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Want to buy new bike but unsure about single ring cranks

hi there,I currently own a 2010 kona fire mountain deluxe with fsa 3 ring front crankset and I'm slightly concerned that any of the new single ring 36t or 38t won't give me the out and out speed and resistance I like when riding.
I live in Crystal Palace and its quite hilly and like being able to really kane it down the hilly parts.
I've always owned mtbs and always enjoyed the diversity of riding pretty much where you want.
I've got about a grand to spend.
I'm 45 and my current bike is an xl 22".
My kona has deore bits mainly apart from brakes and front crank.
Cheers.
Justin

Posts

  • ed1973ed1973 Posts: 235
    You can easy swap the chain ring on the front for a bigger one but that then has the knock on effect of not giving you the climbing gears you may need. For this you’ll need strong legs and big lungs!
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,311
    By all means put a big ring on the front so that you can go as fast as you like, but as ed1973 says, you will lose some of the ability to climb.

    The thing to do is to increase the range of gears on the cassette to make up for the range you lose by not having three rings on the front.

    Work out what your total gear range is now:
    big front/small rear x big rear/small front = total range.

    Then for a 1x you only have to look at the cassette range:
    big ring/small ring = range

    I'll take a guess at your current gears. 12-32 on the rear and 22/32/44 on the front.

    44/12 x 32/22 = 5.33

    If you go 11-speed with a 11-46, then the gear range will be
    46/11= 4.18

    That is a 22% smaller gear range and it will be unaffected by the size of ring you put on the front. I'm guessing that your 9-speed cassette's two largest gears are 28 and 32, which are separated by a 32/28 = 1.14 = 14% ratio difference.

    If you want to go to 1x, then you will lose your best climbing gear and the equivalent of half of the one before that. So you have a choice to make, do you want to go faster or go up steeper hills? You say you want to go faster, so fit a bigger front ring. But you will lose even more of your climbing gears.

    Going 1x is not a miracle cure, even the biggest range cassette, 10-50 on the Sram 1x12, is only 5.0 to 1, ie less than what you have now. If you want to go faster AND still get up steep hills than fit a wider range cassette if you can find one for your bike and also a bigger front ring. You will need a new chain that is longer than the one you have now.
  • Thanks Steve for your reply,as the forum was down I had to do my own homework.
    I've gone for a cube attention sl 2020 which has a 36t/22t double on the front.
    I went on the bike gear calculator thingy website and worked out that the 36t would be my least loss.
    I've not bought a bike in 10 odd years and always used my mountain bikes for the all rounder including on the roads riding to wherever I was going but I see that mountain bikes are now more specific to there job.
    I did think about maybe going hybrid but I mainly cycle for fun and didn't want to move away from the mtb.
    On my bike rides near where I live I very rarely even click down to the 2nd ring on my triple which is as you said.44/32/22 and nine speed.
    I'll let you know how I get on.
    I've got to wait to pick up new bike.
    I managed to find one on hargroves bikes website but I have to wait 10 days and pick it up from the Swindon branch which is 80 miles from me.
    Every website i tried are sold out of many mountain bikes in xl frame.
    Cheers
  • Just to update this for anyone going from old school 26" 44 teeth crank .
    I only feel on my normal riding and route that I do that I'm missing one final high speed gear.
    So overall I'm happy but glad I went for at least the 36t.
    I've also bought a 2nd hand trek hybrid for the road which is a revelation in terms of speed and ease of riding on the road compared to my old or new mtb.
    But I will say that riding the hybrid feels less stable and safe compared to the mtb.
    Thin tyres and not as wide handlebars.
    What I can say from this buying experience is that the mtb is no longer the do it all bike from years back and they are definitely more job specific especially the cranks.
    They've come from triple 44 teeth which is still good for road speed to single cranks with 32 teeth which would see your legs spinning at a great pace to keep momentum on the road.
    I've seen a few youngsters around with single cranked mtbs and there legs are going fast.
    I live in urban area of London and the single crank doesn't fit on the streets anymore but I suppose the kids just want a new mtb and thats what they come with now....a single 32teeth crank.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    I can squeeze out 35mph on a 30t ring on a 29er, a 36t would see me at 42mph for the same cadance!

    Road ride on a flat barred Planet X london road, 28mm tyres and 44t with a 12-28 cassette.
  • Just to update this for anyone going from old school 26" 44 teeth crank .
    I only feel on my normal riding and route that I do that I'm missing one final high speed gear.
    So overall I'm happy but glad I went for at least the 36t.
    I've also bought a 2nd hand trek hybrid for the road which is a revelation in terms of speed and ease of riding on the road compared to my old or new mtb.
    But I will say that riding the hybrid feels less stable and safe compared to the mtb.
    Thin tyres and not as wide handlebars.
    What I can say from this buying experience is that the mtb is no longer the do it all bike from years back and they are definitely more job specific especially the cranks.
    They've come from triple 44 teeth which is still good for road speed to single cranks with 32 teeth which would see your legs spinning at a great pace to keep momentum on the road.
    I've seen a few youngsters around with single cranked mtbs and there legs are going fast.
    I live in urban area of London and the single crank doesn't fit on the streets anymore but I suppose the kids just want a new mtb and thats what they come with now....a single 32teeth crank.

    i was going to post a question on this very subject . like you , i am in the market for a new mtb to replace my 2009 rocky ridge , though this wont be happening till next year now due to no available bikes !!
    The rocky ridge was one of the first bikes to come with just a double chain ring and this was a concern at the time but something I adapted to . I like the aesthetics of 1 x and simplicity too , always a benefit on a mtb when riding remote places .
    Its been market driven for years and the specialisation of bikes ever increasing , finding more niches for buyers . i remember the good old days when one bike did it all . In 1991 my pine mountain was my commuter hack , my mountain bike and with skinny tyres a road racer for a few events . with scott AT3s on (remember those ?)
    Did your bike come with oversized tyres as well ,as this is the other issue i can see regards gearing . For me , just from looking , it seems all bikes are massively undergeared .. but then i am from another time ...
  • Yes i am too from another time.
    I definitely missed a trick in terms of buying a hybrid bike with thin tyres for the road but then yeah I've only ever riden mtbs.
    My first being a falcon maybe 33 years ago.
  • I can squeeze out 35mph on a 30t ring on a 29er, a 36t would see me at 42mph for the same cadance!

    Road ride on a flat barred Planet X london road, 28mm tyres and 44t with a 12-28 cassette.

    I might be in the minority here but I just enjoy the feeling of my legs going round less and the feeling of more resistance.
    35 miles an hour yeah on 30t,is that on road or off?
    Like i said I've not bought a bike for about 10 years and in no way take it seriously.
    Its all about the enjoyment for me.
    I'm happy to now have a bike for road and one for off.
  • Just to update this for anyone going from old school 26" 44 teeth crank .
    I only feel on my normal riding and route that I do that I'm missing one final high speed gear.
    So overall I'm happy but glad I went for at least the 36t.
    I've also bought a 2nd hand trek hybrid for the road which is a revelation in terms of speed and ease of riding on the road compared to my old or new mtb.
    But I will say that riding the hybrid feels less stable and safe compared to the mtb.
    Thin tyres and not as wide handlebars.
    What I can say from this buying experience is that the mtb is no longer the do it all bike from years back and they are definitely more job specific especially the cranks.
    They've come from triple 44 teeth which is still good for road speed to single cranks with 32 teeth which would see your legs spinning at a great pace to keep momentum on the road.
    I've seen a few youngsters around with single cranked mtbs and there legs are going fast.
    I live in urban area of London and the single crank doesn't fit on the streets anymore but I suppose the kids just want a new mtb and thats what they come with now....a single 32teeth crank.

    i was going to post a question on this very subject . like you , i am in the market for a new mtb to replace my 2009 rocky ridge , though this wont be happening till next year now due to no available bikes !!
    The rocky ridge was one of the first bikes to come with just a double chain ring and this was a concern at the time but something I adapted to . I like the aesthetics of 1 x and simplicity too , always a benefit on a mtb when riding remote places .
    Its been market driven for years and the specialisation of bikes ever increasing , finding more niches for buyers . i remember the good old days when one bike did it all . In 1991 my pine mountain was my commuter hack , my mountain bike and with skinny tyres a road racer for a few events . with scott AT3s on (remember those ?)
    Did your bike come with oversized tyres as well ,as this is the other issue i can see regards gearing . For me , just from looking , it seems all bikes are massively undergeared .. but then i am from another time ...
    Yes they all look undergeared to me too,I was shocked to see that tiny front cog.
    I love the cube mtb I've bought and am getting used to the massive 29 wheels but still can only go by how the gearing feels compared to my old 44t mtb and it just feels one gear short which isn't a problem as everything is new and smooth.
    After looking intensively at bikes recently I can't believe the different styles for different occasions available.
    But I suppose I shouldn't be surprised as its the same across the board for most industries.
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,790
    I spin out at about 30mph on my 27.5" bikes running a 32T chain ring and 11-42 cassette.
    If you fit a 36 or 38T chainring, provided one that big can be fitted to whichever bike you get, you'll easily top 35mph and probably get close to 40mph.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,721
    Recently rode my brothers trance which has a 32t up front, I hated the constant spinning to keep speed. Rode it again last night after he'd swapped it to a 36 and its way better. Still prefer my 2x though.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • N0bodyOfTheGoatN0bodyOfTheGoat Posts: 4,674
    The triple chainset of my sister's ~16Kg hybrid was a godsend last week after my road bike developed issues around hilly Dyserth/Cwm/Rhuallt/Gwaenysgor. The easiest gear (24/34 I think) got me up Hillside's ~33% peak gradient with a bit of meandering.

    I'm picking up a Marasa tomorrow as a new commuter/shop pootler/winter/rare light trail bike, which is also a triple, but lighter at ~13.2Kg as stock and that gearing is great for the local inclines going up and actively pedalling down.
    ================
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748

    I can squeeze out 35mph on a 30t ring on a 29er, a 36t would see me at 42mph for the same cadance!

    Road ride on a flat barred Planet X london road, 28mm tyres and 44t with a 12-28 cassette.

    I might be in the minority here but I just enjoy the feeling of my legs going round less and the feeling of more resistance.
    35 miles an hour yeah on 30t,is that on road or off?
    Higher cadence is more effective, it reduces fatigue (although you burn more calories and need to fuel them).

    That's on or off road, pedalling isn't really impacted by the surface you're on unless its so rough you stand up and don't pedal anyway!
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