1x Gearing. What is it? Is it right for you? Is it a gimmick? Should I reject it like James rejects songs with autotune? 1x gearing is pretty simple. It means you have one chainring up front, and 8-12 gears in the back. You could say you have a 1×8, and that would just mean you have one ring up front, and 8 gear options in the back. You can get pretty close to the range of a conventional –with multiple rings in the front– drivetrain with some 1x systems.
1x gearing is good for bikes and bikers that ride specific bikes for specific activities. You can not have a really low low gear (read: easy gear) and also a high high one. You need multiple chainrings to make that happen. But if you ride a road bike mainly on the road or fire roads, and don’t use it for touring, or you ride a mountain bike mainly off road, or a commuter mainly for commuting, 1x gearing is a smart, potentially simple way to get your shifting done. It does away with the X factor of the front derailleur.
1x gearing is a not a new concept in bikes, but it’s recently been accepted as a viable gearing option. Schultz was doing it in the 1930’s, and they had a pretty cool system. Schwinn did it in the 1970’s, and probably others too.
Analog gathered these gearing guidelines from lots of riding in hilly areas, with and without loads, on and off road. In general, these guidelines are made for endurance (not Enduro, bro) riding, which is to say; long rides in challenging terrain. The gear guidelines are designed to keep you seated with a light cadence, even on steep hills. Low gears mean you won’t blow up and burn out halfway through the day.
We’ll try to keep this simple, but it will still have a bunch of info. Recommendations are for 26, 27.5/650b and 29/700c wheels, in a few different tire sizes.
All recommendations here are lower than any out of the box gearing out there. We’ll help you set any of these up on your bike, just give a shout. 11-50 cassettes need to be 11 speed. 11-42 can be 10 speed. We also usually have 12-40 9 speed cassettes in stock, as well as 13-40 8 speed cassettes, both of which are fantastic for commuter bikes, or Turkey Vulture gearing.
|Tire Size||Chainring Size||Cassette Range||Riding Conditions|
|26×1.5”||38||11-50||Mixed road and light off road|
|26×2”||36||11-50||Mixed road and light off road.
Use a 30t chainring for primarily off road use
|26×2.5”||30||11-42||Unloaded off road riding|
|26×2.5”||28 or 30||11-46 or 11-50||Loaded off road touring|
|26×3”||28||11-50||Loaded off road touring.|
|27.5x38mm||36||11-50||Mixed road and light off road|
|27.5x45mm||34||11-50||Mixed road and light off road|
|27.5×2.4”||28||11-46 or 11-50||Off road loaded touring|
|27.5×2.8”||28||11-46 or 11-50||Off road loaded touring|
|700cx38mm||36||11-50||Road and light off road touring|
|700x44mm||36||11-50||Road and light off road touring|
|29×2||28||11-50||Loaded off road touring|
|29×2.5||28||11-50||Loaded off road touring|
|29×3||26||11-50||Loaded off road touring|
We try to keep a bunch of low gearing parts in stock. Cogs from Wolftooth, cassettes from Shimano, Sunrace and Garbaruk, long chains from Connex, and more. Most 1x systems are 11 speed, but we can also do 9, 10 or 12 speed systems upon request. Head to our drivetrain page for the stuff we’ve gotten around to putting on the site. We have more stuff, so just call us and we’ll get ya sorted.