Bicycling (South Africa) - - STORIES -

When SRAM pi­o­neered the first off-road 1x driv­e­train in 2012, they ini­ti­ated a gear­ing rev­o­lu­tion that would change the way we shift for­ever. As SRAM con­tin­ues their un­wa­ver­ing be­lief in 1x, Shi­mano’s re­luc­tance to ad­vo­cate it for the masses is based squarely on the fact that the re­duc­tion in gear range would out­weigh any per­for­mance ben­e­fits from drop­ping the in­ner ring(s) and front shifter.

While this holds true for those of us who aren’t fit enough, an in­creas­ing num­ber of rid­ers are turn­ing to 1x, thanks to the devel­op­ment of wide-range cas­settes such as SunRace’s hu­mon­gous 11- 50T 11- speed. Putting a dent into Shi­mano’s ar­gu­ment, it’s com­pat­i­ble with 11sp Shi­mano XTR, XT and SLX, and will work with SRAM X1 too.

The jump be­tween gears may be big­ger than in a 2x sys­tem, but the bot­tom- end range will get you up al­most any­thing. SunRace have also just re­leased a 12- speed 11- 50T cas­sette, which will fur­ther cham­pion the switch to 1x.

From the man­u­fac­turer’s point of view, re­mov­ing the front de­railleur – as Scott and Spe­cial­ized have done, on their high- end race bikes – al­lows engi­neers to bet­ter op­ti­mise the rear end of the bike, mak­ing it lighter, stiffer and more re­spon­sive.

So as man­u­fac­tur­ers deem the front de­railleur ob­so­lete for rac­ers (who are best able to han­dle rel­a­tively nar­row gear ranges), in 2018 the ev­er­in­creas­ing range of cas­settes will make 1x trans­mis­sions even more ap­pro­pri­ate for the masses.

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