Moab on a 1x9...possible or too painful?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    No Brakes
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    Moab on a 1x9...possible or too painful?

    A bunch of us losers from SoCal are doing Moab in a few weeks. The dumbest one (yours truly) is the only one running 1x9 (easiest gearing is 32x34) out of the bunch. There are a few 2x9 but the majority loves their granny like a fat kid loves cake.

    So my question for the natives is are there a lot of climbing on the more popular trails (e.g. Porcupine Rim Trail, Slick Rock) or more of a rolling situation?

    Thanks very much in advance for any info!
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  2. #2
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    Single speeders seem to be built differently than the rest of us. Maybe you could have "fun" on a 1 x 9 in Moab, maybe...well, since I would never ever single speed I can't imagine going to Moab without gears. Trust only opinions from other single speeders because the rest of us think you're nuts anyway!
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  3. #3
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    32X34 is a pretty tall gear.

    nothing like the 32X16 that a real SS'r might run. You will be just fine with your cake eating, sit and spin, 32X34.
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  4. #4
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Brakes
    A bunch of us losers from SoCal are doing Moab in a few weeks. The dumbest one (yours truly) is the only one running 1x9 (easiest gearing is 32x34) out of the bunch. There are a few 2x9 but the majority loves their granny like a fat kid loves cake.

    So my question for the natives is are there a lot of climbing on the more popular trails (e.g. Porcupine Rim Trail, Slick Rock) or more of a rolling situation?

    Thanks very much in advance for any info!
    I'm a tourista, but I can chime in. Your first problem will be Slick Rock. I rode the whole thing in the small ring (22) without shifting the front ring up once. You are either climbing these seemingly impossible vertical slopes, or coasting downhill to the next one. Yes, freaks of nature ride Slick Rock on SS's, but Joe Normal is going to need granny to get up the worst climbs. If you attempt a steep climb and stall out before the summit, the dismount can be a doozy.

    As far as Porcupine Rim, it depends on how far up you start. Hazard County starts with a climb you might have to walk part of (if for no other reason altitude), but the rest it is pretty much downhill with nothing that would hurt you in a 32. If you go up to Burro Pass though, you will end up in a major "spot of bother" - as Paul Sherwyn would say - on the first climb pretty much for sure. No way you will be able to clean most of it with a 32 given the slope and the altitude. I was walking a lot and huffing in pain even in granny. It is cleanable by less than freaks of nature, but it is a test of brutal strength. After the climb, you are downhill to Hazard County until the next climb there.

    The other climb I remember is Amasa Back - an out an back which starts with a steep technical descent, then a long technical climb on the way out, and reverse on the way back. I'm thinking that the long climb is mostly doable in a 32. The last climb though - not going to happen.

    Among others, these three are must rides in Moab, in the order of Porcupine, Amasa, and Sick Rock. Slick Rock is a novelty, but is not technical at all, so the thrill is nothing like the other two. Prepare for the rides of your life.
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  5. #5
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    Well, I ain't really SSing. The rear is a standard 12-34 cassette while the front is a 32 ringer and I do plan to sit and spin as much as I could...so I guess the real question is will it be possible to spin in Moab with a 32x34 gearing on the climbs...or even with this gearing the climbs will be a mash fest at 30 RPM?
    Getting a hold of reality is easy...choking it to death, well, that's gonna take a bit of work. :-)

  6. #6
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    Thank you sir...you just help me sealed the deal. Front derailleur, shifter, cabling and a 22T will go back on in the front. Now I just have to learn how to shift again with the left hand! It sure was nice only have to shift with the right hand on a 1x9.

    Like to said, these upcoming rides could be the rides of my life and I have no idea when we'll be doing another pilgrimage to Mecca so I best be prepared!

    Much gracias, friendo!

  7. #7
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Brakes
    Thank you sir...you just help me sealed the deal. Front derailleur, shifter, cabling and a 22T will go back on in the front. Now I just have to learn how to shift again with the left hand! It sure was nice only have to shift with the right hand on a 1x9.

    Like to said, these upcoming rides could be the rides of my life and I have no idea when we'll be doing another pilgrimage to Mecca so I best be prepared!

    Much gracias, friendo!
    FYI: I have a 1 x 9 hardtail with the same gearing as yours, and a dualie with triple. The dualie is for places with a lot of hard climbing and/or technical. The 1 x 9 is for fast, winding, rooty eastern single track. Yiu and I know they climb fine; it's just that after awhile if there is a lot of it, your legs get tired. Plus, the REALLY steep stuff is often too much - and that is Slick Rock.

    Moab is the home of freeride bikes and beefy trail bikes with low gearing and big travel. X-C bikes can get beat to sh*t if you challenge yourself on the technical stuff. Definitely bring a dualie with a triple.

    Have a blast!
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Brakes
    Well, I ain't really SSing. The rear is a standard 12-34 cassette while the front is a 32 ringer and I do plan to sit and spin as much as I could...so I guess the real question is will it be possible to spin in Moab with a 32x34 gearing on the climbs...or even with this gearing the climbs will be a mash fest at 30 RPM?
    Sorry, coffee hadn't kicked in. I guess I would have replied (had I been awake) that you'll miss your 22t granny, but a 32-34 combination I would almost think is doable for a guy with freakishly strong legs. I rode with four almost-pro Canadian riders (don't remember their exact classification) but they were so beyond strong it was almost laughable. They would do all the climbs at Slickrock in middle chain ring. It was something to watch.

    Guess it depends if you're freakishly strong. If so, go for it. If you're normal, granny is your friend.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Brakes
    Thank you sir...you just help me sealed the deal. Front derailleur, shifter, cabling and a 22T will go back on in the front. Now I just have to learn how to shift again with the left hand! It sure was nice only have to shift with the right hand on a 1x9.

    Like to said, these upcoming rides could be the rides of my life and I have no idea when we'll be doing another pilgrimage to Mecca so I best be prepared!

    Much gracias, friendo!
    Naw,
    he's given bad dope. You should be able to ride anything in moab on a 1x9. Front der's suck. Don't put it on.
    Slick rock has mega traction. On the steepest sections stand up over the bars and hammer up. I think a 32-32 is a better gear on slick rock than 22-32 for that ***** anyway.

    My moab bike is 6" travel 30lbs, strong wheels, 800-900 gram tires and single front ring with a chain guide.
    I'd ride a hammerschmidt before i'd put on a front der.

  10. #10
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl
    Naw,
    he's given bad dope. You should be able to ride anything in moab on a 1x9
    Sure buddy. If you can clean the first climb on Burro Pass on a 30 lbs 1 x 9, you're either a freak of nature ready for a pro contract, or just full of sh*t. Read my sig.

    This is ASSUMING you're riding a triple.

    Same goes for Slick Rock. If you stall out before the summit of some of those climbs, you're lucky if you only end up with "rock rash."

    So unless you're out on the far edge of the bell curve in terms of talent, and finished in the top 50 at the Leadville 100, bring a granny gear.
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  11. #11
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    I met a buddy from MD in Moab last year, tried and true single speeder. He switched to a 1X9 for the trip and had no trouble. We rode Poison spider, Amassa Back and Porcupine rim. We started all rides from in town and the biggest problem he had was keeping up on the road sections. FYI though he is an expert racer competing in endurance events regularly.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    Sure buddy. If you can clean the first climb on Burro Pass on a 30 lbs 1 x 9, you're either a freak of nature ready for a pro contract, or just full of sh*t. Read my sig.



    This is ASSUMING you're riding a triple.

    Same goes for Slick Rock. If you stall out before the summit of some of those climbs, you're lucky if you only end up with "rock rash."

    So unless you're out on the far edge of the bell curve in terms of talent, and finished in the top 50 at the Leadville 100, bring a granny gear.
    Haven't tried leadville, and don't know where the curve is. Think I might be able to ride up burro though (haven't really been inclined to try, but now I'm curious). I know someone who can and I'm pretty sure you don't need a contract.
    Stalling out on a climb on slick rock doesn't mean a crash either, except when I was riding pedals that wouldn't let go.
    What were the other choices you were providing? Doesn't matter, granny gear still sucks, don't bring it.

  13. #13
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    Well here's my two cents. I have had the unfortunate pleasure of trying to conquer moab on my DH bike (1x9) one trail was okay and that was what they call the whole enchilada. I still had a few spots where I had to hike. As far as the slick rock trail or trails like poison spider... I gave up after 20 min on one and 30 on the other. Save yourself the vomit and rent a good am bike when you get there. That's what I ended up doing and Moab became fun again

  14. #14
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    I did it, with some hike-a-bike, but was able to clean most stuff. Slickrock wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl
    Naw,
    he's given bad dope. You should be able to ride anything in moab on a 1x9. Front der's suck. Don't put it on.
    Slick rock has mega traction. On the steepest sections stand up over the bars and hammer up. I think a 32-32 is a better gear on slick rock than 22-32 for that ***** anyway.

    My moab bike is 6" travel 30lbs, strong wheels, 800-900 gram tires and single front ring with a chain guide.
    I'd ride a hammerschmidt before i'd put on a front der.
    Interesting take. My Moab bike is a 6.7" travel Reign XO that is 32lbs. I have a 22-34 on it with a dual ring set up. I was bailed out in the granny for Burro. Made it, but damn it was hard with the altitude. Why kill yourself riding just for bragging rights in the brew pub later on. Put a number plate on your bike when you want to really test yourself, otherwise it's "all show for the 'bro's". I know that it's my MTB holiday and I have more fun when it feels more like a ride and less like a race.

  16. #16
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeguy67
    Interesting take. My Moab bike is a 6.7" travel Reign XO that is 32lbs. I have a 22-34 on it with a dual ring set up. I was bailed out in the granny for Burro. Made it, but damn it was hard with the altitude. Why kill yourself riding just for bragging rights in the brew pub later on.
    AFAIC, anybody who cleans the Burro climb on any bike in any gear ratio earns bragging rights as a fitness animal. If you can clean all the switchbacks on the way down, you earn bragging rights as an awesome technical rider to boot. Later on, if you can clean Chimney a/k/a Hangnail on upper Porcupine, you're a freaking stud. Finally, if you can clean all of lower Porcupine, you are just plain god.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeguy67
    Interesting take. My Moab bike is a 6.7" travel Reign XO that is 32lbs. I have a 22-34 on it with a dual ring set up. I was bailed out in the granny for Burro. Made it, but damn it was hard with the altitude. Why kill yourself riding just for bragging rights in the brew pub later on. Put a number plate on your bike when you want to really test yourself, otherwise it's "all show for the 'bro's". I know that it's my MTB holiday and I have more fun when it feels more like a ride and less like a race.
    Burro is hard as hell. But it's hard in a 22 or 32. it doesn't matter. This conversation seems to focus on some really hard thing or another. I don't think that ought to be the focus. Moab is more fun for me on a 1x9. because front derailurers suck. The bike can lose almost a full pound when you go to a single front. Who cares if you or I can pedal up _____________! I ride a single because it's better. And nothing going uphill is show for the bro's because all the good stuff happens on the way down.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl
    Burro is hard as hell. But it's hard in a 22 or 32. it doesn't matter. This conversation seems to focus on some really hard thing or another. I don't think that ought to be the focus. Moab is more fun for me on a 1x9. because front derailurers suck. The bike can lose almost a full pound when you go to a single front. Who cares if you or I can pedal up _____________! I ride a single because it's better. And nothing going uphill is show for the bro's because all the good stuff happens on the way down.
    Good post and point taken. You hate the front der! Ha! I guess MY point is that anyone riding a MTB with their lowest gear as a 32-32 or 32-34 has to put that into perspective. It will make easy climbs hard and hard climbs a nightmare for some riders. You will need fitness, strong legs and willpower to pull that off in Moab - we should agree on that. Respect for anyone who does it from me for sure.

    FWIW...I think the OP made the right choice to thow one on and ride a 2x9. It's insurance for his ride and holiday. You don't have to use the 22 but it's nice to know you have it. I'm sure anyone with enough experience to get to the point of running a 1x9 will remember how to shift with the left hand and not while under load.

  19. #19
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    You may find yourself walking a few of the steep hits on Slickrock, but if you're a reasonably fit and reasonably skilled bike rider, then you will have plenty of fun on your 1x9. Run what ya brung.

    What kind of 1x9 are we talking? There are a wide variety from XC race hardtails to DH race machines. I can certainly say that you would not have the optimum experience on a trail like Porc if you're clanking down on a XC race hardtail.
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