I’m in the Midwest, but I ride my gravel bike on singletrack and sandy forest roads pretty often. I dig my 2x Ultegra (R8000) setup with 46/30 chainrings and an 11-34T cassette. Spend most of the time in the 46 and enjoy the tight gear spacing, but can always bail into the 30 when needed. It doesn’t drop chains and has so far handled wet muddy conditions well.
If were to race in something like unbound I may think of a different drivetrain for sticky BS mud. But I honestly try to avoid riding in those conditions.
For context, all my MTBs are 1x and my dedicated road bike is 2x AXS.
I used to run something like this k-edge on my hardtail before 1x was a commercial thing and clutch derailers and narrow wide chainrings existed. I can’t find the exact one anymore, but mine had a thin plastic band clamp (instead of aluminum) so the seat post didn’t have to be round. Just for dropping to the inside obviously.
I have had this happen twice on a 2x setup. The first time I had to get my frame repaired and just about killed me. The 2nd time almost gave me a DNF and scratched the heck out of my bb paint job.
If I would have just dropped the chain in both cases I would have been better off because I could have just put the chain back on and for the life of me I can think of a time when the chain catcher actually did anything as I never had issues on 2x setups on bikes without a catcher.
Just to add my anecdata: in the past 4, 5 years I have 2 chain drops/stuck chains on a Shimano 2x setup and one on a SRAM 1x setup.
The two 2x incidents were much more serious because they happened during a race in the pouring rain on a descent in the group at 60–70 km/h without apparent cause. My crank just seized. That was not pleasant and I hope my competitors didn’t think of me as a moron who suddenly slowed down for no apparent reason.
It need not even be muddy, just rainy. I had to reapply grease to my mountain bike chain during rides more than once. In these conditions, drivetrain efficiency discussions become largely academic and not having any lubricant left is probably a much more significant factor.
Well, I don’t think you’re post highlights that my assertions are correct or incorrect…but instead highlights that some riders just don’t care about loosing 6W to their drive train…or 8 watts to their tire setup…or 4 watts to their helmet selection…or 5 watts because they don’t shave their legs…holy crap, how many watts is that??
And some riders do care about that. That’s the real dividing line that you are setting down.
If you look at that 53x15 gear ratio (~3.5) the 53 chainring is about 4W better than the 48x14 or 39x11. Do you want that 4W or not? It’s free. Grab it. Now for some free info not found in this chart: if you are using a narrow/wide chainring the gap is larger. And for some super-secret inside info that you probably don’t know unless you paid for Jason’s original data…it’s taken at a given work rate. If you’re work rate is different, the difference may be more than what is shown on this graph!
Last year I bought a 1x 3T Strada. I live south east of London, so I can either ride flat (typically out to the west) or rolling + short steep hills if I go south / south east. Having played around with the front chain ring a bit, I have found that a 42 combined with an 11 - 36 give me pretty much the climbing gear of a 2x compact set up with an 11-28 on the back, plus I can easily hold a wheel on the flat in group rides (i.e. I don’t spin out). For my purposes - I don’t race, I don’t wear an aero helmet on every ride, I don’t try to optimise every single watt, but I do like long endurance rides - the bike and the gearing is spot on. What I might theoretically lose in ‘cross chain’ efficiency is more than compensated for by the simplicity of the system. Equally, I’m of an age where a watt or two is neither here nor there, plus I could do with shedding a couple of KGs
I wouldn’t want to ride the bike on loooong Alpine climbs, or if I did, I’d want to either run a bigger cassette and / or a smaller chainring, and I wouldn’t want to try to Everest on it, but as a machine for fast group or solo rides across rolling terrain, it’s a revaluation. I rode 160km on it with a mate last Sunday, he was on a current model Cervelo S5 - the only thing really holding either of us back was the heat and a distinct lack of talent!
Oh, and probably the most important thing, I love how it looks - so much cleaner than my mate’s S5
The Strava is a special bike, isn’t it? I have one, too. I instantly fell in love when it was announced and when I had the chance to test ride it, I knew it was something special.
My gearing is identical, save for the extra 10-tooth cog. I have done long, sustained alpine ascents, think 1:30 hours of climbing, fast group rides, race simulations and crit races. If I predominantly did alpine climbs, I’d get a 10–44 cassette and/or a smaller chainring.