For the first time in several years, probably not since the advent of 10 speed, the mountain bike world is seeing a revolution in drive train technology. Not only has 1×11 been fully embraced by several brands and is readily available, least of which being the somewhat infamous “big S” of Shimano, but the boys from Osaka have finally got around to producing the much anticipated XTR version of the electronic Di2 gruppo as well. And now we are beginning to hear rumblings of other manufacturers making electronic gruppos. But…that discussion is for another time.
More importantly lets talk cogs. How many do you want, 10 or 11, and paired with how many chain rings? Dirt TRI is currently in the process of evaluating the options and will be giving you a full review in the coming months as the ratios pertain to off road multisport, since we well know, Dirt TRI and straight MTB aren’t quite the same animal.
But, the first question to be answered is just what exactly is the difference in gearing between 1×11 and 2×10? And this is a big question.
Luckily the guys over at Swithchback Bikes have created a chart (see above) with the help of, you guessed it, a forum nerd called Daryl Smith. (Don’t take that wrongly, I use forum nerd in only the highest regard…I’m looking at you Slowtwitch)
Its pretty simple as far a charts go. The bigger the number the higher the gear etc. But, it is invaluable if you take the time to consider what gears you currently spend the most time in and how that would translate to a change to 1×11.
In short, most people worry they won’t have the appropriate high and low ends of the spectrum if they drop a chain ring. However, its important to remember chain ring size has much less effect on gearing than does cog size. So, if you spend most of your time in the middle gears you will probably find you won’t notice much difference in jumping to 1×11. In fact you might notice you actually have more gears you like since you now have 11 cogs. But its all down to personal preference. This chart just gives us a cool way to easily compare the options.
Much more to come on this topic. Stay tuned to Dirt TRI and feel free to comment if you have questions.