1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

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1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby AUbicycles » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:31 pm

1x is pronounced "one by" and refers to bikes with one chain ring up-front. If you are thinking, "haven't I seen that before", well it is not that a single chainring is new. Rather it is about bikes that have relied on 2x or 3x (mainly MTB) i.e. 2 or 3 chain rings and have a derailleur at the front.

For a large gear range, 2 chainrings it has been the standard solution for and let's a road rider crawl up a steep mountain at snails pace but fly back down the other side like the wind.

However the front derailleur is yet another mechanical element that adds complexity and where things can go wrong. In MTBing they have really pushed for solutions to so there are chain tensioners or planetary gears up front. But the trend is towards 1x and a good range at the back. A challenge of having a large gear range and big cassette is drive train efficiency - of you think about cross-chaining (chain is in the big chain ring up front but crosses diagonally to the big cog on the rear cassette) a straight chain-line is always better.

Image

In the world of road bikes, we are hearing 1x more often and Alex Simmons mentioned in the Disc Brake thread that in Herald Sun Tour the Aqua Blue were riding with 1x... and this creates a new technical challenge as the gearing is different so if there is a wheel change - you can't just put on any wheel - it has to suit the 1x.

But 1x will save you from the chain dropping as well. Remember Contador and Chaingate (short video).

So what is your take on 1x for road bikes. Does it simply it and make life easier? Do you think you are now loosing gears and the range you are used to? Will it take off or is it just a fad?

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby Derny Driver » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:55 pm

For road bikes - absolutely a backward step.
How hard is it to have a front derailleur? Di2 front mechs are faultless.
Why would you want to drop 30 cadence points every time you change gears.
Those cassettes must be the most awful thing ever invented for a bike I reckon.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby Jmuzz » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:10 pm

I think non motor assisted sports riding gearing will stagnate where it is.
Because electrical motors are going to dominate the rest of the market. Gearing is now purely for sports physical challenge, commute, tour, downhill (the uphill bit) and even recreation all benefit from motors.

The motor negates the need for close gearing steps and gearing losses become less important. So the fragile high maintenance gears setup will go, 1x front with 4x gears in the hub with motor. Or indirect drive with generator in the crank and no more chain which many commuters will love.

There won't be any need for sport to improve gearing, through they will have to go to disk and add suspension to stay relevant as a marketing tool for the manufacturers.

Will the sport add motors eventually? I think so, otherwise what are they advertising for the manufacturers? Some system where they start with 0% battery so it's all their own power but how they store and unleash that power is still quite a good race. Lots of good shorts for the news report on breakaways and high speed sprints.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby NASHIE » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:25 pm

Derny Driver wrote:For road bikes - absolutely a backward step.
How hard is it to have a front derailleur? Di2 front mechs are faultless.
Why would you want to drop 30 cadence points every time you change gears.
Those cassettes must be the most awful thing ever invented for a bike I reckon.


Agree, have been riding as 1x (removed front derailleur) for last couple of years while my son rides junior gearing to keep it fair, and while the 42 12/25 is fine for me and Perth hills, i could not cope with the spacing an 11/32 etc gives that would need for the bigger hills you guys get over east. And you won't be winning any sprints. CX and MTBs yes, serious roadies no.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby Kronos » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:00 am

I'm not sold on 1x but I haven't ridden a 1x bike i n a very long time, I think the last one I did was a very old roadie. To me even with an ultra wide cassette it would seem you would run into the issue of having your gears too far apart. I must confess with my 2x10 sometimes I think my gears are too close together. I can find myself debating whether to be in the big cog or small cog up front.

However, its a good problem to have because I can work out (eventually) whether I just want to spin effortlessly, or whether I want a slower cadence and more power per revolution. Its a good problem because spinning a bigger or a smaller cog works different muscle groups in your legs and you can rest them in between to maintain a higher speed.

I don't know exactly how that will work with a 1x but I'm willing to try it if someone wants to lend me a bike with a 1x groupset.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby bychosis » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:50 am

When riding my 1x MTB on the road (to or from trails) I find the cadence steps too much between gears. I hunt for the right gear and often end up switching back and forth between two. In the bush however you tend to change gear for terrain before cadence and 1x works well. I don’t think it’s suited to roadies.
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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby find_bruce » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:53 am

To my mind the biggest advantage of 1x is that you don't have to think about what gear to go to next - your sole choice is up or down with no need for a double shift at an inconvenient time.

But that's something you can also do with Di2.

What I am not seeing for 1x is any major advantage for road bikes

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby andrewjcw » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:11 am

Well, there's no 'major advantage' for them on mtb/cx bikes, but that hasn't stopped them becoming very popular there. I do agree that there seems even less argument for them on road bikes though.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby WyvernRH » Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:52 am

andrewjcw wrote:Well, there's no 'major advantage' for them on mtb/cx bikes, but that hasn't stopped them becoming very popular there.


Ah... marketing/sales have done a good job then :)

No seriously, I can't see the problem with 2/3 chainrings up front and a closer block at the back. I have no problems doing a front change under load even on non-indexed bikes and the weight difference is going to be minimal - most 1x setups I have seen still retain the heavy indexed l/h lever (which you don't need anyway - why index a 2 position switch?)
The main thing that puts me off 1x with huge rear sprockets is the need for a 'clutched' rear derailleur. Now that is unnecessary added complication and point of failure if you will. I have never seen a front changer fail they are very basic, the sledgehammer of gear changing mechanisms (DI2 excepted)
I spent a fair amount of my youth touring Britain on a 1x (44x14-32 6 speed) and when I finally got a TA chainset with a 32 inner it was a a revelation . Riding over the Pennines without walking! Now I'm older I need the bail out gear....

If you race your views might well differ of course.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby ball bearing » Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:35 am

I always figured that the main advantage for not having a front derailleur is that when it is muddy the front tyre won't throw mud into the mechanism.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby andrewjcw » Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:59 pm

The main advantage for a mtb is just that it's clean and simple. Most people have dropper posts with bar controls now so it's nice to take something off your bars. It's ony less thing to break and adjust.

Over the last 10 years triple chain rings have become known as cheap and nasty and for beginner bikes, so it's a natural progression to continue that to make 2 -> 1.

Apart of that is that in general mountain bikes have gone from general purpose/walking track and fire trail riding to heavier purpose built machines where 140mm+ dual suspension and big tyres are normal. With that they just don't need the higher gears so the lack of range isn't really a problem. On a lot of trails you don't need to pedal at faster than 35 km/h.

Lastly, and of course mainly as with most cycling things, it's just about looking good. Fixie's/SS are very cool and trendy now and people with 1x love getting a differenct colour chain or anodized chain holder or things that just make it look cool and different.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby RonK » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:17 pm

Derny Driver wrote:For road bikes - absolutely a backward step.
How hard is it to have a front derailleur? Di2 front mechs are faultless.
Why would you want to drop 30 cadence points every time you change gears.
Those cassettes must be the most awful thing ever invented for a bike I reckon.

Perhaps your judgment is a bit hasty. The front derailleur is eliminated to improve aerodynamics around the bottom bracket.

And there is no dropping "30 cadence points every gear change". The cassettes they use have a quite reasonable progression.

3T has developed its own 9-32 cassettes in two versions, called Bailout and Overdrive, that have been developed to address some of the gaps between sprockets that can occur on such wide range cassettes.

The Bailout has 9-10-11-12-13-15-17-19-22-26-32 tooth sprockets. You’ll notice that the sprockets increase in size just one tooth at a time at the business end of the cassette with an “oh shite this is a steep hill” bailout sprocket at the other end. The Overdrive has a 9-11-12-13-15-17-19-22-25-28-32 configuration aimed at providing evenly spaced gears across the middle of the cassette with that 9-tooth sprocket for keeping the power on during big descents.


The story here: Just In: 3T Strada - the future just arrived in the road.cc bike shed

Anf here is their full review of the 3T Strada: 3T Strada frameset
Last edited by RonK on Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby ValleyForge » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:22 pm

I can't help but think this is driven by companies that cannot make a working FD.

Sorry - A company. :lol:
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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:28 pm

AUbicycles wrote:But 1x will save you from the chain dropping as well. Remember Contador and Chaingate (short video).


There's no guarantee 1x prevents chain drops. Ask David Millar about his loss in a TdF TT while riding 1x, and with less cross chaining than a 1x.

The problem with 1x in road racing is two fold IMO:

- neutral spares and availability of compatible wheels (only so many wheel options in a car, let alone the spares motorbike

- the large differences between gears. For some gear options, the jump is more than double that of a 2x option, e.g the 9,11,12... cassette.

No matter, pros ride what they are required to ride, not what's optimal. For that reason I don't suggest people make choices about their cycling kit on the basis of what pros use.

Advantages are some simplification due to removal of the front mech, a little weight saving but ho hum, bikes are already at the minimum weight anyway, it just has to be added elsewhere.

But on the other hand, you'll likely have to change the front chainring from day to day depending on the terrain/conditions.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby RonK » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:35 pm

ValleyForge wrote:I can't help but think this is driven by companies that cannot make a working FD.

Sorry - A company. :lol:

Which company do you mean? You can have your 3t Strada with Shimano or Sram.
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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby Derny Driver » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:52 pm

RonK wrote: The cassettes they use have a quite reasonable progression.

3T has developed its own 9-32 cassettes in two versions, called Bailout and Overdrive, that have been developed to address some of the gaps between sprockets that can occur on such wide range cassettes.

The Bailout has 9-10-11-12-13-15-17-19-22-26-32 tooth sprockets. You’ll notice that the sprockets increase in size just one tooth at a time at the business end of the cassette with an “oh shite this is a steep hill” bailout sprocket at the other end. The Overdrive has a 9-11-12-13-15-17-19-22-25-28-32 configuration aimed at providing evenly spaced gears across the middle of the cassette with that 9-tooth sprocket for keeping the power on during big descents.


Sorry but I dont call that reasonable. No 14 or 16 tooth cog on a road bike? The 14, 15 and 16 are the most used cogs for nearly every rider.
They need a 9 cog because 40-9 is roughly equivalent to 50-11 or 53-12.
The "bail out" 32 cog with the 48 ring is only equivalent to 36-24 on a mid compact, or 39-26 on a standard chainset.
Since the most common question on BNA is "How can I get a 32 cog on my compact chainset", then it appears many punters are after 27 gear inches bail out, which would be a 46 tooth cog on the single ring drive. Show us the gaps on a 9 to 46 cassette!

Alex has nailed it as usual.

PS Ron ... the un-named company who cant get a front mech to work starts with an S, ends in M, and has two letters in between.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby uart » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:20 pm

I was wondering about chain alignment. Aren't you going to be cross chaining most of the time on one of those setups?

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby eeksll » Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:26 pm

my commuter and mtb both run 9 speed. I moved a 11-34 9 speed cassette from the mtb to the 1x commuter (34 or 39 tooth chainring cant remember what setup i had back then) I couldn't stand the gearing jumps. Every gear was either too hard or too easy, moved to a 12-27 cassette quick smart

I don't notice it so much when riding the MTB

uart wrote:I was wondering about chain alignment. Aren't you going to be cross chaining most of the time on one of those setups?


I run my chainring on the inner side and it doesn't like engaging the smallest sprocket.

I guess in a true 1x setup it would be dead center of cassette so might get another cog out on the same chain angle?

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby ValleyForge » Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:34 pm

RonK wrote:
ValleyForge wrote:I can't help but think this is driven by companies that cannot make a working FD.

Sorry - A company. :lol:

Which company do you mean? You can have your 3t Strada with Shimano or Sram.

"If I want to sound like I'm changing gears in a truck, then I'll buy a truck"

Even my kids noticed how poorly SRAM works. And my wife!
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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby Kronos » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:40 pm

ValleyForge wrote:
RonK wrote:
ValleyForge wrote:I can't help but think this is driven by companies that cannot make a working FD.

Sorry - A company. :lol:

Which company do you mean? You can have your 3t Strada with Shimano or Sram.

"If I want to sound like I'm changing gears in a truck, then I'll buy a truck"

Even my kids noticed how poorly SRAM works. And my wife!


A bike will shift as well as the rider allows it to. I run a SRAM Rival and Shimano Ultegra groupset on my bikes. I have no issue with shifting gears, you might need to learn how to shift properly. I have more issue with Shimano using both the brake lever and the shifter to shift. It's about the most ridiculous implementation I can think of. Oh hello misshift say hello to your face plant. It's relatively easy to grab your brake lever during the shift process. Shifters should never be on brake levers, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

One day you're gonna panic and go arse over tit. To be honest I can shift proficiently on both systems but the double tap mechanism is so much safer and more efficient than the Ultegra one every time I even slightly grab some brake lever as you will do occasionally I swear at my Shimano bike.

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby LG » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:48 pm

Kronos wrote:
ValleyForge wrote:
RonK wrote:Which company do you mean? You can have your 3t Strada with Shimano or Sram.

"If I want to sound like I'm changing gears in a truck, then I'll buy a truck"

Even my kids noticed how poorly SRAM works. And my wife!


A bike will shift as well as the rider allows it to. I run a SRAM Rival and Shimano Ultegra groupset on my bikes. I have no issue with shifting gears, you might need to learn how to shift properly. I have more issue with Shimano using both the brake lever and the shifter to shift. It's about the most ridiculous implementation I can think of. Oh hello misshift say hello to your face plant. It's relatively easy to grab your brake lever during the shift process. Shifters should never be on brake levers, it's a disaster waiting to happen.

One day you're gonna panic and go arse over tit.


I like your sense of humor, well I hope it is.
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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby Kronos » Sat Feb 10, 2018 4:49 pm

Nah its a poor mans mechanism as compared to the way SRAM does it. It really is. You shouldn't have your shifter and gear lever on the same mechanism. There can never be a mistake in the shift with a SRAM shifter. If you're on your Shimano bike... Hey lets shift up going down hill. Better not grab the brake lever at the same time :shock:

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby RonK » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:17 pm

ValleyForge wrote:
RonK wrote:
ValleyForge wrote:I can't help but think this is driven by companies that cannot make a working FD.

Sorry - A company. :lol:

Which company do you mean? You can have your 3t Strada with Shimano or Sram.

"If I want to sound like I'm changing gears in a truck, then I'll buy a truck"

Even my kids noticed how poorly SRAM works. And my wife!

Meh - I have bikes with Campy, Shimano and Sram. The Sram equipped bike shifts at least as smoothly and quietly as any of them, both the front and rear derailleurs, and the Sram double tap shifter is far more ergonomic.
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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby Kronos » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:38 pm

Shifting smoothly is about being sympathetic. I can do that on any shifting mechanism. Don't shift while the crank is under load. The problem with Shimano is that its just a terrible way to set up a shifter. Whose smart idea was it to put the shifter on the brake lever?

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Re: 1x for Road Bikes - is it real?

Postby BJL » Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:02 pm

uart wrote:I was wondering about chain alignment. Aren't you going to be cross chaining most of the time on one of those setups?


I was wondering about this as well. A few months ago, a post appeared on one of the cycling forums (might have even been this one), showing patents by both SRAM and Shimano to deal with this. From memory, on the SRAM the angle of the chainring would 'float' ('yaw' I think, working similar to a CV joint) and the Shimano chainring would 'float' on a splined crank allowing it to move left and right.

I haven't a clue if either will see the light of day. If either does, hopefully we'll get a new BB standard or two as well. :P

I'm sitting on the fence on this one. I won't knock it till Ive tried it.

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