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Opinion on 1x

Old 06-04-19, 04:12 PM
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sullivan80
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Opinion on 1x

I'm in the market for my first mtb - price range around $1000 and I'm leaning 29" wheels. Open to 27.5 but based on what I've read I think I prefer 29 plus that's what I'm used to. A few models I'm looking at right now - Trek Roscoe and X-Cal, also Giant Fathom. My LBS only carries Trek and Giant so in the interest of convenience and shopping local I'd like to stay with those brands if possible. One thing I've noticed is that around the $1,000 range MTB's start to get into 1x drivetrains. I'm coming from a 2x10 road bike and an old 3x7 hybrid so the concept of a 1x is kind of difficult for me to wrap my head around. I like the simplicity and maybe weight savings but doing some math it looks like I'm giving up quite a bit of gear range especially on the top end and honestly I really don't mind using a front derailleur since I'm used to it.

I intend to take this bike out on some mtb trails but also some gravel rail trails where I often use my top gears on my hybrid so my concern is that these 1x bikes may leave me wanting more gear on the easy flat straightaways unless I were to go with something like the 1x12 SRAM NX Eagle that is on the Orbea Alma which has a pretty large range across the 12 gears.

The Trek X-Cal has a 2x but what I've read it's geometry is not real comfortable and is geared towards racing not just fun riding and most seemed to recommend the Roscoe or Fathom over that X Cal.

Any input or experience on this would definitely be appreciated! My options are really limited, maybe non-existent as far as what I can try before buying!
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Old 06-04-19, 04:45 PM
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bikeaddiction1
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I have gone through 3x, 2x, and now have had 1x for the last 3 seasons (Sram GX Eagle) on my 29er SC Hightower. I also have 1x (Sram Rival 1) on my MEC Gravel Bike, 2x on my Lamond Road Bike, and 3x on my Surly Cross Check (set up for touring).

This is my opinion:

For mountain biking I love 1x. The trails I ride have lots of sudden ups and downs and I am continually changing gears and am not bothered by the bigger steps between gears as I am often shifting more than 1 gear step at a time anyway. It is simpler and leaves the left side of my handlebar open for my dropper post lever. It is easier to maintain and use, but I don't believe you save any weight getting rid of the front derailleur and extra chain ring as those big 1x cassettes are heavier than those smaller ones used on 2x. I use the full range of the 10-50 tooth eagle cassette, but if you are riding is areas with less steep climbs (or have stronger legs than me) you can probably get away with an 11 speed 11-42 Shimano set-up.

On my MEC Gravel bike I like the 1x, but think I would be okay with 2X as well. If you are in really hilly bumpy gravel the simplicity and bigger gear jumps are great. If you are on smoother roads and like to hold a tight cadence with small shifts, not so great. I am on the fence on this one.

On my road bike I prefer 2x. I like keeping my cadence tighter and I live in a hilly area so to keep the cassette gearing tight I need 2 chain rings for range.

In summary, 1 x is great for simplicity with lots of big gear changes and I would not want to go back to 2x or 3x for mountian biking. 2x is great when you still need range but like your gearing closer together for maintaining cadence.

Go demo both. I think the type of riding you do will affect your final decision.
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Old 06-04-19, 08:55 PM
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I've had an Xcal 9 and I sold it and bought a Giant Fathom 1... much better bike in my opinion. I prefer 1 x for MTB and 2 x for road cycling and I don't think the 2 x is needed for mtn biking in my opinion unless maybe you plan to commute with it on downhills the 2 x would help but you can still go fast enough on a 1 x 11 if you have a high cadence.
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Old 06-05-19, 07:43 AM
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I think they are all different bikes. IMO the Giant seems like it will best meet your needs being that it's the tires size you want. Yes 27.5plus are close in diameter, but not everyone likes the bigger volume. I\

If you are coming from a 3x7 you'll find the range from the 1X setups pretty close if not more on the low end (big rear cog). For bikes where I'm constantly spinning, like road and gravel, I prefer a larger choice of gearing to match my cadence, but for mtb it's not as important. Also another big win for the Giant is that if comes with a stock dropper post. It may seem unnecessary at the moment, but it's one of the "great" additions to mtbing in the past 10 years. If you really care to know why, I'll be more than happy to share. Good luck shopping and great to see your intentions to support your LBS, they need us and we need them.
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Old 06-05-19, 10:57 AM
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Thanks for the input, I appreciate it. The bikes I'm looking at are mainly deore 1x10 30t crank with 11x42 cassette. I'm not too concerned about weight and the bigger jumps between gears doesn't really concern me much either. And yeah the low end (big rear cog) looks about the same. It's mainly the lack of top end higher speed gear for straight, slightly downhill portions of the longer rail trails I plan to ride that are near my house - which I realize is not exactly the intended use of a mtb. I was hoping for a dual purpose bike but I guess I do still have my older hybrid with a big range of gears if needed.

Everything keeps kind of leading me to the Fathom 29 2. Seems like a lot of bike for the price and maybe all around more versatile. I could get an mtb with a 2x for less $$ but not really keen on buying a cheap bike because I'm skeptical of the 1x setup. I really don't think I'll know without trying but options are limited. We have 2 LBS options in town but one carries virtually zero stock and the other stocks mostly hybrid and lower end stuff.
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Old 06-05-19, 01:27 PM
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Keep the old hybrid around for those rail trail rides.
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Old 06-05-19, 07:55 PM
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As you approach the $1000 range, you are getting into purpose built bikes. These are designed to do one job extremely well and not care about anything else. My 29+ has a 29T front with an 11-42T cassette. I have only run out of gears once and that was when I was riding on tarmac to bed in the brakes. Getting the bike on the trails where it was intended to be used left me wanting nothing more.

FWIW, I think the SRAM 11-50T 12 speed with a 30T crank would be the perfect setup for my 29+ giving me a little bit more on both ends for the 0.01% of the time that I would utilize those gears. I'm not sure if going to a 29 or a 27.5+ would make a difference or not.
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Old 06-05-19, 10:28 PM
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You always get a lot of bike for the money with Giant.

On a MTB, I wouldn't consider anything but 1x these days. The extra range at the top end with a 2x or 3x is very seldom, if ever, needed and it is so nice to move linearly through gears over varying terrain without worrying about what chainring you're on and whether a double shift is needed. On the road, the FD definitely has it's place, but I've come around to preferring 1x even on the road - I just don't want to fool with a FD anymore, both with respect to shifting and maintenance. Yeah, there are some gear range compromises, but they become less with every new iteration of 1x. Even on my old-school 11-36t cluster, I just use a chainring where I coast over 27 mph or so. I have no desire to pedal the bike faster.

- Mark
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Old 06-17-19, 03:33 PM
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Just wanted to update. I ended up going with a fathom 2 (but not the 29er) and was able to get it out for a test ride this weekend. Being new to mountain biking I don't have much to compare it to but I really, really love it so far. The deore 1x10 is great. Just clicking up or down and not having to care about a front gear is nice. It's got plenty of range for me and I don't find the jumps between gears problematic at all. Came with a dropper post, which was overkill for the trail I rode but a friend of mine was envious of it and said I will really like it when we go to some of the steeper trails around here.

Plus it's just a really nice looking bike. The guys in the shop were really gawking at it when I picked it up.
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Old 06-17-19, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by sullivan80 View Post
Just wanted to update. I ended up going with a fathom 2 (but not the 29er) and was able to get it out for a test ride this weekend. Being new to mountain biking I don't have much to compare it to but I really, really love it so far. The deore 1x10 is great. Just clicking up or down and not having to care about a front gear is nice. It's got plenty of range for me and I don't find the jumps between gears problematic at all. Came with a dropper post, which was overkill for the trail I rode but a friend of mine was envious of it and said I will really like it when we go to some of the steeper trails around here.

Plus it's just a really nice looking bike. The guys in the shop were really gawking at it when I picked it up.
A common misnomer with droppers are that they are only good for steep downhills. Droppers are also great when you need to get the saddle out of the way when pitching the bike side to side on quick turns or technical sections.
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Old 06-18-19, 12:40 PM
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sullivan80
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Thanks for the tip!
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