1x Gearing for Road Bike?

We get alot of customers asking if they should consider going 1x (one-by) on their road bike. 

Short answer : It depends!

  • What kind of terrain will you be riding in? A 46t chainring into a 10-44 XPLR cassette will give you the same final gears as a 50-11 and 36-34 normal 2x setup. This would be enough gears for most situations in Sydney, but this does depend on your fitness.
  • Will you be riding this bike in fast, flat bunches or using it for racing? Consider a bigger chainring and smaller block cassette if you don't need the climbing gears. A good alternative is 50t chainring with a 10-33 cassette. A 50t chainring into 10t cog has the same rollout as a 55-11, which is plenty! On the other end, 50t into 33t cog is nearly the same as 36-25, which might be adequate if you're riding in flat terrain only or are fairly strong.
  • Do I need a chain guide, or clutch in my rear derailleur? The clutch will definitely help with chain retention at the cost of minimal watts. SRAM Rival XPLR rear derailleurs have a spring clutch, whilst Force XPLR ones feature an orbit fluid clutch that only engages when it needs to. You can omit the chain guide if your rear derailleur has this clutch feature.
  • I heard the extreme ranges are suboptimal? Yes, the chainline at both extremities is not ideal, but we're talking about a loss of around 7-10 watts compared to a normal 2x setup. Depends if that is going to bother you.
  • I've been told the jumps between gears aren't ideal? The gaps through the small cogs to center of the cassette block will generally be the same as your regular 2x setup. On a big cassette (like the XPLR 10-44) the large cog jumps tend to be a little more drastic. The gearing might be either slightly too tall or short for the situation, and your cadence will be affected. Again, it's something to weigh up, if this will bother you or not.
  • Will 1x save much weight over a 2x setup? Not really. You lose weight by dropping the front derailleur, inner chainring, and braze-on mount, but you gain weight by having a larger cassette, slightly longer chain, longer cage rear derailleur and chain guide.

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