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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
From a review:
"...Recently rented a brand new 2011 full suspension 29er Stump Jumper FSR...with 2x10...I was very disappointed with the 2x10 and missed the speed and burst gained with a third chain ring, plus I had major shifting issues trying to drop the 2nd ring down to the first ring..."

Is it approximately correct that compared to 3x9, the 2x10s lowest gear is about 11% taller, and the tallest gear is about 12% lower?

Is it correct that the general consensus is 2x10 shifts better/quicker/more efficiently vs. 3x9?

TIA!
 

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Fat-tired Roadie
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Wouldn't it be great if there was a web applet you could use from within your browser to quickly and easily compare different gearing setups?

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

2x10 is incredibly vague. Which two? Which ten? 22/36 is pretty common, but so's 24/36, and racing bikes with 2x10 often have something more along the lines of 26/39 or 28/42. A 22/36 crank wouldn't lack any of the bottom end of a standard triple, and a 28/42 would have only a tiny bit less top end, and only compared to the more recent triples, since the big ring started to have 44 teeth instead of 42.

Using a cassette with a 36t big cog gets you back a shocking amount of low end that's lost giving up the 22t ring for something a bit bigger.

So the answer to your first question is that it's really too vague to have a simple answer. I think the best a person could do is to say that assuming both systems used a cassette with the same range, the double crank system would have a narrower range. Where that lands is really up to the person choosing the parts.
 

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A few points

Always take reviews with a grain of salt. If you don't know the reviewer then you have no idea of his shifting technique, his preferred gears, leg strength etc, etc, etc. Also a rental bike is likely to be one he's not put a lot of time on before, also making it difficult to isolate the gearing changes.

It is true that the SRAM 2x10 has their best front shifting combo yet. The rear will be approximately the same as the trigger technology hasn't really changed. 2x also has the benefit of having a stiffer FD as it has less range to cover and hence smaller parallelogram parts and a shorter cage.
 

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With fairly narrow range gearing, 2x10 works great giving a nice selection with overlap in the mid range. But as the range widens, you lose some overlap, and end up riding somewhat crossed combinations for some of the lower mid range gears.

For wide gearing I prefer 3x9, or 3x8. This yields nice progressions of usable gears in 3 ranges, with good overlap, allowing you to shift the front when you want to, rather than when you need to. 3x gearing can also improve the odds of riding in more aligned combinations, improving efficiency.

Sad to say, that the only real objections to triple fronts are the added weight of the chainrings, and the uncoolness of having a "granny". On some bikes there can be a need for more Q factor on the right, but on most the granny tucks into the chainstay angle nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
AndrwSwitch said:
Wouldn't it be great if there was a web applet you could use from within your browser to quickly and easily compare different gearing setups?

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

2x10 is incredibly vague. Which two? Which ten? 22/36 is pretty common, but so's 24/36, and racing bikes with 2x10 often have something more along the lines of 26/39 or 28/42. A 22/36 crank wouldn't lack any of the bottom end of a standard triple, and a 28/42 would have only a tiny bit less top end, and only compared to the more recent triples, since the big ring started to have 44 teeth instead of 42.

Using a cassette with a 36t big cog gets you back a shocking amount of low end that's lost giving up the 22t ring for something a bit bigger.

So the answer to your first question is that it's really too vague to have a simple answer. I think the best a person could do is to say that assuming both systems used a cassette with the same range, the double crank system would have a narrower range. Where that lands is really up to the person choosing the parts.
AndrwSwitch
I apologize for not realizing I had gear choices! I'll look closely at my current bike's gearing and select appropriately. IIRC current chain rings are 22-32-44 with 11-34 cassette. I could live with a slightly taller low gear, and would prefer taller high gear, if that's possible w/ 2x10.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
AlexRandall said:
A few points

Always take reviews with a grain of salt. If you don't know the reviewer then you have no idea of his shifting technique, his preferred gears, leg strength etc, etc, etc. Also a rental bike is likely to be one he's not put a lot of time on before, also making it difficult to isolate the gearing changes.
Yes, that makes perfect sense. I'm 57, leg pressed around 1100 lbs in my youth (before a couple of major knee injuries). The review surprised me because my dealer, who is very reliable and has minimal profit motive (sounds impossible, but true), said the new 2x10 shifts better/smoother than 3x9, all else equal.

It is true that the SRAM 2x10 has their best front shifting combo yet....also...the benefit of...stiffer FD as it has less range to cover and hence smaller parallelogram parts and a shorter cage.
Good to know! My 3x9 occasionally misses front shifts under torque.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
FBinNY said:
With fairly narrow range gearing, 2x10 works great giving a nice selection with overlap in the mid range.
W/ 2x10, are all gears usable? No cross-chaining?

But as the range widens, you lose some overlap, and end up riding somewhat crossed combinations for some of the lower mid range gears.
So 2x10 overall range must be less than my 3x9 (22-32-44...11-34)? Overall that might be a step down, have to seriously consider it. "Somewhat crossed combinations" references cross-chaining?

For wide gearing I prefer 3x9, or 3x8. This yields nice progressions of usable gears in 3 ranges, with good overlap, allowing you to shift the front when you want to, rather than when you need to. 3x gearing can also improve the odds of riding in more aligned combinations, improving efficiency.
So, the greater my desire for a wide gear spread the better is 3x vs. 2x? Also, "aligned combinations" means avoiding "cross-chaining?" And lastly, "efficiency" above means the better the chain alignment (the less cross-chaining) the greater is overall pedal efficiency?

Sad to say, that the only real objections to triple fronts are the added weight of the chainrings, and the uncoolness of having a "granny".
At my weight between 230-240 lbs the 3rd chain ring weight means less than an average weight person.

What I infer from your general tone is that 3x may in some cases be more efficient and could possibly shift better than 2x, depending on the variables you list.

On some bikes there can be a need for more Q factor on the right, but on most the granny tucks into the chainstay angle nicely.
What is Q factor? Do you here again (above) reference the chain angle with the large chain ring and largest cassette gear?

Many thanks!
 

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My $0.02:

The front der. on a mtn. bike is the weakest link in the chain, so to speak. The less it is used, the better AFIC.

With the usual 44-32-22 triple, the "average" rider is in the middle ring the vast majority of the time, shifting to the granny for the occasional steep and/or long climb, and even more occasionally shifting the the big ring on a gradual descent for speed. The 32T is the sweet spot ring for most riders.

Most, but not all certainly. Racers and other strong riders might prefer a 34T, 36T, or whatever. I wouldn't know. I admit I'm joe average.

So the thing about 2 x 10, lets say a 36/26 up front, is that joe average is going to have to shift up and down way more often than he did with 32T in the sweet spot. All the terrain he could grind up in 32:34 or 32:36 now require a downshift - and that's a lot of terrain. I did when I was fiddling around with my gearing last season, and to me it was a PIA.

So I opted to go back to the 32 and 22 and replaced the 44 for a bash. I found that for the type of riding I like, the 44T scraped rocks and logs more than it helped me with speed I don't need. The extra clearance with the 32 as your "big" ring is huge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
dwt said:
My $0.02:

The front der. on a mtn. bike is the weakest link in the chain, so to speak. The less it is used, the better AFIC.

With the usual 44-32-22 triple, the "average" rider is in the middle ring the vast majority of the time, shifting to the granny for the occasional steep and/or long climb, and even more occasionally shifting the the big ring on a gradual descent for speed. The 32T is the sweet spot ring for most riders.

Most, but not all certainly. Racers and other strong riders might prefer a 34T, 36T, or whatever. I wouldn't know. I admit I'm joe average.

So the thing about 2 x 10, lets say a 36/26 up front, is that joe average is going to have to shift up and down way more often than he did with 32T in the sweet spot.
Wow! That's quite enlightening...always two sides to each debate. The 2x10 may shift better/smoother/quicker, OTOH, I may indeed be shifting it more than my current 3x9, which I use exactly as you describe above.

All the terrain he could grind up in 32:34 or 32:36 now require a downshift - and that's a lot of terrain. I did when I was fiddling around with my gearing last season, and to me it was a PIA.

So I opted to go back to the 32 and 22 and replaced the 44 for a bash. I found that for the type of riding I like, the 44T scraped rocks and logs more than it helped me with speed I don't need. The extra clearance with the 32 as your "big" ring is huge.
Very useful and interesting. I will indeed look closer at the potential gear choices before committing to 2x10.

Sorry for this dumb question: With only two chain rings, do you employ a triple derailleur or dual? Sorry, I'm not even sure if a triple D could be used with two chain rings.
 

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2x10 as sram has done it is a race bred gruppo. The smallest cog is your climbing gear, and the slight ups, flat and descents are done in the large chainring. For those who are average joe's, the 3x option for XO and below is still the way to go. As mentioned, the sweetspot on a 3x is now spread over 2 chainrings.

The point of 2x for some riders is the q-factor, or pedal-pedal width. The advent of outboard bearings meant a widening of the pedals. This is ok for some, but every time I jump back on a normal 3x nowadays I feel like I'm riding a horse. The 2 chainrings was the only way to have narrow q-factor and external BB together.
The teeth sizes both F&R were then chosen to maximise gearing range but keep shifting smoothness. The 10sp cassette was part of this, as the 11-32 cassette could be added to with a 36T for 'close to' granny gear.

With relation to your situation - if you are primarily a middle ring rider, then its best to drop the large ring if you absolutely must be running 2 rings up front. Otherwise just go 3x and be done with it. Its served people well for many years so far.
 

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For mr the 10 speed is a step backward.
With the 3x10 you get more weight with the extra cog
The 2x10 is maybe a little lighter but you need to be strong like the rAce type people

If I'm going 10 speed it will still be 3x10 and this will be heavier than my current 3x9 setup.

But this doesn't mean I won't upgrade in the future. Don't want to be stuck with old tech. :)
 

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Stagnation or lack thereof.

The Marketing Dept. loves it....

Once again we're being sold what we already essentially have...

But if our stuff satisfied us forever, nothing new would be produced and I guess we would stagnate... lol..
 

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dwt said:
My $0.02:

The front der. on a mtn. bike is the weakest link in the chain, so to speak. The less it is used, the better AFIC.

With the usual 44-32-22 triple, the "average" rider is in the middle ring the vast majority of the time, shifting to the granny for the occasional steep and/or long climb, and even more occasionally shifting the the big ring on a gradual descent for speed. The 32T is the sweet spot ring for most riders.

Most, but not all certainly. Racers and other strong riders might prefer a 34T, 36T, or whatever. I wouldn't know. I admit I'm joe average.

So the thing about 2 x 10, lets say a 36/26 up front, is that joe average is going to have to shift up and down way more often than he did with 32T in the sweet spot. All the terrain he could grind up in 32:34 or 32:36 now require a downshift - and that's a lot of terrain. I did when I was fiddling around with my gearing last season, and to me it was a PIA.

So I opted to go back to the 32 and 22 and replaced the 44 for a bash. I found that for the type of riding I like, the 44T scraped rocks and logs more than it helped me with speed I don't need. The extra clearance with the 32 as your "big" ring is huge.
I came to the same conclusion last year when I dropped my 44 and added a bash ring. In the middle of the season I rarely used my 22 and was able to climb most of the local trails in the 32:34.

Now I'm looking to update to some of the newer and lighter cranks and I'm having issues deciding which way to go. I really don't want to suffer from too tall gearing early in the season and risk an injury. That means the racer boy gearing on some of the new cranksets just won't work. I'm thinking of the new 2011 XTR 3 ring and dropping the 44. However, I have yet to find a bash ring for the new cranks. Anyone come across one yet?

My other option is the Race Face Next SL and a bash ring. Then I could run a 12-36 cassette in the rear and have even lower gearing for climbing. Anyone try the Race Face carbon cranks?
 

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Motorep said:
I came to the same conclusion last year when I dropped my 44 and added a bash ring. In the middle of the season I rarely used my 22 and was able to climb most of the local trails in the 32:34.

Now I'm looking to update to some of the newer and lighter cranks and I'm having issues deciding which way to go. I really don't want to suffer from too tall gearing early in the season and risk an injury. That means the racer boy gearing on some of the new cranksets just won't work. I'm thinking of the new 2011 XTR 3 ring and dropping the 44. However, I have yet to find a bash ring for the new cranks. Anyone come across one yet?

My other option is the Race Face Next SL and a bash ring. Then I could run a 12-36 cassette in the rear and have even lower gearing for climbing. Anyone try the Race Face carbon cranks?
Just found out that Homebrew has bash guards for the new XTR cranks. Their website didn't come up when I checked yesterday.
 

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Motorep said:
I came to the same conclusion last year when I dropped my 44 and added a bash ring. In the middle of the season I rarely used my 22 and was able to climb most of the local trails in the 32:34.
This is exactly why my other main ride is a 1 x 9 hardtail, 32T up front, and 11-34 rear. This is my 22lbs "fun bike". There is a word "flickable" which I didn't get when I was used to riding my heavier dualie. Generally speaking, there are many aspects of a light hardtail that you can't feel so well on a dualie: better traction climbing, ease of bunny hopping, "flicking", handling.

I'm very close to 50/50 with these two bikes (I still have a 26" rigid SS, 32:17, but sadly it gets less use now that I have the 1 x 9) There is some terrain where technical rocks and roots plus sustained hill climbs still make the dualie preferable; other where the hardtail is better and more fun.

Next upgrade is 10 speed for the hardtail: 32T front 11-36 rear. A little better spin on climbs will help these old legs from tiring out too fast. :thumbsup:
 

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ro - what gears do you want to keep?

One of the older two-ring setups was just to remove the big ring and put on a bash guard. You actually only lose the two highest gear ratios. If you really use one of them them, a 36t large ring gets it back for you. You only "need" a triple if you want to keep both, and you're not willing to give up any of your low gears. There's still a ton of overlap between the gear ranges too - the disadvantage is just that you have to shift your rear derailleur more times if you want to switch chain ring and only change your gear ratio a little bit. The gear range from a 36t chain ring also only loses the lowest gear ratio available from a 32t chain ring. I'd say unless you're riding trails in really low gears a lot of the time, it's not a real loss - you still would do most of your riding in the 30-something ring, with the granny for sustained climbs.

Now and then I kick myself for getting a traditional triple crank when I upgraded a couple years ago. Basically "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" thinking. But I've been beating up the teeth that are on the bottom of the large ring when my right foot is forward, basically my technical bike handling position. If I wear out the big ring due to hitting the teeth on things before I wear it out due to actually using it, I'm just going to get a bash ring. They're cheaper, and made to take a little more pounding, and I'd get a little more clearance getting one sized to protect a smaller ring.

I really like my 32t ring. It's practical for me to use on rolling terrain and the occasional false-flat climb. I have to admit that on that kind of climb, I'm pretty far into the large cogs, so moving all my gears up a ratio doesn't appeal to me. FWIW, I do race. The singletrack in my area is not the fastest, and a lot of the courses here follow a fire road climb/singletrack everything else model, so I doubt that I'd lose much giving up the 44t, even if I didn't get a larger middle ring. The only time I ever use those last two ratios is on a very smooth off-road descent with no turns or on asphalt if I'm doing intervals.
 

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I have the standard 22/32/44 x 12-32 on my 29er. Like most people, I find that I am in the 32t most of the time, but, in some races I'll hop up to the 44t. I hate the big ring, though, because I cant clear anything with it. For a couple of seasons, I ran 2x9, but not having the big gears in racing killed me.

I find that when I am in my 22t ring, I am always on the 28t, 21t, or 18t cog in the back. It is just easier to dump those gears on the front than to shift all the way down to a 32tx32t combo.

I was thinking about revamping the drivetrain to get the clearance that I like while keeping some of the taller gears. Maybe a 24t x 36t (or 34t). I have been looking at gain ratios for a week or so and deliberating. However, I never considered that I would be shifting on the front more often and what a PIA it might be.

I like the double on my road bike- anything that has an incline, I go to the smaller ring. Otherwise, Im in the big ring. I would like to loosely replicate that on my mtn bike.

I have not ridden any proper 2x- setups. If the shifting is, in fact, crisper and cleaner then that might be a real upgrade soon. I think 10spd stuff is ridiculous, but the idea of a real double crank on a mtn bike is something that I hope trickles down from the carbon race bikes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Jnthomps08 said:
...I have not ridden any proper 2x- setups. If the shifting is, in fact, crisper and cleaner then that might be a real upgrade soon. I think 10spd stuff is ridiculous, but the idea of a real double crank on a mtn bike is something that I hope trickles down from the carbon race bikes.
I'm not in the bike business, no dog in any financial fight. But if half what SRAM types is true 2x10 X-9 (maybe even X7) shifts better/smoother/quicker than any 3x9 cost no object. Read about 2x10 upgrades and technology HERE It appears to be beyond 3x9 in technological and theoretical design. It's already trickled down to X7 price level. (1st year was XX only)

I'm sold on 2x10. I used the calculator link above (THANKS!!!!!). I will get 26-39 chain rings and 12-36 cassette, which yields:

(2x10) 1st gear = (3x9) 2nd gear (fine, 3x9 1st gear is almost too slow to stay vertical)
(2x10) 20th gear = (3x9) just below 26th gear (fine, on trails gears 26/27 are virtually unusable)

Hope I expressed above gears correctly.
 

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ro7939 said:
I'm not in the bike business, no dog in any financial fight. But if half what SRAM types is true 2x10 X-9 (maybe even X7) shifts better/smoother/quicker than any 3x9 cost no object..
To each his own. In close to 20 years of bike riding, 2 things I never had a problem with: shifting front or rear on a 3 x 9 mtn. bike; q factor on a 3 x 9 mtn. bike.

So a new crank is not of the slightest importance to me - even if the hype is true. My 2 x 9 is simply a triple with a bash instead of a 44T, and it shifts flawlessly even with the front der. way up on the seat tube (didn't need to lower it when I removed the 44T) and I don't notice or care about q factor.

What I have had a problem with is adjusting 10 speed rear der. cable tension on a road bike (requires more finesse and patience than 9 speed).

I am considering converting my 1 x 9 to 1 x 10 for the 36T cog. Then I will find out what's up with a 10 speed chain and cassette in the mud and dirt.

All you people saying 10 speed is the sh** better not be full of sh** ;)
 
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