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  1. #1
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    2x10 for SoCal hills?

    I've been riding a XTR 970 3x9 setup for years, I spend a lot of time using the granny ring...

    I'm building up a new bike- will a XTR 980 2x10 kill me on climbs?

    I'm specifically looking at a 38x26 crank with 11-36 cogs.

    I believe my current granny gear is a 22 tooth ring on the crank, and the rear cog is also a 36 tooth.

    Asking for trouble, or go for it?

  2. #2
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    If you spend a lot of time in the granny now you might not want to switch. I prefer the 2x10 for my riding and have used it for the last 3 years or so. I have tried 42-28, 39-26, and now on 38-24 for rough trail riding on a 30lb 29er. With the 26 rings you have to attack the climb a bit more to keep your cadence up, you can't creep up hills as much as you can with a 22. That's not to say you won't make it, but the approach is a little different. Go for some of your normal rides and gear down a ring or two in the back and see how it feels. There are also some online gear calculators so you can compare ratios easily.

  3. #3
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    I plan to make the switch as well . . . and I know its going to be a bit more difficult at first, but I'll build up the strength and endurance eventually.
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  4. #4
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    I got this one. After riding 3X9 (44/34/22) and (11-32) on 26ers for years, I switched up to a 2X9 (38/26) and (11-32) set up on my first 29er build.

    On my 26er with 3X9, I was climbing up long, steep stuff in 22 up front and 21 & 24 on the cassette. That's fairly equivalent to the granny set up on my 29er with 2X9 which is 26 up front and 32 in back if you figure in the larger diameter wheels.

    I rarely used the 32 and 28 tooth gears (2 lowest gears) on the cassette anyway. If you do, then switching will be noticably harder on the steep stuff.

    However, if you are strong and getting stronger, you'll adapt. Your cadence will be slower, comparatively.

    This is a pretty serious switch to consider. Good luck!

  5. #5
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    Do it. You are going to be fine. I was on 3x10, then 2x10+bash and now on 1x10 (30T & 11-36). Most of the SoCal is doable even on 1x10.
    If you are not sure, just go for the 24-38 crank.
    Or just save up a bit more ($1,250) and get a 1x11.

  6. #6
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    I ran a 32x19 single speed 29er up my backyard, 20% grade, 2 mile climb. I used to cry, get blisters on my hands, dry heave and have severe back pain. I now have 2 bikes, one with a 2x9 and one that's 1x9. the 1x9 is not as sit and spin friendly but it's doable. You should be fine.

  7. #7
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    As most have already pointed out, it will be a significant adjustment for you especially if you currently spend a lot of time in your granny gear. To make the decision easier, I recommend using Sheldon Brown's Gear Calculator to figure out which gear on your current set-up will be equivalent to the granny gear you'll end up with on the new 2x10. Just plug in the info here:

    Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Gear Calculator

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULUNM View Post
    I'm specifically looking at a 38x26 crank with 11-36 cogs.

    I believe my current granny gear is a 22 tooth ring on the crank, and the rear cog is also a 36 tooth.

    Asking for trouble, or go for it?
    I went from a Sram 2x10 39x26 to 36-22 with an 11x36 rear, opposite direction of you. I was peddling up extended 20% plus grades. I didn't have to change, but I am glad I did, since having a lower granny is worth having a bit lower top gear for going downhill, which does not bother me. It depends a lot on how much you weigh, fitness, how often you ride etc. Worst thing that could happen is you are getting off and pushing a bit more. I'm 50, 190lbs, good shape and ride a couple of times a week.
    Last edited by Billinsd; 01-22-2013 at 07:33 AM.

  9. #9
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    I think it depends on what kind of climbing you do, your physical shape, age, and what you want to accomplish.
    If you climb mostly fire roads and smooth single track, you're in decent shape, under 45 and want to ramp up your game, i.e: climb faster, get in better shape, it could mean a bit of adjustment but you could accomplish the aforementioned goals.
    If you're more like me, pushing 60, 4 knee surgeries and a lumbar spine that resembles a stack of day old donuts who likes to climb technical singletrack, you're asking for trouble.
    If all you're looking to accomplish is dropping a few grams off your bike, do it the cheap way: skip lunch and add more fiber to your diet!
    Personally, I run a 3x10 with a 22 up front and 36x11 cogset. Though I don't use it a lot, knowing that "bail out" gear is there is re-assuring; better to have than want. And spinning is mo betta for the back and knees than mashing.
    SingleTracks and SingleMalts... mm mm good!

  10. #10
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    I have personal experience with this. As an FYI I climb about 5-8K per week so not a lot of flat rides.

    3 months ago I was 3x XTR with a 22T up front and a 36 in back. I was known as the King Spinner to all of my riding buddies.

    Said F'it and bought a new XTR 2x 28/40 setup with 11/36. Took me two rides to adjust and I was faster on every climb.

    5 weeks ago said F'it again and went 1x with a 34T on the front. That lasted 2 rides before I went 36T on the front with the same 11/36 on the back. Have been considering going 38T on the front, but I have an alternate plan now, XX1 with a 38Tor 40T up front.

    You could not pay me enough to run an FD anymore and the total adjustment period was about a week. Go 2x, you will love it.

  11. #11
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    unless you have a light bike

    I wouldn't go any larger than 38 24 if your gonna ride Simi to the beach and back ; )
    ...

  12. #12
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    2x gives MUCH better shifting and is lighter. IMO it's way than 3x and definitely worth the adjustment. Although moving from a 22 smallest up front to a 26 might be a bit of a big adjustment. Maybe start out with a 38/24 - you can switch them out for 39/26 rings when they wear out & you're stronger?

  13. #13
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    Only like 20 bucks to replace a ring on my triple, not sure how much the 38 24 rings are now? Guess that's something to think about
    ...

  14. #14
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    I made the switch to 2x10 from 3x9. The two lowest gears on my 3x9 were lower than my bottom gear on the 2x10 and, while I noticed it at first, I don't feel it at all anymore.

    Going to XTR, your cranks and rings will likely be stiffer, unless you were coming from a top of the line 3x9 setup. For me, I took a BIG leap up in the quality of not the just the drivetrain, but the whole bike, and I feel like it made up for the difference a bit. YMMV.

    The biggest thing, though, is that you'd be surprised what gearing you can push if you don't have the option to bail out into something really low. Your body will respond within a couple of weeks - mine did at least.

  15. #15
    007
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    Quote Originally Posted by scvkurt03 View Post
    The biggest thing, though, is that you'd be surprised what gearing you can push if you don't have the option to bail out into something really low. Your body will respond within a couple of weeks - mine did at least.
    This is going to be the most significant for me . . . I know quite well that I'm physically capable of pushing a higher gear than I do, but I don't because I have other options . . . if those options weren't there, I'd be forced to ride a more difficult gear, which is what I need to do.

    I need to get out of the habit of spinning . . .
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by OO7 View Post
    This is going to be the most significant for me . . . I know quite well that I'm physically capable of pushing a higher gear than I do, but I don't because I have other options . . . if those options weren't there, I'd be forced to ride a more difficult gear, which is what I need to do.

    I need to get out of the habit of spinning . . .
    I'm converting my old hardtail into a single speed with this end in mind. I pushed up most of Brown Mtn (El Prieto climb) yesterday in 26/26 and had to fight the urge/temptation to drop down into one of the 3 lower gears. My legs were tired but my lungs were fine so I kept at it and now my legs are angry with me.

    So the next logical step is to go singlespeeding at 32/22 right? I must be suicidal.

  17. #17
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    Switched over to 2x10 (3) years ago and wouldn't think of going back. Just built new bike with 24-28 and couldn't be happier. I'm 48 and not the fastest climber but I clear more stuff than the others in my regular group....of course they are all over 50 but they are all on 2x10's as well.

    3x10's will probably be extinct in 10 years.

  18. #18
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    I switched over last year, I built a 650b SC Blur with SRAM XX, I use a 39/26 crank with a 11-36 cassette. I find myself mostly in the big ring, using all the gears in the rear, I only use the 26 for only the steepest climbs.

  19. #19
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    I switched to a 2x10 two months ago and honestly love it. I'm not a fast climber by any means and find that the 2x10 is slightly more difficult to climb with. Other than that the advantages outweigh the cons. Just get the easiest gearing you can find for the XTR 11-36 and 38/26.

    On the steepest climbs you will obviously have to go to 26 as you start out but eventually your strength will improve

  20. #20
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    I run a 36/22 up front with a 11-34 cassette. Just ditch the big ring and never look back. The only time I spin out is if I'm riding the bike path.

  21. #21
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    I recently switched from 2X9 to 1X9 thinking I'd be pushing but you adapt without the option of a granny. I climb everything I did before but it definitely takes some getting used to, no sit and spin! Running 34t front, 11-34 rear on a SC Heckler.

  22. #22
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    lol@ the epeens... guys claiming that they ride "extended" 20% grades. 2 mile 20% back yard trail. you have a mountain in your back yard? 2 miles at 20% is approx 2000 feet.

    someone point me a trail in SoCal that is 2+ miles at an average 20% grade.

  23. #23
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    Once you go 2x10, by the second ride you'll realize what a waste 3x9 was before. As others have stated, if climbing is a concern, just pick a lower ratio of rings.

  24. #24
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    Thanks all- you've made the decision pretty easy, 2 x10 it is!

  25. #25
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    As stated above/ age, weight, condition of body parts.Most people that are 150-170 don't realize the extra strain for someone 200-250 lbs. Even if you are in good shape once the trail points upward its much more difficult moving around the extra weight. So if you ever get passed by a fat guy grinding uphill , you've got issues. LOL
    My knees are shot, I need the 22.

  26. #26
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    At 39 I went from a 3x9 (26er) when I was weighing 190 and now am using a 2x10 (29er) and weighing 165 and I like it a lot. I was really concerned with the jump when talking with my LBS, but it all worked out without even noticing it. My strength went up to compensate within a few weeks. What I noticed more was lack of top range when on flat/downhill trails and fire roads.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryRudolph View Post
    At 39 I went from a 3x9 (26er) when I was weighing 190 and now am using a 2x10 (29er) and weighing 165 and I like it a lot. I was really concerned with the jump when talking with my LBS, but it all worked out without even noticing it. My strength went up to compensate within a few weeks. What I noticed more was lack of top range when on flat/downhill trails and fire roads.
    Yeah, that's another concern of mine- but after a massive crash and faceplant- I should probably slow it down a bit on the downhills!

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by PAULUNM View Post
    but after a massive crash and faceplant- I should probably slow it down a bit on the downhills!
    Funny, I ended up taking it easier on the downhills after a good front end washout that left me not riding for 2 weeks until the arm stopped oozing. Now I mostly coast downhill, and part of the reason I'd consider even losing a little more top end range and go to a 1x11 (just haven't made the commitment on the range and certainly not the cost yet).

  29. #29
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    paulunm, I got the XX 39/26 with 11-36 years ago and loved it. Just went XO 36/22 with same cassette and love it, too. For short climbing bursts I don't think it makes much of a difference. For longer sections of difficulty I think it definitely does (for this weekend rider). I went for the 22 because I was cleaning some longer sections on my other bike (triple w/ 24 granny and 11-36/650b) that kept shutting me down on the 39/26/29er. I'm starting to get those sections on the 29er now. Have fun...

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by salk10022 View Post
    lol@ the epeens... guys claiming that they ride "extended" 20% grades. 2 mile 20% back yard trail. you have a mountain in your back yard? 2 miles at 20% is approx 2000 feet.

    someone point me a trail in SoCal that is 2+ miles at an average 20% grade.
    It's like the guys claiming they routinely ride their trail bikes at 35 mph and really need those top end gears.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillharman View Post
    It's like the guys claiming they routinely ride their trail bikes at 35 mph and really need those top end gears.
    Routinely, no. But every now and then you hit a long, smooth straight away that's really, really, fun to push 40.

  32. #32
    007
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillharman View Post
    It's like the guys claiming they routinely ride their trail bikes at 35 mph and really need those top end gears.
    Quote Originally Posted by scvkurt03 View Post
    Routinely, no. But every now and then you hit a long, smooth straight away that's really, really, fun to push 40.
    I'd like to see some GPS tracks of someone hitting 40+ on a dirt trail.
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by OO7 View Post
    I'd like to see some GPS tracks of someone hitting 40+ on a dirt trail.
    Spun out at 37 coming down dirt Mulholland. 36 on Rocky Peak just after Las Llajas before Seashells.

  34. #34
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    I am 250 lbs and run a 39/26 on my Trek hardtail with a 11/36 cassette and do just fine with it. I went from a triple to a 2 x 10 cold turkey with no problems.

  35. #35
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    I'm in my 40's. I'm 5'10" and 225. Obviously, I'm not super fit. But I run a Shimaano XT 38/26 2x10 up front and 11-36 10spd rear on my 29er hardtail. I do fine with it. I'm not fast, but I can climb stuff like Monroe Truck trail, Coal Canyon to Sierra Peak, Santiago Truck trail, Turnbull, and Brown Mountain well enough. Pretty much everything. I also did the Catalina Grand Fondo (40 miles, 5800 of climbing) with that combo last year.

    I also have a Trek Rumblefish 29er. I had a 3x10on it, but switched to an Sram X9 with a 36/22. I thought that given that the Rumblefish was heavier than the hardtail, the smaller front cog would be good. Turns out I don't really like the 22 front as much as I like the 26 tooth front. I definitely don't use the granny as much with a 22.

    Note: 26tooth is the lowest you can go with shimano XTR 2x10 I believe. If you want to run a 24 or 22 tooth in 2x10, go with Sram X0 or X9.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by OO7 View Post
    I'd like to see some GPS tracks of someone hitting 40+ on a dirt trail.
    I've hit 42mph on the dirt. I'll try to track down the strava link for you.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by OO7 View Post
    I'd like to see some GPS tracks of someone hitting 40+ on a dirt trail.
    x2

    Street where I bed my brakes.. very steep, dirt tires only go 45 MAX

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    I've hit 52mph offroad....but it was on the freeway section of the Kamikazee DH at Mammoth, obvisously not a regular occuring event, usually top out on rides around 30mph

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by ihaveagibsonsg View Post
    I've hit 42mph on the dirt. I'll try to track down the strava link for you.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hurricane Jeff View Post
    I've hit 52mph offroad....but it was on the freeway section of the Kamikazee DH at Mammoth, obvisously not a regular occuring event, usually top out on rides around 30mph
    I've hit 35 on Sullivan Ridge coming down at night and that's plenty fast for me. Not only are trails like that boring to me, in my line of work I've seen first-hand what happens with failure at speed. You don't want to go there. Trust me.
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  40. #40
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    Im a big boy at 220lbs. New bike is a 29" with 3 x 10 gear set up. On my old 26" 3 x 9 i was getting to where some of my rides didnt need granny gear.

    Bigger wheels + my body weight or something? not sure why... but my 29's granny/granny is about as hard to push as my old bikes granny/2 or 3. My granny has definitely required acclimation. It is missing a spinner gear the old bike had. Makes very little sense to me, as the gear ratio is still 22 - 36 on both granny gears. I have adapted and am cleaning stuff i used to struggle with by hitting it at a faster clip.

    Soooo my 2cents = At 220lbs I am quite grateful to have the 22 front ring option tyvm.

  41. #41
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    Last part of the video is where I hit top speed. It's hard to tell how fast I'm going looking at the trail but if you look at how fast the bushes are going by, it puts it more into context.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/OO1GPWqJct4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

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