MTB Tip of the Week – Episode 2: 1x Drivetrain Bail Out
Episode 1: Cold Fingers Remedy
Last year I decided to go back to a 1x drivetrain system. I have been known to really enjoy singlespeeding and had tried 1×9 drivetain setups in the past, liking both very much because they forced me to get stronger while torqued up climbs. I had recently been running a 3 chainring setup on my crankset for the previous year for a variety of reasons. Some of those were:
1. Recovery from a knee injury; I needed to feel like I could quickly bail out of the middle chainring into the granny to ease the torque off my knee.
2. The trails closest to my house have a long canyon with long flat sections of trail. I tend to rub out of gears if I don’t have a big ring.
3. Long climbs, especially at the end of a long day or long ride would require me to walk them or stop to rest if I didn’t have a granny gear.
4. I felt the weight was worth the versatility.
When I went back to the 1x drivetrain system, I decided to leave my 22T granny gear on my crankset.
I had removed a decent amount of weight from my bike:
443 g total removed
While I had added back a bit for the new narrow wide chainring and singlespeed bolts:
53 g total added
The total weight loss for my 1×10 was 390g however. That was significant.
I decided that leaving the granny gear on the crankset wouldn’t have removed too much more weight and I was happy with the weight loss already.
Having removed the front derailleur, I want sure how often I would use the 22T granny gear that remained on my crankset. I figured that it would be easy enough to change which chainring the chain would be on by hand if I really needed that granny gear, for a long hill for instance. I imagined that, for maybe 90% of my riding, I would pretty much forget that it was even there. I was right. After a year, even on long climbs I still sometimes forget it is there until I am almost cresting the climb. It has been a life saver on about a half dozen accounts however. Many days where continuing to push up climbs in the 32T chainring is just too much, the 22T has been a great way to continue on and adapt the gewring for the lack of training my body had seen in that season on the bike.
Here is a quick video showing how I change which chainring the chain is on by hand.