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1x Gearing for Numerophobics

1x Gearing for Numerophobics

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 gear (for going fast on downhills). 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, simple way to get your shifting done. It does away with the X factor of the front derailleur, which are prone to dropping chains at awkward times, making a racket and generally being a pain in the butt.

1x gearing is 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 Ritchey tried his hand in the early 90’s.  

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 and fit on a Shimano 10 or 11 speed hyperglide freehub body. 10 or 9 tooth small cogs need to either be Shimano Microspline Freehubs (12 speed only!) or SRAM XD or XDR freehub bodies. These can be 11 or 12 speed. 11-42 can be 10 speed. We also usually have 11-50 9 speed cassettes in stock, which is fantastic for commuter bikes or bikes where you are trying to keep the cost down.  At the end of this article, we’ll list some cassettes so you don’t have to hunt around.

Tire Size

Chainring Size

Cassette Range

Riding Conditions

26×1.5”

26x1.5”

26x1.5”

38

36

32

11-50

10-46

9-39

Mixed road and light off road



26×2”

26x2”

26x2”

36

34

32

11-50

10-50

9-50


 

Mixed road and light off road.



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

 

Cassette range breakdown:

9 speed 11-46 / Shimano Hyper Glide (HG) freehub / Sunrace, Sunshine

9 speed 11-50 / Shimano Hyper Glide (HG) freehub / Sunrace, Sunshine

10 speed 11-46 / Shimano Hyper Glide (HG) freehub / Sunshine

10 speed 11-50 / Shimano Hyper Glide (HG) freehub / Sunshine

11 speed 11-46 / Shimano Hyper Glide (HG) freehub / Garbaruk, Sunshine

11 speed 11-50 / Shimano Hyper Glide (HG) freehub / Garbaruk, Sunshine

11 speed 11-51 / Shimano Hyper Glide (HG) freehub / Sunrace, Sunshine, Shimano

11 speed 11-52 / Shimano Hyper Glide (HG) freehub / Sunrace, Sunshine

11 speed 10-50 / SRAM XD Freehub / Garbaruk / SRAM

11 speed 9-46 / SRAM XD Freehub / E*Thirteen

11 speed 9-39 / SRAM XD Freehub / E*Thirteen

12 speed 11-50 / Shimano Hyper Glide (HG) freehub / Garbaruk, Sunrace, Sunshine

12 speed 10-50 / SRAM XD freehub / Garbaruk, SRAM

12 speed 10-52 / SRAM XD Freehub / Garbaruk, SRAM

12 speed 9-50 / SRAM XD Freehub / E*Thirteen

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 email us and we’ll get ya sorted.