New Year. New Gears!by Jessie Beyer - Monday, December 3, 2018
An easy shift for your next tour.
For 2019 we are excited to announce our titanium road bike fleet now reflects 21st century technology – the popular Shimano compact double and the new Sram Rival 1×11 gearing system. That’s right, triples will no longer be available, but before panic sets in – read on!
After two years of research, internal debate, and countless test rides, we are confident that our travelers will embrace what we (and our test riders) have learned about the 1×11. Most people are familiar with the benefits of compact doubles but here are a few reasons why we decided that converting our triple road bikes to 1×11’s made sense.
Let’s start with the basics: What’s a 1×11?
For those not as familiar with the mechanics of gearing systems it might help to first understand what we mean when we say “1×11 drivetrain”. A “one-by”, also called “1x”, drivetrain refers to a bike with a single chain ring up front (so there is no front derailleur) and 11 gears on the cassette (the gears on your rear wheel). This type of set-up is now standard for most mountain bikes, and anyone who rides trails knows that a very low gear is critical. The trend is now starting to take over the road biking world and manufacturers are switching from compact doubles and triples to 1x systems.
Why you’ll fall in love with the 1×11.
For starters, a 1x eliminates shifting problems common with 3x drivetrains such as dropping or cross-chaining, and mis-shifting. Shifting with a 1x is easier and more intuitive, making it great for experienced and beginner cyclists alike. Knowing when to shift a front derailleur, and how to smoothly compensate, is a skill that takes time to perfect. The 1x system uses just one shifter that controls the rear cassette, so whether you need to make pedaling easier or harder you use the same hand. The Sram Double-Tap technology is simple to learn and use after just a few tries. Thanks to the improved chain line, the chain runs straighter and quieter. It’s worth repeating: there’s no cross-chaining, chain dropping or chain skipping.
But won’t I have fewer gearing options with a 1x?
A common concern riders have when they see a bike with only one chainring is that they will have to sacrifice lower gears compared to their 2x or 3x bike. However, the range of gears doesn’t differ that much from a conventional setup because of duplication in 2 and 3x systems. The 1x system actually offers a lower range than you will find on either the old triples or compact doubles. You do sacrifice a bit on the higher gearing end so a strong rider going downhill is more likely to “spin out” meaning you can’t pedal to go faster than 35 or 38km/h on the 1x system.
Less is more – and lighter!
The 1x system is also lighter so those who count every gram will be very happy.
The Cycling Industry has retired the Triple.
Most higher end manufacturers no longer offer triple chainsets – Shimano doesn’t even make new Ultegra or 105 triple chain rings – so even if we wanted to continue to offer triple systems we couldn’t.
What customers are saying
Don’t just take our word for it! Over the past two years we’ve had a number of travelers test out the new setup while on tour and here’s what they had to say about the 1×11 set up:
I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed using the new drivetrain. It was very easy to use and took me only a short time to get used to it. The low gear was nice, and I didn’t miss the heaviest ones. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to try it out.
LOVED the Sram 1 x 11 gruppo and will request it on our next trip! Particularly the climbing options got me up some tough hills when others were walking. It is a winner.
The range of gears was much better than anything I’ve used in the past. I certainly had no problem spinning out on descents since I tend to hold speeds down. This drive train offers us older riders the opportunity to get up the steeper hills found on level 3 tours. I did have to walk a few switchbacks that were in the 15% or higher range, but I could do the lower grades. I would certainly like to use this set up in the future, and certainly consider lower gearing if SRAM comes out with a bigger cog set. Many thanks for the help!!!
Still curious about 1 x 11 gearing?
Check out these helpful articles:
13 Things We Wish You Knew About 1x For Road
Are 1x groupsets the future for road cycling?
The death of the triple chainset.