1 by or 2 by?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum 1 by or 2 by?


This topic contains 24 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  csharp1171 1 year ago.

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    Hey peeps.

    i have recently got back in to offroad riding after a 9 year layoff. I have noticed a sizeable change in bike design in that time so after a fewvmonths of riding my 2007 Giant Reign 2 i found a newer spec reign 2 in my budget and grabbed it. So while i wait for it to arrive i have some questions that you fine folk might help me with. 1.Gearing…….i see modern bikes are running 1 x 11. Could i get away with just ditching my front derailer and running 1 x 10? (trying to keep the cost down so not having to get a new cassette and possibly rear mech,just getting a narrow/wide front chainring). My local trails involve quite a bit of climbing so maybe 11 would suit that?  2.Tubeless………is there much of a gain with this system? If there is a puncture while out riding are they easily fix?


    Any help will be greatly appreciated. Cheers


    It’s really dependent on where you ride and your ability. I got to imagine 1 x 10 would work unless the climbing is really insane. I have a 2 x 8 (the bike came that way) and I never use the small gear so I’m basically running a 1 x 8 with moderate climbs. Front derailleurs are nothing but misery for me so just getting rid of it by converting to a 1x would be worth it in my opinion.

    As for tubeless, I’m a recent convert and I don’t know if it’s radically better. It’s definitely a step up and if you have the means to convert I’d say go for it. I noticed less rolling resistance and better traction with lower pressure but I don’t think running tubes is that bad either. If you have the means to go tubeless, go for it. If you have other upgrades in mind (suspension, drive train components) I’d probably go there first and look into a tubeless setup later. With a deep puncture that doesn’t seal, you probably could pop a spare tube in. Just make sure you have a tube, levers, and CO2 or pump with you.


    I run tubeless. Rarely flat. I carry tube & pump just in case. Putting the tube in out on the trail is just as easy as replacing a flat tube (but a little messier). Running 2×10 adds relatively little weight, vastly improves the gear range, and can frequently allow a straighter chain-line for the desired gear ratio (hence more efficient, less wear, less stress, less likely to break due to cross-chaining). I am still running 3×10; and it works fine.


    Thanks for the replies fellas. The reasoning behind ditching the front derailleur is more aimed at simplifying the handlebar set up as looking at bikes with 2/3 by and droppers along with speedo’s etc(not my thing really) the handlebars looked like mess with cables everywhere lol. The comment about straighter chain with the 2 by less wear makes good sense.


    I ditched my front on a 3×9 and am running 1×9 with a wide ratio 11-40 cassette with a 32t chain ring. I have no problem with it. Very seldom use 1st or 9th. With a 10 speed you could easily go 11-42 with a or even 11-44.  My riding partner is running 2×10 with no front derailleur and just switches by hand depending on the trails each day.


    Depends on your fitness. Maybe borrow a bike with one and ride it thru your usual trail, and if you think you’ll be ok with a 1x, then you will be. It doesn’t hurt to keep your 2x, since as you said, your just starting.

    And go tubeless.



    You might consider buying the Sunrace 11-42 cassette, Goatlink, and 30t narrow-wide chainring. I like this setup better than the 2x my bike came with. I also like tubeless better than tubes. I like the lower pressures.


    No expert here, but speaking as a dude who just bought his first modern MTB after 20 years:

    Based on your previous Giant Reign, and that you’re looking to run a dropper post, it sounds like you’re looking to build up a fun trail or enduro bike.  For that purpose, saving some money, weight, and handlebar space for your dropper and suspension controls could be a good tradeoff with the 1x.  Then, select the range of (probably 11 speed) cassette that fits your local topography.  Try to get the narrow/wide chainrings to optimize chain retention (great for descents).  Efficiency in terms of gear jumps is not a huge concern, because if you are racing, you’re probably expecting to do more enduro events.

    I’m enjoying my 2×11 on a XC race setup.  I rarely need the big ring on trails, although it does come in handy chasing down my faster friends on descents.  Where its really helpful is keeping the gear jumps small so I can select a more efficient cadence.  The big ring is also great for riding on the road to the trailhead.  If I come across roadies on the way I can *just* hang with them in my top gear.  Coming from a road racing background, front shifting is second nature and usually doesn’t create mechanical problems or distractions for me.

    These distinctions become more or less important depending on the amount of elevation and grade on your local trails.


    I went wide range 1×10 from 2×10.  The 24t small chainring was exceptionally low and good for climbing on the 2x crank, but I decided to shed a bit of weight on my bike and go 1x with the Raceface N/W 30t up front with my Sunrace wide range 11-40 out back.  I do miss that 24t at times, but I believe I am a stronger rider for going 1x.  I lost that super low granny, but most climbs I ride are manageable with the 1x.   As far as tubeless goes, I didn’t see any noticeable improvement.  It was the LAST upgrade I made.


    1x – If you ride a lot of roads/paved trails I could see wanting the larger range of a 2x system. If you’re almost all dedicated trails I think you’ll be fine with a 1x. You can get a smaller chainring if you’re struggling with the hills or give it a few weeks and you’ll get stronger/acclimated to not having the granny chainring and start making the climbs. I think the biggest benefit to running a 1x is the ability to have your dropper lever where the front derailleur shifter was. It is such a natural movement that using the dropper becomes second nature!

    Tubeless – If you have a lot of thorns where you ride it’s a life saver. I’ve ran over prickly pear cacti before and it sealed right up. Aside from that, I like tubeless because of the increased traction/less worry about getting pinch flats (square rocks suck).


    AJ about using a goatlink,,, it depends on your derailleur, I bought a goatlink thinking I needed one when I went wide ratio, and found I needed a roadlink instead. Either way I love the wide ratio.


    Coot,  If you miss your granny an 11-44 wide ratio cassette would be the thing.. It would be gears 10 to 3 about the same as they are now, with 2 being half way between 1 and 2 now and 1 would be your granny gear again.


    I took the front derauiller off my old bike and ran it as a 1 x 10 and was fine, I bet you will be too. I just left the old big chainring on there as a bash guard too : ) I don’t think the 1 x system really matters that much for most riders at most places in terms of gearing, I rarely use the 11th gear on my newer bike that is a 1×11 (just on really steep bits, that don’t exist at a lot of riding locations….but it does make for a much nicer placement of the dropper lever where the front derailleur lever normally goes.

    Tubeless is critical. I got flats probably 1 out of 3 rides before tubeless, both from thorns, and from pinch flats. If you are just getting back into riding, then as you progress and start riding faster…you will start getting pinch flats. The only way to avoid this with tubed tires is to inflate them to high pressures that make corning more challenging because your tires won’t deform properly to maintain contact with the ground. If you dont see yourself going fast, or riding where there are thorns, than tubed wheels would probably suffice.


    I was just having this discussion yesterday. I bought a new FS rig and am now converting my hard tail into a pump track/ jumper. I’m leaning 1x on it and 2x on my XC. My first build so I’m researching. You guys have all made great points. I cant speak to the drivetrain question but as far as tires I am converting to tubeless. I want to do it to run lower pressure as I run many “soft” trails and loose rocky trails around here. I also don’t want to have to worry about tube issues. I will keep a spare tube and pump with me though just in case.


    Just went 1 by a couple of weeks ago! Don’t think i’ll be going back!! But ya gotta be able to ride with a higher gear ratio…..!


    Everything is a trade-off.  Lots of good points have been made here.  Ultimately, I don’t think you’ll know until you try.

    I’ve never run a 1x, so I won’t speak ill of them.  with that said, I don’t see a need to upgrade to a 1x system either…  I currently have a 2×10, and I do drop onto the granny ring for steep climbs.  I’m also pretty new to mountain biking though, so as my strength improves, the granny ring may become a waste.

    Swapping gears is really common in motorcycle racing.  I’m used to messing around with different ratios a lot before finding the one that had the fewest drawbacks.  You may end up doing the same for your local trail(s).  Finding the right sized front cog to make the cassette range ideal is definitely more convenient than having to switch from 8th/9th/10th on the granny ring, and 3rd/4th/5th on the larger ring – and that does tend to happen on my 2×10 setup at times.


    My riding buddy, who has been serious for a long time, still have both front rings of his 2×10 but no front derailleur. He swaps the front by hand depending on the trails to be ridden that day. Or sometimes stops along the way and switches.


    I personally run my mountain bikes 1x for a couple reasons:

    1. Simpler
    2. Lighter
    3. Cleans up the cockpit

    As many have mentioned, there are benefits to running a 2x system, but maybe even more so on a bike like the Reign. You’ll have a really easy gear for hauling that big bike up a hill, which especially nice at the end of a long day. One thing that no one has mentioned yet though, is a 2x can improve your suspension performance.

    Let’s say you’re cranking up a technical climb with a 1x drivetrain and you’re in your easiest gear. Since the chain is maxed out, it’s going to prevent your rear shock from being as active as it would be in an easier gear on a 2x. That can lead to a loss of traction or lots of suspension feedback through the pedals when you’re muscling up over roots and ledges in particular.

    Even considering that, I still choose 1x. Like @rk97 said, everything is a tradeoff.


    I don’t see how running 1×10 30 front on a 40 low gear rear would cause more feed back than 2×10 and being on a 24 small ring and on the 32 rear. Same gear ratio, same torque feedback as far as I can tell.



    It’s about the length of chain available, not the gear ratio. It also depends on the specific suspension platform. Some reading for you:



    The video seems to show that the 100% anti squat area around the crank would encompass any of the three 3x chain rings, and so a 1x would be just fine.

    DW’s write up mentions that the chain angle going to a lower front gear helps the AS,, but the angle on a 30-40 front to rear has more angle than the same gear ratio 24-32 front to rear. So I am still not seeing it.   Do you have any other sites that explain it further?


    I have looked at art’s cyclery and he has graphs showing the different anti-squat for different front chain rings at different suspension travel, but the all use the same rear cassette size instead of comparing similar gear ratios.

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