1×11 or 2×10 preference

Forums Mountain Bike Forum 1×11 or 2×10 preference

Viewing 26 reply threads
  • Author
    • #203750

      Interested in your views on using 1×11 or 2×10 gear set up.

      Been riding up to begining of last year mostly on a Rohloff 14 gear hub for 10 years (1×14). Had the opportunity to ride 1×11 in Sierra mtns in Spain and found the range not enough. That experience kinda convinced me to go for 2×10 on the bikes I have built along with a few other reasons:

      • the expense for what is a consumable item(s) (get 10sp cheap here)
      • Bikepacking and hill climbing
      • Drop to low gear instantly
      • chain line angle wear + pedal efficiency (very minor but every bit helps)


      • simplicity
      • cleaner frame less mud collection
      • lighter bike

      Never had a problem with a front mech’s maintenance (on my other ride to work bike riding grade 1 aggregate track = wet grinding particles). Closed cables + cable grommets.

      Had friends convert to 1×10 or get 1×11 a lot of whom have commented on their knees and or kept reducing ring size. There are a few hills and   mountains here in Scotland. A couple have reverted back 2x setup.

      The trend is definitely heading in a 1x setup direction for new bikes but I think it’s a little bit of marketing fashion thing which I’ll have to face up to but sticking with 2x for now. It is good to see now more and more 3rd party component manufacturers bringing out stuff to allow larger ranges with existing 10sp kit and 11sp reducing in price.

      Pivot bike 2×10 38 26T cassette 11-40t

      Bucksaw 2×10 36 22T cassette 11-40T


    • #203753

      I still have a 2X on my bike and I agree that the 1x has become a bandwagon thing. I do see benefits with using a 2X. To get some negatives out of the way first- I hate my front derailleur. It is a cheap piece of crap and I’d love to rip it off and never deal with one again. Maybe experience with a better quality component would change my opinion. Less weight and more handlebar space is also something to consider. However, I like the 2X. I live in Philly which is a pretty flat city. I also ride a lot of flat, open roads to get to single track. I appreciate the pedaling efficiency on the flat that I get from the second ring. The 2X offers me more range and is more appropriate for the way I ride. If I only took the bike on single track, specifically somewhere out west (in the US) maybe I’d prefer the 1x. For me though, 2X gearing has worked well.

    • #203754

      1×10. And 1×11. 1×12 if I could afford that blasted Eagle setup!

    • #203756

      I became a 1X convert before SRAM came out with the groups in ’12. I ran a 32t ring driving a 9-speed cassette (11-34) with an MRP chain guide holding it together on my old beater steel trail hard tail. This was always my “second or back up bike”, but I found there really wasn’t much of anything I couldn’t ride on it versus my full suspension bike at the time. I am by no means fast or a climbing ace, but I could tackle and make it through 95% of the climbing I had ever done before.

      When I changed over to a 27.5 bike in 2014 I immediately went with a 1X10 set up with a 42t cog hack from Wolf Tooth giving me an 11-42 spread. I have kept this drivetrain set up through now, swapping out all of the components a couple of times as dictated by wear, but that’s it. This set up (XO 10-speed shifter*, XO medium cage derailleur*, SRAM 1051 chain, Wolf Tooth 42t cog, Absolute Black/Wolf Tooth 32t Oval rings, and my old school Raceface bashguard*) has remained the most bulletproof drivetrain I’ve ever run in my nearly 30 years of mountain biking. I have never dropped a chain nor missed a shift. It is dead silent, simple to maintain and set up. I have been able climb anything I could on my 2X systems and even more so throughout the south east (VA, GA, NC, TN, SC) and on a long weekend in CO (all turns earned save a couple of days in bike parks). I love simple inexpensive things that kick a$$ and this certainly has qualified. (* purchased used off eBay)

      My current set up is about done and I will be moving on to 11 speed. Crazy right? Well one of the big reasons I was never in too much of hurry to move to one of SRAM’s 11 speed systems was having to change to an XD driver. My wheelset is built with Hadley hubs and those who know know that they may be the most durable and low maintenance hubs available. While they are not a fortune, they are not inexpensive and to convert them to an XD driver costs nearly as much as buying a new hub. However, I am intrigued by having even more range as offered by Eagle or some of the larger cassette options eg: the e13, or the Shimano XT 46t, etc. These require at least an 11 speed shifter/derailleur combo if not an XD driver or even an entirely new drivetrain with Eagle. I don’t like Shimano stuff (personal preference, mostly feel and not fond of their BS undercutting LBS). Thus I came up with what I have affectionately dubbed the Vulture drivetrain.

      This will be any 11 speed SRAM system (even an NX, but I would at least want a GX shifter with it’s matchmaker compatibility), Sunrace 11-42 11 speed cassette (you could do an XT, or NX cassette, but the Sunrace is cheaper and weighs a significant less that either of those) , and a Wolf Tooth 49t cog. You can find the SRAM bits for less than $150 for everything and you end up with a drivetrain that is only 2 two teeth shy of the Eagle’s range for less than a 10th of the cost. I will report back on how it goes, but I if it works as well as its 10 speed brethren, I cannot see any reason anyone wouldn’t go for a 1X drivetrain.


    • #203758

      I ride a 2×10, but that is mainly because it’s what I can afford at the moment. I find it to be a good balance though. A lot of the trails I ride are “in-out” trails, so I find that I spend a lot of time climbing with no relief of a downhill until it’s time to turn around. Being able to spin that 22 tooth chain ring is amazing, especially with bum knees that might as well be made of glass (gotta love genetics, amIright?). I know there is a similar range with the larger rear cassettes and a 30 or 32 tooth front ring on the 1x systems, but for the price, it currently isn’t justifiable for me.

      However, I will say that I really would enjoy a wide range 1×11 on my next mountain bike, and that it will be a key part of the components that I look for.

    • #203760

      I bought a 3×9 and converted it to 1×9, I much prefer the simplicity of only rear gears.  I run a 32t front with a 12-36 cassette. I have not needed any more gears for my area.

    • #203761

      I also converted  to a 1 X 10 on both my full suspension and fat bike, experimenting with various front and rear ratios.

      It definitely illiminates the front derailler problems and leaves more clearance for tire and mud.

      On occasion especially with climbs in snow or off trail excursions, I have found a need for something easier than the 30 chainring on the fatbike. I’ve added a 26 tooth chainring  back on the inside of the crank with the 30  but no front derailler. You can’t really tell unless you look at the crank up close.

      Depending on ride and terrain I spend about 3 seconds and move the chain over by hand  to whichever is going to work in the area I’m headed to.    Works well for me and it’s the  best of both worlds.

    • #203767

      Like @RaymondEpstein I’ve been running a 1x setup since my 9-speed days. Here in Georgia we have a lot of mica in the soil which is really good at destroying drivetrains. I got tired of dealing with chain suck, so I ditched the other two chainrings and got an MRP chainguide.

      All of my personal bikes since have been either 1×9, 1×10, or 1×11. I much prefer the simplicity of a 1x setup. As Raymond mentioned, it doesn’t have to be an expensive upgrade either. The SRAM stuff is a little pricier than the Shimano, especially looking at the cassettes, but you can mix and match to your preference.

      A couple of the test bikes I’ve ridden in the past year have come with 2x drivetrains and they worked great. Shifting was excellent as was the chain tension. I did appreciate the granny gear on really long days. The biggest drawback for me though is the left shifter interferes with the dropper remote. (First world problems, I know.) I will gladly trade a front derailleur and a little bit of range for an ergonomically placed and easy to operate dropper.

      • #203777

        All of my personal bikes since have been either 1×9, 1×10, or 1×11. I much prefer the simplicity of a 1x setup. As Raymond mentioned, it doesn’t have to be an expensive upgrade either.

        Wow! Someone actually agreed with me?!? Obviously you need psychiatric evaluation.

        Moving on, if you have a 10 speed drivetrain, especially a SRAM one then you can get a 1X drivetrain with a very usable range for dirt cheap. Even if you were going to go out and buy a 1X drivetrain (10 or 11 speed sans an XD driver), you can still do it very cheaply losing next to nothing in performance compared to any of your more well-heeled comrades. Recycling is good and retail is for schmucks and Christmas shoppers.

    • #203967

      I like the simplicity of 1x, so all my bikes have it besides 1. 1×10(sunrace 11-40) for my ht, 1×12 for my fs(eagle xmas present), but 2×10 for my monster truck(fat), my knees asked for the granny to climb those hills.

    • #203976

      Well if I can’t choose 1×12, I’ll probably have to pick 2×10 as my preference. While I like the simplicity and chain retention of 1×11 systems, I find that personally I have a hard time here in Colorado without the low-end gear range on a 1×11 setup with a standard 32T front ring and end up pushing a lot of climbs that I can pedal with my 2×10 system.

      Alternatively I could just HTFU and spend more time riding my singlespeed…

    • #204003

      For hilly terrain, especially with lots of dips,  where you are in a high gear on the way down and have to quickly be in a low gear on the way up, it’s a lot easier to switch to the bigger chainring than to rapid shift through multiple gears in the 1x.

      • #204012

        For hilly terrain, especially with lots of dips,  where you are in a high gear on the way down and have to quickly be in a low gear on the way up, it’s a lot easier to switch to the bigger chainring than to rapid shift through multiple gears in the 1x.

        This is a small learning curve that must be overcome when one moves to a 1X drivetrain. You run up and down the cassette more than you do with a 2X system. I’ve found this more evenly distributes wear throughout the system, whereas I used to have the bulk of the wear concentrated over a few cogs. Most of my riding has me using the middle of the range as I only go to the far ends of the cassette occasionally and not even on every ride. Since moving to 1X, I generally punch up and down two gears at a time and use single gear shifts only for minor adjustments. If you really like to dump a ton of gears (I don’t, but whatever) Shimano drivetrains will let you do so. On that note, I prefer the feel of SRAM shifting over Shimano, but both work well.

    • #205274

      I ride a 2×11 and was convinced that I would upgrade to a 1x asap, but I’m actually loving the 2x and using both rings a lot. I think you have to really have a hard think about the trails you are and will be riding and the types of climbs you are going to do and also your fitness levels before changing to a 1x. If you do decide to go 1x make sure you are doing for the right reasons not marketing hype – are you doing it just for simplicity and/or are you actually trying to save weight. And if you are saving weight what other parts of the bike can you save weight on too to make a significant difference.

    • #205315

      I run a 24-38 2×10 with a 11-36 cassette. I find it is a good mix of low end power with high end speed. The trails I ride range from technical rock gardens to fast singletrack with lots of rolling hills. I like the ability to put the bike into a high gear and just switch between the front cogs for short punch climbs or fast downhill sections. I have been considering the switch to a 1x for the simplicity factor though, but I don’t want to make the switch yet and end up regretting it when I know the 2x works for me currently.

    • #205406



      Check this link out -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew03wbHOHS0.  I agree with everything he speaks about.  1×11 is over rated and under-geared compared to 2×11.

    • #205496

      @dpb1997 I can’t take a guy with that many HeadShoks seriously.

    • #205627

      I haven’t tried a 1x setup yet and worry that I wouldn’t have the lungs or legs for it with our short, punchy New England climbs, but I recently bought a new bike (Fezzari Alta Peak) that has the 2×10 gearing.  going from my old 3×9, I have to say that I love the 2×10 – it just feels like it is geared right for our New England single track trails.  The low gearing gets my fat butt up the climbs without having to spin my guts out like the old 3×9.  Love my 2×10.

    • #205640

      To each, his or her own when it comes to drivetrains. We all have different abilities and objectives when it comes to mountain biking, so there’s little basis in saying 1x is only popular due to marketing or that it’s a fad. Some of us truly do prefer 1x. You’ll have to pry the 1×9 and 1×10 drivetrains off of my cold, dead bikes. 🙂

      The reason we have choices when it comes to drivetrains is there is no universal solution that fits everyone’s needs and preferences. There is no wrong answer!

    • #205643

      My riding buddy kept his 2×10 but took off the front derailleur, when he gets to a trails that needs a lower range he switches the front by hand and switches back when he no longer might need the low gear.

    • #205668

      I really appreciate Jeff’s answer.  In Mongolia I have to ride a lot of trails that can be crazy steep, and I need pretty much every gear my Ibis Mojo HD has to ride up the slopes.  Plus, I have relatively weak legs, so I’m not going to power up too many hills.  I also often ride the road for some distance to go to and from the trail, so it is nice to have some power gears to speed along the black top.  Would I love a 1×12?  I think so, but we’ll have to wait until those get a little cheaper.

      The last couple of months I have been riding here in the US on a 2012 Pivot Firebird.  It is a HEAVY enduro bike with a 180 Fox fork on front, yet it stays planted on steep ups and climbs technically really well.  It has a 3×10 setup.  It is absolutely perfect for this bike due to its heavy weight and yet technical climbing ability.  Having the really low granny gears, just make this bike … … at least for me.  I climb technical portions of trails that I would never dream I could climb on 180mm of travel.

    • #262064

      I run on a 2×10. I spend most of my riding on the outer ring but, when I get to deep rough terrain, I am sure glad I have the inner ring.

    • #262076

      I live in the steep high-altitude Colorado Rockies and I’m no longer as thin, young, or fit as I once was.  I ride a 29+ full-sus that weighs 32 pounds and I use a 1×12 1o-50 500% cassette with a 26T chainring.  The full-sus bike climbs like a champ.   I also ride an 29+ hardtail with a 1×11 10-42 420% cassette and a 22T chainring.  The hardtail also climbs like a champ.  However, it lacks a bit on the top end when descending on pavement but I have never felt that I didn’t have a high enough gear on singletrack.  Overall,  I definitely prefer the wider range of the 10-50 cassette.

      I would never go back to a 2x or 3x drivetrain.  Front derailleurs stink.  Simplifying to a 1x drivetrain has many benefits.  No front derailleur to get muddy.  No front derailleur that needs adjustment. Eliminate a shifter, cable and front deraileur.  Easy to change the single chainring and get a higher or lower gear. One hand shifting.  No confusion about which chainring your using.  No cross chaining.  No failed front shifts.  No dropped chains. No chain suck.  Should I go on?

      I recommend 1x to everyone.  If you have Shimano type hubs (HG driver), use an 11-50 455% cassette.   If you have Sram type hubs (XD driver) use a 10-50 cassette.  1×12 Sram Eagle NX and GX drivetrains just aren’t that expensive.  1×11 drivetrains are even cheaper.  You can  get a 1×11 11-50 cassette from Sunrace which isn’t very expensive.  If you’re already replacing a worn-out drivetrain (say you need new cassette, chain, chainring, and cables), it’s just not that much more to switch to 1x.  Which ever 1x drivetrain you select (1×10, 1×11, 1×12), choose the cassette with the widest range possible and pick a chainring  size which will give you a good low gear.  Once you switch to 1x, you will never go back!

    • #262098

      Old thread but relevant subject for me. Recently been experimenting with switch to 1x on the cheap. Have $30 sunrace 8-speed 11-40 cassette and $20 30t narrow-wide.

      I tried to get by with just the 32t from the 3x crank but need to hold the chain better. I also tried the 22t but I think I needed more chain tension.

      The first ride with 30t went pretty good but think I need to shorten the chain up a bit. Been a fun experiment though.

    • #263082
      1. I run 2×9 on my old reliable hardtail. Took off the shifter and FD and just swap by hand between waterbottle swigs at the top. Cannot stand the racket from chain contacting FD on rough downhills. I like to hear only the sound of my tires making their way. Plenty of innertube wrap on chain and seat stays. Sad truth is without clutch big hits drop chain. Even with shortened chain and high tension spring on der. Chain drops off middle chainring everytime half way through DH but who cares? Granny is nice on climbs but the new 1x with small chainring is just as granny, quiet as can be, never have to think about it. Food for thought.
    • #263148

      Follow up to my previous post. I have converted to a 1×10 (11-36t cassette) for the summer with a 36t chainring. So far, I like the set up but, it is dry and sandy. My speed is improved however, I will go back to the 2×10  with a 32t chainring come November when the earth gets thick and slippery.

    • #263149

      Older thread, but I’ll chip in my two cents that I’ll never go back to current technology front derailleur.  Yes, there is cost to convert an older bike (highly recommend narrow-wide chain ring and clutch derailleur in the back), and you do need to understand your gear ratio needs. But once you get both figured out, its one of the top three advances in recent history (along with better suspensions and dropper posts).

    • #263164

      I’m still struggling to get my set up right. Not dropping chain anymore but having issues with holding 3 of the 8 gears when I put the power down. I think this is a chain tension issue but could be related to old chain. Going to experiment with slightly shorter chain (again) then replace when I get the right length and also get a longer b screw. Perhaps remove the derailleur hanger extension (if I can still clear the 40t).

    • #263431

      The main reason I went to 1x was to clean up the crap on my handlebars and give me better access to my dropper remote. The shift lever was getting in my way when I needed to drop the post.

      I’m not a good enough biker to feel the effects of the loss of 12 oz in weight I saved by removing the derailleur and shifter. Other than that, converting gave me the opportunity to gear the chainring (26t) and cassette (11t-42t) to where it fit my needs for climbing in New England.

Viewing 26 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.