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30 Gears, Evolution for the sake of it?

mickedwards61mickedwards61 Posts: 175
edited June 2010 in MTB general
I, like everyone I should imagine, have read about the latest and greatest in gear shifting, and I am being informed that 3 x 10 is much better/more efficient than the current 3 x 9 setup sported by most mountain bikes for various reasons.

However, it seems to me that this is just another incarnation of the "more is better" cliche, and will most riders really notice the difference out there on the trails? I understand the arguments of slicker shifting and greater range, but do many riders really need or indeed, use the whole range of gears currently available to them on a 3 x 9 setup?

Personally, it seems like this is evolution for the sake of it, and not exactly out of the box thinking from the manufacturers. The 2 x 10 setup I have seen touted about is the kind of thinking I like to see, granted it's not exactly genius stuff, as many riders do already use a 2 x 9 setup, but it shows a different approach to gearing and one I can see benefits of.

Do you think you will shift (excuse the pun!) to a 3 x 10 setup? Or will you give 2 x 10 a go? Or is this an irrelevant question as the manufacturers hang whatever they like on their bikes?
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  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    It is more about the extended range at the back than the number of gears per se, though the number of them helps reduce the gaps in the ratios. The 36t cog is what it is all about.

    Shimano and SRAM both have slightly different reasoning to why they have done it. Just have to see if that suits you, or if you are fine with what yiu have.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    2x10 is progress. This 3x10 from Shimano is a bad joke to me, more gears and even more overlap, all this time it's taken since we went from 15 to 18 to 21 to 24 to 27 to go "Hey, lets just add some more". The advantages look trivial for everyone but racers.

    Not that XX really delivers what it claims either- the reason being that every single advantage they claim (the bigger cassette, the 3:2 ratio thing on the front, the clever cassette) could be done in 2x9 if they'd just allow us the parts, rather than embargoing it for everything but their new standard.

    I keep saying the same thing though, give us an XT or 990 11-36 cassette, then **** off with your progress, and let us get most of the benefit without replacing every part on the damn bike. Give the XC racers what they want, sure, but stop telling us that's what we want too.

    IMO ;)
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Northwind wrote:
    2x10 is progress

    I feel quite strongly about this.

    How is 2x 9/10 progress?

    Still need a mech, shifter and cable.

    1 x something saves weight.

    2 x 9/10 only saves the weight of the large ring - you might even sub it for a bash guard - or have a little more ground clearence

    The only progress is as SS says a 36t middle.

    36 at the rear means you can go a couple of teeth bigger on the granny but not much else.

    with lighter weight drive trains 12 - 36 would prob be better with 26/36/44

    Having 3 x something makes your bike more rounded for multiple uses.... race weight excluded.

    Having a 36-36 in itself means a very good range of ratios for most situations reducing what everyone would call recovery shifts

    Not to mention chain line......
  • Oxygen ThiefOxygen Thief Posts: 649
    I don't get it! :lol:
  • dan sharddan shard Posts: 722
    I could probably get away with two gears, one for up hill, one for downhill. Still got 27 though
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    2 x 9/10 only saves the weight of the large ring - you might even sub it for a bash guard - or have a little more ground clearence

    Yes. That's the progress :? A step away from road-inspired gearing without the sacrifice of 1x9. Better chain tension as well of course, and you can set up the chainline to suit the 2 chainrings you have if you're so inclined though most people don't bother of course. (1x9 fans seem to obsess on chainline but there's no reason you can't get the exact same chainline on the middle ring with 2x9, and still have the option of the granny ring. The granny ring's chainline will be worse on the higher end of its ratios, which you won't be using, so it's an irrelevance.)

    It's possible to get a very good weight saving- 2x9 on SLX without a bash gets very close to the weight of an XTR triple. Or, you can choose to add a bash instead of getting the weight loss, if you feel that's of benefit. For a lot of people it's just fashion but for others it's an upgrade.

    36 at the rear is about widening out the band of gearing on each ring, not neccesarily about changing the gearing. As you say it's not a huge difference but it'll keep you in the 36 for longer which means less front end shifts. But, you're right that it does give more options. 24/38 if you're so inclined, or 24/36 with the 3:2 ratio that SRAM get so excited about with XX but don't seem interested in doing with 9 speed.

    1x9 is all well and good but it's not very appropriate for many riders. 2x9 with 22/36 keeps almost all of the working range and as you correctly point out reduces weight and increases ground clearance. So it's benefit with minimal loss.

    So basically, every single point of "progress" that 2x10 can give is matched by 2x9, with just fractionally wider ratio gaps, but without the need to replace so many existing parts.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    what if I want to go down a hill fast? 36-11 is not enough.

    Using your reason - the only thing I'm getting is ground clearence but am losing the ability to go as fast as I want or could with a 44-11.
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    I'm inclined to agree with Clunkers on this. 2x whatever is a bit of progress, but it isn't really progress. Nor is 3x10. I am not particularly bothered one way or the other between the two offerings, they both have a few changes that are apparently better, but nothing outstanding. I suspect I will be sticking with shimano because I like their kit better, so I'll probably end up on 3x10.

    the new really wide ratio cassettes do tempt me to a single front ring though!
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    Also- 'a step away from road inspired gearing'? Surely roadies have been on doubles for years, how is this especially away or toward?
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Northwind wrote:
    (1x9 fans seem to obsess on chainline but there's no reason you can't get the exact same chainline on the middle ring with 2x9,

    Do they?

    no middle on 2x9 - odd numbers...
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    Northwind wrote:
    (1x9 fans seem to obsess on chainline but there's no reason you can't get the exact same chainline on the middle ring with 2x9,

    Do they?

    no middle on 2x9 - odd numbers...

    Yeah, but you can optimise the middle ring as it's where you'll be doing most of your riding and just make the granny suitable for the low end of the cassette. Think single ring with bailout. That would appeal to me a great deal if I could find some way to make it work nicely without a front mech and shifter.
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • TorresTorres Posts: 1,266
    There's pros and cons for both sides of the argument, however, what's been bothering me is, how many cogs can you get on the back before the chain becomes stupidly-narrow?
    What We Achieve In Life, Echoes In Eternity
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    what if I want to go down a hill fast? 36-11 is not enough

    You're aware that you only lose the absolute top 2 gears, right? 36-11 will get you down a hill plenty fast, assuming you can spin a decent speed.
    no middle on 2x9 - odd numbers...

    You know exactly what I mean.
    Also- 'a step away from road inspired gearing'? Surely roadies have been on doubles for years, how is this especially away or toward?

    Roadies have progressed as you say. We've been stuck in a rut. They looked at triples and said "This is daft" but still the huge majority of mountain bikes come with them.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    Yeah, roadies advanced- I think I need to follow them and get a compact on my roadie, it doesn't half feel like hard work going up a hill at the end of a long day.

    Thing is though, I actually use the full range of gears on the (mtb) triple- particularly winching up a steep hill at the end of a 50 miler or more, or absolutely caning it down something fast and wide. I could probably do without the extremes, I just don't see that dropping a ring at the front gains me anything significant in return. Nor does the extra cog at the back really.

    I'm satisfied that they're both incremental evolution and that I can upgrade as I need until hub gears become a proper force to be reckoned with!
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    I just don't see that dropping a ring at the front gains me anything significant in return.

    The ground clearance is the biggest advantage IMO. If you don't ride anywhere that mullers chainrings then that's much less of a bonus of course but if you do, it soon becomes obvious what a big advantage it is- having a chainring grab a rock step is really unnerving, and can turn a marginal step into a crash. The weight loss etc can be beneficial too of course but it's hardly huge. The improved chain tension is nice too though.

    Some people wax lyrical about shorter mech cages, I can't remember which of my bikes has the short cage but I certainly can't tell any difference ;)

    But anyway, what I'm banging on about here... 3x10 still gives a reduced top end, it doesn't give a weight saving, it gives a fractional ground clearance improvement... What does it do that 3x9 couldn't do, or 2x9? And likewise XX.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    Northwind wrote:
    what if I want to go down a hill fast? 36-11 is not enough

    You're aware that you only lose the absolute top 2 gears, right? 36-11 will get you down a hill plenty fast, assuming you can spin a decent speed.

    I've just done the calulation... Yes it is just the top 2....but they offer upto 30% more gear that's a lot and needed sometimes....

    You also have 6ish gears above that match, without changing ring, what a 36 gives.... useful for long twisty DHs

    swan - agree with what you've just said, you too north wind just different advantages to each, matter to us more.
  • peter413peter413 Posts: 5,120
    Why can't they just make a 9spd cassette with a 11-36 range? That would solve everything IMO.

    I love my 2x9 setup and I have never run out of gears with my 34 tooth ring, just need to learn to keep a high cadence is all :wink:

    And like Northwind says, the ground clearance can be a big advantage. My bash has so many lumps and scrapes and gouges I hate to think about how many rings I would have been through, never mind the amout of times I would have destroyed my leg on them. :lol:

    Do you see DH bikes going around with big 44 tooth rings? I wonder why :wink: and you don't need to go any quicker than them off road

    You want higher gears on the road, buy a new bike
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    peter413 wrote:
    Do you see DH bikes going around with big 44 tooth rings? I wonder why :wink: and you don't need to go any quicker than them off road

    I was wondering what size they were mostly using at the world cup but couldn't find anything. Saint does go up to 42 IIRC.
    Uncompromising extremist
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    peter413 wrote:

    You want higher gears on the road, buy a new bike

    I don't want 2 bikes, I want a bike that can do most things well.
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    Northwind wrote:
    What does it do that the previous option couldn't do?

    Sell some more bikes because it's new and shiny?

    The other point I would make is while it's a small improvement (which I would still say both are), so are most improvements to practically anything, especially bikes. Discrete leaps are few and far between- you only see the real change over a few steps. That's why I'll be upgrading to 10 speed when kit wears out and 9 speed has stopped being the main option, but won't be shelling out for any new kit for the sake of it.

    Interestingly, can anyone think of any changes that they would really call revolutionary rather than evolutionary? It doesn't necessarily have to be successful...
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • peter413peter413 Posts: 5,120
    peter413 wrote:

    You want higher gears on the road, buy a new bike

    I don't want 2 bikes, I want a bike that can do most things well.

    The trails I do, a bike with a triple wouldn't do well though so you obviously have plenty of smooth trails around you with no rock steps or big roots
  • Chunkers1980Chunkers1980 Posts: 8,035
    I remember back in the 90's at the start of DH when courses weren't as technical poeple used road cranks of 50t.... albeit they prob had 13t at the back...
  • peter413peter413 Posts: 5,120
    Northwind wrote:
    peter413 wrote:
    Do you see DH bikes going around with big 44 tooth rings? I wonder why :wink: and you don't need to go any quicker than them off road

    I was wondering what size they were mostly using at the world cup but couldn't find anything. Saint does go up to 42 IIRC.

    I hear that most DH racers, especially at Inners, use a 36 or 38 tooth ring so there proves our point
  • peter413peter413 Posts: 5,120
    I remember back in the 90's at the start of DH when courses weren't as technical poeple used road cranks of 50t.... albeit they prob had 13t at the back...

    Do you mean when people were just racing down a fire road :wink: thats basically just a rough road so no obstacles to catch stuff on
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    peter413 wrote:
    The trails I do, a bike with a triple wouldn't do well though so you obviously have plenty of smooth trails around you with no rock steps or big roots

    We aren't all blessed (at least in mountain biking terms :D ) by living in/near scotland.
    That said, I've never noticed ring bashes anywhere in particular, whether the fields round loughborough or the peak district. Not really a problem for me!
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • NorthwindNorthwind Posts: 14,675
    I haven't done it much myself. Then again I have a 36T biggest ring ;) Funnily enough the first time I was really glad of the bashring was Kielder, ie not in Scotland!
    Uncompromising extremist
  • lawmanlawman Posts: 6,868
    i use my 44t ring quite alot off road, because im pretty fit and find 32-11 is not enough, i think 2x10 is the way forward. a 39-36 gear that actually works with no problems/drawbacks is a great idea, still get a great range and improved ground clearance and with the 36t at the back you could climb in the big ring no problem. without something like hammerschmit on your bike then front shifting is always going to be less effiecinet than rear shifting, its just a mechanical fact. by using two rings you shift on the front less and more on the rear, therefore using the most effiecient shift that doesnt have a huge effect on you pedalling. as for the supposed cons about 10speed, i really cant find any, sram and shimano would not release a product if it did not perform to their acceptable standards, and 2x10 is lighter, more effiecient, offers as good a range as a 3x9 (pretty much) and all the gears can used without fear of overlap. i agree that a 9 speed cassette with a 36t ring would be just as good, but i think the closer ratios of a 10 speed cassette make it even better. and as for shimano's with the rear suspension on some bikes, ive never heard such BS in my life. they got lazy, end of story. well done sram :)
  • peter413peter413 Posts: 5,120
    We aren't all blessed (at least in mountain biking terms :D ) by living in/near scotland

    Thats true :lol:
  • nickfrognickfrog Posts: 610
    Switiching to 1x10 asa either Shimano or SRAM X0 is available.

    No point in 2x9 for me, let alone 3x9. No more front mech.
  • peter413peter413 Posts: 5,120
    Northwind wrote:
    I haven't done it much myself. Then again I have a 36T biggest ring ;) Funnily enough the first time I was really glad of the bashring was Kielder, ie not in Scotland!

    It is pretty close though :wink: And Kielder is very rocky.

    Spent a bit of time there last summer with my aunt and cousins but couldn't do any of the proper trails since my leg was only 3 weeks out of the cast and I had only just started doing some blue stuff again :(
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