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Converting 3x9 to 1x10 on a 26" wheel MTB

I have a mate with an old Orange 5 which requires quite a lot of new parts as it has not been well maintained. Parts needed include chain set, cassette, chain and rear derailleur. with that in mind its nearly as cheap to convert the whole lot to 1x11 or 1x10.
Will the 262 wheels have a great effect on the gear ratios or a noticeable difference to 650b wheels?
Has or is anyone running 1x on a 26" wheel bike that can give their opinion.
Thanks in advance


  • How old is the bike, maybe the frame is close to end of life? 26" wheel mountain bikes are slightly lower geared due to the wheel size but that's not a bad thing with a mountain bike. If its currently 3x9 why not make it 1x9 with a wide ratio 9 speed cassette? Then you can still use your existing 9 speed shifter. Will the slightly bigger jumps between gears be signficant?

    I guess it depends on how much you want to invest in the bike and how much the parts will cost. If I'm investing in a who new drivetrain I'm sort of thinking I'd want a newer frame and wheels to go with it. 9 speed drivetrains are very reasonable nowadays and that is what the bike originally came with. Going to 10 or 11 speed scales up in price significantly.

    Cost your options and you may find that answers your question.

    I may be a little biased in that I'm wondering if its worth investing a huge amount in a 26" mountain bike others may have a completely different view.

  • I've a couple of 26" bikes that still ride just fiiiiiiiine, even if the bike parts marketing industry doesn't think that's a good thing. :)

    One is running 1*9 because I don't ride big hills on that one, so the gearing works great. The other is now 1*11 speed, and I picked up an XTR Shimano derailleur and shifter in virtually new nick for less than half their RRP. Found an SLX cassette on sale, and bought a new chain. I had a spare chainring which is not actually a narrow/wide type, but with the clutch in the mech I find that doesn't matter so much where I ride. YMMV.

    I've a couple of front chainrings in fact, a 32, 34, and even a 36 and can swap them as needed. Usually leave the 34 on, with an 11-42 back and have no problem at all.

    That's all on a standard (i.e. non-boost) frame and 135mm rear QR spacing. Works beautifully.
    Open O-1.0 Open One+ BMC TE29 Titus Racer X Ti Giant MCM One Cannondale Prophet Lefty Cannondale Super V SL Cove Handjob Cervelo RS
  • 1340jas1340jas Posts: 217
    Thanks for the relies.
    The reason to replace is that the components are worn out including the derailleur. The frame wheels and finishing kit are all in good nick. So I think I will advise him to go to 1x10 or 1x11 depending on which he can get for the best price.
    Having had 1x10 and 1x11 myself I know that he can experiment with the chainring.
    Thanks for confirming at least some people are running 1x on 26" wheels.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Yep easy job, I ran 1x9 and then 1x10 for a long time on 26" wheels.

    I'd suggest a 32 or 34T narrow wide chainring, if the Mech was in good condition he could use the 9 speed mech with a Road (ultegra or tiagra) flat bar shifter for 10 speed compatibility.

    For 1x10 I used a 32T narrow wide, XTR (M970) rear mech with a hanger extender and a Tiagra flat bar shifter driving a 11:40 Sunrace cassette.

  • I now use 1x9 on my 08 Salsa A La Carte with a SramX9 rear mech and shifter sram cassette and chain and a 34 narrow wide chainring from Superstar, which is bolted onto the inside face of an old XT triple crank arm so as to give a usable chain line of 47 - 50mm.

    It’s a tiny bit mix and match but works well. In an ideal world I would probably go 10 speed and use a clutch rear mech for added chain security but the narrow wide chainring does that pretty well for the relatively smooth trails of East Anglia that I predominantly ride.

  • I run 1x on my 26" FS bike. Shimano XT 11-42 with 34T Superstar up front. Works fine - only runs out of top end if going flat out on roads etc. (not really it's intended purpose). Off-road it works really well.

    My 26" HT runs XT 3x9 taken off an plder bike. Brilliant for paths/trails/roads etc.with the bigger ring up front. It's really 2x9 as I don't use the granny ring.

    26" ain't dead. Use it and embrace it!
    "Ride, crash, replace"
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