32T to 28T front chainring in a 1x9 speeds.....Is it a good idea ?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    32T to 28T front chainring in a 1x9 speeds.....Is it a good idea ?

    I'm thinking changing the 32T to 28T front chainring in a 1x9 speeds.
    Is it a good idea ?
    What are the gains and shortcomings ? It is for my rigid 26er.

  2. #2
    El Pollo Diablo
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    Probably a good idea to tone it down a little.
    I run a 36t ring up front on my 1x9, but I'm stupid stubborn when it comes to pedaling.

    Really depends on how hilly your terrain is, and how often you climb.
    So I say yeah, do it to it.

  3. #3
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    It depends on where you need the gears. When you rode the 32(over all), where you spinning or standing up? If you where spinning then get a 34 0r 36 (my favorite), if stomping, get the 28. You got the answer on your last ride.

  4. #4
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    Or split the difference an try a 30t.

    But otherwise, yeah, how is the 32t treating you?
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  5. #5
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    If you already ride 32T comfortably, for say 90% of your ride, then maybe a 30T, and you would lose the very highest gear ratio, which you probably don't ever use in the woods anyway.
    I run a 28T front, 11-36T cassette (10 speed) and I am riding 3rd or 4th almost all the time. But at least I have the mercy gear, and the top 2 or 3 gears are still way too tall for the woods for me.
    Last edited by John; 02-27-2013 at 05:09 PM. Reason: spellin bad

  6. #6
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    I think I'm going to try the 28T front chainring very soon.

    Thanks for the reply and info.

  7. #7
    Fat & Single
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    I ride 30t front 1 x 10 with an 11-36 rear, its hilly around me so this gear is fine, would go as low as 28-29t for longer endurance races if i could get one to fit my middleburns.

    I also ride a SS so 10 gears is a luxury
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  8. #8
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    You get a lower lowest gear, and you sacrifice your highest gear. The difference would be a lot like giving up your smallest cog, and adding one more larger cog at the low end.

    If you're using one of the more common bolt patterns, you go from being able to find chainrings that fit easily to trying to find a chainring that I think is physically impossible.

    I very rarely run out of gears at the high end. If I shift to my large ring, it's usually more about the shift patterns than access to ratios. My suspicion is that for me, a 28t ring would be a better choice for a 1x drivetrain - I think that the low gear I'd gain would be more useful to me than the high gear I'd give up. While you can't really try adding a lower gear without actually buying the new chainring, or maybe a wider-range cassette, you can try giving up your highest gear for free. Just lock it out with a limit screw and see if you miss it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    Assuming I'm going for the 28T front chainring with 11-32T 9 speeds cassette....

    Say in term of climbing power. What does it equivalent to ?
    Like 11-34T or 11-36T or even 11-38T ???

  10. #10
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    A 28t chainring on an 11-32 would give you something roughly equal to a 32t ring with a 12-36 cassette. Unless you're really concerned about weight, you can readily purchase a 12-36 9 speed cassette for $55. The 28t chainring however is going to be far more difficult to implement.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by car_nut View Post
    A 28t chainring on an 11-32 would give you something roughly equal to a 32t ring with a 12-36 cassette. Unless you're really concerned about weight, you can readily purchase a 12-36 9 speed cassette for $55. The 28t chainring however is going to be far more difficult to implement.
    Thanks for the reply.
    Wow! This is great news for me. 12-36T !!!
    I have a set of crankset that can use the MRP Bling 28T chainring.

    28T - 11-34T equivalent to 32T - 12-38T ???

    or

    28T - 12-36T equivalent to 32T - 13-40T or even 41T ???
    Thanks.....
    Last edited by edle; 02-25-2013 at 04:26 PM. Reason: add detail

  12. #12
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    Take a look here to compare gear ratios easily: Sheldon Brown's Bicycle Gear Calculator

  13. #13
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    out of interest what did you end up going with?

    I'm in the same dillema, i've tried both 28t and 32t front) with my 11-34 cassette (9 spd) and cant decide, running the 32 at the moment but i think i might slip back to 28t as most technical climbs have been tough recently and i've stalled a few times.

    I'm mostly in the woods so dont get flat out that often.. here's the ratios for both...

    32 28
    11 2.909090909 2.545454545
    13 2.461538462 2.153846154
    15 2.133333333 1.866666667
    17 1.882352941 1.647058824
    20 1.6 1.4
    23 1.391304348 1.217391304
    26 1.230769231 1.076923077
    30 1.066666667 0.933333333
    34 0.941176471 0.823529412

  14. #14
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    i can't believe i'm going to do this on a thread a year old, but ianyu since you're asking about this very thing right now, i'll copy/paste my reply only moments ago to basically this same question. here's the thread and my reply pasted below. the title might not suggest it's your question, but if you read on it is more or less:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/drivetrain-sh...-a-944914.html

    hey, i read your writeup with interest. i've done a great deal of similar research using spreadhseets and even a couple of gearing apps for iphone in which i've saved a number of potential future candidate setups. i'm a gearing nerd, i'll admit it.

    something i've come to gather not only from looking at numbers, but also real-world 'seat of the pants' results for me personally, has led me to conclude that with the chainring, if you're only changing a total of 2 teeth, then you're not going to really feel enough of a difference to make an impact.

    you say you can live without the highest range. i can relate. i can't generate enough power to seriously make use of any more than my 36:11 combo. sure i can spin out going downhill eventually, but those times are few and far between. and quite honestly, i'm more about using those opportunities to catch up my breath a bit for the next series of climbs, etc. if you've got world class legs and lungs, you probably get paid to ride. have at those really high ratios.

    on the other hand, i'll be 49 in a week. and i'm in terrific shape for my age, easily a top 5% guy in my age group in most anything strength/fitness-oriented. yet if i have a need ever it's gonna be in the low end. i switched from 3x to 2x and in the process essentially shifted my entire range down about a gear and a half 'seat of the pants'. like you say in your opening paragraph, gotta know your needs and capabilities. well said. 1x isn't for everyone. and 2x and 3x isn't necessary for everyone.

    still, most people here seem inclined to make you believe that you need to be riding their range or you need to be 'training' to be able to ride their range. i don't really care what they think of my gearing. that's my choice. and yours. and theirs.

    so, mine is only a suggestion to consider based upon your stated needs..needs that i recognized in myself. i'd strongly consider skipping 30t and going to 28t. my experience is that i really 'felt' like i'd made a change. i'd bet you dollars to dounuts that had someone swapped my 32t for a 30t or 34t, i'd maybe not even realized it until i was asked, 'how does the new ring feel?' if you look too at the numbers on the spreadsheet, you see that as the gears climb, the difference in the spread of the ratio numbers increases in a linear sort of way. from 1st to 2nd, you're looking at a jump basically from .89 to 1.00. the next from 2nd to 3rd is up to 1.14..then a 1.33...so you see the gap widens, but the feel is experienced still as just 'one more gear'. with the 30t you're looking at .83...so a 'gain' of just .06. maybe down lower, a .06 is essentially a gear worth..but it may be closer to only a half gear gain. that's what i'm asserting that my experience has been with a 2-tooth change in chainring. if i'm gonna bother making a change, and i really want a better low, i wanna feel the darn thing. check out the .78 basically for the 28t. you're going from that .89 at present, down .11 to the .78. there's a far better chance you're gonna feel that.

    i'd respect yours or any rider for whatever ranges they choose, but i'm definitely saying take it from me, and from others who've experienced the same 2 vs 4-tooth phenomenon - if you want a change you can appreciate, consider going with a 28t. i wouldn't take the time to write this if i took your goal here lightly. cheers!
    2011 Trek Mamba 29er 21", SRAM 10-sp X9, X9 type 2 RD, SRAM X7 20(oval)/36 & SRAM X9 2X FD, Shimano XT M771 11-36, M525 hub

  15. #15
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    Makes perfect sense! We spend too much time trying to make things fit in with others sometimes than trying to make things fit us. I've turned 40, getting fitter after returning to mtb but I won't ever be 20 again, I like to push myself but when I think about it there's no point spoiling the fun by trying to match others, plus it's not only fitness, we all ride different places and conditions that massively affect our needs for gears.
    Thanks for the response its thought Provoking and also good to know I'm not alone with my thoughts.
    Last edited by ianyuk; 01-16-2015 at 04:20 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigchillcar View Post
    i can't believe i'm going to do this on a thread a year old, but ianyu since you're asking about this very thing right now, i'll copy/paste my reply only moments ago to basically this same question. here's the thread and my reply pasted below. the title might not suggest it's your question, but if you read on it is more or less:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/drivetrain-sh...-a-944914.html

    hey, i read your writeup with interest. i've done a great deal of similar research using spreadhseets and even a couple of gearing apps for iphone in which i've saved a number of potential future candidate setups. i'm a gearing nerd, i'll admit it.

    something i've come to gather not only from looking at numbers, but also real-world 'seat of the pants' results for me personally, has led me to conclude that with the chainring, if you're only changing a total of 2 teeth, then you're not going to really feel enough of a difference to make an impact.

    you say you can live without the highest range. i can relate. i can't generate enough power to seriously make use of any more than my 36:11 combo. sure i can spin out going downhill eventually, but those times are few and far between. and quite honestly, i'm more about using those opportunities to catch up my breath a bit for the next series of climbs, etc. if you've got world class legs and lungs, you probably get paid to ride. have at those really high ratios.

    on the other hand, i'll be 49 in a week. and i'm in terrific shape for my age, easily a top 5% guy in my age group in most anything strength/fitness-oriented. yet if i have a need ever it's gonna be in the low end. i switched from 3x to 2x and in the process essentially shifted my entire range down about a gear and a half 'seat of the pants'. like you say in your opening paragraph, gotta know your needs and capabilities. well said. 1x isn't for everyone. and 2x and 3x isn't necessary for everyone.

    still, most people here seem inclined to make you believe that you need to be riding their range or you need to be 'training' to be able to ride their range. i don't really care what they think of my gearing. that's my choice. and yours. and theirs.

    so, mine is only a suggestion to consider based upon your stated needs..needs that i recognized in myself. i'd strongly consider skipping 30t and going to 28t. my experience is that i really 'felt' like i'd made a change. i'd bet you dollars to dounuts that had someone swapped my 32t for a 30t or 34t, i'd maybe not even realized it until i was asked, 'how does the new ring feel?' if you look too at the numbers on the spreadsheet, you see that as the gears climb, the difference in the spread of the ratio numbers increases in a linear sort of way. from 1st to 2nd, you're looking at a jump basically from .89 to 1.00. the next from 2nd to 3rd is up to 1.14..then a 1.33...so you see the gap widens, but the feel is experienced still as just 'one more gear'. with the 30t you're looking at .83...so a 'gain' of just .06. maybe down lower, a .06 is essentially a gear worth..but it may be closer to only a half gear gain. that's what i'm asserting that my experience has been with a 2-tooth change in chainring. if i'm gonna bother making a change, and i really want a better low, i wanna feel the darn thing. check out the .78 basically for the 28t. you're going from that .89 at present, down .11 to the .78. there's a far better chance you're gonna feel that.

    i'd respect yours or any rider for whatever ranges they choose, but i'm definitely saying take it from me, and from others who've experienced the same 2 vs 4-tooth phenomenon - if you want a change you can appreciate, consider going with a 28t. i wouldn't take the time to write this if i took your goal here lightly. cheers!
    Im late, but not a year late. hope no kittens get hurt. I went from 11-34 rear, 44/32/22 chain rings to a 38 tooth single wide. i cant really push the 38 tooth chain ring and going up hills suck. i am gonna drop it to a 32 or 34, but after reading i might dare to go 32, heck i want to really feel the difference. im going to change the drive to a 10 speed if my hub can fit the cassette. GOOD STUFF MY DUDES....

  17. #17
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    I ended up listening to my legs and put a mech on the front, along with a 22/36t slx crank. Since then have changed the granny to a 26t as the big difference in range was too much, when changing down the front on a steady climb it left me spinning out a bit. Not ridden much since I put the 26 on but seems to suit me and the places I ride really well. I suppose it's all about what suits you and what you're comfortable with after all!

  18. #18
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    good stuff, i was again thinking today about on flat terrain i feel good on 38t chain ring and the rear on the 15 tooth cog. i have to find out what i have to do to make climbing much easier on a wide range 10 speed cassette top cog at 40 teeth and im guessing 34 tooth or 32 tooth chain ring. i do not want a front mech...... i just dont want to loose speed on flats... its nice on asphalt but that's not my therapy, i can get a road bike for that......

  19. #19
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    I found a spreadsheet was the answer, drop all the rear cassette gear sizes in, then along the top pop the potential front ring sizes you may try, then a formula in the columns below to divide that number by each rear ring sizes.

    38t front and 15t rear you mentioned is only a tiny bit higher than 36t front and 11t rear I have with a std 11-34xt 9 speed cassette(3.45 compared to 3.27)

    38 front 40 rear gives you 0.95
    32 front and 40 rear gives 0.8

    riding those combos you'd soon spot how much 10% higher can hurt on really steep technical climbs.

    to get a view of the extreme, a granny at 22t front and 34t rear gets 0.64, which gets you up pretty much anything when totally tired, so you'd hardly ever use it much.

    the spreadsheet option has saved me a fortune in buying rings to try them out, I'd recommend it, look at the numbers for your existing setup and compare with potential new ones. when you see them all in a table it becomes clear which ones are similar to gears you already have so can imagine how they'd feel.

    above all remember , if someone else is running a 42t front and a 11-34 cassette, they may be riding on the flat, tarmac, be 2 years younger, 50 times fitter, above all there's no point having a gear setup that ruins your rides just to "fit in"

  20. #20
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    This is a great thread. I built up a 29er hardtail a few years ago. I wanted a 1x, just to keep things simple. I always hated the huge drop between two chainrings in the woods. Anyway, I agonized over what size chainring to buy. Everything you read is 32, maybe 30 if you are climbing 4,000 feet a day. Well, I concluded that everyone on forums are cycling beasts. So I took another approach, I looked at my rear cassette, imagine my surprise when I noticed that the four smallest cogs were perfectly clean. I never used them. They were nothing more than spacers for my hub.

    So I did the math and realized I never pedal faster then 17 or 18 mph. After that, I coast (usually going downhill). I ride in New England and I enjoy more technical jaunts, so I do not find occasion to blast on open flat roads. I decided to buck the trend and go with a 28t chainring. It worked great. Never ran out of gears. I wish I had a bit lower at times, mostly when I was cooked, but the 28-36 was fine for everything. Maybe 3% of the time it was an issue and I had to walk.

    I just picked up a used stumpjumper 29er FSR. Converted it to single, using the existing 28t ring. Works great. I may eventually add a 40t cog, so I have a bailout.

    30 upfront would crush me on some of the longer steeper rooty and rocky climbs. BTW, I'm 49 years young.

  21. #21
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    Its good to hear all these views on the subject, certainly a case of finding what suits you and using that!

    I've found that having just 1 MTB that i use for all types of rides restricts a lot of choices, things like gears/tyres/suspension mines a 650b full suss with 130mm travel , so with the fork/shock locked out i can ride the road fairly well if i ever need to , fire roads are a breeze, technical single track is awesome and downhill its a great bike if i don't hit something too big.

    but if i had a bike for just "trails" i'd have a HT 29er with higher gears and lighter tyres, just for downhill i'd have something heavier and slacker (but i shouldn't as i'm too old and keep having to remind myself I'm 41 not 14!)

    so i'm sticking with my single MTB life, i've got a cheap road bike for road only rides and i just have to live with the 2x setup till i find a 1x10 or 11 that has the range to suit, anything less than 36t front 11 rear is a bit too low for the faster rides and higher than 26t front 34 rear is a bit too hard going for me on some of the climbs on my usual ride spots (all in the cheshire/Staffordshire/Shropshire UK area)

    a 42t rear with a 36t front would be .85 , compared with my current 26t front and a 34 rear lowest gear at .76, so maybe i could live with 36t front and a 11-42 cassette, just need to find some pennies to pay for it along with a new mech and shifter.... lol

  22. #22
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    I'm going to buck the trend as well. I'm building a 1x11 and I'm going with a 28t chainring and an 11-40 cassette. My thought is that I will use the 35 for 90% of my climbing and only need to use the 40 occasionally, which should prolong the life of the alloy cog.

  23. #23
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    When using a gear calculator I always choose gear inches because it gives finer resolution than ratios does. Sometimes 2 different gears show the same ratio, but gear inches shows the difference. Don't worry about what a gear inch is, it doesn't matter, just compare it to what you have.
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  24. #24
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    I've been running a 26T front ring in the granny position for 2 years now, by modifying my stock 2X10 crank set chain line, and lopping off the middle ring arms. And this Summer I switched from 1X10 (11-36T with a OneUp 40T ring ) to 1X11 with 11-42T XT M8000 drivetrain. This brought my lowest climbing gear close to a regular 2X10 ratio.

    I have never had a need to race down hills, don't ride roads, and rarely see over 12 mph in the woods, there just isn't any straight-aways around here, only trails with a lot of technical climbing. I like having the low gears (usually in 2nd or 3rd) for grinding up the repeated technical climbs so I don't burn out.

    I remember when bikes came with triples, and as soon as the bash rings became available I was an early adopter and ditched the useless (to me) big ring in favor of a true bash guard. Almost every rider I know did the same after me.

    Now that I have a single ring, I run an MRP chain guide/basher combo to save my chain from technical rocky trails.

    32T to 28T front chainring in a 1x9 speeds.....Is it a good idea ?-img_2784.jpg

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