What gearing do you use for bikepacking: 1x or 2x?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum What gearing do you use for bikepacking: 1x or 2x?

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    • #229397

      Interested to hear what bikepackers think of 1×12 or 1×11 vs. a 2x or even 3x drivetrain setup for bikepacking. With a heavier bike, and also the potential for paved/flat sections where a big gear can come in handy, it seems like multi-ring drivetrains might be preferable.


    • #229575

      I was watching this with interest… but seems no responses yet.  I’m not a bike packer, but do ride flat pea gravel/paved when the trails muddy up.  Also do an occasional rails to trails ride.  I currently have a 3×9 drive train, and honestly, have no gripes (all XT level hardware) and love the wide range of gear selection.  Yeah, a little more weight, but not enough of a concern, for me at least.  I have been considering what to replace the 3x setup with when if/it wears out beyond repair or finding the parts anymore.  To “test” the 1x/2x config, I’ve ridden a 20 mile rail to trail using only the mid or inner ring.  A lot of pedaling going nowhere. 🙂  Gets old after a few miles (I went to the big ring at ~5 miles). Granted, I’d have a little higher ratio to choose from if my cassette were a 10 or 11, instead of a 9.  On the trails, BTW, I live mainly on the center ring, and do use the big ring on some of our areas sweeping XC trails.

      I’m convinced I’ll go with a newer supported 2×11 when the time comes, which can provide close to the same range of ratios I have now with the 3×9.  Bottom line is, at the end of the day, having more up front does not take anything away, while with a 1x, you may lose some of the ratios you may want for longer flat rides.  The 3x cons are the obvious… weight, more moving parts (compared to a 1x), less room on the bars if you have/need a dropper post trigger, etc.

      Anyway, that’s my take on it.

    • #229600

      I’ve ridden SS, 1×11, and 2×10 for bikepacking. I like the simplicity of SS, but don’t let anyone lie to you, it sucks after a day or two.

      Honestly the easiest is just dropping from a 32t to 28t chainring on my 1×11 to make up for the extra weight. The only reason I have a 2×10 is that I haven’t sprung for a Rival drivetrain on my gravel bike yet.


    • #229616

      I think it really depends on where you’re riding. I’ve only bikepacked with a 1x drivetrain. If the route is heavy on the singletrack, a 1x drivetrain should be good for most riders. When you start mixing in long road or gravel sections a 2x starts to make more sense.

      To use some specific trips I did this year:

      Huracan 300: About 1/3 of the route was trail, 1/3 was road, and 1/3 was gravel. It was pretty dang flat though so a 2x would have been nice. Another option would be to just put a larger chainring on the 1x.

      Steamboat Ramble: 90+% gravel, I would have liked a double here as well to keep from spinning out on the long descents.

      Cohutta Cat: 60% gravel, 25% paved, 15% trail. There were very few times where a double would have been beneficial. Everything on this route was steep. A 32×46 was enough to climb anything my legs could handle. If that wasn’t enough gear, I’d be walking. Which I did a lot. The descents were super steep too, so I’d probably have been spinning out with a MTB double anyways. Most descents were over in 15 minutes or less, and they were one of the few chances to rest your legs.


    • #229650

      Interested hear was people would say here too. IMHO for what I ride in Scotland a 2x is a must to give to range. With a 706% gear range a 60lb bike with kit and me it can be pretty tough going on a 10 – 20% gradient with rocks and roots  on soft ground grinding away. On the other side of the hill push up a gear to gain time going down. Rarely travel on tarmac. A mix of double track in all conditions mixed with Singletrack.

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