Drivetrain Upgrade

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Drivetrain Upgrade

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    • #504626

      I’m considering a drivetrain upgrade from my currrent 2×10 (needs to be replaced) to either another 2×10, a 1×11 or a 1×12.

      Bike: 2014 Kona Process 134 DL / Chainrings: 24/38t / Freewheel: Shimano Deore 11-36 10 spd

      I ride typical east coast trails (Connecticut). While there is some form of flow in some instances, the trails are predominantly slow rolling tech (80%) with some downhill gnar (20%) thrown in.

      Most of the trails are undulating hills – constant up and down (100-200 yards either way) over the course of any particular trail and the climbs, more often than not, are as techie as the flats and downhill sections.

      The short hill climbs require quick shifting – an immediate action which requires one shift from the large chainring to the granny gear(s).

      I know that most people are running 1x drivetrains these days and even if I decide to replace my 2×10 with another 2×10, I’m sure those drivetrains will become harder to get when I need to replace it again.

      Just wondering: What are the pros and cons of upgrading to a 1x and how, if at all, does my bikes geometry affect that decision?

    • #504680

      Okay, so if you’re going to drop the cash, you might as well go with the latest kit and go 12 speed, otherwise you’re spending money on something that’s already obsolete, and honestly it probably isn’t going to cost you any more to do so. Sram GX eagle is probably the best cost/value option. Bear in mind that if you want a full GX eagle drivetrain you’re going to need to either swap your freehub body from a Shimano Hyperglide to a Sram XD driver or buy a new rear wheel – what is your rear hub? If you don’t want to do this, you can always go the cheaper route and get an NX eagle cassette which is heavier and has less range (11-50t vs 10-52t) but fits on a regular shimano freehub body.

      If you can do a full GX eagle drivetrain, you get the benefit of the new 10-52t cassette so super wide range and I think the whole drivetrain including cranks is something like $500, pretty reasonable in my eyes.

      Okay so pros and cons of doing so


      • Has roughly the same range as a 2x system, potentially more
      • simpler – less to go wrong
      • simpler – less to think about when riding
      • simpler – can fit an under bar dropper remote now that you’ve gotten rid of you front shifter
      • lighter (maybe)
      • Lowwwwww gearing, it’s awesome
      • Better chain retention with a narrow/wide ring and a clutch. Say goodbye to dropped chains


      • In reality none, but I’ll think of a couple… I’d NEVER go back to a 2x or 3x system on a mountain bike. Seriously.
      • Longer derailleur cage so more potential to hit things
      • Slightly more finnicky to get your indexing dialled in

      Your bike geometry should not affect this decision. All mountain bikes should run a 1x system bar none in my opinion. Your Process is a great bike and I’m actually surprised that it came with a 2x drivetrain. The only real consideration here is chainring size, I tend to run a 30t but I do a lot of climbing. You might want to run a 32t if your area is a little flatter (I live in BC).

    • #504679

      I had a 2015. Ended up going with Shimano XT 11 speed with a 46t rear & 32 NW ring. Worked really well for me.

      I wouldn’t worry about parts availability as their 11 speed was pretty popular.

      Or if you want you can go 1X10 with your current setup and use that to judge what you’ll want for a larger climbing gear out back.

      I was pretty happy with the 11 speed though

    • #504736

      I switched over a few months ago from a 2×9 with the SRAM GX Eagle DUB with the BB DUB. Best upgrade I’ve made so far.

    • #504755

      Let me add a few more pro’s.

      -Mud, snow, and slop don’t pile up on the front derailleur rendering it useless.

      -Easy to change the single chainring to get just the low or high gear that you want. Mountainbike 1x chainrings come in 26T to 34T sizes.

      -1×12, 1×11 drivetrains are cheaper than ever. The 1×11 Shimano Deore complete drivetrain with the 464% 11-51 cassette or the 1×12 Sram SX complete drivetrain with the 455% 11-50 cassette (both which will fit your bike) sell for around $300. If your going to spend around ~$200 to update your current drivetrain, to spend an extra $100 isn’t that much more.

      -Once you go to 1x you’ll never want to go back, that’s how good it is.

    • #504756

      Current hubs are: Front: Shimano SLX QR15 / Back: Shimano SLX 142x12mm

      I’ll be upgrading the bike in this order: drivetrain, new wheelset and new fork.

      The trails I ride are predominantly tech, so, while speed is not a concern, getting into a smaller gear-quickly for the short and constant tech climbs is important. On my current 2×10, this is an immediate action which requires, for the most part, one shift from the large chainring to the granny gear(s).

      In regards to a 1x, I’m concerned that I won’t be able to get into an equivalent “granny” gear as quickly as I can with a 2×10.

      That being said, on the cassette I’m really only running in the two middle cogs when using the  large chainring and the three lowest cogs when using the smaller chainring – 5 total gears – tops.

      If I go the 1×12 route, while I’ve looked at SRAM, I’m leaning towards the Shimano XT8100 series or perhaps a mix and match of XT8100 and SLX7100, however, the recommendations you guys have made do warrant a closer look at SRAM.

      My current set-up: Chainrings: 24/38t – Cassette: Shimano Deore 11-36 10 spd.

      Probable upgrade: Shimano XT8100 Series set-up: Chainring: 28T, 30T, 32T, 34T, 36T / Cassette: 10-45 / 10-51

      If I opt for the Shimano 1×12, I’m wondering which combinations/gear ratios will be best for the type of riding I do. I know that, even if I run the smallest chainring (28T), I’m adding 4T on my lower ring (harder gearing for climbs). That being said, on the cassette I’ll be getting lower gear cogs (from my current 36) down to as much as 51 on the XT. So, while I’m pushing harder gearing on the chainring with a 1×12, I do have the benefit of lower gears on the cassette.

      Sam James, I see you run a 30t and you’re riding BC. I assume you have more flow, longer tech climbs and longer downhill runs then I’m riding on the east coast. You’re absolutely riding in the MTB promised land!

      Some concerns with a 1x, and I’m not sure if their absolutely valid – just an observation:

      1)      Chain line-cross chain – more friction in the granny gears and therefore a loss of power, particularly when I need it most – on tech climbs. Also, I would imagine that the cross chain will make the rear derailleur work harder and will in general wear down the drivetrain at an accelerated rate.

      2)      Rear Derailleur – longer and therefore more prone to rock strikes.

      3)      Loss of top end (not a concern for me) and low end gears.

      4)      One click shift from large chainring to granny gears and back on 2x – multiple shifts on 1x to get to same gear(s).


    • #504810

      As others have stated, if you are going to invest in your drivetrain you should absolutely go 1x. And given your concerns re: the granny gear go 1×12 and opt for a smaller chain ring. Anyone that’s been riding for 5+ years had a 2x set up. I don’t know of anyone that has ever gone back to a 2x set up. 1x can up/down shift multiple gears at a time. Both SRAM & Shimano have solid options. This is one you don’t need to overthink.

    • #504878

      1×11 stuff is pretty inexpensive.  I went with 1×11 and I am pretty happy with it.  I think the risk of true obsolescence is low because new bikes are being sold with it in order to hit lower price points.   Just like the 10 speed, 9 speed and 8 speed.  The stuff is out there for years.

      Where I live a 30t chain ring and 46t cassette is enough for almost anything. There is a 50t chainring from Sunrace too.

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