1 by or 2 by?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum 1 by or 2 by?

Viewing 23 reply threads
  • Author
    • #210051

      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

    • #210052

      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.

      • #210057

        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.

    • #210056

      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.

    • #210063

      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.

    • #210064

      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.


    • #210066

      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.

    • #210067

      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.

    • #210076

      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.

    • #210095

      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).

    • #210096

      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.

    • #210098

      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.

    • #210114

      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.

    • #210266

      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…..!

    • #210388

      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.

    • #210393

      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.

    • #210453

      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.

    • #210455

      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.


    • #210456

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


    • #210470

      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.

    • #210475

      If you are getting the latest Giant Reign it’s geometry – head angle, seat angle, reach and 42-mm fork offset – can make climbing a chore. I have Reign 1×11. I tried this for three months and found it tiring, simply put, insufficient gears. I changed to 2×11 and found the climbs much easier. In fact, I used to pass lots of people struggling or resting with 1×11 set ups.

      That said, you might be super, super fit and it not bother you. My other bike is 1×11 and it is much easier on the climbs due to more suitable geometry for me.

      Tubeless is the way to go.

    • #210572

      Having come from an old Liquid 20 with a 3×9, I have been wishing for the day to get rid of the front derailleur and just go 1x.  If you ask me, it is a fallicy saying you get more gear ratio’s with a 2x.  Your picking up maybe two or three extra gears.  Sure you have 20 possible in a 2×10, but the vast majority of them are overlapping gears from the other cog size.  ie, if you have a 22 and 32 front, the ratio of mechanical advantage might cover from 1.2 – 3.8 for the 22 tooth cog, and from 2.2 to 4.6 on the 32 tooth cog.

      This means that with the smaller 22 tooth gear cog, it’s only the first two or three gears of the rear cassette that give you a mechanical advantage that is below the range you are getting with the larger 32 tooth gear cog.  All the other gear choices are already covered.

      The choice really comes down to what sort of riding that you do.  If you are someone who rides in diverse conditions such as really hilly trails where low gear range is wanted and flat street roads where higher speed would be liked, then going with a 2x or 3x system is likely preferable.

      On my Trek Liquid 20, it has a 3×9 with a mechanical advantage ranging from 1.3 all the way up to 6.6.  Now I am moving over to an Anthem 1 bike with larger wheels but has a 1×11 group on it.  I have looked at how I ride on my Trek and know off the top that I will need to change the front crankset gear to at least 34 tooth and see if I can get an aftermarket 36 tooth that is reasonable.  I have analyzed my current setup and know that I will never need the ultra low that the 38 and 46 tooth rear cassette gears offer with the standard 32 tooth crankset that comes standard with the bike.  It makes no sense to keep that gear cog.  I will be loosing too much on the top speed end, and gaining nothing on the slow speed as it is just too low a gear range for me to use.

      The choice of what is better for you can be calculated and enumerated if currently have a bike and just look at what gears you use and calculate the mechanical advantage from those.

    • #210592

      Its all about the range you need taking into account your fitness level, your hills (up and down), and your surface (trail or road/trail).

      1X tubeless here.  29er 30T front, 10sp 11-36 rear.  You want to have end gear ratios that you only rarely use.  For me, I occasionally am on downhill pavement where I might turn the 11.  Similarly, its also rare that I bail into my 36.  That might happen on an unfamiliar trail with an overly steep incline I’m completely unprepared for.

      95% of the time I use a whole (3) cogs.  4% I get into 4-5 more.  And that last <1% is my 11 or 36 cog.   Admittedly, its often getting to know yourself and used to the regular trails you ride.

      1X also allows you to run a narrow-wide front.  With a clutch rear derailleur, chain drops should virtually disappear.  That alone can be a big enough benefit to go 1X.  I used to get 3-4 drops a season.  Since switching to a NW, I’ve had 1 drop in 3 years.

      You also get to run a shorter cage RD with a 1X so you gain clearance (and reduce your risk of a nasty incident) on the rear.

      Tubeless can be a pain to initially setup and you need to inject fresh sealant every 1-3 months.

      Its a minor inconvenience though and the extra traction via lower pressure is just fantastic.  The sealing properties and lighter weight are just extra niceties.



    • #218285

      I replied to this a while ago, but it occurred to me just now that no one (no one I’ve seen anyway) has mentioned the additional un-sprung weight that a larger cassette adds to the rear wheel.

      1x systems ARE as good or better than 2x and 3x systems.  If they weren’t the pros would not be using them.  But what’s best for a pro isn’t always what’s best for a more casual rider who isn’t in pro-level shape.  I am not at all embarrassed to admit that I fall into the latter category.

      That said, and I assume the bike manufacturers have considered this, adding mass below the suspension (i.e. anywhere on the wheel itself) has negative effects.  Will 1 or 2 more sprockets on the cassette add enough weight that it makes a significant impact?  On the high-end cassettes made from expensive materials, definitely not.  On the lower-end cassettes made from steel, possibly.  Would it ever be enough of a difference that an amateur would notice?  I think it could.

      I run tubes, but people RAVE about how much lighter the bike feels and how much sharper it handles after going tubeless.  Now pretend you’re comparing the weights of 2 cassettes – one with a 1×12 setup, and one a 3×7 setup.  Assuming both cassettes are the same material, the one with more gears is going to weigh more.  The front chainring on the 3×7 is heavier than the 1×12, but that weight has a reduced impact on handling (on a full-suspension bike) because it’s above the suspension rather than ‘below’ it.  the chainring mass is no different than adding a slightly heavier rider, whereas the cassette mass is rotational weight that the suspension now has to move to work.

      IF people are really being honest about feeling a difference between the few grams saved from losing their rear tube, then 5 additional rear gears would be at least as much mass, albeit not as far from the point of rotation.

    • #218405

      I suppose I’m the odd one here.  I went from 2×10 to 1×10 and hated it and went back to 2×10.  I love to spin and I instantly missed that on some trails I ride in North Georgia. This past weekend I rode 9 miles with 2000′ elevation gain.  I would have been hiking a bike for sure without my 2×10 gearing.

      The minor weight saved, if any, doesn’t matter to me and I honestly couldn’t tell.

      In regards to cluttered cockpit.  I don’t really get this one either but to each their own.

      At the end of the day do what make you feel the most comfortable riding and forget the latest trend.

Viewing 23 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.