Getting rid of granny

Converting to a 1×10 drivetrain

We may have a guest bedroom that resembles a bike workshop, but living with someone who knows how to fix up a bike does have its advantages. Not only did Dan source parts for and build my new (to me) Ibis Mojo full sus bike a few months ago, but he’s made several adjustments and improvements to it since then.

Converting to 1x10In addition to having the fork stripped down and rebuilt with nice new white lowers to match the frame, this week Mojo was also treated to a 1×10 drivetrain conversion and new clutch rear derailleur.

The 3×9 set up that I’d been running previously had been transferred over from my old hardtail and I’d been having endless problems with shifting, and the chain slapping, dropping and getting caught. As the gears needed to be sorted, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to streamline and simplify my set up.

As I very rarely used the granny ring anymore, there was no question of getting rid of that, but I couldn’t decide whether to go for 2×10 or just go the whole hog and convert to 1×10. Initially the plan had been to go for 2 rings on the front and get some new shorter cranks at the same time, but as Dan had a spare Hope 32T chainring kicking about, I decided to just try a 1×10 set up and see how I got on.

1x10 set up with clutch rear derailleur

Dan’s been running a 1×10 for over a year and had pretty much sold me on the virtues of a more streamlined set up. Fewer gear changes, fewer issues with the chain, shedding a few extraneous parts and a bit of weight all sounded good, but my only concern was running out of gears on steep climbs. Although I’m not bad at climbing and my legs are much stronger than they used to be, they’re still nowhere near as strong as his, so it was hard to tell how well I’d fare.

The only way to find out was to give it a go, so with new chainring, cassette, clutch rear derailleur and chain in place, we headed to Llandegla for a test ride. While I’m not really a fan of the long, featureless climb at the start, it was good way to get a feel for the new gears, although a more technical climb would have allowed me to appreciate being able to just focus on riding the trail rather than worrying about constant gear changes. It all felt good though, as did being able to go straight into the descent with just a few clicks of my single shifter. The set up was also perfect for the descent, which I was able to blast with little regard for gear changes, and thanks to the clutch rear derailleur, there was no annoying chain rattling either.

Llandegla berm

There are some steeper climbs towards the end of the route where I might previously have dropped down to a lower gear than I now have, but I was still able to get up, and just had to work a little bit harder than usual to do so. There was actually something quite liberating about not having to think too much about gear changes and just focus on stomping the pedals! There were only a couple of occasions where my legs ran out of steam and I had to get off and push, which was a little annoying, but it’s good incentive to get even stronger!

The main issue I had with the new set up was the chain coming off on a couple of the descents, which was a little disconcerting. I’d hoped that the narrow/wide chainring and added tension from the clutch derailleur would do away with the need for a chain guide, but I think I might have to get one anyway.

I’ll need to give it a few more rides on different trails to reach a proper verdict, but so far I’m pretty happy with the change. I may still convert to 2×10, or put in an extra sprocket to expand the range, but I definitely won’t be bringing back granny!

What are your thoughts on converting to 1×10? Leave a comment below…

4 responses to “Getting rid of granny

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  2. Im really surprised you dropped the chain a few times, I’ve been running a 1x setup for a while now and never dropped the chain once although mine is the sram x01 I also know someone with the Shimano xt clutch mech and they never drop either and run without a chain guide too. Is the clutch adjustable on the x7 mech, perhaps it could be tightened?

    • I’ve heard that suspension design and riding style can make a difference, although I haven’t had any more problems with it since that first ride!

  3. Pingback: Off Camber #3 – Pedal Faster·

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