Single chain ring !

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hondated
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Single chain ring !

Postby hondated » 1 Sep 2018, 9:53pm

I seem to have become fixated with looking at the latest mountain bikes recently as my 26" wheel one is definitely now outdated. Not that I could afford one of the latest ones as they really seem to be expensive.

But this research, and I apologise if this has been discussed before, has got me thinking that surely a single chain ring would be very convenient to have on a touring bike. Less weight, no need for a front mech and therefore no more worry about it going wrong or need for adjustment.

Is it something any of you could envisage happening to touring bikes given you could have a rear cassette that suits your riding style.

cycle tramp
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby cycle tramp » 1 Sep 2018, 10:11pm

My current 'do it all bicycle' has one chain ring.... and it is a compromise. On one hand you have a simpler bicycle, with less working parts, and is eadier to use... on the other hand you have less gear range and less gear ratios... if you don't mind getting off and walking up some hills, or freewheeling more down hills (or spinning out when you have a tail wind, this isn't an issue... however if you do (& you have to be honest with yourself), you are going to find a single chain ring set up incredibly frustrating...
...my first tour was with a 5 speed bike which had one chain ring (the ring was 36 teeth, and the block cog size was 14, 16, 20, 24 and 28) i cycled between 50 to 60 miles a day with my friends from Bridgwater in Somerset, down to the Eden Project & back, taking in Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor & Exmoor... it can be done, but alot of patience is needed :- )

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hondated
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby hondated » 1 Sep 2018, 10:23pm

cycle tramp wrote:My current 'do it all bicycle' has one chain ring.... and it is a compromise. On one hand you have a simpler bicycle, with less working parts, and is eadier to use... on the other hand you have less gear range and less gear ratios... if you don't mind getting off and walking up some hills, or freewheeling more down hills (or spinning out when you have a tail wind, this isn't an issue... however if you do (& you have to be honest with yourself), you are going to find a single chain ring set up incredibly frustrating...
...my first tour was with a 5 speed bike which had one chain ring (the ring was 36 teeth, and the block cog size was 14, 16, 20, 24 and 28) i cycled between 50 to 60 miles a day with my friends from Bridgwater in Somerset, down to the Eden Project & back, taking in Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor & Exmoor... it can be done, but alot of patience is needed :- )

Thanks CT I understand what you are saying but when I look at the mountain bikes they have such a large size sprocket on the back so climbing any hills should be easier but I am wondering whether the industry could see an advantage in sorting out a cassette that could prevent what you say could happen. I just see the single ring option that could give better reliability.

LollyKat
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby LollyKat » 1 Sep 2018, 10:41pm

I think you must eat chains though because the alignment will be quite poor a lot of the time, and 11-speed ones will be expensive. Also, I wonder if there's a tendency to to lose the chain off the front ring when changing onto the smallest sprocket - this sometimes happened to me back in the day when I rode with a (relatively) wide-ratio 5-speed block. The remedy suggested was to add a front changer just to keep the chain on!

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RickH
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby RickH » 1 Sep 2018, 11:04pm

LollyKat wrote:I think you must eat chains though because the alignment will be quite poor a lot of the time, and 11-speed ones will be expensive. Also, I wonder if there's a tendency to to lose the chain off the front ring when changing onto the smallest sprocket - this sometimes happened to me back in the day when I rode with a (relatively) wide-ratio 5-speed block. The remedy suggested was to add a front changer just to keep the chain on!

So far at least, I've not found a problem with my SRAM Rival 1 setup. I swapped out the chain (SRAM X1) after 1500 miles & it is still well within wear limits so is cleaned & in storage to put back on at some point (maybe another 1500 miles - I meant to do the first swap sooner but never quite got round to it). The new chain runs fine on all 11 gears, even the rarely used 10T (I need to be doing over 30mph to use it so while it gets engaged fairly regularly it doesn't get much pedalling action).

I have never had a problem with a dropped chain as the bike came supplied with a narrow-wide chainring with tall teeth (you can see the tops of the teeth sticking very slightly proud of the sideplates of the links when you look from the side) & a clutch rear mech. Chain slap is almost non-existent too.

LollyKat
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby LollyKat » 1 Sep 2018, 11:18pm

Clever stuff - sounds great. My experiences were 30 years ago when transmissions weren't nearly so sophisticated. :lol:

PH
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby PH » 1 Sep 2018, 11:36pm

Single chainring is half the perfect solution
The other half is a Rohloff on the back :wink:

Brucey
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby Brucey » 2 Sep 2018, 1:09am

I have numerous (!) practical objections to 1x11 setups but that is not to say that they don't appear to suit some folk. If you are one such then bully for you, but there are (without any doubt whatsoever IMHO) better transmissions for almost every conceivable purpose than that.

cheers
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landsurfer
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby landsurfer » 2 Sep 2018, 7:45am

All my bikes are single chainset, usually converted triples or doubles from FSA and SPA.
I run a 34 front chainring with a 12 -32 cassette and have experienced no issues.
On my recent LEJOG i ran a 26 front chainring and twiddled my way north without any knee pain. :)
However, modern chainrings with ramps, pins and shortened teeth are not suitable, unless you like lifting the chain on every trip.
Use full size tooth chainrings, in dural, from SPA and have had no chain ring or chain off issues.
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mattsccm
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby mattsccm » 2 Sep 2018, 8:39am

Much depends on your riding preferences. I hate big gaps between gears and these are bound to occur if you want a wide range of gears. For me a single ring is fine for time trials as those I do can be done on the 53 outer. Remember that a bar end lever is also used nowadays. Cyclo cross also is fine with a single ring as he terrain is almost always flatish or you run. (Cyclocross as the real meaning not riding off road on dropped bars). In many ways a triple suits me best as I can have a tight cassette but still retain a wide range of gears.

I don't entertain the simplicity issue. Yes there is one less item so its is more simple but the front mech is probably the moving part on a bike that is least likely to go wrong. They are simple, have few moving parts, are protected and the cables short. Adjustment is idiot proof. A front mech weighs less than those whopping great rear sprockets as well even if you chuck in the additional weight of the cable and the gear changing part of any levers.

As I said. They may suit your riding but they are not a universal solution.
I think the reason for many mountain bikers to use them is that their bars are cluttered with dropper seat post levers anyway and many mountain bikers (not all before anyone gets on their high horse) don't know any better having ridden nothing else or ride in such a way that efficient pedalling is never thought about.

mnichols
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby mnichols » 2 Sep 2018, 8:47am

I've done a few tours on a SRAM Rival 1x, including Manali to Leh and some +5000 meter passes on testing road conditions, particularly the descents. I love it for this kind of touring. The only thing it lacks is the option to go fast, I wouldn't be able to keep up with a racing snake in the big ring on a gradual descent, but 99% of the time it has all the gears, and I have had some 20mph days, but if you're with someone else and they put it in the big ring and put the power down going downhill you have to spin like crazy

I'm thinking of some other passes in Tibet, Bolivia and Hawaii, and I would definitely take this setup, the 42 at the back is perfect for big climbs

I also used it on a tour of the Hebrides when we were just pottering, it's my favourite setup when I don't need to go fast, or keep up with someone else

Peter W
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby Peter W » 2 Sep 2018, 9:04am

100% with Brucey on this one!

Quite Landsurfer, 'I run a 34 front chainring with a 12/32 cassette and have experienced NO ISSUES.' You immediately contradict that claim by stating that you changed to a 26 front ring for a specific journey.

I fail to see how with either of those options you could be able to pedal at a sensible cadence, hence speed, on a flat or gently falling road with a welcome following wind? In what way is your single ring system (nonsense of changing to suit different kinds of days riding) superior to a 'normal' double, which covers both speed and climbing, with the not unwelcome benefit of a non twisted chainline?

hayers
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby hayers » 2 Sep 2018, 9:26am

From a reliability for touring point of view I'd say better to have triple, then if rear mech fails you can at least still have a high, middle and low choice, if front mech fails bodge it to stay put on middle ring, and the cassette range will be enough for 75% + of the time. Although front mech introduces more opportunities for failure, it also adds redundancy.

brynpoeth
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby brynpoeth » 2 Sep 2018, 9:46am

Upgrade to fixie
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love the three Es: enforcement, enforcement & enforcement

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gaz
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Re: Single chain ring !

Postby gaz » 2 Sep 2018, 9:51am

Peter W wrote:I fail to see how with either of those options you could be able to pedal at a sensible cadence, hence speed, on a flat or gently falling road with a welcome following wind?

What's a sensible cadence/speed? Assuming a nominal 27" wheel I'd be comfortable at 20mph in that gear, given the circumstances you outline.