Cross-chaining; a poll (and possible heated discussion)

Is it ok to ride big-big?

  • Yes
  • Never
  • Occasionally, for short periods of time
  • What is big-big?
  • I ride 1x, so…

0 voters

i do it all the time on my 8 speed setup 50-28, don’t care, chains are $16 lol

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Works fine on my sram 2x bike. But had recently borrowed a shimano 105 bike, and noticed it complained a lot more about cross-chaining. Maybe that sram yaw thing actually works.

If you can stand the noise, knock yourself out :metal:t2:

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No idea, it wasn’t my bike. It just seemed a lot louder and grittier when in big-big then I’m used too, but the chain was really dry anyway.

Direct from SRAM:

"At SRAM we love big-big. Amongst mechanics on the NORBA and Mountain Bike World Cup circuit (many years ago!), we called big-big the 'pro gear’, because professionals would ride it all the time, no matter what their mechanics told them. The same applies to pro road racers. They’ll stay on the big ring as long as possible.

There are very good reasons to stay on the big chainring, even as far as the big sprocket:

• Chain management on rough terrain.
• Access to tallest gears without have to shift in front.
• Front shifts are slower than rear and much harder on the chain.

So we would encourage your readers to ride big-big if they like, as long as they don’t experience chain rasp on the front derailleur cage. SRAM 2x11 drivetrains, specifically the Yaw front derailleurs, are designed to accommodate this.

Very little efficiency is lost when cross-chaining. And in the case of big-big, minuscule efficiencies lost to cross-chaining are offset by efficiency gained because of larger bend radii for the chain. Better chain management and easier access to tall gears certainly outweigh any efficiency loss.

A few words on efficiency measurements. There are enormous differences between the efficiency measured on a loaded drivetrain and an unloaded drivetrain (what your hand feels when spinning the crank on a bike in a workstand). The sluggishness that cross chaining sometimes appears to cause on a bike in the stand disappears when the drivetrain is under load. It’s analogous to lubes in loaded and unloaded mechanical systems. Light oil generally feels better than heavy grease when a system is worked by hand, but when the system is loaded the heavier lube will be more efficient.

Similarly, cross-chaining is not a concern for premature component wear ­unless of course your chain is wearing through your front derailleur."

Shimano “recommends against” it and says it leads to increased wear and lower efficiency. I tend to agree with SRAM’s thoughts.


Only when nobody’s looking.

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Everything in moderation, even moderation.


One of the reasons I like di2 and the full syncro shifting. I don’t have to think about it.


Same with “sequential” shift mode on Sram AXS. Sounded like the most useless thing, but now I friggin love it: left paddle = easier, right paddle = harder. Don’t ever have to think about when to shift the front derailleur unless it’s a sudden, severe grade change.


What if you ride 1x?

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It’s big and it’s clever