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Came across a single speed rider this weekend that nearly cleared a ~20' climb that is nearly impossible to climb on all fours, much less ride up. Impressive. He jokingly commented, "if only I had one more gear".

Made me think. Does anyone have a 2x1, or 3x1? Yes, I mean 2 or 3 front rings with a single speed rear with a fixed derailleur to keep tension. In all my years of riding, I don't recall ever seeing that setup. Maybe I just never noticed.
 

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Yeah, you can buy that specific tensioner but I grabbed an old derailleur from my parts bin to do the exact same job. Really, any hunk of junk take-off derailleur will work.
 

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I ride a 2x1 rigid mtb. Just like single spd... it's not for everyone and goes against the grain. It's not my only bike but the one ride the most. Tryed a single spd... loved the simplicity but very difficult to find one gear that's good for all the diverse trails in VT. 2x1 is still a very simple setup. [32/22 chainrings, 20t Origin8 Torqlite sprocket]. Front derailleur is super reliable and shift better than people want to admit. Shimano Alfine tentioner is a lot stronger than an old derailleur. One gear for up, one gear for down.

The 2x1 was supposed to be an experiment but I broke my right thumb snowboarding last spring and shifting a rear derailleur [and squeezing right brake lever] still hurts. So I went back to the 2x1 [with left hand shifter]

It does make the local trails a lot of fun again... And now I'm a faster climber than b4. When I do ride my other bikes [ with a 1x10, 1x11, or 2x11] I find myself shifting constantly. Mostly bc I always think a different gear might be better. Never think that with 2x1... Just enjoy the exercise.
 
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