drivetrain compatibility?

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  • #221930

    Hi all,

    I’m looking to convert my 2006 Giant Anthem (3×9) to a 1x. The frame is 2006, but the wheels are 2001 Mavic UST 26″. The drivetrain is Deore XT and SLX that I actually replaced about 2-3 years ago. I’ve been reading about the options to go 1x, but I still have lots of questions relating to the specifics of compatibility. Due to the age of my bike and mixed parts I’m wondering how to not end up buying parts that won’t fit (and then having to return them.)

    1) 1×11 would be nice, but i understand some older wheels only support 1×10. How do I determine what I will work?
    2) i hear clutch deraileurs are the best, but how do i tell if the one i just put on 2 years ago is clutch style or not?
    3) also, if my deraileur is a clutch style could it handle a cassette with 10 or 11 cogs?
    4) does a clutch style deraileur require a matching shifter?
    5) if i go 1×9 and just leave the old cassette/deraileur on, will a 9-speed chain be sloppy on a new narrow/wide chainring?

    Thanks for your help.

    #221938

    Bunch of questions, but I’ll take them in order:

    1) 1×11 would be nice, but i understand some older wheels only support 1×10. How do I determine what I will work?

    Your 9speed freehub is a Shimano/SRAM type, not the “XD” type, so you’ll be looking at Shimano 10/11 or SRAM NX cassettes, if they’ll fit.  Usually there’s a spacer on the freehub that you’ll need for switching from 9=>10 speed cassettes, if that’s a removable spacer, you can usually change to 10 (or Shimano 11) speed.  If not…9speed it is.
    2) i hear clutch deraileurs are the best, but how do i tell if the one i just put on 2 years ago is clutch style or not?

    I’m not aware of any clutch 9speed derailleurs.  Its unlikely yours has a clutch.
    3) also, if my deraileur is a clutch style could it handle a cassette with 10 or 11 cogs?

    You’ll need to change your shifter and derailleur to change from 9=>10 or 11 speeds in addition to your cassette.
    4) does a clutch style deraileur require a matching shifter?

    Not as such, but since all derailleur’s with a clutch are likely to be 10 or 11 speed, you’ll need a new shifter.
    5) if i go 1×9 and just leave the old cassette/deraileur on, will a 9-speed chain be sloppy on a new narrow/wide chainring?

    I’ve run 10speed chains on 9speed systems without issue.  You couldn’t get away going the other direction with a 10speed cassette (using a 9speed chain) because of clearance issues, but if you use a 1x ring up front, it should be fine with a 9speed chain (since there’s no crowding of higher or lower chainrings to interfere with the chain’s outer dimension).

    That said, one of the draw’s of a 1x drivetrain is the wider range rear cassette (with cogs as big as 46 or more teeth) giving you back some of your low end gearing.  Lots of people do run 1×9, but you’ll likely want to go much smaller on your front chainring, which may interfere with your suspension performance (anything smaller than a 30-32 front ring can be problematic), or even have clearance issues with the frame itself in some configurations.  Also, smaller than a 30t front ring won’t often fit on 3x cranks in the middle position which will support your best chainline.

    If you can put a 10/11 speed cassette on your wheel, and you’re set on killing the front derailleur, I’d suggest looking into the 4pc (derailleur, shifter, chain, cassette) Shimano drivetrain kits you’ll see on ebay/chainreaction/etc and picking a narrow/wide ring that will fit your crank BCD (if it’s Shimano, the middle ring is probably 104mm, but best to measure it to be sure).  This will get you a nice 11-42 or 11-46 rear gear range and let you stick with a 32(ish) tooth chainring on the front which will put you right in the “sweet spot” for a 1×11 setup for typical riding areas.

    Your other 1x option is to stick with the 1×9, figure out the right front ring (30t as the smallest I’d suggest) size and work those legs.

     

    #221990

    Hi b0bg,

    Thanks for taking the time to tackle each question. Much appreciated.

    Yes, part of me wants to have that 1×11 range, but the other part of me figures that just switching to a NW chainring will solve my chain dropping problem that this bike is plagued with. So if I can do that on the cheap I might start with 1×9 and see if my legs can take the punishment.

    The bike is kind of old (although i put a new SID fork on it 2 years ago also), but its got some life and my only real gripe is the constant chain dropping. Its driving me nuts.

    Thanks again for all the details. That really cleared up a lot of gray areas for me.
    Cheers!

    #222006

    The narrow wide will help with dropping chains to an extent, but that switch alone may not eliminate the problem entirely. If you’re still dropping chains with a n/w ring, there are a couple things you can do. One would be to add a small top chainguide, which you can find from e13 or MRP. Another option would be to switch to a SRAM rear derailleur since their 9 speed derailleurs have a stronger spring than the Shimano versions. Unfortunately, you’d have to buy a shifter as well since the SRAM and Shimano shifters are not cross compatible. I bet you could find a used shifter and derailleur for next to nothing though.

    #222018

    Thanks, Aaron.

    That is good to know. I guess I can start cheap and see if changing the deraileur becomes necessary. Would love to avoid a chain guide. They just look clunky. But I would take that over dropping my chain constantly.

    #222053

    You’re welcome. You’d really only need a top chainguide, not a full guide with a roller and everything. The top guides are pretty minimal and not too ugly. I usually run one on my trail bike with a 1×11 drivetrain just for the added insurance against dropped chains.

    #222070

    I did the same with 2 bikes both being 2006 Santa Cruz Hecklers. I would do as others have suggested and replace the whole thing, cassette, chain, chain ring, derailleur and shifter, which is what I did.  I also went with NW chain ring and clutch derailleur and to be honest I usually leave the clutch off and haven’t dropped a chain. But I could just be lucky with that one, its best to have the clutch.

    I was worried about the cassette not fitting with one of the bikes due to the 2006 hope hubs but it was fine. The other bike I turned into a 27.5 with modern hubs so no worries there….

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