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Math nerdery, gears.... (The Truth About 11-Speed)

March 26, 2014, 11:20 a.m.
Posts: 1922
Joined: May 2, 2004

Yeah I'm sold, gunna go drop $1000 on a drivetrain ASAP. Really though I'm fine with my 24/38 up front, I use the high end to pedal home on the highway. I've demo'd bikes with xx1 and x01 and would love that but I'll wait til maybe it comes on my new bike in a couple years

March 26, 2014, 11:25 a.m.
Posts: 4300
Joined: June 24, 2010

How often are you in a 36/11 gear on a trail. Really.

Fabien Barel said to Steve Jones (paraphrased from memory): "I'm faster than you because you pedal too much" and I think this is quite relevant to those who dump their entire cogset to spin 50 rpm down a trail.

Original interview/video HERE.

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March 26, 2014, 12:04 p.m.
Posts: 3464
Joined: Dec. 17, 2003

How often are you in a 36/11 gear on a trail. Really.

Fabien Barel said to Steve Jones (paraphrased from memory): "I'm faster than you because you pedal too much" and I think this is quite relevant to those who dump their entire cogset to spin 50 rpm down a trail.

Original interview/video HERE.

Yup. Pedal less, get off the brakes more.

March 26, 2014, 12:07 p.m.
Posts: 5731
Joined: June 24, 2003

The big jump that do feel is the 10-12. But as stated, rarely used unless I am commuting to work or trail which is rare. One does loose range and a decision needs to made when going XX1 as to where the compromise will be. I tell I find on my 2 by 24 X 36 bike I use the 24 a lot more than the 36 on trails and as a consequence, that little rings wears out really fast. My compromise was a little on climbing and a lot on high speed because really, off road who needs to spin at 50 KPH. I went for a 30 tooth on my XX1 kit that is installed on a 29er hard tail. I will probably do the same for my Nomad when the current drive train is worn out.

Debate? Bikes are made for riding not pushing.

March 26, 2014, 12:13 p.m.
Posts: 133
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

hahahaha, someone neg rep'd me for this thread! still can't admit that people ride differently and like different setups, eh Morg? Another thing I just thought of, I hate on 1x when you're on a fast decent and all of the sudden there's a steep hill, well because of your piddly little front ring, you're way in the bottom of the cogset, and now you have to shift and shift and shift and shift trying to get back to the top end without breaking your chain, 2x a quick tap into granny and you can just easy shift up as the pitch steeps as your speed lessens. Maybe it'd be better with gripshift, but you still have to do a lot more shifting to get to the same place. I'm not telling people to not ride 1x, again, why are you obsessed with people getting on the 1x train?

March 26, 2014, 12:16 p.m.
Posts: 133
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

and also, this deserves a re-quote, because he nails it. Riding in wide ranging conditions and on lots of different styles of trails requires VERSATILITY to get the most out of your bike, in my opinion. I also take my trail bike in the park frequently, you honestly think I'm going to coast around with a 30t front ring at bike park speeds? hahaha, more power to you if you're into that, I'm not.

I can think of alot of situations on technical singletrack where "stand and deliver" would simply equal a loss of traction and a knee hammering into the stem. Fun. On a fireroad climb it's not hard to crank up the hill in a hard gear, though.

Maybe we can agree that climbing style is very subjective and while a 1x setup with a small chainring and 42t cog will get you up a hill nearly as well as a granny setup…there's the whole other side of the coin which involves going fast on your way back down the hill.

My argument is that a 30t (or 28t or even a 32t for that matter) single ring is really fucking pinner. If you want to coast down the hill then that's fine but if you're wanting to get some power into the pedals to go fast on the way down I just don't see how a tiny chainring will cut it. I'm running a 24/38 split up front with a 12-36 spread in the back. On descents I spend the majority of a ride in the bottom end of my cassette, and yes I'm riding trails with as many rocks, roots and steeps as the North Shore offers on a pinner bike to boot, not just spinning buff trails.

I'll happily "hamster wheel" myself up a hill if it means I'm not likely to run out of gearing on the way back down. But even though I'm on a 30lb "AM" (enduro?) bike my rides are still all about going fast on the way down so YMMV.

March 26, 2014, 12:29 p.m.
Posts: 4300
Joined: June 24, 2010

hahahaha, someone neg rep'd me for this thread! still can't admit that people ride differently and like different setups, eh Morg? Another thing I just thought of, I hate on 1x when you're on a fast decent and all of the sudden there's a steep hill, well because of your piddly little front ring, you're way in the bottom of the cogset, and now you have to shift and shift and shift and shift trying to get back to the top end without breaking your chain, 2x a quick tap into granny and you can just easy shift up as the pitch steeps as your speed lessens. Maybe it'd be better with gripshift, but you still have to do a lot more shifting to get to the same place. I'm not telling people to not ride 1x, again, why are you obsessed with people getting on the 1x train?

I actually wrote this piece with the intention of opening the discussion, educating people on my stance, and offering a potential (down the road) place where we might see eye to eye. I did not approach the issue looking to convince you that current 1x11 gear range is adequate, and if you think that's what I'm trying to do I'd ask you to re-read the article.

Piddly front ring or not, you are describing a disadvantage of 1x systems in general. I do agree with you that the 50% drop of a front double (equivalent to 3-4 gears) is advantageous in certain situations. Under power or in a pinch that's still an advanced technique.

Operating a double chainring bicycle transmission presents its own challenges, in some ways similar to driving a manual transmission vehicle. While I'm definitely not advocating for automatic transmissions in cars, I still cringe when I see less experienced riders small/small cross-chaining and 1x systems simply don't have that problem.

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March 26, 2014, 12:30 p.m.
Posts: 159
Joined: July 24, 2009

Most has been said, but still: Having only recently changed from 3 x 9 to 2 x 10, I have to say even 2 x 10 does not give me the range I need. with 38/24 in front on the 650B bike it's tolerable (barely, and the bailout gear is not quite as small as I'd like it), but with 24/36 on the 26er, I can't get enough speed even on the trails, not to mention the commute from/to the trails. Also, when climbing steep stuff I usually ride 24/32 and only ride 24/36 when it gets really, really steep or I'm tired. The step from 36 to 42 would be bigger than what I like.
Before anybody goeas all rule # 5 on me: Some climbs can't be done by just hammering, and after 5 hours or so, even if they could be, I don't have the power to do so anymore. Plus, what happend to the fine art of spinning your cranks quickly (still considered the most efficient style of riding)? Commutes to/from trails are a necessity around here, and fast sections in descents are common. If all I did was riding up the fire road on the nearest local hill (500m altitude gain) and hammer back home, I could do with a 40t front ring (I once rode up that hill on a DH rig with 44/32 as asmallest gear. was no fun, though). But I like my rides longer and my trails more varied.
1 x 11 setups have their use for some people in some places (like fatbikes), but I'm not these people and I don't usually ride in these places.

March 26, 2014, 12:31 p.m.
Posts: 4300
Joined: June 24, 2010

and also, this deserves a re-quote, because he nails it. Riding in wide ranging conditions and on lots of different styles of trails requires VERSATILITY to get the most out of your bike, in my opinion. I also take my trail bike in the park frequently, you honestly think I'm going to coast around with a 30t front ring at bike park speeds? hahaha, more power to you if you're into that, I'm not.

I actually am into coasting in the bike park, so I'll accept the "more power to you", but that's not relevant. I'm more interested in the conversation of gear range. What front ring is adequate for you in the bike park on a 26" wheel with an 11 tooth bottom cog?

flickr

March 26, 2014, 12:48 p.m.
Posts: 809
Joined: Dec. 22, 2002

On descents I spend the majority of a ride in the bottom end of my cassette, and yes I'm riding trails with as many rocks, roots and steeps as the North Shore offers on a pinner bike to boot, not just spinning buff trails.QUOTE]

I'll turn this over to Barel on descending, flow and pedaling.

NSMBA member.

March 26, 2014, 12:55 p.m.
Posts: 6449
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

How often are you in a 36/11 gear on a trail. Really.

Fabien Barel said to Steve Jones (paraphrased from memory): "I'm faster than you because you pedal too much" and I think this is quite relevant to those who dump their entire cogset to spin 50 rpm down a trail.

I don't dust off the 11t very often but, I spend plenty of time in the 38/14-16-18-21 neighbourhood which, at the lower end, is probably close to a 36/11 except with better chainline. ;)

Not so much about spinning 50rpm down a trail - more to do with already being in an attack gear and having a suitable range of said gears. I see alot of people touting 1x setups as building stronger legs to climb - but, what happens when you have strong legs and you can churn down the trail or even along flat sections in a harder gear, as well? You go faster.

Yup. Pedal less, get off the brakes more.

pedal more, get off the brakes more = go really f'kin fast. World Cup level downhill racers are already pedaling as much as possible down a trail when conditions allow (watch Peaty, for example) since they know how to corner and control the bike under max speed. There's a reason they aren't running a 30t front ring. Edited to clarify that flow is good and you can go fast, but if you have a wide open straightaway, without a doubt, you're going to go faster if you sprint through it as oppose to flow through it.

March 26, 2014, 12:57 p.m.
Posts: 6449
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

On descents I spend the majority of a ride in the bottom end of my cassette, and yes I'm riding trails with as many rocks, roots and steeps as the North Shore offers on a pinner bike to boot, not just spinning buff trails.QUOTE]

I'll turn this over to Barel on descending, flow and pedaling.

There's alot to be said for finding flow but, what happens in situations where you need to be on the gas as well? These type of situations are even more prevalent on the trails we generally ride on AM bikes compared to WC level DH tracks…

March 26, 2014, 1:02 p.m.
Posts: 404
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

hahahaha, someone neg rep'd me for this thread! still can't admit that people ride differently and like different setups, eh Morg? Another thing I just thought of, I hate on 1x when you're on a fast decent and all of the sudden there's a steep hill, well because of your piddly little front ring, you're way in the bottom of the cogset, and now you have to shift and shift and shift and shift trying to get back to the top end without breaking your chain, 2x a quick tap into granny and you can just easy shift up as the pitch steeps as your speed lessens. Maybe it'd be better with gripshift, but you still have to do a lot more shifting to get to the same place. I'm not telling people to not ride 1x, again, why are you obsessed with people getting on the 1x train?

This was the big reasoning against 1x that detractors proposed to me: the granny drops a lot of gears really fast.
So far with my 1x10x42 I've had no trouble getting into a low-enough gear for a surprise climb.
So far I've been overjoyed at making it up a short steep climb and then not having to grind back into the middle ring. For me this post-climb transition has traditionally been the biggest frustration and I'm happy it's gone.
But I've only had my 1x10x42 out on a few rides so far so there's plenty of situations yet to test.
I haven't run out of gearing at either end of the spectrum. So far this is a successful experiment and I'm now open to a new bike that's fully SRAM'd up (Pike, Reverb, X01 and, fingers crossed, Guide brakes).

There's nothing better than an Orangina after cheating death with Digger.

March 26, 2014, 1:04 p.m.
Posts: 1
Joined: Sept. 20, 2006

The argument goes beyond gearing. Weight, simplicity, cost (expensive XX1 vs. more parts on a 2x system), frame design, riding local, rider strength, etc. There isn't a solution for everyone.

Changing anything requires an investment in practice time: learning to clip in and out, changing braking techniques, cornering with different wheels or frame geometry, dumping gears before a steep climb, etc. All surmountable obstacles if one chooses to go that route.

March 26, 2014, 1:06 p.m.
Posts: 8935
Joined: Dec. 23, 2005

I side with flip on this. The 2x system does it for me.

I like having the ability to hampster spin up a climb when needed. Do I automatically drop into granny on every climb? No.

Do I think 24/36 is the perfect local 2x gearing? No. I've played around with 26/38, 26/36, 24/36, 24/34, and lastly for a specific event 24/32. The 38 I found myself mostly in the upper end of the cassette. The 36 spent considerable time on the bike but as Oldfart noted above I was dropping into the inner ring more than I wanted. Dropping to the 34 is basically my sweet spot, most of the riding is done mid cassette for trail and descenting and I can climb Fromme in the 34-36 when I want to build power.

The great thing is I can drop into the bailout 24 when needed. Rather steep climb? Go 24 and mid cassette and lightly click off gears as needed for the worst section. Still likely end up climbing most of the climb in a ratio achievable with a 1x system, but have the low when needed.

For the Beast Enduro last year I swapped in the 24/32 combo. Knowing that the climb up to Gargamel sucks it was sweet saving energy for the day by spinning and not grunting the steeps. Also knowing that the No-Flow Zone doesn't need big gearing I wanted to be mid cassette for most everything and not have to drop to granny mid stage for the punchy climbs. All worked out great.

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