The single chainring is now almost a must. The cycling industry is moving towards more and more “sprockets”, which goes hand in hand with the trend towards fewer and fewer chainrings.
Today, modernity is leading to the increasingly constant use of what is known in cycling terms as 1x, the single chainring.
But is it really necessary? Is it really more comfortable? Let’s try to clarify a few things and hopefully dispel some of your doubts.
When “weighing up” the pros and cons, it is important to bear in mind that, while they are objective, their importance depends on each cyclist’s priorities and riding preferences, as is often the case when reading this blog.
In short, there is no absolute truth, but everyone can create their own.
Advantages of the single chainring
- Lower overall mass of the derailleur group, which translates into less weight: no front derailleur and front derailleur, no front cables/housing.
- Easy shifting: one tooth more for fast, one tooth less for slow.
- Better overall aerodynamics: the effect is almost negligible, but it exists.
- No problem with the front derailleur: when riding in sticky mud, mud can build up on the front derailleur, creating resistance on the rear wheel and also making it difficult for the derailleur to function.
- More freedom in frame design – important for off-road bikes with full suspension.
- Less chance of the chain falling off when leaving the road
- One less lever on the handlebars: with no front derailleur, there is more room on the handlebars for other gadgets, such as the suspension and telescopic seatpost lock levers, which are fitted to many modern MTBs.
- With a 2x there are some “overlapping” ratios, in reality there are only 12/13 really different gears.
Cons of the single chainring
- Big jump between ratios: between one sprocket and another, especially when the teeth increase, there can be a difference of more than 5 teeth.
- Need for a disproportionate number of rear sprockets: 1x systems require 11, 12, even 13 rear sprockets to achieve a sufficient range of ratios.
- Shorter chain and sprocket life.
- Higher price: Generally, a good quality 1x group costs more than a 2x or 3x system of similar quality.
- More mechanical losses of the transmission due to a more severe chain angle (cross-chaining): the chain works “twisted”.
- More rear sprockets = weaker wheel: a cassette with more sprockets is wider and requires a wider hub.
Which to choose
That said, we will try to list some objective situations where one option is better than the other.
- Road bike – better the 2x
- MTB – this is where the 1x really makes sense
- Gravel bike- if you are going to use the bike on really demanding, off-road sections, the 1x is best. If you will use it on dirt roads instead, then the 2x is better.
More information at Deporvillage.