1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    1x9 Okay for Beginner?

    Greetings all.

    I am a beginner biker and I'm in the market for a new bike (coming from a 2008 Trek 3700). I've been considering lots of different bikes, but I came across an interesting find on Craigslist that I'd like to get your opinion on.

    It's a 2008 Specialized Stumpjumper running 1x9. Do you think a beginner biker would be okay with a 1x9 bike? Is it doable to tackle climbs and descents with that gearing? I'm looking to be doing some general XC riding.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: 1x9 Okay for Beginner?

    LOL, I think 1x9 is stupid for everybody. But one of my usual routes starts with 1000' of climbing.

    Only the lowest few gears are unique to the granny ring. If you can go for a ride and pretty much stay in your middle ring, it's probably fine. If you're in your granny a lot and you're not cross-chained, it may totally suck. At least, if it's a 32t chainring or bigger.

    Does the add give the tooth count out have non-sucky pictures?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    1x9 Okay for Beginner?

    My first bike (current bike) is a 1x10. I thought it was gonna suck but I've adapted. I do some climbing (quite a bit in my book but probably not for others) and I have to problem climbing steep and rocky terrain.

    All depends on your terrain.

  4. #4
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    If you consider yourself reasonably strong and athletic then you'll be fine. If you are overweight and out of shape then you'll suffer on climbs or will have to walk. As mentioned by others the amount of climbing you plan to do is important as well.

    Gears don't reduce the amount of energy you have to generate to make a climb but low gears help shift some of the work from fast twitch (strength) muscles to slow twitch (endurance) muscles.

    Some of us love 1x setups because they are lighter, cheaper, simpler, more reliable and quieter. But it's never black or white.

  5. #5
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    I very rarely go to the granny ring. I like the idea of 1x9 for the simplicity and because the front derailleur on my current bike is a pain.

    The ad doesn't have a tooth count, but I did request it from the seller. What would be the ideal count? The trails in my area don't have huge ascents, so I won't be doing a TON of climbing.

  6. #6
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    It depends on what you want to do.
    If everything you plan on riding is flat, 1x9 is too many gears

    Your profile says Richmond Virginia. I've never been, but I picture hills. If you do 1x9 I would make sure you have low enough gears for all your climbs, and sacrifice on the high gears ( since you can always make it down a hill regardless of your gearing!)

  7. #7
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    You probably want a 32t or 33t ring in the front. Cassette size is also relevant. It's probably a 11-34. And I assume that this a 26er. That gives you better gearing due to the wheel size when compared to 29. (Coming to think of it I own a 2008 SJ full-suspension bike. I don't ride it much since I prefer my 29er.) Stock on most SJs was a triple 22/33/44 and you'll want to find out if he converted the stock crankset or replaced it.

  8. #8
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    Some people have spiderless 1x setups with 28t rings, and things like that. That's starting to be a pretty unusual drivetrain setup and I think it begins to make real sacrifices in top end, but it's also less and less of a sacrifice in terms of low end gears.

    I think of a 32 or 34 as being more typical. These bolt onto cranks that use a more typical four-arm spider, can be run as part of an inexpensive conversion, etc.

    Bikes priced well on Craig's List go quickly, at least in my region. So don't drag your feet about this (or any) bike.

    Bear in mind that your 3700 fits differently from a higher-end XC bike. Don't buy a bike if the fit's off, no matter how good the deal seems.

    I wouldn't expect a 32t ring to be too small for most descents. Most of the time, if I used the large ring on a triple on a descent, it was either to do with the shift pattern or to increase the chain tension. Not about gear ratio.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    LOL, I think 1x9 is stupid for everybody...
    Whoa... Let's try to put the wheels back on the beginner's bus!
    As one who's taught many a newbie, and now rides most everything on a rigid SS, I must disagree.
    The single biggest problem I see when people are first learning to ride is confusion. From in part too many gears.

    The first time someone gets aboard a MTB, notice their deer in the headlights look from trying to absorb all this.. "Right hand controls the rear, left hand controls the front, easy on the front brake, to shift - take pressure off the pedals, when coasting - feet horizontal, heavy on the pedals / light on the seat, elbows flexed, don't death-grip, to clear stuff unweight the front wheel, stay off the brakes in the corners..." Total info overload!!

    To make it easier, I tell people to stick in in the middle ring, and leave it. The same mass must go up the same hill, whether you have one gear or thirty - all must sit, stand or walk.

    Recently got my noobie g/f a bike, and believe she would learn fastest on a rigid SS.
    Built a SS frame as a 1x10 (n/w) because of extended climbs, and installed a 100mm fork for chunk. Really want her to learn handling, braking, and line selection before being confused by shifting.

    Know anyone who constantly cross-chains? I do, they have constant drivetrain issues, and have ridden for years.
    IMO - Until you understand gear ratios, redundancy, chainline, and how to unweight pedals - multiple chainrings are more of a complication than they are a benefit.
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  10. #10
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    I used my last 1x9 setup (30T front, 11-34) for just about everything, except for huge mountain climbs.
    If you go to the single speed forum, they will inform you that you only need 1 gear.

    The good news is, if you dont like 1x9 you can always go back.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the advice and suggestions all. I ended up buying the bike today after test riding it and really enjoying the ride. After that I took it on a small trail and it felt great!!

  12. #12
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    1x9 Okay for Beginner?

    Enjoy it!

  13. #13
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    You can get a 12-36 cassette for 9 speed, just bought one because I'm hoping to go 1x9 on one of my bikes. I also plan to pick up one of the race face narrow wide 30 tooth cranks rings that fits the common 104 BCD cranks. Not up to it yet though.

  14. #14
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    go 1x9 you'll be fine. I switched last year, I'm NEVER going back.

  15. #15
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    Pics or it didn't happen.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Pics or it didn't happen.
    Only took one pic yesterday from the left side, but here it is. Chain ring is 32 and cassette is 11-34.

    1x9 Okay for Beginner?-image.jpg

  17. #17
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    2 suggestions about that bike:

    1. ditch those crappy pedals asap. there is an abundance of decent, strong, grippy flat pedals out there. if you want a slightly cheaper, but probably heavier option, look into bmx pedals.

    2. what kind of chainring does that bike have? if it has the standard middle ring from a 3x setup still on there, there is a good chance it will drop the chain easily. a dedicated single speed specific chain would work a lot better. some sort of chain keeper like the one made by Paul or MRP would be very helpful too. but even better would be one of the newer generation of "no drop" chainrings with the wide/narrow teeth. look into that.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    2 suggestions about that bike:

    1. ditch those crappy pedals asap.


    +1. Even an all plastic pedal is better IMO, not that I recommend those either. Those alloy cages screw directly into plastic, a guaranteed fail and crappy performance until they do.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyin_W View Post
    - multiple chainrings are more of a complication than they are a benefit.
    BS.. Multiple chain rings can mean the difference between having to push the bike up every hill and being able to ride it up a hill. New riders don't want to walk their bikes everywhere. They want to ride and even if they are going slow just pedaling up a hill is an accomplishment. Gears help you do that. I have been taking out a new rider over the past few months. He is a runner so has good lungs, but weak legs. I have taught him how to use gears and it allows him to make it up alot of tough climbs. He is not fast, but he is making it and that is valuable for him. His first bike was my old spare one from 1998. It ran a 11-28 7spd rear with triple chainring. He struggled on some steep climbs even in granny. So when he bough his own bike I was careful to point out a 11-34 9spd with 22/32/44 triple to give him that low granny he needed for steep smooth climbs. Now he is able to make it up alot more climbs by spinning up them with cadence rather than brute force.

    As for working the chain rings it is easy
    Small = Climbing, Long and steep stuff
    Middle = Flats, gentle climbs, flats and most descents
    Big = Pavement, graded roads, or fast descents.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    2 suggestions about that bike:

    1. ditch those crappy pedals asap. there is an abundance of decent, strong, grippy flat pedals out there. if you want a slightly cheaper, but probably heavier option, look into bmx pedals.

    2. what kind of chainring does that bike have? if it has the standard middle ring from a 3x setup still on there, there is a good chance it will drop the chain easily. a dedicated single speed specific chain would work a lot better. some sort of chain keeper like the one made by Paul or MRP would be very helpful too. but even better would be one of the newer generation of "no drop" chainrings with the wide/narrow teeth. look into that.
    I'm planning on getting some MG-1s.

    The guy included a chainkeeper as well, but he said he had problems with it so he took it off. I'm not sure if the chainring is a dedicated single speed or not. How can I tell?

  21. #21
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    ^ Yeah right. This is why the geared MTB market is going to 1x10's narrow-wide with clutch derailleurs. :-\ And dropping 3 x systems like a big smelly turd. BTW somehow this old fart rides SS most everywhere.
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyin_W View Post
    ^ Yeah right. This is why the geared MTB market is going to 1x10's narrow-wide with clutch derailleurs. :-\ And dropping 3 x systems like a big smelly turd. BTW somehow this old fart rides SS most everywhere.
    ...and as we're all well aware, the "The Market" and crusty old SSers know exactly what's best for each and every one of us.

    And seriously, if somebody is really completely thrown for a loop and pushed past the breaking point by the complication of running 2 front gears rather of one, they're probably a bit too short on brainpower to be allowed to go into the woods by themselves.

    OP - bike looks good. I wouldn't change a damn thing (besides the pedals) until you've had a chance to put some miles on it and see if there are actually any issues you need to fix, or if you feel you need to change gearing or possibly even add ring(s)and a derailleur up front. And always be wary of people trying to push the 'latest and greatest' and/or their personal preferences as a solution to 'problems' you may or may not even have. Just go and start riding the hell out of your bike and things will shake themselves out from there.
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  23. #23
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    Very nice bike. You'll love it. I mentioned above that I also have a 2008 SJ. Mine is a FS bike and I politely decided not to mention that I think the rear suspension is fairly sub-optimal. So, I am glad to see that yours turns out to be a hard tail. In my opinion a much better bike than the FS.

    Ride as is but if you ever have to get a new derailleur then make sure to get a short cage for better shifting. It would also be pretty easy to convert to 1x10 but I think not too useful unless you want to go to a type 2 derailleur.

    Have fun!!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    ...and as we're all well aware, the "The Market" and crusty old SSers know exactly what's best for each and every one of us.

    And seriously, if somebody is really completely thrown for a loop and pushed past the breaking point by the complication of running 2 front gears rather of one, they're probably a bit too short on brainpower to be allowed to go into the woods by themselves.
    slapjomama, This is the beginners forum, where one tries to simplify, and shorten their learning curve.
    Only a narcissistic egomaniac lacking common sense would post such blatant hatred...
    " I bet you're about as fun to ride with as a wet brown fart."

    OP, nice looking ride - you did well.
    The best is the one you want to ride most often..

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyin_W View Post
    This is the beginners forum, where one tries to simplify, and shorten their learning curve. .
    Sure, but I don't think you need to necessarily conflate 'beginner' with ' completely inept'. I've been getting people into riding for decades; by no means have they all been MENSA candidates, but I've yet to run into anyone that really got put off by the workings of a front derailleur, or gears in general. Mabye if we were talking about little kids, but I have faith that the vast majority of adults aren't going to have a lot of difficulty developing the ability to shift between 2 chainrings in pretty short order.
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