Experience going from 1x to 2x on gravel bike?

Especially for light weight issues concerning cyclocross / touring bikes & parts.

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twoangstroms
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Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:49 am

by twoangstroms

Hi all,

I love my Ibis Hakka MX but am thinking of doing some challenging gravel and mixed-road races next year. I currently have a 1x SRAM Force setup with an Easton SL carbon crank, with a low gear combo of 40/42. That's pretty fine for mixed riding in the SF Bay Area (okay, I have spun out keeping up on descents), but wondering that might not be great for these aforementioned events -- not quite the BWR, but for example the Super Sweetwater I did the other year had both 23% climbs and long stretches along the Pacific coast where I was in my 53x12 (I used my road bike that year and I'll tell you, a 39x26 was not low enough).

Options could be to tweak the 1x gearing, or find the money to swap to a 2x setup. Has anyone done the latter, and how to do it on a budget? Thanks in advance.

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onemanpeloton
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by onemanpeloton

I haven't done it, but I think 2x definitely has it's place in gravel. Not to mention that front mechs and shifters are super cheap to buy used because everyone's using 1x now
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TheRich
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by TheRich

onemanpeloton wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:31 pm
I haven't done it, but I think 2x definitely has it's place in gravel. Not to mention that front mechs and shifters are super cheap to buy used because everyone's using 1x now
2x is pretty much required to be as competitive as you can unless the course is relatively flat. But if competitiveness isn't as important, 1x is fine.

When you're coming off a downhill, someone with a 1x just isn't going to be able to maintain speed like someone with road compact gearing. You'll be spun out and they'll cruise right on by while pedaling lightly and that time/distance is just gone. it's not a huge difference, but it's a difference.

You can come close with Eagle AXS, depending on how big of a chainring you can run. But with 11-speed and maintaining a 1-1 low gear...it's just not happening.

jeanjacques
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by jeanjacques

On my gravel I begin with 1x 38 11-32 because I didn't like the look of bigger cassette. But steep hill didn't agree with this (and flat too) so moved to 10-42 but again on club ride, not fast enough. A 42 front solved this issue and both extrem was good.
But soon after I begin very bored with all this big jump...
Finally, went back to 2x 46-30 11-28: perfect high and low for gravel/road use and almost tight gears, very happy since :)

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kytyree
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by kytyree

I've been happy with my 1x setup and I've got an e*13 cassette on there to give me a nice wide range and this has worked fine for doing stuff by myself. But I'm about to change the Trail Donkey over to 2x, using the GRX group. What I've enjoyed most about the bike is how useful it is for different things and I think this will only make it more so. I can tolerate the big jumps in the middle of the cassette but I started feeling that I don't have to...

spdntrxi
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by spdntrxi

TheRich wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:47 pm
onemanpeloton wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:31 pm
I haven't done it, but I think 2x definitely has it's place in gravel. Not to mention that front mechs and shifters are super cheap to buy used because everyone's using 1x now
2x is pretty much required to be as competitive as you can unless the course is relatively flat. But if competitiveness isn't as important, 1x is fine.

this is my feeling as well.... I just wanna have fun with my gravel bike. Yes I do BWR but I'm not competitive about it so... I switched from 2x to 1x... I use anywhere from 40-42-44t in front with my e13 9-46

jemima
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by jemima

Went from 1x to 2x, but 10speed. Secondhand higher-end parts are fairly cheap (started with a discount carbon Easton crank though) .

A not-competitive build however, at 40/24 with 12-27. Really like the cassette spacing.
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Surfshack
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by Surfshack

I'm having this dilemma as well as I look forward to doing some gravel races in 2020 that have steep climbing associated with them. Coming from the flatlands and tight 1x setups I find this somewhat disturbing because when I look at going to a 40t with a 10-50 cassette and a long cage derailleur, it just doesn't look right. The geometry of the whole chain, cassette, and small chainring looks out of whack not to mention the huge jumps in gear inches.
How is this efficient for climbing short steep pitches?
Please someone educate me. I love 1x but something doesn't look right with these monster setups for gravel climbing.

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IrrelevantD
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by IrrelevantD

For me personally, my gravel bike has become my only bike, so I use it for road, gravel and single track. 1x is just too limiting. I need the wide range of a standard 50/34 road compact. My bike came with a 47/32 crank and I was spinning out in the 47 on the road even on my gravel wheels. The 32 inner was nice on the trail, but I'm OK with the 1:1 a 11-34 cassette gives me on my 650b dirt wheels. My road wheels I run 11-28 for closer shifts and an 11-32 for gravel and mixed terain (700x40).
Last edited by IrrelevantD on Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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IrrelevantD
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by IrrelevantD

double post.
* There is a 70% chance that what you have just read has a peppering of cynicism or sarcasm and generally should not be taken seriously.
I'll leave it up to you to figure out the other 30%. If you are in any way offended, that's on you.

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Stendhal
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by Stendhal

If you do switch, your options will be limited. I bought a Hakka MX frame intending to run 2x, but learned that the minimum cog size on the chainset is 34. Thus, all you can do is road bike sizing (50/34 compact or higher) or perhaps 46/36 CX sizing.
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stlutz
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by stlutz

Front shifting is so good nowadays (at least on Shimano and Campagnolo), I don't see why one would want to give up the advantages of 2x for most applications.

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AJS914
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by AJS914

My Crux (Force 1 hydro) came with 1X and I often wish it was 2X. I haven't changed it because hydro levers are expensive. I'd need a new left lever plus the front derailleur plus the chainring and bolts. My crank is compatible.

The other option would be a XD driver freehub and a 10 toothed cog. That's not super cheap either.

Frisco
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by Frisco

You can add rings to the existing crank can’t you? Easton should have at least 46/30 and 47/32 available as rings to swap. I have 46/30 + 11-42 and find it to be nice for mixed use non competitive rides in the South Bay. The big ring works for road use and the small ring is good for trails.

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IrrelevantD
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by IrrelevantD

Frisco wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 5:52 am
You can add rings to the existing crank can’t you? Easton should have at least 46/30 and 47/32 available as rings to swap. I have 46/30 + 11-42 and find it to be nice for mixed use non competitive rides in the South Bay. The big ring works for road use and the small ring is good for trails.
Easton 47/32 came with my bike. It's a direct mount big ring with a small ring that bolts to the big ring. You'd have to have a Easton or Race Face crankset to use it.

Absolute Black has oval rings down to 46/30 for Shimano 4x110 or 48/32 for 5x110, but that brings the chain line inboard, which may not be compatible with some frames (Cervelo Aspero for example from what I've read).

Personally, I found the 47 to be inadequate for road use. I was spinning out too frequently on 700x28s (measured 31mm). Might work with a 10 tooth cog, but most MTB cassettes with 10t bottom cogs have too high a big cog to work with the max tooth capacity for a 2x road/gravel RD (by published specs).
* There is a 70% chance that what you have just read has a peppering of cynicism or sarcasm and generally should not be taken seriously.
I'll leave it up to you to figure out the other 30%. If you are in any way offended, that's on you.

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