Sacrifice range for silence and simplicity?-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2019

    Sacrifice range for silence and simplicity?

    Hello everyone,

    I have been riding a Fuel EX 9.8 for 2 years now with its standard 2x10 XT groupset on moderately aggressive xc trails demanding lots of shifting. It seems like my chain is doing the wave with how much I am using all my gears, making a lot of unnecessary jumps up and down to get the best cadence.

    Question #1: What size chainring would you recommend I start with for 11-36 cassette? I average 10-12 mph on the trails I ride, and will hopefully get 1-2 mph faster this year.

    Question #2: If I vow to stay with the same cassette, do I need to purchase anything other than a 1x specific chainring to go to 1x?

    As I was riding yesterday on some rather technical trails(100 ft climb/mile), I found myself losing momentum at the bottom of little hills because I was shifting sometimes 3 or 4 gears in the back and the front. Not only that, it is a loud drivetrain if the chain is crossed. I obviously try to avoid going all the way across, but I find myself using both shifters simultaneously(clicking 3-4 times total) to get to the next appropriate gear.

    I'm frustrated and I just want to get faster and smoother shifting/pedal stroke. On top of it all, I have a reverb dropper that I'm about to throw in the lake.

  2. #2
    Keep on Rockin...
    Reputation: Miker J's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    While it may not turn out to be as simple a conversion as you think, regarding chainring size... go with the smallest you can fit. Probably like a 30 or 32t on your XT cranks. You'll almost never see the last little cogs worn out on a cassette, but you always see the top three used up.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    So the minimum size of chainring is dependent upon cranks?

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Sounds like you are a candidate for a 1x swap for sure.

    You sound like you shift way more than is typical, and I shift ALL the time. I never find it a problem.

    For reference, I've been on a 2x10 since July 2016. I recently have a 1x12. I can't say I shift any less on the 12 speed. Maybe I shift even more since the jump between gears is more dramatic.

    Sorry, I'm not helpful with choosing your front ring as I have no idea what gear ratio is good for a 36t large cog on the cassette.

    For me to ride on a 1x with a 36t cassette means I could ride to the beginning of the trail from my truck and then push my bike rest of the day.

    For the record, there is absolutely nothing wrong with using all the cassette on your 1x10 without shifting the front ring.
    I think a bit more information will be useful to others to help with your front ring size on a 1x conversion. If you ride hills, the 36t won't cut it unless you are a powerhouse. If you don't ride hills, that could mean you can run high gears no problem. On my 1x12, running a 30t front ring and a 36t rear would be me riding around in 3rd gear as my climbing gear. Some of the stuff, sure. But I need more than 36 to get up the mountain side. I routinely use the 50t, but sometimes I can power through the 42 for short bursts on the steep stuff. I'm a decent rider but not the strongest by any means.

    I think enough common sense will indicate what a hill is. Some people complain about a 1x12 with a 50t gear being absurd. The qualify their comment talking about little elevation gain they ride on. Well, in the mountains, you need lower gearing. So try to be a little realistic with the assessment of what a hill is vs. what may not be.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    I'm not extremely lean, and I do have a little more muscle mass than a typical xc guy. I'm no powerhouse by any means, but I don't think pushing a 30t chainring would be too much with only 36t in the back. The trails in the Midwest are definitely not flat, but they aren't mountains either.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: One Pivot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    I made it 2 rides with my 2x11. I hated it. By FAR the worst combo ive ever used, for the same reason you're describing. I was constantly shifting, yet constantly out of range. I had 26/38 with a 42t cassette, but it was just dumb. My 24/32 crank worked far, far better. The 38t was too big for most riding, and the 26 was too small pretty quickly. The 2 by crank range sucks.

    A 30t ring will hold 20mph with ease. Toss on a normal narrow wide chainring and you're good to go. Nothing else needed. You can shorten your chain as well, but even that isnt necessary.

    If that doesnt give you a sufficiently low gear, the new deore 10 speed 11-42 cassette is available now for $35, and its very good.

    But I would start with a simple narrow-wide chainring and see how you like climbing with a 36t out back.

    As a side note though, for technical riding, efficient cadence sort of goes out the window. Most people agree that the best way to clear really technical stuff is to actually click down one or two gears and power through at a lower cadence. You'll keep more momentum and risk less pedal strikes, plus traction significantly increases. It takes a bit more muscle, but it sure beats high-cadence spinning through rough stuff.

  7. #7
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    Reputation: Timothy G. Parrish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Looks like your from WI?

    If so, and your pace is 10-12 MPH on a 11-36, you can probably go with a 32t up front. For comparison, most riders here in Upstate SC/WNC use 32t, and we got mountains.

    If you keep your cassette, all you need is a front ring compatible with your crankset. You simply remove the front derailleur and shifter.

    The smallest size front chainring that can be used is dependent on the type of crankset. For example, the size of a BCD 104 ring is limited by that BCD (bolt center diameter) because once the ring gets too small it can no longer be BCD 104. Direct mount rings can be smaller because they're not BCD dependent.

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