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  1. #1
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    1x9 commuter gearing

    Howdy folks.

    I just built up my new commuter, and I'm curious about what folks here use for gearing. Mine is currently set up 1x9, with a 46t chainring, and a wide range MTB rear (SLX 11-28, I think). The gearing works well enough for me, but I find I rarely use the lower ranges available and sometimes feel like I am missing an 'in-between' ratio in the higher cogs where there is a more than one-tooth difference cog to cog.

    So I'm thinking of switching to a 42 (which I already have) or 44 tooth chainring, and a road cassette with 1-tooth difference cogs.

    What are you guys running?

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    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 1x9 commuter gearing-img_0140.jpg  


  2. #2
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    My current commuter has multiple roles including bikepacking and backup/loaner mtb so I'm still running fat(2.2") tires and don't really feel much of a need for speed. I've got a fairly standard 1x9 setup with 32 tooth chainring and 11-32 cassette. My next build will be a little more cyclo-cross inspired which will also see commuter duties. I'll be running a 42 tooth chainring with a 11-34 cassette on it. That should cover all my needs(I really like a single chainring). Nice bike btw!
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  3. #3
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    Commuter-errand-bike path bike is 42 x 11-34. With carriers full of a load of groceries or farmer's market produce, it is about 100 pounds. In commute mode, about 28 plus briefcase or PC bag. The upright position and these loads make for work into the wind.

    Even with careful load placement, a full load can make it tricky to handle, so I like the simplicity of the single shifter with more useful ratios than a 2 x 7.

  4. #4
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    I'm running 11-34 out back and a 50 up front. I have a road double with a 34 tooth small ring, but no front derailleur. I leave it in the 50 tooth front for the commute. It's made me a better climber, that's for sure.
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  5. #5
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    Have experienced chain fall off? I took my front derailleur off to make 1x8 but chain has fell off many times. I tried shorten the chain by removing a couple of links but that didn't help. I am wondering if there is any solution for it. Thank you.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttper
    Have experienced chain fall off? I took my front derailleur off to make 1x8 but chain has fell off many times. I tried shorten the chain by removing a couple of links but that didn't help. I am wondering if there is any solution for it. Thank you.
    I have used a Jump Stop (by N-Gear, but there are other brands and designs like the 'dog fang' from third-eye) and a bash guard before. That gives you protection from chain jump to the inside and the outside. A nice "channel", if you will, with your chainring in the center. Not as clean looking as just the single ring, but there is basically no way for the chain to derail up front.
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  7. #7
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    Assuming your chainwheel is not bent and runs true.

    Assuming there are NO even slightly damaged (bent) links in the chain. Bent chain = nightmare.

    Assuming you are using the inner of a double, or center front of a triple. (Not a single crankwheel set).

    You don't need as long a chain if you aren't changing chainrings anymore. The RD takeup should keep good tension. If you are using the largest chianwheel, and it is the same BCD (Bolt Center Diameter) as the next, you could move it inboard for a better average chainline. A second one (preferably with more teeth = bigger diameter) can be detoothed (used ones with bent teeth from your LBS can be cheap) and put outboard where the other one was as a chain guard (so you can keep the same bolts, otherwise, you may need some hardware to drop to a single chainwheel). The RD take up should keep enough tension. You can also fit the old FD as a chain guide without cable just stopped in place with the set screws though you may need longer ones to lock it.

  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    My current is a 2x6 setup, with a range from 32.5-91.7 gear inches. I actually do use that entire range, but I'm out at the boundaries only on the steepest pitches on my commute - I don't feel like I'd be too crippled by losing the most extreme ratios. Why am I posting this in a 1x9 thread? Well, with an 11-34 cassette instead of a 14-28 freewheel, I'd actually get a bigger range doing 1x9. With a 41t (yeah, I know they're rare - it's in between 34 and 48, my current rings) chainwheel, I'd get a range of 32.3 - 99.7. I could get a pretty near match to my current with a 38t ring and 11-32 cassette, 31.8 - 92.4 gear inches.

    OP, I highly encourage you to either visit the gear ratios calculator on Sheldon Brown, or make a spreadsheet. With a little tinkering, you can figure out a combination that will give you the boundary ratios you want. Since you want smaller jumps, narrowing your range like that should take care of you.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/
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  9. #9
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    I run a 1x8 on my commuter. 40 ring, 12-32 cassette, 26" wheels. It seems just about right, though if I need to replace the drivetrain at any point I will go with an 11-34 cassette (I guess 9-speed). I find the gear ratio spacing plenty tight, never caught between gears.

    It is hilly around here and with a bit of a load (I have racks front and rear) I would not want to loose my low gear. I sometimes spin out in the highest gear on downhills, but I don't really care.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    My current is a 2x6 setup,...32.5-91.7 gear inches. ...an 11-34 cassette ...doing 1x9. With a 41t ...a range of 32.3 - 99.7. I could get a pretty near match to my current with a 38t ring and 11-32 cassette, 31.8 - 92.4 gear inches.
    My bike was a 27" 13-28 and 52/42, 2 x 7, 40.5-110.1, ratio range: 2.72. Now a 700C with fatter tires (same height) 11-34 x 42 1 x 9 = 33.4-103.1, ratio range: 3.09. (outside chainwheel is a chain guard.) If I don't go NuVinci 360 IGH (ratio range 3.6), when the cassette is worn I will go 12-36 and a 41 (the smallest chainwheel for a 144 BCD crankset) for 30.8-92.3, ratio range: 3.00. A 10% lower gear for when it is loaded with groceries and I am uphill into the wind would be nice and a 10% lower top will get a bit more play when empty or downhill with the wind as the erect position is non aero but I make a good sail. The single shifter when loaded with groceries is very nice.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    Assuming your chainwheel is not bent and runs true.

    Assuming there are NO even slightly damaged (bent) links in the chain. Bent chain = nightmare.

    Assuming you are using the inner of a double, or center front of a triple. (Not a single crankwheel set).

    You don't need as long a chain if you aren't changing chainrings anymore. The RD takeup should keep good tension. If you are using the largest chianwheel, and it is the same BCD (Bolt Center Diameter) as the next, you could move it inboard for a better average chainline. A second one (preferably with more teeth = bigger diameter) can be detoothed (used ones with bent teeth from your LBS can be cheap) and put outboard where the other one was as a chain guard (so you can keep the same bolts, otherwise, you may need some hardware to drop to a single chainwheel). The RD take up should keep enough tension. You can also fit the old FD as a chain guide without cable just stopped in place with the set screws though you may need longer ones to lock it.
    Very interesting !
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  12. #12
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    Since someone might search this thread converting from 2 x something to 1 x 9, and I brought it up in another post, here are two links to converting double cranksets to single (inboard) and converting outer chainrings to chainguards in same thread:

    What would you do?

    What would you do?

    Mine cost only the materials used to convert and polish it. Good deal. Works great and looks better! Oops my prides's showing.

  13. #13
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    Wow...I'm surprised many of you can get away with only one chain ring. The final climb on my commute is kicking my ass even using my 26T chain ring and 32T cog. The only thing I'm carrying is maybe my lunch and lock in a backpack. I have triple chain rings at the moment and for almost everything else, I'm using the 36T chain ring.

    The last 0.5 mi of my commute involves climbing about 300ft. What are your climbs like?

  14. #14
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    I'd say my hardest climb is that tall, but about twice as long. I alternate between spinning my 34/28 ratio and getting out of the saddle and climbing. It's actually the reason I lowered my gearing and bought a set of panniers - doing it in 40/28 with text books on my back blew.

    From your other thread, it sounds like you're just starting to ride regularly. So there are some things you can do to make it easier. Make sure your bike fits you right. There're a million resources on this topic, most are okay starting points, and none are written in stone. So pick one, go with it, and then experiment.

    Learn to pedal. It's easier with toe clips or clipless pedals, but someone who already pedals efficiently can do pretty well on flat pedals. REI has something about it somewhere on their web site. The basic idea is to pedal fast enough that rather than having distinct strokes, you're spinning your crank fairly smoothly. You can actually get some real use out of your low gears that way.

    Learn to climb out of the saddle. In San Francisco, the choice is sometimes between standing and climbing or pedaling extremely inefficiently and maybe buggering up your knees.

    And finally, Rule #5.

    Don't give into the temptation to buy smaller chain rings or a new crank, at least for another two weeks or so after learning to pedal well sitting and standing.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  15. #15
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    At the moment, I don't intent to modify my bike aside maybe a rack and fenders.

    As much as the hill is kicking my butt, a 3 to 5 minute break does wonders.

    I'm not sure what you mean by having distinct strokes rather than pedaling smoothly. Although I have flat pedals, I like the pedals that came on the bike. They are not like regular flat pedals that have a H-shape interior section that attaches to the crank and then a separate U-shape piece that fits around it.

    They are more like a 1 piece design with the spindle going down the center and the surface has lots of little nubs. My sneakers and boots work very well on the pedals. They look similar to this one from performance:

  16. #16
    The Brutally Handsome
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    40 x 12-34

  17. #17
    Frys With That, Please
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    I'd say my hardest climb is that tall, but about twice as long. I alternate between spinning my 34/28 ratio and getting out of the saddle and climbing. It's actually the reason I lowered my gearing and bought a set of panniers - doing it in 40/28 with text books on my back blew.

    From your other thread, it sounds like you're just starting to ride regularly. So there are some things you can do to make it easier. Make sure your bike fits you right. There're a million resources on this topic, most are okay starting points, and none are written in stone. So pick one, go with it, and then experiment.

    Learn to pedal. It's easier with toe clips or clipless pedals, but someone who already pedals efficiently can do pretty well on flat pedals. REI has something about it somewhere on their web site. The basic idea is to pedal fast enough that rather than having distinct strokes, you're spinning your crank fairly smoothly. You can actually get some real use out of your low gears that way.

    Learn to climb out of the saddle. In San Francisco, the choice is sometimes between standing and climbing or pedaling extremely inefficiently and maybe buggering up your knees.

    And finally, Rule #5.

    Don't give into the temptation to buy smaller chain rings or a new crank, at least for another two weeks or so after learning to pedal well sitting and standing.
    Very good tips!


    Since I pulled my MTB out of storage last June ('10) I've been fitting my MTB via multiple stem lengths, various rise/angles from stems and handle bars, seat adjustments, etc. I've got my fit close to ideal.

    Before I modify or swap my triple, I want to lose my remaining 40lbs of fat. I think getting rid of unnecessary body weight will help with my climbing ability .

    I'm going to build a road bike with a Salsa Vaya Ti frame. I've been debating whether I should get a triple or a double crankset. Hopefully I'll have my answer by Summer, which is when I expect to lose the rest of my weight. Once I get down to 180lbs. (And have four more months of riding/conditioning) if I still feel I need a triple then I think that will be my route I'll take.

    There's a hill in my town that Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong used to train on. It's 16 miles long with an average grade of 5% with plenty of 15.4% grades and an elevation gain of 3836ft. I want to be able to ride all the way up it without stopping. Do you think I can eventually ride up said hill with a double crankset or stick with a triple?
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  18. #18
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    If you train long enough and hard enough, I think you could do it with 52-9 combination!

    On a more serious note, you may want to keep the triple for now and then change out the parts as you get stronger.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cda 455
    There's a hill in my town that Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong used to train on. It's 16 miles long with an average grade of 5% with plenty of 15.4% grades and an elevation gain of 3836ft. I want to be able to ride all the way up it without stopping. Do you think I can eventually ride up said hill with a double crankset or stick with a triple?
    Sounds about like what an average day ride into the mountains would be like near my old stomping grounds in Northern AZ. Totally doable on a 40-ish inch gear singlespeed, Funny thing, you only find yourself "needing" the triple when it is available, You can really surprise yourself with what you can do with what you have... I used to haul my 2 year old up into the mountains (in his 2 wheel trailer) up 2000 ft. climbs all the time. Geared low? Sure. "Needed" a triple or even a double? Nope.

    I weigh about 180 geared up. Now, granted, this is rec/training ONLY. I don't race, so if yo want to be competitive, I have no idea what you would "need." Depends on the competition, I guess.
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  20. #20
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    I run a 36t up front and an 11-34 in the rear. However, I ride my urban bike on trails as much as the streets. I'm usually able to keep pace with strong riders on road bikes as long as we're not on the flats for too long. Sometimes I wish for a 38t but I'm afraid I'd loose some climbing ability?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cda 455
    I'm going to build a road bike with a Salsa Vaya Ti frame. I've been debating whether I should get a triple or a double crankset. Hopefully I'll have my answer by Summer, which is when I expect to lose the rest of my weight. Once I get down to 180lbs. (And have four more months of riding/conditioning) if I still feel I need a triple then I think that will be my route I'll take.
    Salsa's Vaya is, to my eye, a pretty sweet randonneur/touring bike. I haven't done any real laden touring, but from riding around with loads strapped to my bike for one reason or another, I can say that I really like low gears for that - like a triple.

    If you're not strapping anything to it and don't have anything against compact doubles, though, that 34t ring is already pretty small. I don't know that I'd bother with a triple if I was just going to use the stock 30t small ring, now that I've got some saddle time with a 34. (Often loaded, but for a short trip.) OTOH, the small ring on a triple can be smaller - one relatively uncommon standard goes as low as 20t. Which is very different.

    Schultz - the 38t ring would make a bigger difference to your high end than your low end. Compare the 38/11 and 38/34 with 36/11 and 36/34 with a spreadsheet or a calculator and you'll see what I mean.
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  22. #22
    I Ride for Donuts
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    Quote Originally Posted by ttper
    Have experienced chain fall off? I took my front derailleur off to make 1x8 but chain has fell off many times. I tried shorten the chain by removing a couple of links but that didn't help. I am wondering if there is any solution for it. Thank you.

    Assuming this was directed at me?...

    I throw the chain to the outside maybe once every 200 miles... it's always when I'm shifting up (inner to outer in rear), and usually when I'm popping by several gears at once. I have bar end shifters, and if I throw it through several gears and keep pedaling hard, I can accentuate the problem. You get a bit of a 'whip' action in the chain that throws it to the outside. Knowing that the situation exists, I can prevent it by shifting smoothly, while easing off of the gas a bit while I shift. I could completely eliminate it from ever happening if I always shifted up while pedaling very slowly, not engaging the hub. But I like to push my luck

    I think setting up chainline very carefully helps too...I am running the big outer ring as far inboard as humanly possible...trying to get it centered on the rear hub, which is pretty much impossible. But eliminate as many spacers as you can without getting contact with the big ring and your chainstay. Brian mentioned using the inner set of bolts if you can...some cranksets also let you mount it on the inside of the tabs rather than the outside if you eliminate the middle chainring. I'm still cross-chaining the heck out of it when I'm in the big gear on the cassette, but I still get 4k miles out of a chain. No complaints.

    I wouldn't do it on a race bike, but it's totally worth it for the simplicity for me on the commuter.
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  23. #23
    Frys With That, Please
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    Salsa's Vaya is, to my eye, a pretty sweet randonneur/touring bike. I haven't done any real laden touring, but from riding around with loads strapped to my bike for one reason or another, I can say that I really like low gears for that - like a triple.

    If you're not strapping anything to it and don't have anything against compact doubles, though, that 34t ring is already pretty small. I don't know that I'd bother with a triple if I was just going to use the stock 30t small ring, now that I've got some saddle time with a 34. (Often loaded, but for a short trip.) OTOH, the small ring on a triple can be smaller - one relatively uncommon standard goes as low as 20t. Which is very different.

    Schultz - the 38t ring would make a bigger difference to your high end than your low end. Compare the 38/11 and 38/34 with 36/11 and 36/34 with a spreadsheet or a calculator and you'll see what I mean.
    Since it does have pannier capability front and rear, I might take advantage of it. For commuting and back country fire-road trips. For group rides (road) I'll just unbolt and go!

    The biggest reason why I like the frame is its' rather tall stack measurement.
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  24. #24
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    For a 1X9 commuter , does anyone know if there is any advantage to using a roadie RD versus a MTB long cage RD?

  25. #25
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    IBIS MOJO CARBON - 1x9 setup, 11x34 rear cog w/ 36t front chainring... works perfect for my 2+mile climbs to the top of town... need to find a chain guide since the chain came off 3x yesterday and i cant use the simpel chain guides now with my frame design...

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