MTB frames still compatible with front derailleurs

2x? Man 3x or gtfo!

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Sure, you’re right that the stock chain ring size with a well-designed frame (and a decent shock) will provide a pretty good climbing experience for most average riders. And I guess swapping out a 30T ring for a 28T does not significantly change that. But there are (admittedly more exceptional) cases of swapping out a 30T for, say, a 36-38T, which is quite a difference (though that’s obviously Nino Schurter territory, so it does not affect most of us mere mortals).
Be that as it may, there’s obviously a difference between a frame purposely designed for 1x (and a given chain ring size) and converting an old 2x-specific frame to 1x (which is one, though not the only, reason I have not been tempted by the conversion myself). With all its flaws, my Stumpy was designed to work well (at least in my experience) with climbing in the small chain ring. I only use the Climb mode on the Fox shock on tarmac sections, if at all. But there is definitely more bobbing when pedaling in the 36T chain ring (unless I flick the shock into Climb). For any extended and sustained steeper climbs, however, I never use the large chain ring, only the 22T one (and the lower main pivot is well positioned for that). Btw, I have the Brain-less Fox (thankfully, as I have never liked the Brain and I don’t race, so climbing speed is not an important consideration for me). And sure, the Stumpy does not climb like a goat (let alone a gazelle), but it’s not bad at all for leisure riding. I have climbed 5-600 altitude meters in a single stretch on 10+% inclines w/o problems. I may not have been competitively fast but did not really get tired either. The seat angle is not an issue for me, luckily, because I’m of average height with relatively shorter legs, so at my saddle height my weight is not so far back (I also use an zero offset dropper post instead of the 20mm-offset OEM one, and I adjust my saddle according to pedaling dynamics efficiency. In fact, I’m less happy, at least for my kind of riding, with the new trend towards really steep seat tube angles (I mean extreme examples such as the Pole bikes), but that’s a whole different can of worms I should not open up here :grinning:

On top of what’s already been said, I must say I absolutely don’t miss the chain suck from 3X mtb drivetrains that tortured me for nearly two decades.

I took the chain guide off my Santa Cruz Nomad (4th gen) and raced downhill with it for a whole season. Never dropped a chain.


It is about relative differences. Most 1x mountain bikes are designed around a 32-tooth chain ring as far as I understand. On my triple full-sus bike, I have a 42/32/24 setup, so the difference between largest and smallest chain ring is 1.75x. On yours 1.64x. The difference between a 32- and a 28-tooth chain ring is 1.14x. Similarly, going from 32 to 36 teeth is a difference of 12.5 %. Even going from 32 to 38 teeth (which AFAIK is the max for most mountain bike frames) is a difference of 19 % — again, much, much smaller than the difference on a double or triple.

Stupid question: have you ridden a modern full-sus bike, e. g. a rental? Two years ago, I rented a 2016is Pivot trail bike with 130 mm. The Pivot was better at XC than my XC fully even though it was a trail bike. I could leave the suspension open or semi open for the entirety of the ascent (about 2 hours in total with very rocky and technical bits). Yet it was plush when it needed to. XC bikes have become a lot more capable, too. You can say 10 times “Yeah, my current bike is enough.” And I hear you. My mountain bike is 9 years old (and is in dire need of replacement). But you asked for advice on a new bike. And rather than getting a bike that “replicates” your old bike (2x, traditional geometry), why not look towards the advancements that were made?

I just want to apologize about my TR friends here who seemed to think that you said “convince me 1X is better than 2X”.

It’s kind of you to not mention the poor chainline, poor efficiency, and probably poor lifespan of riding big gears in a 1X system Riding the road to the trails really highlights some of these issues, as you know.

Unfortunately, I can’t help with your question but I’m looking forward to the answers because I’ve been wondering too.


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I do not miss the chain suck and chain noise!

Can’t help you with finding a 2x designed MTB sorry op. I think there’s been enough posts as to why they aren’t a popular option anymore, but hopefully you can keep your preferred setup running while you search.

A friend of mine has one of these. Shimano 2x11.
Not exactly a new bike. Still the same frame as the current Spark as far as I can tell.

Spot on! :wink:
In fact, my original question was exactly about the availability of frames that still accommodate a FD. And not just full suspension but hardtails too (where the whole issue of pedal bob etc. is irrelevant). But I recognize that such frames are (were?) a rapidly disappearing niche market (it’s a bit like smartphones these days: you can get any size as long as you don’t need a compact and are happy with 6" screens).
The upside of it is that I hopefully won’t need a new frame for at least another year (not that frames/bikes are readily available for ordering these days :grinning: )

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Thanks for the reminder. The cheaper HMF carbon Sparks did indeed have a removable FD mount. I’m not sure the latest models still have it even though the frame has not seemingly changed much since 2017 (due for a facelift, I guess).

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Do you know new mountain bikes on sale today that have a front derailleur? I don’t.

(This isn’t like with gravel bikes where going 1x or 2x is a matter of personal preference, the entire market has decided some years ago to go 1x exclusively.)

Well, wouldn’t the right thing be to not reply if you don’t have an answer to the OPS questions instead of trying to convince him you are right?

I personally think the apogee of MTB design in most respects was the late 1990s but you don’t see me droning on about it.


Typically, I’d agree.
But if the answer is that to the best of everyone’s knowledge, there are no (new) mountain bikes on sale with 2x and why, then I think this is helpful.



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Definitely helpful…and kinda sad too :frowning:

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Liteville still makes (superb) MTB’s compatible with FDs. But they are not cheap, of course, and I’m not sure if they have North American distribution if anyone from there is interested. Another (less boutique-y, but still decent) small German brand, Maxx also has some models available. I’m still trying to figure out if some of the new Scott Sparks mentioned by Rosscopeco accommodate the modular FD mount (which is still sold for peanuts online).

Exactly. This is why I went back to rim brakes on my MTB as well, discs are so much heavier and rub all the time and fluid can contaminate the rotors if I don’t maintain them. Terrible design

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This is slightly off-topic, but I’m perfectly happy with my Shimano disc brakes (MTB and Cyclocross bikes). Had some issues with Maguras on my wife’s MTB, Shimanos have served me right for a decade.
Love my rim brake road bike though

No clue on the Spark.

Giant still sells alloy frames with the front derailleur mount. No build kits using 2x though. Alloy only has it, from pictures, for the high direct mount front derailleur. No clue on cable routing, but would assume it’s there somewhere. The frames to look at would be the Trance 29 and the Anthem 29.

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I’m pretty sure that 2017-18 was the last year they made frames with FD mounts on the current Spark frame. Everything seems to be 1x12 these days.
See pic. You’d be able to see the mounting holes pretty easily.

2nd hand bike? Probably a whole lot cheaper than the current new market.
The latest pricing is insane.

Wait….are you serious here or mocking me? I can’t tell.