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Cannondale Snob
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I've been considering building a 1x9 XC Hardtail bike. I want something lightweight, strong, and simple.

I currently shift down to the middle cog whenever I hit the dirt, but I've only just entered the sport a week ago... so I'd like to here from those who have been at it longer! What is your experience during XC? Do you ever really shift the FD?
 

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bi-winning
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I use my big ring on every ride. Mostly for road, but I use it on trails as well. One example is if there is a downhill followed by an uphill. i pedal in the big ring on the downhill, and use the momentum to carry me to the top of the hill, or at least most of the way up. This technique was very helpful in the two 24h races i did last year. Also, sometimes there is a nice stretch of trail that is just slightly downhill for a while, and i want to just fly.

Since i don't have the legs of an expert racer, i also use my granny ring for the steep climbs.

That is just me though. There are lots of people who are happy with 1x9, or even 1x1.
 

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Granny up steep hills only maybe 10% deep snow.

Middle Ring Hills single track, paths, maybe 50%

Big Ring single track, paths, road, and DOWN the Hill maybe 40%

Actually just got XTR shifters that don't show the gear, so I just kinda shift now.
 

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The big ring is useful when it comes to keeping a straight chain line in gear ratios that would have the chain at an awkward angle in the middle ring. Helps chain life. I wonder if using more surface area (more teeth) for a gear ratio, like using 44 x 18 instead of 32 x 12, will make a chain last longer? You know, spread the work load across more of the chain? That would seem to make sense to me, too.

That being said, a 1 x 9 hardtail would seem to be a really cool idea in terms of weight savings and simplicity.
 

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This thread is just begging for some hero to come along and reply:

"I have a Dura-Ace 11-21 cassette use my big ring 90% of the time through the mountain single track around here."
 

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ravingbikefiend
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Running the same gearing ratio over larger cogs is more efficient and reduces the load on the chain and cogs and a 1 by 9 makes a lot of sense as most folks don't need all the gears that come with their bikes.

My mountain bikes are are now both singlespeeds but I used to run my HT as a 1 by 7 and found that I had more than enough gearing with a 32 up front and an 11-34 in the rear.

My rigid (xc tourer) used to run a 21 speed with a 28/38/48 mated to an 11-28 and is now a 38:18 SS. In either form it has been a great bike, especially on climbs.

A 1 by 3 would be an excellent setup methinks.
 

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Time to go farther
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If it's there, I use it

I race SS and geared. Expert 25-29 (turn 25 in two weeks), been on the podium, blah blah you don't care. When I'm on the singlespeed with 26" wheels and 2:1 gearing I'm spun out at 20mph for long times and 26mph for short sections. On the Fuel or other geared bike I will use all 3 front rings and use a 12-27 rear cassette. If I was racing a 1x9 with an 11t in the back I'm pretty sure being spun out would happen rarely but I would be out of my prefered cadence more often than with a 44t big ring.

If you like the 1x9 and you're a strong rider, you'll be fine racing. If you have a SS background and are used to being out of your prefered cadence range you'll be even better off.
 

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I found that going to a 42 lets me use the big ring much more often. 44X11 is a stupid high gear, unless you have to bomb down lots of long fireroads at break neck speed, which we don't have where I race. FYI, I'm running a 29-42 double front with a 12-32 8 speed rear, racing Master 30+ expert this year.
 

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mutaullyassuredsuffering
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Big Ring

I love the big ring. I'm using that gear in every race or trail ride I do. I'd like to get to a 2 x 9 setup with a 29 - 42, but I don't think I would bother with a 1x9. I have a singlepeed for that....
 

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i worship Mr T
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mf9point8 said:
I race expert, Im pretty good... I heardly ever use it. If youre going over say 25 (which is the range for 32/12) are you really peddling?
i race expert, i'm pretty good, and i use my 34 (running a 12x34) on a regular basis. i become intimate with it during hilly endurance races and develop and unnatural attraction to it during the 65 mile/13,000' climbing endurance race i do once/yr. so,i'd have to say yes, when using cogs with >25 teeth i'm still pedaling.....though usually up hill.

rt
 

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i worship Mr T
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RiskEverything said:
I've been considering building a 1x9 XC Hardtail bike. I want something lightweight, strong, and simple.

I currently shift down to the middle cog whenever I hit the dirt, but I've only just entered the sport a week ago... so I'd like to here from those who have been at it longer! What is your experience during XC? Do you ever really shift the FD?
yes. i shift all over my FD if the terrain calls for it. i use my big ring for flat fast stretches of trail and descents. i use my granny gear for steep grunts and long, long, long brutal climbs.

if you've only been mtb'ing for a week maybe you should give yourself a little time and some varied experience before you drop your granny gear. you might find it useful for something at some point.

or not. it's up to you.

rt
 

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*rt* said:
i race expert, i'm pretty good, and i use my 34 (running a 12x34) on a regular basis. i become intimate with it during hilly endurance races and develop and unnatural attraction to it during the 65 mile/13,000' climbing endurance race i do once/yr. so,i'd have to say yes, when using cogs with >25 teeth i'm still pedaling.....though usually up hill.

rt
I lack power, I think if I tried to push a 34/12 up a hill my knees would explode. FYI im 23.
I tend to spin over and up things, this is prob why I dont use it often.

ps. if you can push a 34x12 for 13000' feet you are officially A) crazy, B) my hero.
 

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Definitely. I've had one race where I had a grassy type twig stuck in the part of my cassette so I basically did not have gears 9,8,7 and maybe 6 if I recall. I was forced to swtich between middle ring and big ring more than usual as I did not want to get off and loose time yanking a twig out of my cassette.

But if you have just been in the sport for a week, then you may not know what type of gearing you need. If you are just starting to race, there's going to be a time where you unexpectedly wished you had that granny for a real long steep climb that you underestimated.
 

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i worship Mr T
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mf9point8 said:
I lack power, I think if I tried to push a 34/12 up a hill my knees would explode. FYI im 23.
I tend to spin over and up things, this is prob why I dont use it often.

ps. if you can push a 34x12 for 13000' feet you are officially A) crazy, B) my hero.
my bad. miscommunication. my legs would definately explode using a 34x12.....even on the flats!! on my ss i'm running a 34x19 but i'd never make it through 64 miles and 13K ft climbing on that. i was referring to my cassette, which is actually an 11-34 (not a 12-34). up front i'm running the standard XTR chainrings 22-32-44.

the OP had me a little confused by his use of "big cog" terminology. i think he (she?) was referring to the big ring up front not the cogs at the rear but i wasn't completely sure.

but then again, i was voted most likely to be confused in the Grimy awards on passion. :D

rt
 

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I can't weld
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You may have already found my thread about 1x9's, but for everyone else, it has lots of info and pics of some great set-ups.

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=158959

It's the busiest thread under the Drivetrain forum with almost 200 posts, BTW.
I spent the last season racing and training on my 1x9. The trails around Oklahoma never head uphill or downhill for more than 100 contiguous feet and nothing takes longer than shifting up to the big ring through a clumsy, antiquated front derailleur when compared to thumbing my cheapo but dependable SRAM X.7 shifter that's linked to my X.0 rear derailleur down to the 11 cog. That's time spent soft-pedaling, waiting for the chain to wrap around the big ring that could be spent under power and developing momentum.

Of course, I'm probably biased.
 

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don't forget the extra wear you will put on your drivetrain (chainring, cassette, and chain. If you race or ride in a particularly rocky area you might want the big ring to use for tensioning your chain on downhills. Many pros also ride only double chainrings for wieght and they just need the granny. So if that is why you are going single up front then what ever works for you.
 
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