleur every day to get the n/w chain retention. Now if Shimano had put out shiftable n/w as was rumoured - delicious.

Reply

cheapondirt
+1 Andrew Major
cheapondirt  - March 15, 2021, 6:51 p.m.

Shimano's side pull FD design works well enough it would have been enough to keep me on 2x if frames still allowed it.

Shiftable n/w though?!  Take my money!

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 7:41 p.m.

That’s where Shimano’s next gen was headed before they surrendered to 1x. I would to try it just with how good the new front der tech is...

Ah, 1x. Bike companies love it as it’s way easier to design suspension kinematics, not to mention tire clearance, and riders love it because it’s idiot-resistant and Shimano finally listened to the market but it would have been cool to see where 2x would have gone.

Reply

AndrewMajor
+3 Martin Suns_PSD Dan Burris
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 10:43 a.m.

Also, as I noted above, the drivetrain I’d most love to test at the moment is SRAM Force 1x11. They do a flat bar shifter, and Force combines a short cage, clutch, and even a derailleur barrel adjuster!

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craw
+1 Andrew Major
Cr4w  - March 15, 2021, 11:02 a.m.

That looks really good.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Cr4w
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 11:33 a.m.

Yeah, I don’t think it would dent Eagle sales but for the persnickety rider whose happy to max out at a 42t the potential is intriguing AF!

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cooperquinn
+1 Andrew Major
Cooper Quinn  - March 15, 2021, 11:40 a.m.

I can confirm the Force derailleur and ex-mtb-now-gravel 10-42 cassette combo is a good one for my rigid 29er. 

That said, the bars on my bike are more bent than yours, by quite a bit.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 11:49 a.m.

Guessing you’re running brifters not the flat bar version of the shifter?

edgibson22
0
edgibson22  - March 15, 2021, 6:43 p.m.

I'm using an xt sgs 12 speed derailleur on a Garbaruk 11-50 11 speed cassette with xt 11 speed shifter. Works perfect. So shimano 11and 12 speed are compatible. While I was researching this the internet told me over and over that not only is this true, but apparently Sram 11 speed and 12 speed are also compatible.  With themselves and Shimano.  So basically I could have just as easily used an XO 12 speed derailleur with the shimano 11 speed shifter. But I didn't. But you can see where I'm going.

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Wapti
+1 Andrew Major
Wapti  - March 15, 2021, 10:57 a.m.

Well, that's not something you see every day.

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Zayphod
+1 twk
Zayphod  - March 15, 2021, 11:57 a.m.

And I wish more frame manufacturers would adopt the gearbox model or even better - Shimano or SRAM release their own systems and hopefully fix some of the annoyances of Pinion.

Buuuuut these days everyone is playing the weight game... like it matters that much.

And honestly, having an extra weight, but low and centered is not that bad - it allows for better working suspension and super planted, stable and balanced bike. Also, no derailleur to rip off, super low maintenance, perfect chain-line all the time, shifting without pedaling, you don't hassle about mud, cleaning, oiling, etc.
Overall it's a more sustainable system with longer-lasting components, which leads to less waste. It simply needs some refinement.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Cr4w
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 12:17 p.m.

I think gearbox integration with motors is the future for e~bikes but for a few reasons they’ll never catch on with people-powered bikes.

The big two are the drag, where they’ll never match the efficiency of a chain/derailleur system and then even if they did (say a derailleur in a box setup) gearbox bikes look like e~bikes and I don’t see that being a widely acceptable aesthetic for folks who are choosing to power themselves.

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Zayphod
+1 Andrew Major
Zayphod  - March 15, 2021, 12:20 p.m.

I think there is room for improvement in terms of drag, but yeah - you can't escape the looks.

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bruce-mackay
0
Bruce Mackay  - April 6, 2021, 10:15 a.m.

Hybrid GB system.  2 in the front.  Ratios 1 and 2.25

Mathed this up with a narrow ratio 9spd road cassette (11 - 25) a long time ago. Same range as 24 /36 with 11-36 cog. But 18 speeds w/ zero overlap.

7 spd (w/ 10spd spacing) in the back w/ wider ratios and accepting some overlap....  a modern hammerschmidt with a wider ratio..... say 1:2.  The larger gears would really help with drag reduction.......

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primoz-resman
0
Primož Resman  - April 6, 2021, 10:44 a.m.

Think outside the box, don't use a planetary reduction system (that is easily shifted back and forth) to add another block of range. Use it to fill up the gaps in the range caused by wider spacing of the sprockets in the rear.

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MTBrent
+1 Andrew Major
MTBrent  - March 15, 2021, 12:05 p.m.

I ran the Box 7sp DH group all last year with a 36T on the outside of the spider of a Saint crank.  Simple and bombproof!  I switched from singlespeed just to retry the gears thing out again, so the not-so-low granny gear didn't bother me at all.  I'm going to try a 30T ring soon.  Fewer gears, better chainline, lighter weight, and smaller dangly shifty bits should be the future.

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papa44
+1 Andrew Major
papa44  - March 15, 2021, 12:09 p.m.

I’m quite happy running 11-36 10 speed zee on my 29er with 32 tooth front ring. I find the zee much snappier feeling and more out the way and I don’t often have need for a lower gear, but now I’m thinking I might pop a 26 on for the rare occasion I do. Ends up paying dividends to just keep everything forever just in case...

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 12:19 p.m.

The Zee derailleur - coming from running a variety of the 12-spd stuff - is so impressive in the shifting quality.

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dave_f
+1 Andrew Major
dave_f  - March 15, 2021, 1:08 p.m.

I have one setup with 6 of 9 cogs running on a hope pro trials hub (short steel freehub, wide bracing angle), zee derailleur, and SRAM XO 9-speed shifter. The cable is spaced out around 6mm at the derailleur.

Keep your 9 speed shifter, people are paying premium prices as it seems the higher end Shimano 9-speed shifters are no longer available. Or if you don't need it yourself, find someone who needs one and will give it a good home.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 2:48 p.m.

Yep, love the 9-speed XTR shifter! It’s not going anywhere.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 9:39 p.m.

Took me a minute to find the link. Walt used to do cassette mods so you could slide the one-piece cluster from a Shimano XT 9-speed cassette onto a King SS hub (all the flanges are the same size). Pretty slick.

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mammal
+1 Andrew Major
Mammal  - March 15, 2021, 1:43 p.m.

Interesting experiment. And while I honestly do find this interesting, I wouldn't consider converting my bike to a manual double-chainring setup (mostly due to needing to stop, and then getting chain crud on my gloves every front-shift), and I do think this falls into the category of "the kind of deep-bicycle-nerd appeal that makes the more casual observer's eyes fog up when they make the mistake of asking about something they find weird about one of my bikes".

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AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 1:50 p.m.

I don’t know, I’ve certainly been asked about it enough times.

As to swapping rings, it really doesn’t happen that often that I’m dropping it down. I’m one of those folks who only uses the aluminum low gear on an Eagle cassette as a bailout v. the riders where the steel cogs could all take 3x more chains but the alloy big cog is worn to nothing. 

I am wondering if I can get away (high and low) with a 28t ring 1x7. Future project!

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mammal
+1 Andrew Major
Mammal  - March 15, 2021, 2:07 p.m.

Personally, I'd be more on-board with 28 - 1x7.  

I have a feeling your experiences with this particular setup are heavily influenced by your single-speeding diesel cadence. Being a spinner, I'd find it a PITA to discover I'm on the lowest end of the 32 on a slow/weak/tired day, and just need to grunt through it. That said, I love the discussion things like this bring up, and it's super fun to think these things through, even if I want nothing to do with it.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 2:12 p.m.

Absolutely. 

Riding 1FG and also grinding around town on a ~50-60lb (?) cargo rig with a ~45lb human and gear I’m used to pushing v. spinning up hills. 

It’s also part of why I dislike super-steep STA’s. Certainly the super-steep effective STA’s and super-low gearing are married to each other.

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mammal
0
Mammal  - March 15, 2021, 3:25 p.m.

Yep. Indeed.

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velocipedestrian
+1 Cr4w
Velocipedestrian  - March 15, 2021, 2:44 p.m.

Thank you Major Plus (your radio callsign?) for another dive down the rabbit hole

I'm currently building up a hardtail (well, rigid initially) with a Zee derailleur and XT shifter... But the 970 shifter in the spares box is asking why it wasn't invited. I'm not going 2x, but 104, bash, and 11-42 with Goatlink should get me a satisfying shift experience. 

I need something to hang that 970 + Ultegra derailleur on.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 4:02 p.m.

So I have a 970 rear derailleur with a Saint short cage on it that would be perfect for this build but for the lack of a clutch. It’s relegated to a future roadie project and the Tanpan makes the shifter usable - can highly recommend if you want to get the beauty shifter back on your bike!

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fartymarty
+1 Greg Bly
fartymarty  - March 17, 2021, 12:25 p.m.

V - you should be able to run the Zee without the goat link - I run it without on my HT and Murmur with 11-42.  You just need to get the chain length spot on.

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taprider
0
taprider  - March 15, 2021, 3:54 p.m.

My Frankenbike drive train would still be  a Tringle-speed with a Shimano front pull side swing front derailleur (you should try one, they shift as well as the best rear shifters) and an old Campagnolo Record of Huret Jubilee rear derailleur with just one cog, like a Singulator encase you are running dual suspsension.

With just one friction shifter. The spring direction from the front and rear derailleurs work in opposite directions and the forces would cancel each other out.  Maybe using some kind of  Y pivot mounted just ahead of the front derailleur

Hopefully some of my old Cycle Dynamic individual Ti cogs could still be used (easily under 150 gm maybe 180 with aluminum spacers.

Purpose would be for bikepacking where you go from having to backpack your bike 38km without the tires touching the ground, 2 hour long 25%+ climbs, to hour(s) long rail grade downhills or plateau/prairie backroads with a tailwind

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AndrewMajor
+1 twk
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 3:59 p.m.

I’ve set up plenty of Shimano side-swing derailleurs and they’re awesome - for gravel / road use. I just don’t see mountain bikers giving up the security of narrow-wide rings, and I certainly wouldn’t.

I had a tringle speed for a while using a Paul Melvin. 22/32/42 with a 22t in the back. It worked great except for the noise. Even clutch derailleurs v. riding a single speed are meh.

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taprider
0
taprider  - March 16, 2021, 7:28 a.m.

why didn't you do 3 cogs on the back too?

that way you would have 3 parallel single speed drive drains and wouldn't need any pulley for a hard tail or rigid

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 16, 2021, 7:53 a.m.

This might come down to either you get single speeding or you don’t. If I’m shifting I’m shifting and I’ll adult-LEGO whatever setup - 3 speeds, 7 speeds with a bailout, etc. If it’s a single speed I’m rolling out of the house with one ratio and riding what I brung regardless of what pops up. 

Sittting, standing, walking are the only options you need once you’re running the beautiful drivetrain.

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taprider
0
taprider  - March 16, 2021, 11:32 a.m.

Yes, I should give up on the shifters and derailleurs completely

But my Fromme gearing would be 1:1

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 3:59 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

stinhambo
+1 Andrew Major
Steven Hambleton  - March 15, 2021, 5:34 p.m.

For me the ultimate would be a return to the double chainring with an ASX/Di2 automated front derailleur where upshifts would find the ideal ratio across both chainrings. This would mean a bit more weight around the centre of the bike but less rotating mass at the rear wheel.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 7:47 p.m.

Di2 automatic front shifting is/was incredible - also annoying AF with the beeping not to mention having to charge batteries. Combined with ring-chain retention I could get behind this though.

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kurt-adams
+1 Andrew Major
Kurt Adams  - March 15, 2021, 9:21 p.m.

Andrew... once again, a beautiful mind expanding article! Thanks, I love reading this stuff. Very thought provoking. I often wondering about the perfect set up for gearing...love one gear, but its getting hard on the knees. 1x 12 is so not necessary. 1x6 perhaps?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 9:53 p.m.

I've played with dinglespeeds and tringlespeeds and the thing is that nothing feels like a 1FG bike. 

I mean, 1x6, 1x7 with a single ring, super-short cage rear derailleur, and a similar range to the 15-36t I'm running here would be awesome on a hardtail but it still requires rewiring the brain. 

I've a half-drafted MEATengines piece about my experience with single-speed gearing as I've aged out of pushing the biggest f***ing gear I can drive up climb-X, and maybe you've already tried this, but have you played around with lower gearing?

I hurt my ankle bizarrely about three years ago trail building and I could ride comfortably (and hard) within a couple of days but unclipping was uncomfortable/inconsistent so I switched to running flats and that required a much easier gear than I could throttle up the hill clipped in (I obviously pulled up a lot as I was destroying shoes fairly regularly ripping the cleat pockets out). I switched to 22t cog in the back and it was awesome. I was certainly slower but hey - I was getting out on the SS. 

When my ankle was better I went back to clips but left the gearing and other than the road I was happier everywhere and then when I started running flats all the time on my Walt V2 I dropped the front ring to a 30t oval so I'm now running 30x22t. Honestly, 30x22t isn't any more frustrating on the road than 32x22t was and I'm having a riot on the trail. When I can't push that I'll put on a 23t, then a 24t, and so forth. 

Anyways, if you've already tried different gearing then try 1x7 but if you haven't tried putting a less-macho gear on the SS then I highly recommend it!

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Skeen
+1 Andrew Major
Skeen  - March 15, 2021, 9:28 p.m.

Awesome article Andrew! Reminds me that I have a stock trials bike in my fleet circa 2006. I am still running a 2x8 with an XT short cage RD. Used to have cut off grip shifters with only the larger inboard ring with no grip part. Theory was less hanging bits to damage but they both eventually broke and i replaced with a shimano trigger shifter for rear and manual shifting up front! I run it in small ring mode for trialsin and middle ring for moving between session locations, bash ring on outside of course. Thanks for reviving the manual front shift idea in the context of modern NW rings. Sick!

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 9:42 p.m.

Cheers! It works so well with the N/W rings. I didn't really respect the potential for N/W until I saw the photos of folks doing the Redbull Rampage without a chainguide. 

If you are/were a GripShift fan and haven't tried the latest 11-spd/12-spd twisters see if you can track down an opportunity to throttle shift a modern drivetrain. They're awesome (if still an acquired taste).

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Skeen
+1 Andrew Major
Skeen  - March 15, 2021, 9:58 p.m.

If the grip shifter can be cut down so i can get my hands on a full solid grip, then reposition to shift the inner ring i’d be very interested to try. 

I also like my 11 speed shimano thumb shifter in friction mode on my rigid fat bike to increase the old school flavor. Although whether in friction or index mode it is very difficult to push the thumb shifter from smallest cog to the next few gears, seems due to ergonomics but also the force/ leverage(?) needed. Not a big problem on my slow going fat bike but I wouldn’t like it on a higher performance FS bike.  Do you have any input on how to improve this?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 10:03 p.m.

Interesting re. difficult to push the Thumbie. That's the lowest leverage position in the system so a couple things I could think of are assuming it's a Shimano clutch rear derailleur have you tried de-tuning the clutch a bit (I run my Shimano clutch more similar to SRAM's level of tension) and do you have fresh (or lubed) highly quality housing/cable? It's not something I've experienced so my guess would be friction in the system from one of those points.

I'm not sure about cutting down the new Grip Shifters as use a different indexing system.

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Skeen
0
Skeen  - March 16, 2021, 9:34 p.m.

As the thumb shifter is on my rigid fat bike it sees a lot off  bad conditions. I use it for snow rides and as my “muck bike” so yeah it is overdue for a good cleaning and relubed if not new shift cable. I should have thought of that! But I couldnt remember if the thumb shifter ever felt much better although given your confirmation i know to check it out. Thanks!

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UFO
+1 Andrew Major
UFO  - March 15, 2021, 9:52 p.m.

I've never had the pleasure of playing with 9 speed xtr, but I'm trying to hoard 10 speed xtr/xt shifters. I love how light and accurate that shift feel is for me. 

On my big bike I've been toying with going back to a manual shift granny and 34t narrow wide up front with an 11-36t 10sp xt cassette, which would allow me to run my 10sp xtr rd with zee cage. I find the spring tension on the short cage rd so much stronger which helps with retention even in the non nw granny, and of course the clearance related benefits too.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 15, 2021, 10 p.m.

Yeah, we've a hoard of 10spd shifters at home but they're all on bikes already hence the M970 + Tanpan. I'm not looking to start any schisms but I do think the M970 is the pinnacle of Shimano MTB shifters. Absolutely better Grannie-gear retention with the short cage but I think the N/W Gran is the way to go if you're going to ever be hitting descents in that ring (which happens with the manual shift). 

The one negative of the N/W Grannie is all the ones I could find are aluminum. I do overcome that issue somewhat with the magic chainline from the narrower cassette.

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michael
+1 Andrew Major
Michael  - March 15, 2021, 11:03 p.m.

Holy throw back! I ran manual granny shift with bash long before 1X narrow/wide. The bash would help keep the chain on, but It would often drop to granny at a really bad time. 

So, current 1X systems are dialed. Yet it's a massive heavy cassette. Ultra long mech that might survive three months. A clutch system that cripples your flow (ask Gwin 2015),  and a crazy chain line that absolutely guaranties you keep buying more shit more often. Like Apple. 

It's a huge compromise, and I don't care, manual shift is dead bro :)

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AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian
Andrew Major  - March 16, 2021, 7:49 a.m.

Ha, yeah - for the record this is all just about celebrating the adult-LEGO factor of bikes, entertaining readers, and providing some good for thought to nerds. Heck, maybe even giving some resourceful folks inspiration around Covid parts shortages.

There are zero illusions about arresting the ever increasing % range and cog count of mountain bike drivetrains.

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Glass
+1 Andrew Major
Glass  - March 15, 2021, 11:45 p.m.

I run a cut down 11 speed cassette with 2 chainrings which I shift manually. 22/32T front with the 32T being narrow wide and the other being normal. the cassette is down to 9 speeds 16-52T. I need the super low gearing for my super steep climbs I like to conquer. I run a medium cage derailleur which works just fine.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 16, 2021, 7:39 a.m.

22x52t?! Crazy! I’ve never tried a gear close to that low.

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Glass
+1 Andrew Major
Glass  - March 17, 2021, 11:59 p.m.

It is stupid low indeed but the climbs over here in the Alps are not really made for non motorized vehicles and I rather pedal than push.  A lot of people don't even ride in the off season when there isn't lift access unless they have an ebike!

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 18, 2021, 9:03 p.m.

For the record that was curiosity on my part (not judgment). I'm down to push when it pushing's all my legs have left, but I appreciate your sentiment and adapting your bike to get it done!

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syncro
+1 Greg Bly
Mark  - March 16, 2021, 12:58 a.m.

Muwahhahahahahahhaahhaahahhahhahahhahaahahahahahhaahahhaah

Just put on a front D and be done with it. Most people will have 3x front D's so to deal with potential chain drop adjust the positioning on the front D so it acts like a guide. It means two pushes to go up or down but it's not a big deal and it has the bonus of guaranteeing engagement if you need to drop to the granny in an emergency. I was looking at the price of new 12spd cassettes the other day and just shook my head. I've had maybe one issue of a dropped chain on my Instinct, otherwise running 34/26 x 11-36 has been perfect for the Shore with pretty much no need for the 26x36 unless I've been off the bike for a while. And yay good chainlines.

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Shoreloamer
+1 Andrew Major
Greg Bly  - March 16, 2021, 7:25 a.m.

My dual sus commuter bike has a Shimano plastic bash ring and two gears up front. Oh look a steep hill. One quick click and I'm in my 24 tooth up front.  Then I start thinking about longggggg cage derailuers huge cassettes. 2 by systems are compact and easy on the eyes.  They worked great! Chains falling off? Clutch derailleur stops that old problem.   I bet XTR front derailleur s are given away.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - March 16, 2021, 7:44 a.m.

Two N/W rings is much quieter as well but certainly even using the freshest components I experienced the chain coming off my larger ring using 2x with a clutch.

I even went as far as running a friction thumbie or GripShift shifter up front for multiple front derailleur positions. 

The new side-swing derailleurs are quiet enough (thanks to soft plastic inserts) that if the Banshee could take a front derailleur I’d try it - why not?! But, the other advantage of manual 2x is it works with a lot of bikes that don’t have a front derailleur provision.

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Shoreloamer
+1 Andrew Major
Greg Bly  - March 16, 2021, 12:39 p.m.

I do manually shift my seat up and down.  I'm running a Saint 36 tooth big ring. It's a single speed chainring . I can still shift up and down . With my grip shift. BTW my dual sus commuter sees dirt as it's my off road touring bike.  Never dropped the chain.  The Giant XTC was designed to be an efficient mountain bike. More platform than what modern suspension s have. 

I remember Shimano cassettes having three bolts holding the cogs together with plastic spacers. O the good old days when you could tinker more with equipment. 

Imagne if some one made modular cassettes that you could change gear steps and spacers for 7 to 12 speeds.

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tim
+1 Andrew Major
Tim  - March 16, 2021, 4:16 p.m.

Interesting alternative viewpoint as always, Andrew.

Does anyone know if or how you can run a 10sp (and therefore short cage) derailleur across the 10 steel cogs of a SRAM 11sp (42-10) cassette? With a 'blank' allloy backplate in place of the 42t this would be a light and durable (and readily purchasable) 'mid' range option for a super 'compact' (derailleur length, chain length) drivetrain.

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syncro
0
Mark  - March 16, 2021, 7:59 p.m.

Depends on the 9th gear. AIRC 36 is a bit big for a short cage, more like 32.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Mark
Andrew Major  - March 16, 2021, 8:57 p.m.

I’ve run Zee with 11-36t on a 6” travel bike no problem. What short cage derailleur you thinking?

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ackshunW
+1 Andrew Major
ackshunW  - March 17, 2021, 4:18 a.m.

Agreed, have a Zee set up 9speed 11-34 x 28T (Surly SS NW) on my Megatrail right now. Single speed user as well so the range is adequate for my needs. The Zee derailleur is totally awesome. For that spread & chain growth I’ve completely maxed out the wrap capacity though— had to remove the lower cage limit bolt to get a little more tension in 11t. Working great now! I have been obsessed with ground clearance since my early days when a rash of sticks took out 2 Deore LX mechs in a month (big $$$ for teenage me!) and nearly threatened to trash my Kona hardtail hanger, and by extension the entire frame! (Observing now, that was clearly very formative..)

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primoz-resman
0
Primož Resman  - March 19, 2021, 10:47 a.m.

So... 'How to modify an 11spd cassette to throw away the big ring and get what is essentially an 11-36T 10spd cassette'?

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rugbyred
+1 Andrew Major
Eric Van Sickle  - March 17, 2021, 4:44 a.m.

Awesome article. Brings back memories. 

My first full suspension I modded the drive train using an 11-27 or 28 cassette with a front derailleur. Climbing was in granny and flat and downs were in big ring. 

I then was given a Hammerschmidt for Christmas by my girlfriend (now known as wife) a few years and bikes later and went back to a small cluster cassette. Still have the hammerschmidt (maybe use it again one day). 

Eventually I tried the 1X10 and believed I should be using a 36 tooth front ring with 11-36 cassette. I would get tired on long climbs and eventually tried the manual granny. Didn’t last long as I preferred not to have to stop.

I believe someone on Ridemonkey made adapters to run 9 speed shifters with 10 speed derailleurs. I think I have the little part somewhere in a bin and plan to set up my son’s (7yr) bike for a 1x9 with an 11-36 cassette that should allow him to climb anything.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 18, 2021, 9:01 p.m.

A 9spd SRAM shifter will ~ shift a Shimano 10spd or 11spd clutch derailleur but the cable pull ratio isn't perfect in terms of hitting all 10/11 gears so there are a few folks who've made spacers (adapters) to correct the cable pull ratio. You can bodge the same thing with washers but the spacers look much cleaner.

I've tried a combo of one of the really nice X01 9spd shifters and a gen-1 XTR clutch rear derailleur that would stand up against most current drivetrains in terms of performance and feel (no giant cogs though). 

Basically have to mount of the Hammerschmidt at some point just because you can! More than anything, that's what 'Does The Future Have Fewer Gears?' is about.

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rugbyred
0
Eric Van Sickle  - March 19, 2021, 2:04 a.m.

I would try the Hammerschmidt but my current bike has all the gears I need mounted right in the middle of the cranks! 9 speeds, more range than I know what to do with and a perfect chain line in every gear!!!

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primoz-resman
+1 Andrew Major
Primož Resman  - March 19, 2021, 10:46 a.m.

Pinion?

Anywho, the Hammerschmidt problem was that the chainring was very small and nobody made a bike to work with that, so the antisquat values were off...

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rugbyred
0
Eric Van Sickle  - March 19, 2021, 1:01 p.m.

Yes, Pinion on/in a Zerode Katipo.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 20, 2021, 7:57 a.m.

The Katipo is actually one of the nicest looking gearbox bikes but I still don’t think most riders buying a person-powered bike will be able to get over the e~bike aesthetic.

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - March 20, 2021, 7:55 a.m.

I did cover that in my ‘In Defense Of Hammerschmidt’ piece... it either better with some fs bikes (like Knolly’s) than others but yeah, bikes with kinematics tubes around the smaller ring size would have been a key for it to catch on.

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primoz-resman
0
Primož Resman  - March 17, 2021, 9:14 a.m.

While there are a few good points in this, manual changing of the chainrings in the front is something that would not fly for the masses. The other no-no is the big jumps between gears. 10T cassettes have the jumps just a bit larger than the 11T smallest cog cassettes (because 11-13 is less than 20 % of a jump, while 10-12 is in fact a 20 % jump), Sram's 52T cassette is stupid in this regard (a 24 % jump...) and if anything, smaller jumps would be beneficial. Old cassettes (9spd and 10spd) weren't any different in this regard on MTBs as we've more or less just added cogs on the larger side and kept the smaller cogs mostly the same (except the 10T part and all, but the differences there are small).

There is a way to have your cake and eat it too, mostly. Unsprung weight would be a small negative (but yeah, when you have 1+ kg tyres, a few 100 grams of inserts and the like, does it matter THAT much) and you'd more or less need electronic shifting, but, you would have only 6 or 7 cogs, better chainline, all the range we have now or more, smooth steps between gears and no weird machinations with the chain and sprockets.

How to get there? Pair a Classified internal hub with a wide range, large step cassette, but use the internal hub for the inbetween gears. So you shift the hub every time you shift, not like we used the front derailleur.

The cassette with 6 cogs would be a 10-14-19-26-35-49 with a 0,85 reduction ratio in the planetary hub, giving the inbetweener gears of effectively 11,8-16,52-22,42-20,68-41,3-57,82. That would give a whopping 578 % of range, which could be tightened down to a smaller range and give even smaller steps between gear. With the numbers above the steps are between 15 and 20 % in all but one gear change, as shown here (compared to Shimano and Sram 12-speed drivetrains): https://i.imgur.com/9w9JyaT.png

Going to 7 cogs could of course improve things even further. But yeah, electronic would be the way to go, at least as an adapter box with an actuator driving the cable for a standard derailleur (ala Archer components setup).

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primoz-resman
+1 Andrew Major
Primož Resman  - March 17, 2021, 9:40 a.m.

Instead of eating lunch I ran some more excel numbers again.

7 cogs on the cassette (10-13-17-22-28-36-47) with a 0,88 reduction in the hub give a 534 range and an average jump between gears 13,75 %. With the largest jump just over 15 % and the lowest jump just over 12 %. Standard deviation of jumps (how far each jump goes from the average) is 0,7 %, while the same value for Sram is 2,3 % for the 10-50 cassette, 3,2 % for the 10-52T cassette (that 52T jump kills it...) and 2,1 % for Shimano (so Shimano made a 'smoother' cassette with more range than Sram's 10-50T cassette).

Graphs: https://i.imgur.com/EiYlCx6.png

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - March 20, 2021, 8:03 a.m.

It’s certainly not something that would “fly for the masses” it’s a bikes-are-adult-LEGO passion piece that’s meant to entertain and maybe encourage folks to think a bit.

Interesting idea re the double shifting drivetrain. I couldn’t get over the drag of the gearboxes as they are now, or the unsprung mass of the rear-wheel mounted internally-geared hub, but it’s a cool thought to inspire some cloud drawing.

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chachmonkey
+2 Andrew Major Greg Bly
chachmonkey  - March 17, 2021, 11:56 a.m.

When I first moved to a place that had really long climbs followed by really long descents I put on a non-narrow/wide granny ring. I could shift down to it manually without stopping. Then, at the top of the climb, I'd stop to put on kneepads, eat a bit, and shift to the bigger narrow/wide chainring. It worked great!

Thanks for continuing to publish articles about doing things because you can, not because it's the best/most profitable/easiest way to make a bike work!

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AndrewMajor
+1 Greg Bly
Andrew Major  - March 18, 2021, 9:08 p.m.

"Thanks for continuing to publish articles about doing things because you can, not because it's the best/most profitable/easiest way to make a bike work!"

Cheers! 

I hadn't considered that in the pro column, but - and also a pro for ditching a dropper post for pedal-and-plunge style riding - I think there's something to be said about anything that gets mountain bikers to chill for a few minutes and eat an Enduro Potato. It's crazy how many people rush through their recreation the way they rush through everything else in life.

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Suns_PSD
+1 Andrew Major
Sun Hester  - April 27, 2021, 11:29 a.m.

Hey Andrew, have you kicked around that wide ratio SRAM e-bike 8 speed gear set? It's an 11-48 I think, the parts are actually light (325 gram rear cassette I think) and reliable.

Curious how that gear spacing works on a 29er with a 30T front chainring for strong All Mountain riders.

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AndrewMajor
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Andrew Major  - April 27, 2021, 12:12 p.m.

I actually wrote a piece about the potential of EX-1 in 2016 but SRAM wasn't interested in sending a drivetrain for testing and it's never something I budgeted to play with myself.

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grassblade23
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Dan Burris  - March 23, 2021, 4:21 p.m.

As someone who is not happy with current groupsets, I appreciated your process and execution, but...

You say you have 14 distinct ratios with this set up. After putting the math into my gearing spreadsheet, it's closer to 10-12 ratios with the overlaps. Seems like a 10 speed 11-36 cassette with a 26t 1x chainwheel would give slightly better range with almost the same ratios.

Also, isn't the tanpan supposed to go by the rear derailleur? That's where it is on my road bike, but maybe that is because it simply won't fit on the 105 roadie shifters. Regardless, I loved seeing your documentation of working through this.

Nice to see the Zee getting some love. I have 1x10 with a Zee, (essentially a short cage SLX) on both my 26" full sus and my road bike. Don't miss the front derailleur on either bike. I have Eagle on my new 29" hardtail, and I am not loving it. I am thinking of going 1x10 on that as well and just gearing it low.

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