I’m working on setting my cross bike up for gravel riding. I currently have a Ritchey Swiss Cross Disc running 1x11 with Gevenalle shifters, XT derailleur, 38t Wolftooth chainring and 11-32 cassette. This combo is great for cross races and works fine for gravel with mild climbing, but when the trail really points upwards I find myself wanting a lower gear for climbing. As such, I’ve been looking at making some drivetrain choices. Here are my goals:
- Maintain reasonable jumps between gears, especially on the faster end of the cassette.
- Get one or two easier climbing gears.
- Stay 1x.
- Switch to a shifter that is more comfortable on the hoods for long durations. The Gevenalle shifters are great for a 45 minute cross race, but not so great when it comes to multi hour rides.
- Not spend a fortune.
With this in mind, I’ve settled on either a 36t or 38t chainring paired with either SRAM 10-36 or Rotor 11-39 cassette. The question then becomes, what are my options to shift this cassette?
Campagnolo Chorus 1x12 “hack” setup
Campy Chorus shifters ($240) and rear derailleur ($170).
Lowest cost option
Meets all requirements.
No derailleur clutch. Might be ok if I increase the derailleur tension (reposition spring) and use a narrow wide chainring (like the Wolftooth).
Campy says this derailleur only goes to 34t in the back. Maybe I can get to 36, maybe even 39? I would have to try it to see. If the derailleur can’t make it to the big cogs, then I would have to try the something like the roadlink.
Force AXS Mullet
Force AXS shifters ($710) with Eagle AXS rear derailleur ($700)
Will certainly work
Many cassette options between SRAM and Rotor
Works out of the box, no “hacking” required
Costs a ton
I’m very tempted to try the Campy setup as it is roughly $1000 cheaper, but I’m a little concerned that I may end up with something that doesn’t work and just end up going AXS anyways. Has anyone tried using Campy 12 speed on a gravel bike? Were you successful in shifting a larger than 34t cassette in 1x configuration? Did you have any issues with dropped chains?