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Confused about gears! 1x11 vs 2x11 - 28,32 or 42T cassette?

johngwheelerjohngwheeler Posts: 35
edited March 2017 in Road beginners
I have a CX/Hybrid with 50/34 chain rings & a SRAM 11-32 cassette. I find this quite a comfortable range, although the Shimano Sora derailleurs and shifters are a bit hit and miss sometimes.

I'm looking at getting another bike at a higher quality level, probably also a Cyclocross for about 50/50 road and grass/light-trail use.

There seems to be choice between 1x10/1x11 SRAM and 2x11 Shimano groupsets at the price level I'm looking at (<$2000US).

The SRAM equipped bike (Apex & Rival) tend to be more expensive that the Shimano 105 equipped bikes.

I'm trying to work out when a single or double chain ring groupset would be better for me.

As mentioned, at least 50% (maybe a bit more) of my riding will be on paved surfaces, but I don't need (or want) to go very fast, and I seldom find myself spinning-out with my 50-11 gear unless going very fast downhill.

So probably the higher gearing of a single ring (e.g. 42-11) would be fine for me.

I more confused about the other end of the scale. The typical dual-ring is 46/36, but some sets only have an 11-26 cassette.

How much difference would I notice on steep climbs between a 34-32 and 42-28? It sound like a lot, and I often struggle to get up steep hills, even in my lowest gear at the moment.

Given the kind of riding I plan on doing, do you think I would be better served by 1x11 (say 40 or 42T, with 11-32 / 11-36 / 11.42), or for a more traditional 46/36 + 11-28 / 11-32?

Thanks for your input!

John

Posts

  • trailflowtrailflow Posts: 1,311
    edited March 2017
    How much difference would I notice on steep climbs between a 34-32 and 42-28? It sound like a lot, and I often struggle to get up steep hills, even in my lowest gear at the moment.

    You'll definitely notice a difference. Try climbing with your current 34t chainring with the 22t cog. Thats near what it will feel like.

    Use a gear calculator like this,and use the side menu with ratio,inches,speed,cadence to compare each configuration.

    http://www.bikecalc.com/gear_ratios

    a 42t chainring with an 11t cog will spin out (29mph) alot easier than a 50t. I personally ride a 46t chainring and tried a 42t briefly (with 25c tyes) and it just felt too under geared for road use. Off-road and with bigger tyres is the only place i could see a 42t being useful. a 40t chainring would not cut it at all on road.

    It's also not just about gearing. The shifting and ergonomics and of Sram and Shimano are very different. You may prefer one over the other. If you've never tried Sram's double tap system i recommend trying a test ride first. Some love it. Some hate it.

    Me personaly i would choose a 2x drive train because it can be converted to a 1x drivetrain (if needed) much easier (and cheaper) than vice versa.

    Ultimately a 1x drivetrain will limit your range in some way (at both ends). a 2x drivetrain will give more options than you need = more versatile.

    If you struggle with a 34t chainring and a 32t cog. i cannot see how a 1x drivetrain will add any benefit (but heavier parts to get the same thing).

    a 1x drivetrain will have bigger gaps between the gears as you climb up the cassette and that can effect your cadence rhythm. The bigger the cassette,the bigger the gaps will be. Also the heavier the cassette will be (and more expensive to replace).

    a 1x drivetain (i believe) is really suited more to off road use.

    a 46/36 + 11-32 then consider changing the small chainring to a 34t or even a 33t would be my recommendation.
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    I have converted 2 of my bikes to 1x setups now. IF you know exactly the gear range you will be using they are a good option as you can drop weight, less to maintain, looks nicer and its one less thing to think about having to jump between the 2 massive cogs.

    1x also lends itself to shorter sharper power rides, you don't get the close ratio of a 2x system so often its easier to just add more power, come out the saddle, than it is to faff between gears looking for a comfortable one.

    My commuter was a 2x10 50/34 11:32 .... is now a 1x10 with a 44t ring.
    the MTB went from 3x9 to 36t:11-42

    I have never used the 42t ring .... probably would at cwmcarn, but its my tail bike so use it for the flatter stuff

    for road riding the 2x is a better system, it gives you a lot more gears so you can have them closer together which is a god send when you are in the saddle for a long time and there is a slight change in gradient or the wind shifts and you can change your gearing by a single tooth ... ahhhhh bliss


    off road, I much prefer 1x ... a lot less botched gear changes, a lot less issues with mud, a lot less chain drops
  • coops1967coops1967 Posts: 99
    You might prefer this link to a gear calculator - you can compare two setups easily ( from 1x to 2x to Rohloff etc etc, even had Sram Eagle 12 in there and Pinion gears), and check the max speed (in km/hr or mph) and also easily spot any large jumps in gear ratios....

    http://www.gear-calculator.com


    gearcalc.jpg


    example of a comparison ( triple vs single!) :-

    2016-08-01-22_02_27-html5-gear-calculator-png.516313
  • flasherflasher Posts: 1,731
    If you're struggling on 34-32 don't even think about a 1x10/11 setup, stick to what you know, 50/34-11/32 is good for the flat and for the hills.
  • 1x setup works for cross as it's one less component to get clogged with mud and hoping off to run if you can't ride a section is part of the sport, you don't ride on the road to get off and push.

    FWIW I personally think the current 105 group offers the best combination of price and performance you'll find.
  • coops1967 wrote:
    You might prefer this link to a gear calculator - you can compare two setups easily ( from 1x to 2x to Rohloff etc etc, even had Sram Eagle 12 in there and Pinion gears), and check the max speed (in km/hr or mph) and also easily spot any large jumps in gear ratios....

    http://www.gear-calculator.com


    gearcalc.jpg


    example of a comparison ( triple vs single!) :-

    2016-08-01-22_02_27-html5-gear-calculator-png.516313

    Thanks! This is a great application that makes it really easy to compare different gear ratios.
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,852
    John, just as an aside as most people have advised on the gear issue. Why do you say your sora setup is hit and miss, they are usually bombproof once set up correctly.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • oxoman wrote:
    John, just as an aside as most people have advised on the gear issue. Why do you say your sora setup is hit and miss, they are usually bombproof once set up correctly.

    I've found that on the small chain ring that shifting in the mid-gears (5th-7th) sometimes dithers and jumps once or twice between the rings. Sometimes I have to change gear to get it to settle on a gear. The click on the shifter seems positive enough, but it doesn't always results in a positive gear change.

    The bike is new (a month old) and hasn't been abused (yet!). I get a free tune up at the shop I bought it from, so I'll mention this when I take it in - I'll do another 100km of so to make sure it's "run in" before then.

    My general impression of the Sora groupset is that it's "OK" but I can imagine a lot better - although I have never tried anything superior in my limited experience!

    John
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,852
    Sora is normally bombproof, however all groupset will suffer when new due to bedding in and cable stretch hence why most dealers do a 6 wk first check up.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
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