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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering why anyone would want a single chainring up front?
Living in the flatlands, bicycles are setup with 1 tooth cassette jumps. I do not see the tight spacing with 1x. A dialed-in front derailleur works well.
Is a single chainring for simplicity or are the manufacturers just trying to save money?
Thank You,
RQ
 

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I was wondering why anyone would want a single chainring up front?
Living in the flatlands, bicycles are setup with 1 tooth cassette jumps. I do not see the tight spacing with 1x.
I am not aware of any inherent limitations of using a straight block with 1x.

Is a single chainring for simplicity or are the manufacturers just trying to save money?
Simplicity? Yes. Save money? Save whose money? Manufacturers want you to SPEND money, and much rather you buy their FD and the matching shift lever for 2x than not with 1x.
 

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I believe the practice became common on the mt bike side of things as dropper posts became more popular and the extra space on the left-side was deemed more useful for dropper post levers, CPAP machines and lights/GPS units than a front derailleur lever.
I've never had a problem with 2 (or 3) chain-rings, especially on the road, and like you said, better spacing.
 

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Come on, a single chainring up front is good for going slow and cursing to yourself going up a steep hill!
Oh great, now I need to get a CPAP machine for my Mtn bike? I suppose I need one for my gravel bike with the dropper post too?
 

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I believe the practice became common on the mt bike side of things as dropper posts became more popular and the extra space on the left-side was deemed more useful for dropper post levers, CPAP machines and lights/GPS units than a front derailleur lever.
I've never had a problem with 2 (or 3) chain-rings, especially on the road, and like you said, better spacing.
Frame geometry and then boost spacing made 1x a necessity for MTBs. Note that last years inaugural women’s Paris-Roubaix was won on a 1x.
 

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Darling of The Lounge
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The bike industry has a way of reinventing the wheel when the collective cycling consumers' attention span begins to fade.

I'm confident we're just a few years away from the "revolutionary" 1x Biopace chainring debuting....again.
 

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1x arrived out of having ISCG Mount chain guides not fully retain the chain on 2x setups. Truvativ Hammerschmidt was the last effort toward anything 2x while keeping road-based cassette gearing.
Narrow-Wide chainrings, Clutch Derailleurs, upper chain guides, and at first cassette expanders (larger low gearing made to fit behind Shimano-Style cassettes, minus a gear and/or replacing something like the 16t) made way for the massive cassettes in use today.

'Boost' spacing was basically in use 20 years ago. 12x150 in DH. Wheels and frames w/ 12x148 spacing today are not forcing drivetrain options, they're allowing better symmetry between drive- and non-drive-side spoke angles.
 

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1X s very useful on mt. bikes, frame design for one thing, no need to accommodate a front derailer, changes the design of the bottom bracket/seat tube junction, allows wider tires without worrying about the tire hitting the derailer, among other things.

The 11 and 12 speed systems get you the range you had on a triple, just fewer in between gears. That sometimes is annoying if the trails you ride are flat. 1x shifting is simple for trails that have a lot of fast paced up and downs, no need to think about shifting front AND rear.
 

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We don't have flat trails around here. Did you notice that they call the bikes MOUNTAIN BIKES? What your talking about is a FLAT TRAIL BIKE! 1X are great for that.
My 3x bike has a 4x high and .66x low (wheel revs/crank revs). A difference of 6X, you can't match that with a 1X.
 

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The bike industry has a way of reinventing the wheel when the collective cycling consumers' attention span begins to fade.

I'm confident we're just a few years away from the "revolutionary" 1x Biopace chainring debuting....again.
LOL, right!?!? 1X will thrive in MTB. Gravel? I don’t know, I don’t live around dirt roads. The rich people dirt roads we do have around here are terribly rutted by horses. Awful in any vehicle. Years ago the town dragged those roads every year to smooth out the horse damage but the rich people complained so they stopped. I can certainly see the attraction of riding with less cars. Beyond that, it looks dirty and jarring. I’m sure there are great exceptions, gravel, by nature would beg such differences. I have a very large gravel driveway that is pretty nice and smooth. That requires maintenance and costs money. I have bluestone pea/chip gravel and I’d ride that for sure if it’s maintained.
 

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We don't have flat trails around here. Did you notice that they call the bikes MOUNTAIN BIKES? What your talking about is a FLAT TRAIL BIKE! 1X are great for that.
Ah jeez, now your asking for yet another very specific bike type. We have All Mountain, Downhill, Cross Country, Trail and they just added Down Country and you want to add Flat trail.

No. Big No.
 

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Come on, a single chainring up front is good for going slow and cursing to yourself going up a steep hill!
Oh great, now I need to get a CPAP machine for my Mtn bike? I suppose I need one for my gravel bike with the dropper post too?
We don't have flat trails around here. Did you notice that they call the bikes MOUNTAIN BIKES? What your talking about is a FLAT TRAIL BIKE! 1X are great for that.
My 3x bike has a 4x high and .66x low (wheel revs/crank revs). A difference of 6X, you can't match that with a 1X.
Not sure what your points are. Both my MTBs have a (1x) low of 28/50 on a 10-50 cassette which is pretty damn low and it seems to meet the needs of almost all MTBers in East TN, and we have lots of mountains and steep terrain. If you're running a 3x, what are you running on back to get the same ratio? I've had a couple of drinks so I'm not going to try to decipher the wheel/crank revs, I talk gear ratios and gear inches. By 4x, do you mean the equivalent to a 48x12? If you're MTBing, that won't do you any good around here. 28/10 will be plenty fast to hurt you bad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Thanks for replies.
I did not think of frame compatability advantages.
1x biopace is too funny.
For spending less money, I was not clear. Bike manufacturers could charge the same bike price without associated multiple chainring costs.
A huge cog in the back is cool looking.
RQ
 

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Matnlely Dregaend
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MTB also tends to throw chains off the front rings. One chainring almost eliminates that problem. If I lived in Florida I would be tempted by 1x with a nice Campy 12 speed 11-34 cassette (not Ekar), but around here I need 2 rings (I still have three rings on my MTB). I agree one tooth jumps are nice, for me the industry is moving in the wrong direction in terms of cassette spacing even for 2x setups.
 

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Both my MTBs have a (1x) low of 28/50 on a 10-50 cassette
For the mathematically challenged, this setup has a difference of X5 with huge jumps between cogs. We need a new category... Hilly Trail Bike!
My 2nd place KOM, has speeds from 4.5 to 27mph with a huge amount of time spent over 20mph. And not really wanting to spend that time at crank 110rpm. And that would be on a real MOUNTAIN.
I hardly ever throw a chain off the front ring, dropping a chain is more common, maybe 1 once every 40 rides? Keeping the cassette in the mid range before downshifting the chainring eliminates that, just have to pay attention, user error.
 

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MTB also tends to throw chains off the front rings. One chainring almost eliminates that problem. If I lived in Florida I would be tempted by 1x with a nice Campy 12 speed 11-34 cassette (not Ekar), but around here I need 2 rings (I still have three rings on my MTB). I agree one tooth jumps are nice, for me the industry is moving in the wrong direction in terms of cassette spacing even for 2x setups.
Not true. That's why you need a clutch derailleur for 1X and not for 2 and 3X.
 

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LOL, right!?!? 1X will thrive in MTB. Gravel? I don’t know, I don’t live around dirt roads. The rich people dirt roads we do have around here are terribly rutted by horses. Awful in any vehicle. Years ago the town dragged those roads every year to smooth out the horse damage but the rich people complained so they stopped. I can certainly see the attraction of riding with less cars. Beyond that, it looks dirty and jarring. I’m sure there are great exceptions, gravel, by nature would beg such differences. I have a very large gravel driveway that is pretty nice and smooth. That requires maintenance and costs money. I have bluestone pea/chip gravel and I’d ride that for sure if it’s maintained.
I was traveling, and had brought my road bike. I decided to take what looked like an interesting route.
Out I headed early in the morning on several miles out!
Turns out the road turned to rutted dirt road! Well, at least it was hard-packed, so I carried on.
i got out as far as I had wanted, and took a break to talk to a couple locals fishing a pond out there.
Then, headed back.
In that time frame, a truck - some kind of road scraper - had begun flattening the road. It was flat! But extremely loose!
Leveler truck had one lane, and I passed by on the other, already smoothed.
I rode about an eighth of a mile in loosely packed dirt, on my road bike. Literally the hardest span of road I had ever ridden.
i just kept telling myself to not give up, just keep turning the pedals.
Finally, I got out of that stretch and made it home exhausted but alive.
 

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Well, I've stuck to 2 chain rings on my road bikes. They give me two ranges of close spaced gears. The 52 spins nicely at 17 mph and above, 52-17, 16, 15. The 42 spins nicely slower than 17 mph and is just adequate around DC/NVA to handle the short hills, 42-28, and cruising on the flats in 42-20 or 17. I could probably get rid of the large ring and go with the 42. But it's nice to have two distinct ranges of close spaced gears, set up for the terrain. I seldom have to slide over several gears in back, instead just shift the front.

I have nothing against all gears in back. It shaves off some weight. Those pie plate low gears look out of proportion to the rest of the bike, and the derailleur cage is really long, flirting with disaster in a crash or if the bike falls over. Rear derailleur hangers are notorious for hitting something and bending out of whack, the kiss of death on 12 speed click shifting. I'd rather have a short rear derailleur and two chain rings up front. I've gone through several rear deraileurs. Never had to replace a front derailleur.
 
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