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There's a small thread on this (started by Mulger I think) in one of the other sub-forums, but I wanted to bring it up again as I'm mulling over this issue for my On-One build-up. I've gone to Sheldon's site and punched in lots of sprocket variables, and on paper there's not a lot of difference between the gear spread of a 2x10 vs 3x10, you really just lose a bit of the extremes at at either end - neither of which I think I ever use.
I play around with the odd MTB event, and while I'd like to get into marathon type events a bit more (and few local XC dashes too I think) I'm certainly no hard core XC racer. I'm a heavy rider (>100kg), and at 42 not getting any younger, but I must say I very rarely use my granny gear. Maybe the terrain around Canberra just doesn't require it, but I can only think of one short sharp rocky hill where I do drop to the granny, but otherwise I get pretty much anywhere on the back of my 32 middle ring (like lots of riders).
With 2x10 I guess I'd be shifting at the front more often. Maybe it's best to stick with a triple and be 'ready just in case', but something about 2x10 attracts me (probably ex 20-something road racer vanity as much as anything). I've got a mate who's just got a 2x10 (X-9) equipped trail bike and he's pretty keen on his drive train. I might ask him for spin to try it out, but I'd be keen to hear of people's experiences and/or views?
I have gone 2 by 9 (26/38 11-34) ... mainly because my 48 XT big ring was making ground clearance a problem sometimes.
It works fine for me... all depends on what sort of rider you are.
100% I will go 2 by 10 next time round.
i have bikes with 2x10 and 3x9.
the 2x10 is slightly compromised on very steep pinches (26t chainring vs. 22 on my triple). i do use the 22x36 so it is a compromise, but only a small one. as TLL said, the better ground clearance is a bonus. there's also less "oops i thought i was on the bottom ring" sliding backwards (and flipping over) on steep pinches moments - but that could just be me
I thought about it and decided I really wanted the lower gearing of 3x10. Some hills I climb need that 24-36, I just wish it was 22-36.
On my Reign I run 2x9 but that was easy as taking off the big ring. It's not built for speed and the extra clearance is great for riding over stuff.
My 29er came with a 2x10 group (needs it for clearance due to the low BB)... I haven't run out of gears at either end of the spectrum at Bruce Ridge, Majura, Kowen etc - in fact the bike climbs better on the steep stuff than either of the 3x10 26" bikes I test rode before buying the 29er.
My experience is the exact opposite - the straghter chainline lets me access almost every sprocket from either chainring so front shifts are rare unless the terrain undulates between steep uphill and steep downhill. The tradeoff is that the difference between chainrings is pretty large, so if you want a nearby gear and shift on the front you'll need to shift two or three sprockets at the back - but generally better to just shift at the back in this situation.
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