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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to share my journey into the 1x world. As no doubt some of you have considered, and even done, when changing from triple front rings you always consider how you can, or are going to, make it to the top of the hills. Most of us can, although I’m not a strong peddler, make it in the middle ring (in most places).

1x9 gives great chain security, simplification and weight savings. In choosing a 1 x 9 set up, most of us starting out hug onto our little security middle ring and go for a 32t. (Actually not having to change front rings frees the mind, opens up my focus on the ride and you turn to attacking ups a little more when there’s no granny safety net.)

1 x 9 is very good with one little drawback, it’s easy to pedal out in top gear on a FS bike.

Solution for me, 1 x 10 Sram XX. The 11-36 cassette really opens the door, well it did for me. I can now run a 34t up front, and in 34t x 36rear I am the same gearing as a 32t x 34 – sweet. I can climb the same and now I have a higher top gear and speed. An improvement in versatility. I know some stronger guys already run 34t+ already, but with XX you can go up to 36t at the front and so on.

XX is more money yes, but the 10 speeds broadens the scoop. (and keeps the hope of simplicity alive)

How does XX run? Well to me it’s like comparing cable actuated disc brakes to hydraulic disc brakes. The shift is quick and accurate. It’s very quiet and precise. Under load is where it shines big time, you can be mashing up a hill and click down a gear and the change is silent and importantly instantaneous. Amazing! It really can make for a fluid ride. It really is new and nothing compares to it.

I’ve ridden, like most, X7, X9, X0 and XT and XTR etc, but the shifting in XX is an improvement on all of these.

Expensive, maybe. However, when I ride my other bike the positives stand out loud and clear now, I will now change this to XX at the rear at least. You get use to how good XX is and there’s no coming back. Its like, you get use to hydraulic disc brakes....

I now (see, I’m rationalising) don’t think it’s all that expensive because it’s an important facet of your bike, the drive train. It is really a matter of how well you want the drive train to function for you.

Some thoughts for you guys, especially those contemplating the next 1 x 9 build, do yourself a favour, go 1 x 10 and go up a gear on the front and go smoother and go faster!

Cheers.
 

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Part of the OPs point was that the 36cog allows a larger chainring, while still having the same low gear...

I think the SLX cassette is a viable option for those of us who have better uses for $325 or so bucks...(that's not counting the 10sp shifter or chain)
 

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Can't you just use an 11t and lockring from an old cassette? I have a few kicking around my garage already and it's not like you will wear that one out. So you'll have the same gearing as the XX.

You'll have to call Shimano on the cage length. The MBA article did say that Shimano said their existing derailleurs will work with this cassette. I can't imagine it won't since you aren't using a 44t front.
 

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The Shimano 12-36 is an excellent option and will work with current shimano XT or XTR shadow derailleurs. It is heavy though and to preserve the high end an 11t can be used rather than the 12 ifr you happen to have one around.
Another option is to add a 36T to the back of an XTR cassette. You have to loose one of the smaller single coggs, pick the one you want. Action Tec makes a 36t ti cog and Mattias on these forums makles a Ti 36 as well for this purpose. Great option if already have a 1 or 2x9 set up but just want more range without ponying up for XX. The Ti cog is around 75 bucks IIRC.
 

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Or you could just run a single 38t front ring with your 11-34 cass. Or if you want ground clearance, try a 32-34t single with an 11-27 road cass, thats my ticket. Working on moving to a 36t , going to take a few months to adjust.
 

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Guy.Ford said:
Or you could just run a single 38t front ring with your 11-34 cass. Or if you want ground clearance, try a 32-34t single with an 11-27 road cass, thats my ticket. Working on moving to a 36t , going to take a few months to adjust.
For me, the whole problem is that I'll need 32 front, 36 rear to make 1 x 9 viable. 38/34 is NOT easy to pedal uphill during your 3rd hour in the mud. That's really what people are after - a very wide range of gears, not trying to hammer a 38/34.
 

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Guy.Ford said:
Or you could just run a single 38t front ring with your 11-34 cass. Or if you want ground clearance, try a 32-34t single with an 11-27 road cass, thats my ticket. Working on moving to a 36t , going to take a few months to adjust.
where the heck are you riding with such tall gears?
certainly not up anything remotely steep or long
even pros dont/cant run gearing THAT tall
 

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y0bailey said:
Still wanting to know if anyone has rocked an X9 rear with the 36tooth SLX casette. It will make my 1x9 100% perfect (There is still 1 hill I have to push it up).
You'll just have to try it I guess. Or make the switch to XX or Shimano.
 

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racerick said:
where the heck are you riding with such tall gears?
certainly not up anything remotely steep or long
even pros dont/cant run gearing THAT tall
I've climbed some 2500fts and done 6hrs plus rides with this gear combo. Have you heard of Mark Weir??
 

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gticlay said:
I don't think he understood what the thread was about.
I understood it perfectly. You want to run 1 gear up front and still be able to climb and not be spinning out on the descents. Like I said the gear combo I use works and is proven, ala Mark Weir.
 

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Guy.Ford said:
I understood it perfectly. You want to run 1 gear up front and still be able to climb and not be spinning out on the descents. Like I said the gear combo I use works and is proven, ala Mark Weir.
You and Mark are magic and abnormal. Most people cannot push those gears, especially when it's muddy out.
 

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gticlay said:
You and Mark are magic and abnormal. Most people cannot push those gears, especially when it's muddy out.
may help too that we both live in pretty dry climate.

I actually see a lot more people make the move to 1x9, esp old DH guys. I think its the simplicity and quiet that comes with it thats so appealing, at least to me.

Honestly truth be told its not that hard if you put your mind to it. When I first started running it I thought I was going to die and my legs fall off. But after a month or so you begin moving up rings and pretty soon your running a 38t. I started with a 32 and within a week moved to a 34, 36 took about a month and 38 took about 2-3. Although Im moving to a road cassette soon so back down to a 32/34, give me the same gears almost, better ground clearance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi Guy, yes you are right on point indeed. The 1x set up is quiet and frees up the riding (ie, you can concentrate on the important 'shred' part of the ride :D ). I find it gives me more control in the mud too, as I am more focused but I understand that if your are XCing a lot of mud, this might get a little harder after 3 hours or so.

You do begin to force some strength into your riding, I have improved heaps since running 1x10. I'll work on this some more and work my way to a tighter cassette group and hopefully can stay around the 34t up front.

The SLX cassette option sounds like a great economic option. In the end, it is important to clear your local hills and your local conditions. However, for me, I find that getting the gears ratios closer together also improves the ride and the XX x10 helps in this regard by reducing some of the gearing gaps. I've ridden the road cassette thing, and it really sharpens up the ride another step again. I fully understand the appeal and it is a very worthwhile aim - it's like a close ratio sports car gearbox ;) .

I understand the savings of the SLX option and that's cool, but if you can work towards affording the XX set, it really is a slick change. It's a huge improvement over SLX, XTR etc, this is what I have found anyway and I thought it worthwhile to share with you guys - but hey, I'm as subjective as the next guy.

The whole 1x thing I think has some benefits for your fitness and especially your riding, which ever way you go at the rear.
 
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