Monday night on Just Riding Along, Kenny and I (Matt was out of town) discussed a need for a update/improvement to a bike part that only exists on the entry level/hybrid end of the market. It started with a discussion about gearing. I’m a big fan of 2×10 drivetrains. I’ve used SRAM XX and X0 as well as Shimano XTR. Kenny is a total 1xdrivetrain fanboy. His favorite setup now is either full 1×11 or, for the more budget-oriented build, using a 1×11 crank/chain (designed to work together to keep the chain on the chainring) and any clutch-type 10-speed rear derailleur.
Functionally, he’s had great success with both, but these are my holdups with them:
-On 1×11, the gaps in between gears would bug the hell out of me (10-12-14-16-18-21-24-28-32-36-42). I’m already swearing off 11-36 10 speed cassettes for the same reason (once my current one wears out, I plan on going 11-32).
-SRAM is slated to release different size 11 speed cassettes in the future, but then the problem of range comes in. If I’m gonna have gears, I want a similar range to the 2×10 I use now (39/26 up front, 11-36, soon to be 32, in the rear). I use the 39×11. It’s not often, but, in training on the road or during races that include some road sections, it is a gear that I find on a regular basis. This is why, on a 1×10 setup, the range just doesn’t do it for me. Like I said, if I’m gonna cart around some gears, I want my 39×11, and I want a granny gear of some sort (I’ve found that a 26×28 is really useful on most climbs, sometimes as low as 32, but I rarely find the 36)
SO, to get the range I’d like, the current 1×11 offering would work with a 34 or 36t chainring, but the gaps, as I mentioned, would set off my nit-picky/diva pet peeves. Enter, solution:
Make a baller 11-speed version of the Shimano Megarange that comes on cheapie bikes all over the world. My dream gearing would be essentially a 10-32 “10 speed” cassette (gears something like 10,11,13,15,17,19,23,25,28,32) with a 42 tooth low gear. Problem, solved. Gear divas all over the world rejoice, and I become a 1×11 fangirl forever. (P.S. There is this: General Lee Wide Range Cassette Adapter, which is interesting, but not really the same thing.)
Of course, this is a lot of nit-picking over gears for someone who indulges in Singlespeeding on a very regular basis, but, until women’s singlespeed is a more popular ace category, I’ll always be looking for the best (even if it’s just in my head) setup. SRAM, make my dreams come true…