Might have already been mentioned but Josh Poertner covers the 1x vs 2x debate on most recent Marginal Gains pod. TLDR: 2x for all but the flattest courses. RIP my 1x Aspero.
I went with a 46t chainring. Got 11-40 in back. Works well enough for me, keeps me pretty much mid cassette. I don’t have a lot in the way of hills though.
40:11 = 3.64 is a very different gear than 40:10 = 4.00 > 50:13 = 3.85 or 42:10 = 4.20 ≈ 50:12. Sounds like you were undergeared to me and you should have opted for a larger chainring and different cassette
Oh for sure - not ideal gearing at all. I still don’t think it’s wise from an efficiency standpoint to be spending a significant amount of time in your 3 smallest cogs which could still be the for a lot of folks using 40 or 42t rings even with 10t cogs. You’ll be using that 11 and 12 way too much.
Not in my experience, although it depends somewhat on your self-selected cadence at speed. I am using them about as much as the 12- and 13-tooth cogs on my old 2x setup (50/34 coupled to a 11–32 cassette), i. e. not too often. On the flats with favorable winds I was/am typically in my 50:15 = 3.33 or 50:14 = 3.85/42:13 = 3.23 or 42:12 = 3.50 — at a cadence of 100 rpm (my self-selected cadence at high rotational inertia/speed) that is about 50 km/h. I’m usually not that fast — or at least not that fast for long. 35–40 km/h is much more common, and I am more towards the middle of the cassette at those speeds.
When I was on Shimano 2x, I couldn’t quantify this, with SRAM AXS eTap, I fortunately can. According to the data I rarely use my 11-tooth cog, it is one of the least-used cogs. The 10-tooth cog sees much more use, because that is my overdrive gear (i. e. when going downhill). The same was true on 2x, I’d only use 50:11 on downhills and avoid 50:12. Even on a compact chainset, harder gearing was rarely called for. I had a loaner with a 52:11 top gear and there are two, three descents where I could make use of that extra gear — and in one case not for long as I can exceed the speeds of basically any gear on that descent (I managed 86 km/h once, but don’t feel like I need to do that very often).
Ditto with climbing gears: gear-wise I could have made do with a 11–28 or 11–30 cassette, but stuck to the 11–32, because I liked to cross chain and use 50:28 on occasion.
Feeling-wise, it does feel a little different with the smaller chainring, but that is hard to quantify. When I got my 1x11 hardtail, it initially came with a 30-tooth chainring, and that did not feel great in 30:11. I got a Rotor 34-tooth Q-ring on sale (for 30 €!), and that works much better. Although I still feel like I spin out too easily. The solution is obvious: get a 12-speed groupset. But I’ll have to hold off on that for a little while, my minister of finance wouldn’t like me chucking a perfectly functional 1x11 XTR groupset.
I’ve been following this topic for a while now. And I think most of it comes down to “it depends”.
In my humble opinion when you live in an area with very steep climbs then maybe a 2x with a 11-32/50-34 would be better. In all other situations I would go 1x.
With a 12 or 13 speed and some good research about your cadence and power you can tackle everything with a 1x setup. You have the range and small steps required for flat, hills and even mountains. And drivetrain loss is relatively small with a clean (and waxed) chain (source: How Slow Are SRAM Chains and Other Drivetrain Efficiency Questions With Adam Kerin - YouTube).
And also as mentioned earlier, how much time do you spend in your 9/10/11 cogg? If you spend a lot of time there, you have the wrong gearing. The 80/20 rule applies here as well. 80% of the time you should spend somewhere in the middle of the cassette. The other 20% you should spent in the biggest or smallest cogs.
I use a 1x13 from Rotor with a 46 chainring and a 10-36 with a waxed Shimano XTR CN-M9100 12 speed chain for road as well as gravel. I live in an actuall somewhat hilly part of the Netherlands. And this combo is spot on for me (around 300watt ftp) for all the terrains I have nearby. For the flats at cruising speed (33kph) I sit spot on in the middle of my cassette (17 tooth cog). When going up or graveling I’m somewhere in my 19, 21, 24, 27 tooth cogs. Still a straight enough chainline.
And if I want to make it really exotic, I also have a 10-46 cassette when I go for some singletracks, Alps or very long gravel rides. For example Unbound 2023.
Where’s that then?
I know, it’s hard to believe… I live in the central/east side of the Netherlands. The city of Apeldoorn region… Appearently some glaciers during the last ice age stowed (is that word?) the earths crust upwards.
Yep, I’m a lower cadence rider - I like to be in the mid 80s when pushing on the flats at higher speeds so my preferred setup is 50/34 with an 11-32. My most common gears in this setup are right in the middle of the cassette according to the data from my etap.
VWA running 1x in MSR
… which must be why he “only” finished third. If he only had a second chainring …
SRAM. Couldnt afford a dropped chain with their atrocity of a Front Derailleur
And a 430wFTP helps eliminate equipment restrictions.
1x with a chain catcher…
If only WVA had read this thread first!!
Data point - first gravel race of the year for me today and I’d estimate 90% of the pointy end was on 1x and a surprising number running mullet eagle. Whether this is the result of bike industry conspiracy or it’s just a better system is certainly up for debate, but 1x has become the standard around here (central TX) for gravel racing. This was a rolling course, mix of smooth dirt, a little pavement, and lots of chunky gravel and without any steep or technical stuff (100k, ~3.5k of climbing).
BTW, it was an epic day for bike racing, perfect weather for this time of year. Another observation - gravel races are getting faster and faster every year as more of the strong roadies are doing them and pack/drafting dynamics are increasing. Winning speed of the race today was almost 22mph, 21mph last year, was only ~17-18mph back in 2018 and 2019 for this same race before gravel really started to explode. I wouldn’t attribute any of that speed increase to the move toward 1x drivetrains, but I also don’t think it’s slowing anyone down.
This take is way too balanced haha.
I do think you make a great point about the changing nature of those racing.