Do you think pro CX riders on Shimano long for 1x?

I recently switched from 1x back to a double and definitely prefer it on the road and gravel, and I think I will be happy to go back to it in CX. I did not care for 1x in CX after dropping chain twice this season due to eating mud, wish I had faster shifting when cresting hills, and I seriously did not like the gross chain-line grind on the extremes of the cassette. So, with that said, I’m thinking about Marie Kondo-ing my collection of 11-32 through 11-36 tooth cassettes and wondering if my fellow CX racing bros and lady-bros think I will regret it.

Additionally, do you think the Shimano pro CX riders long for 1x? I do not but curious to hear your opinions.

not sure if going to 2x is going to fix your chain drop issues. I run 2x for gravel and 1x for CX and will likely continue to do so. The jumps on 11-32 and 11-36 cassettes are more than reasonable during a race imo.

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I’ve got a Focus CX bike with a shimano double, 46/36 tooth chainrings, and couldn’t be happier. 11-28 cassette. I use the bike for CX and road rides/races. Flat ground mostly in Chicago.

Couldn’t be happier. Chain generally stays in the 36 100% of the time on a CX course, chain stays in the 46 100% of the time on the road. Haven’t dropped a chain in ~10 CX races yet.


An FD cage probably would have kept the chain on when eating mud through the crank. We had a super wet year and kind of fluke scenarios, but they happen when the conditions are really muddy or icy. There is a reason the Belgians all run doubles, not sure what that reason is though.

I did a CX clinic with Sven Nys and someone asked that question. His answer was the big ring was basically for max speed on the start line, and after that rarely used.

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You know there is no particular reason you can’t run a chain guard with 1x right? Just because its trendy not to doesn’t mean its particularly smart. I run this praxis one for the muddy half of the season for this very reason. I ran 2x for the first 1.5 seasons racing and 3x dropped more chains in that time than in the subsequent seasons. Generally both systems still suffer from potential drop off the bottom run of the chain along the bottom chainring. There’s a lot of reasons to go 2x for cross/gravel especially with shimano now offering a clutched RD, but chain drops aren’t really one of them

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I run a 1x setup on my mostly Shimano Giant TCR CX bike - Ultegra Di2 hydro shifters, XT mtb clutched rear derailleur with Wolftooth goat link, XX1 11sp 10-42 cassette, Wolftooth 40 or 42t oval narrow wide ring, stock Giant chainguide. Works great for me, I run the shifters in an right down/left up setup because it can be hard to find the smaller Di2 paddles when it’s really cold and I have thicker gloves on. I’m mostly an enduro racer so I tend to hop barriers and ride like a mountain biker, and I’ve never lost a chain.

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I’m after it for the quick and easier gear changes as I’d rather hit the FD than hit an extra three gears in the rear. I suppose I’ll give it a try and buy the $80 Wolf Tooth ring if I change my mind.

Wait, were you running 1x without a N/W chainring and/or clutch RD?

NW ring with clutched RD. Chain dropped on both occasions involving extreme mud and either side of the cassette extremes. Both times there was mud and hay and shit going into the crank ring, nothing going to prevent that.

I guess I was confused why you’d have to buy a new $80 chainring if you were already running 1x with a N/W.

Back in 2015 Sven was running a 1x11 Shimano setup with a machined down 53t outer chainring as a guard:

Obviously it didn’t really catch on and I’m not sure how much he used it, or even if he used it in the mud.


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New crank.

I don’t think the pro riders long for 1x. I think they like the big ring for the initial starting sprint, and can have the little ring as an option on punchier courses. It also allows them to stay in a narrower cassette range.

For a mortal like me it’s 1x for CX all day long. I’ve raced two seasons on Force CX1 and have never dropped a chain, not sure what you’re doing wrong. Clutch rear derailleur plus single chainring is meant to mitigate drops. Run a chain catcher. Chain drops are far more common in 2x set ups. I don’t think the cross chaining in a 1x set up is anything to be concerned about SRAM seems to do a decent job of setting up a good chain line. Chain line is literally the last thing on my mind when I’m cross-eyed.

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Especially if you get a Ultegra clutch rear derailleur!

To be fair, I don’t think there’s a paved start/finish line for cross Vegas? Also, article says a 48t inner? Zoinks, that’s big enough already. For most of the big Euro races there’s a nice paved road where you can put in some substantial speed before it goes off-road. Anyway, just relaying the explaination I heard first hand from a top pro!

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I’ve run a sram force 1 setup for 3 years in cyclocross now and have never dropped a chain, and the last two years have had some pretty wet and muddy races. Two of the really fast guys around here that are former age group cx national Champs run 1x setups using Shimano and wolf tooth components. It’s mainly down to preference. The people I know who run 2x setups for cx are in their little ring 99% of the time anyway. If I was going to have a bike that I’d use for gravel, cx, and some winter road rides, then I’d think about going for a 2x setup.

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If you’re not obsessed with tight gear ranges and can handle some jumps in the larger cogs I think 11-32 or 11-36 with a 40-44t chainring is a deadly combo for pretty much everything besides hour long climbs. Ted King has won Kanza on 1x.


On the road and in pacelines I love tight cassettes and chainrings, my go to is 50/36 11-28 11s or 12-27 10s but for CX and gravel I just don’t find it necessary and the bigger jumps are actually better since you don’t have to shift as much to deal with variable terrain. I still run 2x on gravel(46/36) but with an 11-36 and only find myself searching for gears when I’m on pavement and 40 or 42t with an 11-32/36 depending on course.

I don’t think there is, which is strange because I thought that that was in the rules for UCI cross races.

48t inner is pretty massive but may have been the only size they could get to work with the machined down 53t at a catcher.

Anyway, wasn’t really trying to counter your point, just remembered seeing it. Still plenty of the SRAM guys running 2x.