13 Things We Wish You Knew About 1x For Road
1. A 10-tooth cog makes a big difference! Let's look at gear ratios.
A cassette starting with a 10-tooth cog, like our 10-42 XG cassette, adds quite a bit of range to a 1x drivetrain. This allows for a smaller chainring and better climbing gears without sacrificing descending speed. As an example, many roadies are familiar with a 53 tooth chainring with an 11 tooth cog. A 48 tooth chainring with a 10-tooth cog provides the same gear ratio. For those used to a compact road crank, a 46x10 is equivalent to a 50x11. When building gravel bikes, a 10-42 cassette paired with a 40-tooth chainring allows for a bailout gear easier than 1:1, while still providing a descending gear that won’t spin out until the bike is above 30 mph (50 kph).
2. Gear down for gravel with a direct mount chainring!
SRAM’s road 1x chainrings are available in sizes as small as 38 teeth. Paired with a 10-42 cassette, climbing gears are abundant. But the definition of what a road bike can be is constantly changing, and many people, whether they are bike packing, touring, or running extra wide tires, are looking for even lower gearing. For cases like these, any rider with a SRAM crank with a 3-bolt spider attachment, such as Rival or Force, can replace their spider with a direct mount X-SYNC MTB chainring (use the 6mm offset version on both GXP and BB30 crankarms). The combination of MTB type gearing with road weight and Q factor is the perfect solution for the cutting edge of drop bar bike designs. Direct mount chainrings are available in sizes from 28 to 40 teeth.
3. Better chainline for complete cassette access.
A SRAM 1x chainring sits between the locations of 2x chainrings, roughly 4mm more inboard than a 2x large ring. This keeps the chain running straighter and quieter at both ends of the cassette, improving performance and durability.
4. 1x is already the top choice for disciplines outside MTB.
The simplicity and chain security of a 1x drivetrain makes it an obvious fit for cyclocross, and racers everywhere have embraced the technology. Less than 3 years after initial release, a start line spec count at the US Cyclocross National Championships in January 2017 found 68% of all racers were using SRAM 1x. In 2018 that number grew to 73%.
5. The sound of silence.
Many of the chain retention features of a SRAM 1x drivetrain, like the X-Horizon™ parallelogram and Roller Bearing Clutch™ found on our 1x rear derailleurs, have an added benefit to the ride: they minimize chain slap. Nothing interferes with the sounds of nature but tires on dirt and your own breathing.
6. The same, or more, range than a 2x.
A common concern riders have when they see a bike with only one chainring is that they will lose range compared to their 2x bike. However, a 1x drivetrain with a 10-42 cassette provides a 420% range, identical to a 52-36 combo paired with an 11-32 cassette, and wider than anything with a 53-39 combo. The ability to specifically tune that 420% range by swapping chainrings to match gearing requirements is an advantage that 1x holds over traditional 2x setups.
7. It’s the best choice for new riders.
Knowing when to shift a front derailleur, and how to smoothly compensate, is a skill that takes many hours to perfect. Many experienced cyclists have been flummoxed trying to coach a new rider through the nuances of shifting. 1x uses a single shifter, and is fully sequential. There’s only easier and harder. It’s available on flat bar and drop bar bikes. It’s one less barrier to turning a novice into a passionate cyclist.
8. Change your gearing without re-sizing your chain! Do you need a different range for a specific event?
In most scenarios, a properly sized chain allows a rider to move up or down one chainring size without needing to change chain length (adjustments to the b-gap on the derailleur need to be made). A swap to a smaller ring for a hilly gravel ride or two extra teeth for an especially flat CX course is easy as can be.
9. Use Cage Lock for easy wheel changes!
We’re not all professional race mechanics, so dealing with a rear wheel while changing a flat can be tricky. By swinging the derailleur cage forward and pressing the Cage Lock button, a SRAM 1x derailleur can be quickly and easily moved out of the way during wheel changes.
10. Better aerodynamics.
For triathletes looking to save every last watt, the removal of a front derailleur, mount, and chainring is a big deal. Smoother airflow over the crank and seat tube area of the bike means better performance.
11. The choice for backcountry durability.
Modern 2x drivetrains are the most reliable they’ve ever been, but if you’re miles from civilization on rugged terrain, any moving part is a potential complication. One less shifter, cable, and derailleur means more chance of everything going right during an adventure.
12. Gearing that’s perfect for each discipline, not just close enough.
When SRAM launched 1x for road, the slogan was “Everything You Need. Nothing You Don’t.” A traditional 2x road drivetrain, depending on chainring and cassette choice, can provide between 309% and 428% gear range. There are several options for chainring combos, but they all sit in a relatively narrow range. 1x allows the rider to choose the exact gear range for an application, with a huge selection of chainrings available to tune that range to the appropriate terrain and fitness. An amateur CX racer can select an 11-32 cassette paired with a 38T ring, while a professional can pair that same cassette with a 42T. A triathlete can pick the best chainring for them, and depending on the course, swap in an 11-28, 11-32, or 11-36 cassette. A 10-42 cassette on a loaded gravel bike can be paired with a 38T for lower climbing gears than a 2x drivetrain can achieve.
13. Say it “one by.”
If you don’t know, now you know.