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Thread: Why not 3x1?

  1. #1
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    Why not 3x1?

    I'm talking 3 chainrings up front w/ a front derailleur and one cog in the back. Why is this NOT a good idea? Cross chaining?

  2. #2
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    With a 1x9 or similar you can do without a front mech. Your way would still require a rear mech* to take up the chain slack. If you've got a rear mech you may as well use it to change gears.

    *Or at least some kind of shifting chain tensioner.

  3. #3
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    Why not a 3 spd internally geared rear hub then? you could still change your rear cog to adjust your ratios for conditions and not have to worry about chainline issues

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    3-speed internal gear hubs are HEAVY, right? does anyone make a light-ish one? i don't think i am being a weight weenie here, because those things are boat anchors.

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    You'll need FD and RD, it's easier to go 1x9 with just RD also you'll need longer chain.

    I don't know if internal gear will fit for off-road, the mechanical thing seems fragile and complicated. Is it shock proof?

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    Ride more!

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    I ride with someone who did this. I think the main advantage is that you still get the mental simplicity of a single speed (not constantly searching for the best ratio like on a _ x 9) but you can still push on long fire road descents, or pick an easier ratio on steep extended climbs.

    FWIW he moved back to a SS.

  8. #8
    The need for singlespeed
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    Two extra rings, a derailleur, and chain tensioning is probably something like 400g. Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub weighs a tad over 1kg. What's that, 600g more than a standard hub? So that's a 200g penalty for an IGH that's cleaner looking and way more reliable.

  9. #9
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    If you cant handle SS and considering 3x1 or 1x9 or something ridiculous that entail gears...you might as well go 3x9 or 2x9...Just sayin

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott forty G.
    If you cant handle SS and considering 3x1 or 1x9 or something ridiculous that entail gears...you might as well go 3x9 or 2x9...Just sayin

    Agreed. It's one thing to go 1x9 or 1 x6. Etc but hy put front an rear mechs on?
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  11. #11
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    I probably go to 1x3 or 1x4 because my chainline wasn't that good to get 1x7 and I hate the sound of chain friction - it's a taboo for me to have bike with unnecessary sounds.

  12. #12
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    IGH hubs have woeful engagement, BTW. Never mind the weight. A friend of mine made a 2x3 using a road double + front mech and a Sturmey Archer 3spd + rear mech tensioner. It was a road cruiser, but it was dope. In any case, Phillygorilla, try it and tell us what you think. That's the pioneer spirit.

    BTW: the story on the 3x1 posted above is pretty compelling. Seems like a decent zig to everyone else's zag.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaskaranddriver
    Two extra rings, a derailleur, and chain tensioning is probably something like 400g. Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub weighs a tad over 1kg. What's that, 600g more than a standard hub? So that's a 200g penalty for an IGH that's cleaner looking and way more reliable.
    I don't see how an IGH is going to be more reliable than a mounted, adjusted derailer, a chain and someone's heel

    In any case, I feel people wanting a 3x1 are an exception to the rule. SS offroad makes perfect sense. Adding two gears doesn't, or more people would do it. I have tried dingles and the like, but mainly to get commuting or cross town capacity from my mountain bike. Buy another bike.

  14. #14
    The need for singlespeed
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I don't see how an IGH is going to be more reliable than a mounted, adjusted derailer, a chain and someone's heel
    In the interest of full disclosure I have to say I've never run one. I didn't know their engagement was so bad. But from what I understand, being internal, they require pretty much none of the adjustment you mentioned and are far more resistant to mud, debris, impacts from trail features, crashes, etc. These are some of the reasons why they're often the choice for urban bike rental programs in Europe and starting in the US.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zaskaranddriver
    In the interest of full disclosure I have to say I've never run one. I didn't know their engagement was so bad. But from what I understand, being internal, they require pretty much none of the adjustment you mentioned and are far more resistant to mud, debris, impacts from trail features, crashes, etc. These are some of the reasons why they're often the choice for urban bike rental programs in Europe and starting in the US.
    I think most are not rated for offroad use. Great for around town, but I think I'd rather have a derailer set up. They are really heavy. Probably better to ask in the IGH forum....

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    SS offroad makes perfect sense. Adding two gears doesn't, or more people would do it.
    SS made just as much sense before it became so popular, so I can't see the number of people doing it as a valid reason against any setup.

    I've actually tested 1x3 on my mtb because I was curious and I enjoyed it a lot. If/when my stable expands beyond my SS bike, the new bike has a good chance of being a 3pd, possibly 4 or 5 though. I picked the middle cog to be the same as my SS ratio so I could ride it like my SS and stay in this gear most of the time, with the other two cogs different enough in size that I would switch to them only occasionally for sprints and road riding or really nasty long climbs. That was the reason it felt so nice to me compared to a 1x9 or more with lots of closer ratios where you end up focusing more on shifting and using all the options you have. The lowest ratio in a 1x9 is still very close to the spinning of a full granny gear, while the low ratio in my 3spd setup was still a stand and mash gear. The 1x3 felt a lot more like a singlespeed with benefits.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    SS made just as much sense before it became so popular, so I can't see the number of people doing it as a valid reason against any setup.
    Offroad. My premise did say that most people doing a 3x1 are commuting or going cross town with their bikes before hitting a trailhead. Those are exceptions to the rule. Most wouldn't run 3x1 for offroad because SS works fine. Is that clearer?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    Offroad. My premise did say that most people doing a 3x1 are commuting or going cross town with their bikes before hitting a trailhead. Those are exceptions to the rule. Most wouldn't run 3x1 for offroad because SS works fine. Is that clearer?
    yep, its clear, I just politely disagree. Like I said, the number of people currently using a system tells me nothing about its qualities.

    To draw a parallel to SS and paraphrase you a little:
    SS is already an exception to the rule. Most mountain bikers don't run SS, because their gears work fine. However that doesn't mean SS isn't good, fun and useful, because most mountain bikers have never test ridden an SS and plenty have never even heard of SS.

    As for SS "working fine", every type of geared and SS setup I've run "worked fine" but they do ride quite differently, have different tradeoffs and suited best to different terrain. Working fine isn't enough of a reason for me to prefer one, it is the particular tradeoffs and simple personal preference that matter. My 1x3 with friction shifter was far simpler to dial in than a normal geared drivetrain and helped me handle mixed terrain better than my SS, so it has its place.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    My 1x3 with friction shifter was far simpler to dial in than a normal geared drivetrain and helped me handle mixed terrain better than my SS, so it has its place.
    I'm not sure what you are disagreeing with. I've used the set up before when I've had mixed terrain and that is a perfectly acceptable way of riding.

    I ride SS because gears haven't worked fine, same with a couple of my friends. The conundrum with SS is that it always works fine, it just isn't something everyone is willing to work with in the first place.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    yep, its clear.....helped me handle mixed terrain better than my SS, so it has its place.
    I will have to say that if this non sense about multiple gears continues, the moderators might consider moving this to a different forum. It is called Singlespeed for a reason. One speed! I mean no disrespect but if you are considering gears just go all 3x9. With that said, my SS has been the perfect DH, XC, All mountain and FR bike i could ask for. I would not trade it for anything. So, if you do go back to that type of riding, don't expect us to say hello to you when we see you out in the trails....

    PS. Leave your SS alone you''ll be happier.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott forty G.
    I will have to say that if this non sense about multiple gears continues, the moderators might consider moving this to a different forum. It is called Singlespeed for a reason. One speed! I mean no disrespect but if you are considering gears just go all 3x9. With that said, my SS has been the perfect DH, XC, All mountain and FR bike i could ask for. I would not trade it for anything. So, if you do go back to that type of riding, don't expect us to say hello to you when we see you out in the trails....

    PS. Leave your SS alone you''ll be happier.
    haha, don't worry, I went back to SS fairly quickly... I was only experimenting so I could buy the right parts the first time when/if I build a second bike.

    I ride my SS 29er for everything from gnarly to smooth as well and I love it. I should have said "mixed grades" or something instead of "mixed terrain"; such as trails that alternate between gently rolling and straight up in the same loop.

    As for saying I might as well jump all the way from SS to 3x9, that's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater and then setting the bathroom on fire. Even a good 1x9 (which I have a lot of experience with too) is quite different than 3x9, never mind a 3x1 or 1x3 with friction shifting

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by umarth
    I'm not sure what you are disagreeing with. I've used the set up before when I've had mixed terrain and that is a perfectly acceptable way of riding.

    I ride SS because gears haven't worked fine, same with a couple of my friends. The conundrum with SS is that it always works fine, it just isn't something everyone is willing to work with in the first place.

    Sandwiches, Boomn, sandwiches.
    pssh, I'm practically the Earl of Sandwich!

    I was disagreeing with your bold statement that adding two gears doesn't make sense, because I think it can. That's all.

    Gears certainly do take more maintenance and adjusting to keep them working fine, but SS bikes still need both occasionally too and problems can certainly happen if you don't. My SS has been quite trouble free but not perfect. Less maintenance is definitealy very nice, but I can't say it's one of my main reasons for preferring SS. In fact, I've actually worked to remove some of that prejudice towards gears from my thinking because I don't want it clouding my reasons for liking SS. If all those other knuckle-draggers can maintain a decently shifting geared setup then certainly a vastly superior mechanic such as myself could do the same, and in fact I was quite good at it when I had such a bike. Mountain biking should be about the riding, and I want to make sure I prefer singlespeed primarily for the riding, and not because of deficiencies in my skills as a mechanic that can be trained out or setup issues that be fixed with appropriate component choice. Or maybe I've just found a new way to be pedantic

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    haha, don't worry, I went back to SS fairly quickly... I was only experimenting so I could buy the right parts the first time when/if I build a second bike.

    I ride my SS 29er for everything from gnarly to smooth as well and I love it. I should have said "mixed grades" or something instead of "mixed terrain"; such as trails that alternate between gently rolling and straight up in the same loop.

    As for saying I might as well jump all the way from SS to 3x9, that's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater and then setting the bathroom on fire. Even a good 1x9 (which I have a lot of experience with too) is quite different than 3x9, never mind a 3x1 or 1x3 with friction shifting
    I'm with Boomn on this one. Vive la differaunce, brothers! Everyone's terrain, riding style, and fitness levels are different. I haven't tried a 3x1, but clearly it is a different beast than a 1x6 or a 3x9 or an IGH - in terms of gear range, simplicity, shifting, chain dropping, etc. You can't dismiss the 3x1 before having used it without sounding...how should I put it...like you have an opinion. And you know we all have opinions - right between our cheeks. If the 3x1 worked for the guy who helped to revolutionize the way we go bike-packing, then maybe it has its niche. As for me, I have invested in an ENO hub and trials freewheel for my SS KM. If ever I want to add gear range without building a new wheel, then a 3x1 makes a lot of sense.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by buddhak
    I'm with Boomn on this one. Vive la differaunce, brothers! Everyone's terrain, riding style, and fitness levels are different. I haven't tried a 3x1, but clearly it is a different beast than a 1x6 or a 3x9 or an IGH - in terms of gear range, simplicity, shifting, chain dropping, etc. You can't dismiss the 3x1 before having used it without sounding...how should I put it...like you have an opinion. And you know we all have opinions - right between our cheeks. If the 3x1 worked for the guy who helped to revolutionize the way we go bike-packing, then maybe it has its niche. As for me, I have invested in an ENO hub and trials freewheel for my SS KM. If ever I want to add gear range without building a new wheel, then a 3x1 makes a lot of sense.
    I'm still uncertain why this misguided thought of everyone being against 3x1 comes from. As you say, it has a role, just a rather specific one. If I ever go for a tour (again), that will likely be my set up. And I think I'm going to try to get back into the "dingle" game if I can track down a wider set of rims in town..

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomn
    haha, don't worry, I went back to SS fairly quickly...

    As for saying I might as well jump all the way from SS to 3x9, that's like throwing the baby out with the bathwater and then setting the bathroom on fire. Even a good 1x9 (which I have a lot of experience with too) is quite different than 3x9, never mind a 3x1 or 1x3 with friction shifting


    AWESOME!! Seriously, that made my day

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