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Thread: The 3rd gear...

  1. #1
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    The 3rd gear...

    I never use it. 2014 Rockhopper, with 3 front rings. I only use 1 and 2, never 3. Well, basically never 3(the big ring). Everytime I use it, usually because "hey I have this other gear, let's use it" I quickly realize it's near useless mountain biking. Seems like #2 is all I really need for higher speeds, given I'm not bombing down the trails at 40mph.

    Am I wrong? Am I using it wrong? Will I eventually find a need for it? Leave it be, or take it off?

  2. #2
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    For me, i like having the option of a bigger gear for road sections or downhill to reduce chain slap. One other thing is it makes a pretty good bash guard if you dont intend to use it for chain. beats a overthrown chain...
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedwagon98 View Post
    I never use it. 2014 Rockhopper, with 3 front rings. I only use 1 and 2, never 3. Well, basically never 3(the big ring). Everytime I use it, usually because "hey I have this other gear, let's use it" I quickly realize it's near useless mountain biking. Seems like #2 is all I really need for higher speeds, given I'm not bombing down the trails at 40mph.

    Am I wrong? Am I using it wrong? Will I eventually find a need for it? Leave it be, or take it off?
    1x 11 or 12 is the new shiz...

    3x!!??

    The 80's called & want their chainrings back.

    ;-P

    Seriously, they should've stopped spec'ing MTB's w/ 3x chainrings 10-15 years ago!!

    Get rid of it quickly, before you fall of the edge of the Earth!

    'Born to ride!'
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  4. #4
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    If your drive train is due for a change I say go 1x. Is not that expensive.

    I just went from 2x10 to 1x10. New chain, cassette (11-42) and narrow wide chain ring (30t) used the same der. it came out to about $115.00? and that was with a bling Race Face chaing ring.

    Just do some math to get as close as you can with gearing.

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  5. #5
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    I wouldn't say it's due, but maybe? It's original to the bike, as is the chain. But I haven't ridden it a ton, and I don't get any skips, jumps, or anything on the chain(as long as I keep it lubed).

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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    1x 11 or 12 is the new shiz...

    3x!!??

    The 80's called & want their chainrings back.

    ;-P

    Seriously, they should've stopped spec'ing MTB's w/ 3x chainrings 10-15 years ago!!

    Get rid of it quickly, before you fall of the edge of the Earth!

    'Born to ride!'
    I've noticed all the nicer bikes are running 1x. I'm not so sure I could do that though, I've been using the hell out of granny gear since I got back on.

    Though I do see the appeal of not having to mess with a front shifter, and higher clearance(since I am going over rocks in Colorado).

  7. #7
    Bikesexual
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedwagon98 View Post
    I wouldn't say it's due, but maybe? It's original to the bike, as is the chain. But I haven't ridden it a ton, and I don't get any skips, jumps, or anything on the chain(as long as I keep it lubed).
    I also didn't have any issues changing gears, but once we pulled the rings out, you can really see the wear. Obviously the bigger ring had more wear. I was trying to always ride w/out the granny gear..but I did use it.

    Same with the casette, the lower gears were pretty bad.

    If its working and you don't feel like changing things, just don't use the big ring, maybe just on flat roads for speed.

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  8. #8
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    When I ran 3 x 9, for many years I just ditched the outer ring and had an e-13 bashguard and chain guide. The ONLY reason I threw an outer ring back on was for the one race we did every year, there were a few long downhill sections, 4 or 5 miles each, not technical, just road and fire trail, that I would spin out on. So basically used it once per year. If I did ride on the road, which was rarely, I would use it but pretty much worthless other than that. I have since converted to 1 x 11.

  9. #9
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    Up until latest 2018 Kona purchase in Jan, I ran a 3X9 SC Heckler (42/32/22). I never used big ring either but it served well as a bash guard.
    The 3rd gear...-img_0243.jpg

    Seeing the Kona get's more love now I had the opportunity to convert Heckler to 1X9. I went with a Shimano Zee crankset and slapped a Raceface 30T N/W chainring on it.
    The 3rd gear...-img_0271.jpg
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  10. #10
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    What is this third gear of which you speak? (I thought you meant on the rear cassette at first!)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedwagon98 View Post
    I've noticed all the nicer bikes are running 1x. I'm not so sure I could do that though, I've been using the hell out of granny gear since I got back on.

    Though I do see the appeal of not having to mess with a front shifter, and higher clearance(since I am going over rocks in Colorado).
    Many 1x do not actually lose the granny gear. They go with a wider range cassette, up to a 42-50 and then choose a chainring size that will still provide the same ratio as the old granny gear, losing some off the high end.

    When I ride, I mostly am in the middle ring on a triple. But I may be in the big ring when I ride a couple of miles of road getting to the trail and/or when riding flat trails that lead to the start of the real trails. And there are occasional climbs where I'll drop down into the small chainring and also when I am climbing while recovering but still riding. But I will probably change to 1x when I wear out what I have.

    Try this website; you can put in your current gearing and then compare it to a 1x with various cassette and chainring options.

    Bicycle Gear Calculator
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  12. #12
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    Thanks

  13. #13
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    Yeah, I definitely didn't lose any low gearing when I switched to 1x. I only lost a little top end.

    My fatbike is a 1x11 with a 28t chainring and an 11-46 cassette.

    My previous bike was a 3x9 with an 11-34 cassette.

    Current low gear is a 17.8ish gear inches, compared to 17.5 gear inches for the old. Not quite as low, but close.

    Current high gear is 74.6ish gear inches, compared to 108 gear inches for the old. Which is quite a lot, except if you look at the other gears lost. It's really only about 3 or 4 gear combos, which I mostly never used anyway.

    I made my gearing decision based on taking into account what I actually used on my 3x9. I mostly stayed in the middle ring with occasional forays into granny. Maybe only used the big ring a few times a year when I'd ride pavement to the trails. It wasn't a major loss.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Yeah, I definitely didn't lose any low gearing when I switched to 1x. I only lost a little top end.

    My fatbike is a 1x11 with a 28t chainring and an 11-46 cassette.

    What rear derailleur are you using for 11-46, and did you have to use an extender/Wolf tooth?

    Is it true that for 1x you can do 11-46t and not have to worry about medium vs. long cage, since medium cage is 36t maximum wrap (46-11 = 35), and long cage is 43?

    So you can get away with a medium cage with 1x 11-46? Correct or not?
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by richj8990 View Post
    What rear derailleur are you using for 11-46, and did you have to use an extender/Wolf tooth?

    Is it true that for 1x you can do 11-46t and not have to worry about medium vs. long cage, since medium cage is 36t maximum wrap (46-11 = 35), and long cage is 43?

    So you can get away with a medium cage with 1x 11-46? Correct or not?
    I have a med cage shimano xt. It will work fine as is, but I used a wolftooth goatlink with it because i read a number of reports from ppl who said it improved shift performance. Not sure I can say one way or another.

    Keep in mind, this is specific to 11spd. Parts.

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  16. #16
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    Nothing wrong with a 3x9 setup, except it's not quite as solid as a 3x7. Imagine how precise 9-speed gears would be if you could get derailleurs built to the same standards as 11-speed.

    Yeah, I don't seem to use my big chainring on my 3x9 bike as much as I used to. That could be because that bike has now been relegated to winter duty, or that my cadence is higher since I started making the effort to spin rather than mash, or that I'm getting older, or combinations and permutations thereof. Anyhoo, I've been thinking along the same lines myself and have been considering going 2x when the chainset wears out. I was thinking 2x10, but then that's the same cog spacing as an 11-speed so might as well go 2x11, but that's a really narrow chain with a large deflection angle and I'd prefer something beefier and straighter for the endless grinding winter mud so how about 2x9, hey! for an extra lightweight chainring I could have 3x9... oh.


    I wonder if it's possible to put together a decent 3x7 setup these days? I'd use the outer chainring on that all the time. Decent 7-speed DH derailleurs have a clutch on them too, but I've a feeling the cage might not be long enough for a 3x. Bit of a long shot, but I'd be very happy if that worked out.
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  17. #17
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grassington View Post
    I wonder if it's possible to put together a decent 3x7 setup these days? I'd use the outer chainring on that all the time. Decent 7-speed DH derailleurs have a clutch on them too, but I've a feeling the cage might not be long enough for a 3x. Bit of a long shot, but I'd be very happy if that worked out.
    as I understand them, the DH 7spd stuff uses the same chain as 11spd stuff. The cassettes are just narrower.

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