1x12 Gravel Options

I mentioned it above, I started out road riding with 2x, not coming from a 1x MTB like a lot of people. I am very keen on keeping my cadence exactly where I want it and keeping the wide range with more than a 1:1 ratio on the low end for carrying a loaded bike.
1x13 may be a step in the right direction, but that’s still not mainstream yet.

I spent some time today really looking at gearing and my riding. On my 38x11-32 I spend most of my gravel riding time in either the 18, 16 or 14. Faster than that and I’m usually descending or have a healthy tailwind. Slower and I’m climbing or fighting the wind. It turns out, the 10-50 eagle cassette also has these same three cogs. Intrigued, I went digging through the parts bin to see if I could put together a temporary hacked mechanical 1x12 eagle setup. Here’s what I did:

  1. Set my existing gevenalle index shifter to friction mode (they’re based on microshift units).
  2. Install GX eagle derailleur from parts bin (free).
  3. Install XD driver body ($50).
  4. Install GX eagle cassette from parts bin (free).
  5. Install new shift cable from parts bin (free).
  6. Install new GX eagle chain ($40).
  7. Kept the same 38t wolftooth chainring on my crank.

After setting the limit screws and the b-screw adjustment, I found this actually worked in the stand! Granted the shifting leaves a little to be desired as it takes a gentle touch to shift 12 cogs with a friction shifter, but it works!

I took it out for a spin around the local neighborhood trail (about 8 miles) just to see how it felt. In my short trial time, I really did’t feel like the gaps of the eagle cassette were that big of a deal. I suppose this is because I was probably in the same three cogs I always am. For fun I went to a super easy gear going up one of the hills and just laughed at how easy it was to spin up grade at 7 mph.

I’ve got to say, this was eye opening. I think I’m going to try it out on a longer, preferably gravel, route before making up my mind, but my opinion of the mullet setup has certainly changed.

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@jct I’ve never had mud be a huge issue on an FD, ice, yes, but not mud.

If you would consider experimenting a little with the 1x11 setup, the Shimano 105 level HG CS-700 “11-34” is a very very good cassette.

The middle cog is a 21t, with 2t jumps for the 3 cogs either side of it. Provided you pick the appropriate chainring that keeps you in the 21t as your “default” gear then you’re only into the bottom 2 (or top 2) cogs when going uphill, downhill, or with strong tailwind/headwind.

It’s a good cassette but I’d imagine your range is going to be a bit limited. Terrain and use dependent, I guess.

I currently run the 105 11-32 in a 1x11 setup. It’s great for cross races, but lacks the climbing gears needed in the mountains.

Just a quick warning. I just bought a bike with Force Wide and according to SRAM, there are no compatible crank or spindle power meters. You can only do hub or pedals.

Well I took the plunge. Ordered an Eagle AXS XX1 rear derailleur and a set of force shifter/brake levers. Excited to ride it this weekend!

Now I’m worried its going to make me want AXS on my mountain bike…

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That’s pretty much a guarantee… It’s so good!!!

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So I’ve had a few rides now on my electromullet setup and I’ve got to say, I really like it! AXS is awesome and I like having the range of the 10-50. Microadjust is a great thing since the frame I am using doesn’t have a spot for a traditional barrel adjuster and i have to use an inline one. With the inline barrel adjuster I often had trouble adjusted while riding, not so with microadjust! Even though AXS is super cool and performs flawlessly, an 11 speed 10-42 with Force 1 shifters/derailleur (as suggested earlier in this thread) is the same gearing minus the 50t and costs significantly less. I ended up being unable to resist the splurge for AXS, but the smart money is on the force 1 10-42 combo like jct suggested.

I’m gonna stick with this setup for the next season or two, I really like it. That said, I think my MTB is going to stay mechanical for now - a well adjusted mechanical eagle setup shifts pretty well in my experience. I will say, I like the new b-gap tool that came with the AXS derailleur better than the old one. I used it to adjust the b-gap on the mechanical GX drivetrain on my mtb and it shifts better than ever now!

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