Question on the groupset for gravel bikes

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

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TonyM
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by TonyM

I am a roadie but I am currently looking at gravel bikes and I noticed that many manufacturers are offering their gravel bikes with SRAM (especially their top end gravel bikes) and that they are mainly using the mechanical groupsets and not the Di2 for example.

Why so much SRAM on their top end gravel bikes? Because of the easier 1x made by SRAM?
And why not Di2?

by Weenie


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silvalis
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by silvalis

I'd say because the 1x clutch has been available for yonks and throughout the entire range.
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TheRich
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by TheRich

Because Force 1 is significantly cheaper than Ultegra Di2?

They probably figure that cost is a really big factor if the gravel bike is in addition to a regular road bike.

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mattyNor
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by mattyNor

Force 1 is the only "official" 1x gravel group out currently. You can run Shimano mechanical with an Ultegra Rx rear derailleur and an 11-42 cassette without issues, (or at least I'm yet to experience issues after a dozen or so installs), but this is outside of the official spec. Also there's no easy way to remove the shift guts from the left shifter so you'll end up with unnecessary weight. As an oem it makes a lot of sense specing Force because it's an easier sell being lighter and having the perceived value of the carbon bits scattered among the components. Di2 is at least in my option the ultimate gravel/cross group but is the most expensive option, excluding axs but as this doesn't have a good 1x gearing solution for gravel I'm ignoring it for now.

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Miller
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by Miller

I'm somewhat against e-shifting for gravel bikes. First, from a practical point of view, I'm UK-based and our 'gravel' rides can be muddy as hell. I'd rather not get expensive components slathered in mud. Second, I feel it's somewhat against the ethos of gravel riding, assuming it has such a thing, to be riding such technological bikes. People will be wanting PMs next, lol.

If you're putting your own gravel bike together, put any group you like on it. You don't need 1X and you don't need clutch derailleurs. You do need disc brakes and a low gear that's approaching 1:1.

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Noctiluxx
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by Noctiluxx

With 2X cranks going down to 46T-30T, I see no appeal to 1x drivetrain on gravel bikes. I have Ultegra 2X on my gravel bike with Absolute Black 48-32 oval chainrings. For climbing the gearing is comparable to a 1x drivetrain with 40t up front, 11-42 in the back.
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FIJIGabe
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by FIJIGabe

I guess I bucked the "tradition" on gravel bikes - I'm running 1x Di2 (a mash-up of Ultegra 6800 & M8000) on my CX/gravel bike (38T w/ an 11-32 or 11-34 cassette). I think Force1 is the standard because so many CX bikes (which many people use for gravel riding) come with Force1 that it's just what you're seeing (that's the case of my wife, BTW).

I don't think Shimano really "officially" supports 1x. They have a RD that's 1x compatible, but don't make a dedicated 1x chainring for road/gravel, so you're on your own to figure it out. The purpose of the RD-800 & RD-805 derailleurs is to prevent chainslap on rougher terrain.

Personally, I have a Wolftooth 38T front ring, and I modified the Shimano 46T chainring covers to make the crank look more "finished", rather than just have the bare bolts exposed (I had 9mm removed from it, to make it 1x compatible).
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spdntrxi
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by spdntrxi

Noctiluxx wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:21 pm
With 2X cranks going down to 46T-30T, I see no appeal to 1x drivetrain on gravel bikes. I have Ultegra 2X on my gravel bike with Absolute Black 48-32 oval chainrings. For climbing the gearing is comparable to a 1x drivetrain with 40t up front, 11-42 in the back.
Now that my road bike is nearly on the road.. I have allowed myself to alter my gravel bike to 1x. It is now 40t front with XTR Di and Sram 1199 10-44(oneup ring) out back. When I first got my gravel bike I was 52-34 UI-2 with 11-34 casssette, I needed the 52 because of group rides but the 1:1 was not enough for the climbs to get to the tamer stuff on the ridge next to me. I need more then 1:1 on 20% gravel climbs (climbing is not my thing). I have stopped doing the sat hammerfest rides for a little while because of poor health and fitness tanking. So I moved to the next phase.

Phase 2 I went to AbsoluteBlack 48-32 and an XTR 11-40 cassette (still with UI2 stuff).. this worked pretty well and I dont think I would have any issue going back honestly. Enough range for tamer grouprides.. but I was itching to try 1x. So this is where I am now with XTR Di2. I also have a E13 TRS 9-46 cassette that I mean to try in the near future. I did however also buy a XTR FD just in case I decide 2x is in the future. I've read the XTR FD can be hit and miss because of the BB width and the fact that the FD does not move as inward as a road FD. Once my road bike is 100% done, I might be willing to take down my gravel bike to actually try this.

TheKaiser
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by TheKaiser

TonyM wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:44 am
I am a roadie but I am currently looking at gravel bikes and I noticed that many manufacturers are offering their gravel bikes with SRAM (especially their top end gravel bikes) and that they are mainly using the mechanical groupsets and not the Di2 for example.

Why so much SRAM on their top end gravel bikes? Because of the easier 1x made by SRAM?
And why not Di2?
Can't say for sure about why brands spec the way they do, other than to say, they are all chasing what they think is the next hot trend. Sometimes the trend sticks around, sometimes it fizzles.

Personally, I'd say if you have terrain that varies from quite fast to quite slow, and/or if you are highly cadence sensitive, then it is still worth going 2x, and Di2 is clearly the creme de la creme of 2x drivetrains due to the auto trimming, super fast front shifts, etc... With/without Di2, if you ride rough terrain that causes the chain to bounce and slap around a lot then add the clutch Ultegra derailleur, and you have a system that checks nearly all boxes.

Exceptions to that would be if you only ride stuff that allows a fairly consistent speed (such that a single ring would cover it even with a fairly tightly spaced cassette), or are not cadence sensitive (such that you don't mind spinning really fast or grinding out a slow cadence if you exceed the range of your 1x, or find yourself between gears due to the bigger gaps of 1x). If you plan to do any bikepacking and want to maintain some degree of field serviceability then you might want to avoid Di2, but that doesn't mean that you can't run a super versatile Shimano mechanical 2x with clutch derailleur.

fattywilliams
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by fattywilliams

Another vote for 2by for me think ideal of gravel bike is it versatile 1by is great but is limiting on road sections also I think you loose efficiency from the extreme chain angles in the highest and lowest gears

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Last edited by fattywilliams on Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Miller
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by Miller

New answer: campagnolo chorus 12 speed!

TheRich
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by TheRich

Miller wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:15 pm
I'm somewhat against e-shifting for gravel bikes. First, from a practical point of view, I'm UK-based and our 'gravel' rides can be muddy as hell. I'd rather not get expensive components slathered in mud. Second, I feel it's somewhat against the ethos of gravel riding, assuming it has such a thing, to be riding such technological bikes. People will be wanting PMs next, lol.

If you're putting your own gravel bike together, put any group you like on it. You don't need 1X and you don't need clutch derailleurs. You do need disc brakes and a low gear that's approaching 1:1.
The advantage of Di2 in the mud is that it doesn't depend on spring tension to move down the cassette.

We hose our bikes off countless times, if Di2 didn't like getting wet, we'd know it.

by Weenie


NickJHP
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by NickJHP

I setup my Open U.P.P.E.R. with SRAM eTap WiFli (11-speed 2x). Chainrings are 42-29 on a 94 BCD crankset (Middleburn RO2) and cassette is an Ultegra 11-34 (SRAM says 32t max cog for WiFli but it swallows the 34 without any problem and there's enough adjustment left on the B screw for a 36 if I wanted). I find the gearing is pretty good for everything from bunch rides on bitumen, where the small chainring hardly ever gets used unless there's a substantial climb, to single track, where it gets used a lot. I built two sets of wheels for it, a 700c set with Light Bicycle rims on which I have been running Compass Bon Jon Pass 35mm tyres, and a 650b set with MCFK rims and Panaracer Gravelking 48mm tyres. I stick on the 650b set if singletrack is part of the ride, and for everything else use the 700c set.

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