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  • Gear Inches Chart for 29er Wheels – 1x11 v.s. 2x10

    I've had a lot of questions from mountain bikers about gearing. Riders wonder if they should go with a 1x11 or 2x10?

    There are many factors that go into this decision, not the least of which is the actual gearing. I'm going to use myself as an example. Right now I am running a 2x10 setup with a 22x38 on the front and 11x36 on the rear.

    On the gear inches chart below, you can see that my granny gear (22x36) provides 17.7 gear inches of travel. This is my low gear for climbing. My big gear for pushing speed on roads is 38x11, providing 100.2 gear inches of travel.

    If I decided I wanted to move to 1x11 gearing, if I choose a non-standard 30 front ring with a 10x42 rear cassette, my granny gear becomes 20.7. If you compare that to the 2x10 Gearing Chart, it means I lose two small gears. My new granny gear will be somewhere between pushing a 22x28 and a 22x32 combination.

    Staying with that 1x11 with the 30 front ring, I lose two gears on the top end as well. My big gear becomes 30x10, or 87 gear inches. That tall gear is somewhere between pushing a 38x14 and 38x12 on my 2x10 setup.

    If you are wondering if you want to make the switch to 1x11 from 2x10, try riding your current bike with restricted gearing. That is, look at the chart to find the gear inches for your new proposed set-up. Then, look at what gears you would lose compared to your current set-up. Try riding with the restrictions and see if it has a negative impact on your riding, or not.

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  • Comments on this post (3 comments)

    • Fabricio says...

      I switched 3 years ago my Mojo HD from 2 rings (36/24) with 10speed 11/36 cassette to 1×10 with 36T front and keept my rear the same, at the beginning was a little hard to push, but after some weeks I used to do it fine. in January 2013 I switched to 1×11it improved a lot my riding, even I can now go uphill in some places very steep that before I couldn’t, I think that the 1×11 is another kind of riding, my SPM are more relaxed, I enjoy a lot the system, but all is up to the person.
      Bil you are an ANIMAL! pushing a 36T and maybe a 38T in front is too much for many human beings going uphill jajaja…
      Cheers dude.

      On September 01, 2014

    • Gale says...

      Bil,
      I totally agree that there is more to consider than just the gears. I’m working on an expanded discussion now. Lots of pros and cons to consider. Thanks for your perspective too.

      On August 22, 2014

    • Bil Danielson says...

      Gale, I very recently went 1×11 on my 29’er (h.t.), and I have had a 2×10 on my 26 rigid for a long time and have always appreciated the gear range. The 29’er came to me set up with a 34 ring, and I immediately bought and installed a 36; the 34 just isn’t adequate for XC racing for me, especially on longer downhill grades, and gravel roads. I will acquire the 38 as well. The 36 seems to strike a nice balancing point and I have yet to find an uphill I can’t ride well (matter of fact, I rarely use the 42). For example, one of my first rides was up the rim trail at Horsetooth, zero issues and 36×36 was all I needed. Point being, having all three chain rings allows me to make a change tailored to the predominant riding I will be doing, and for me it’s not just the gear range but the benefit of no shifting with my left hand as there isn’t a front derailleur. I suspect you’ll be commenting on that feature in due course, but that is one thing I really like.

      On August 22, 2014

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