Summer project: 1x conversion of my wife's commuter

My wife inherited a Cube commuter bike from my mom that is in really good nick. I doubt my mom used it much. The bike is a bit older, maybe 12–15 years, but is solid. It sports a fork with a mechanical spring (= no maintenance), it has hydraulic rim brakes (Magura HS11), and I replaced tires, brake pads (they clip into place :slightly_smiling_face:) and pedals.

However, my wife being new to cycling (she learnt how to ride a bike when she was in her mid-30s), she really struggles with the front derailleur: it is not clear to her when she should shift, she misshifts because the trigger shifters for both derailleurs work opposite ways and she struggles shifting up in the front. Hence, I was thinking of doing a 1x conversion on a budget. I have done one before with my brother on his old mountain bike with a 3x9-speed XT drivetrain.

Currently, she has a 3x9 Deore LX setup and I thought about replacing it with a 1x11 setup. Ideally, I want to fit a 11–46 cassette (at least 11–42 cassette) with something like a 30- or 32-tooth chainring. I have no problem scouring for parts on ebay. We have relocated to Austria this month, and even though the area where we live is quite flat, my wife isn’t super strong on the bike (yet) and she might have to pull a trailer with our kids in tow in the near future.

Before I do, though, I’d like to make sure the parts are compatible, e. g.

  • Is her rear hub compatible with 11-speed cassettes? How do I find out?
  • Will I need to get a new crank? If so, what are my options here? If I need a new crank, will I need a new BB, too?
  • When we did the 1x conversion with my brother’s mountain bike, we ordered a 1x chainring and used the right spacers. (Although, the chainring was made from aluminum, and I am not sure how durable it is.)

My current thoughts are looking for something like used 11-speed Deore SLX or XT drivetrains on ebay. But I am open to suggestions. I’d like something simple and reliable. The bike would be her primary mode of transportation. It should be on a reasonable budget, because otherwise, it would make more financial sense to just get a new bike — which seems unnecessary, given the great state the bike is in.

PS I realize it is a bit of a pity to take off components that are in perfect mechanical working order.

Shimano widened the freehub body slightly when they went from 9/10 to 11 speed, so most standard 11 speed cassettes won’t fit.
Alternatives are:

  1. grind a couple of millimeters off the backside of an 11 speed cassette’s/carrier’s ribs, so it can move inward enough for the locking to engage;

  2. purchase an aftermarket/non-OEM cassette where this has already been done; and/or

  3. use one of Shimamo’s cassettes where the largest cog(s) are dished inward towards the spikes, thus allowing 11 cogs to fit on a 9/10 carrier.

I’m working from memory here and generally only deal with road stuff, so can’t provide any more details than the above. The only thing I can state with absolutely certainty is that 11 is wider than 9/10 (as I have had to deal with that issue with our own multiple bikes).

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Did that on my commuter MTB, which had a similar drivetrain.

First thing, you could just leave it as it is - put in middle chain ring, don’t shift unless running out of gears. Has the bike 26 inch wheels? In which case, going 1x might end up with pretty small gears, unless you manage to fit a biggish chainring.

If you do convert - the hub is likely to fit 10 speed, but not 11. Easiest way to find out is to try. That being said, some 11-speed Shimano MTB cassettes fit on 10 speed hubs. As you want a big cassette anyway, I’d look for those.

You likely can reuse the cranks. Just measure the bolt circle to find out what chainring fits. Regarding chainring - a 1x chainring will sit about where the middle chainring is now. You might not be able to fit more than 32t or so, because of the chainstays. You’ll most likely need new chainring bolts, or spacers for the existing ones.

Then you need a new shifter, but MTB-type shifters are pretty cheap.

I’d also get a rear mech with a clutch, it’ll help keep the chain on.


The 10-s road HG freehub can accept the MTB style 11-s cassettes Iike the 11-42 and 11-46 that he mentioned.

Those cassettes are the MTB width that fits on the 10-s freehub and hang the new lower gear over the hub flange.

Indeed, 11 speed MTB cassette fits onto 10 speed HG freehub. The largest one or several sprockets do not consume any space on the freehub. They are fixed together, forming a cluster. Up to the sprocket which is actually mounted on the freehub. These attachment sprockets are in a way “hoovers” over the spokes.


Just to verify: does this 9-speed cassette use the same freebie body?

Yes, the regular old HG is for 8, 9 and 10s road standard cassettes. The 11s MTB are the same width.

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So the only question concerns the crank: Shimano has a nasty habit of adding tabs and cutouts to make sure drivetrain components are not as compatible as they could be. What is my best option here?

Plus, I saw that a 12-speed Deore kit costs 160 €, so that might be an option, too. (Obviously with an 11–50/51 cassette.) any thoughts?

It might also be worth looking at Microshift, they do wide range 8, 9 and 10 speed 1x mtb drivetrains.


Yes, that’s what we did on my brother‘s old MTB. Any brands that I should keep an eye on? 32 teeth will be plenty, I might even opt for 30.

The bike fortunately already has 28“/700c wheels, which greatly expands tire choice. (I went for Vittoria Terreno Dry in 38 mm, which worked great on the 50 km tour we did yesterday.)

Honestly, I just bought a cheapish 1x narrow-wide ring off ebay. Think the brand is “snail”. Its done two years of daily (but short) commutes in all weather and is still absolutely fine.

My good bike gets Hope parts, inc chainring.