Upgrading from 2x10- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Upgrading from 2x10

    I want to upgrade my hardtail from 2x10 early next year.
    The problem is I am not entirely sure where to go. I am also building a trailbike, so this one will be kept for all around general easy riding, and I just happen to ride on roads a lot, so I like the two chainrings system to keep the speed reasonable.
    I guess the main question is shall I go for 2x11 or 2x12, but also can I ride decently fast on 1x12 when I am used to 38 chainring and am a strength pedaler? (I just hate the current seem_to_be trend of pedalling like a mouse in a wheel and it simply doesn't work for me)

    I don't really need more speeds (although I am sure I could tell a subtle positive difference), so this argument for 2x12 is mostly irrelevant. The frame is also non-boost standard.

    I don't want to spend too much money on this upgrade, and smooth shifting without much resistance is a priority. Is Shimano 12 speed a lot better than 11 speed, are they similar, or?...

    Current setup is XT FC-M785 cranks and 38-28 rings.
    Is there any way I could reuse the cranks for 11 or even 12 speed system? As if derailleur, cassette and chain weren't expensive enough, the cranks are just ridiculously costy, even if I go with SLX (which is probably the sane choice, given what, 30g difference between SLX and XT?).

    What would you do and why?

  2. #2
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    I was also told something along the lines of 11sp drivetrain being a step backwards (or something) and 10sp was better in terms of chain durability and something else I forgot.

    If that's true, I might as well just go for 1x12 right away, simplify the system, save on weight etc.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Octopuss View Post
    I was also told something along the lines of 11sp drivetrain being a step backwards (or something) and 10sp was better in terms of chain durability and something else I forgot.
    People said the same thing at the 8-9 switch and 9-10 switch... There are so many variables, like the lube you use, the conditions you ride in, how often you clean your drivetrain. Personally i'm perfectly happy with 11-12spd chain durability.

    What cassette do you have, 11-36? Are you happy with the ratios (is the low gear low enough, is the high gear high enough? Can you convert your rear hub to Microspline or XD?
    Is there a legit reason why you want to change things/upgrade, what is it that you're unhappy with on your current setup?

  4. #4
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    I'd stick with what you have. If you want a change, perhaps swap to the 10 speed Shimano 11-42 cassette, & the Deore m6000 RD to suit. With an XT FD & XT shifters, it's one of the nicest, slickest, sweet shifting drivetrains I've ridden, with a vey decent gear range to boot. I run that exact setup on one of my bikes, except with 36/26 chainrings. And it's very very good.

  5. #5
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    +1 more to just stick with your current setup. You're not "certain" you want a new setup or which one. You don't want to spend money. You want the smoothest shifting possible. Assuming you don't mind 2 rings up front, you're current setup is as close to your requirements as you can get.

    As far as your other questions, answering for 12sp since it's the current group. You can use the same crankset, you'll likely just need a new chainring, and possibly some different bolts and retention nuts.

    If you don't have the ability to swap your hub's freehub for the Shimano micro spline, you will need to get a SRAM or sunrace non-XD cassette. The weight penalty between a 10sp XT and an entry level 12sp cassette is about 300g which basically offsets the loss of chainring, cable, and front shifter/derailleur.

    12sp is less durable and more finnicky than 11sp, which is less durable and more finnicky than 10sp, because as you add gears to the same size hub, everything has to get closer together thus requiring narrower gears, better tolerance on all the components, and more precise adjustment. I've seen more issues and complaints with Shimano's 12sp drivetrain than probably all other Shimano drivetrains combined, with the exception of some of the gimmicky stuff like the dual control levers.

    There's nothing wrong with upgrading of course, but just based on your priorities, there doesn't seem to be a lot of reason to IMO. And 11 and 12sp both work great when properly setup, they just require better tuning and more frequent adjustment compared to <11sp IME.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jestep View Post
    12sp is less durable and more finnicky than 11sp, which is less durable and more finnicky than 10sp, because as you add gears to the same size hub, everything has to get closer together thus requiring narrower gears, better tolerance on all the components, and more precise adjustment.
    Don't forget that ever since 11spd and bigger cassettes came along, the last or last two cogs have been pushed closer to the spokes, the cassettes actually extend beyond the freehub body. A 10, 11, 12spd cassette fits on the same width freehub body (unless we are talking about a road cassettes) but an 11spd cassette is wider than a 10spd cassette, and a 12spd cassette is wider than an 11spd cassette. The space between the cogs still decreased, but not that much.
    People said the more finicky, tighter tolerances etc. stuff every time a manufacturer added a cog to the back (when indexed shifters came out, people said they're too complicated and unreliable), but i'm still not a 100% convinced that the issues people have come from gear spacing, tighter tolerance requirements etc. (if I know one thing for sure, it's that people are dumb, and so many issues can be traced back to user error ).
    11 and 12spd groupsets require a tiny bit more precision to set up, but honestly it's not that bad. I've eyeballed a few hanger alignments on 10spd bikes, sometimes I got lucky and they shifted great, but most of the time I needed to use an alignment gauge, just like on 11 and 12spd. In my experience the 12spd stuff doesn't require noticeably more frequent adjustments than 10 and 11spd either. Currently I have bikes with 10, 11, 12spd, and all of them work great.
    We love to look at the past with rose colored glasses, but when I worked as a mechanic i've dealt with plenty of issues on 9spd bikes for example, that stuff wasn't as tolerant as some people make it to be today. Chains and cassettes didn't last forever either.

    All that said, i'm not sure either if the OP should change his drivetrain.

  7. #7
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    It's just that after riding a bike with one of the lowest tier Sram 12sp drivetrain (which is crap as far as I can tell) on a few occasions, the old M780 XT doesn't feel too nice anymore. The difference in shifting smoothness was night and day. The levers didn't even take much force to push compared to what I have on my bike.

    Also the more I think about it the more I want to get rid of the front derailleur, partially because I suck at adjusting these things and I hate doing it. Plus there's the possible weight saving.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jestep View Post
    12sp is less durable and more finnicky than 11sp, which is less durable and more finnicky than 10sp, because as you add gears to the same size hub, everything has to get closer together thus requiring narrower gears, better tolerance on all the components, and more precise adjustment.
    Shimano made a lot of changes in their 12-speed drivetrains to improve 1x shifting. This includes the ramps on the cassette cogs, the chain bevels, and the derailleur cages. For example, here's a video on how the derailleur cages are slightly bent and twisted to deal with the more extreme chainlines in a 1x.

    So I think that, at least for a Shimano drivetrain, a 1x12 upgrade would be a better choice than a 1x11 upgrade.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Octopuss View Post
    It's just that after riding a bike with one of the lowest tier Sram 12sp drivetrain (which is crap as far as I can tell) on a few occasions, the old M780 XT doesn't feel too nice anymore. The difference in shifting smoothness was night and day. The levers didn't even take much force to push compared to what I have on my bike.

    Also the more I think about it the more I want to get rid of the front derailleur, partially because I suck at adjusting these things and I hate doing it. Plus there's the possible weight saving.
    Hmm. I have a 1x10 on my now run around town bike. ZEE RD, Deore cassette, XT chain, XT shifter. Shifts smooth as butter with very low lever effort. No worse than my 11 and 12spd stuff, I like it very much (other than the range). Maybe your drivetrain needs a bit of TLC?

    If you go 1x, go 12spd. But like it was mentioned above, if you can't change your freehub body to an XD or Microspline, you are kinda stuck with heavy, low end cassettes and there goes your weight savings. There are 3rd party manufacturers who make lighter 12spd HG cassettes like Garbaruk, but they are not cheap.
    There are also other groupset options like the Microshift Advent X 1x10. The cassette is cheap and light, and it's HG compatible. But if you're sensitive to bigger gaps between the gears, it's not for you.

    And to answer a few of your 1x questions:

    Yes, you could reuse your current crankset. Wolftooth makes a Shimano 12spd compatible chainring for 104BCD cranksets, but it's not cheap. Maybe someone has a cheaper option, not sure.

    If you have an 11-36 with a 28-38, switching to a 1x12 with something like a 10-50/51/52 will actually give you more range. You could match the high gear of your current groupset, and at the same time you'll get a slightly lower low gear.

    Look up if you can convert your hub to XD or Microspline, and come up with a budget. That will pretty much decide whether you should go 1x (or even 12spd) or not.

  10. #10
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    I was suggested keeping the current rear hub and buying 11-50 cassette from Sunrace.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Octopuss View Post
    I was suggested keeping the current rear hub and buying 11-50 cassette from Sunrace.
    That's an option, but the weight savings will be minimal, those 12spd Sunrace cassettes are over 500g. And of course you won't get a 10T cog, and Shimano HG+ shifting.

    However at least you won't lose any gear range. If you go the 11-50 route and you really want to keep your current 38-11 high gear, make sure your frame can clear a 1x 38T chainring. Generally 1x chainrings are spaced somewhere between the small and the large chainring on a double, so the new chainring will be closer to the chainstay.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Octopuss View Post
    It's just that after riding a bike with one of the lowest tier Sram 12sp drivetrain (which is crap as far as I can tell) on a few occasions, the old M780 XT doesn't feel too nice anymore. The difference in shifting smoothness was night and day. The levers didn't even take much force to push compared to what I have on my bike.
    Have you tried replacing your cables and housing, and/or cleaning and lubricating your shifters? This can go a long way toward smoother shifting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Octopuss View Post
    Also the more I think about it the more I want to get rid of the front derailleur, partially because I suck at adjusting these things and I hate doing it. Plus there's the possible weight saving.
    Getting rid of the front derailleur you find is a hassle may be considered a good reason, but don't do it for the weight savings. Taking off the front derailleur, shifter, and one chainring and replacing the cassette with the Sunrace 11-50 will save you less than 150 grams.

  13. #13
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    11-speed chain durability is good. I use KMC chains, and they last long. I had a SRAM 11-speed chain, and it didn't last long at all (it was only 14$).

    if you buy all new, just go 1x12 in this day and age. Later on if you upgrade the hub, you can go to a microspline hub and cassette, which is better and lighter. So far, there are no 11-speed microspline cassetttes. So if you are 12-speed, you don't need to upgrade drivetrain again.

    I kind of have the problem of having to upgrade my drivetrain because I get a new hub with MS. so learn from me. Pay and cry once, and then be good. Actually the price difference between 11 and 12 speed isn't that big anyway.

    12-speed is the future, at least for a while. It is already at Deore level.
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