1X ‘Bye Bye’

Triple chainsets are dead long live the double chainset. Or?

So Sram have done it. After years of pushing, 1X setups are now infiltrating road cycling.

For those of you unfamiliar Sram speak… ‘1X’, said ‘one by’, refers to a chainset with a single chainring at the front. Rather then the classic large and small ring.

Some of you may be wondering, what’s the point? Well in short there are two areas where the benefit is biggest. Commuting/casual cycling and road cycling. I’ll start with the casuals first. So right now when people who don’t cycle, go to buy a bike, road bike shifters are a completely alien concept. Often these same riders will commit chainline sins, such as riding 1 and one, stressing the chain and their components. Also these people typically don’t like maintenance. Or a high price.

Oh but wait. What if you could simplify things? In steps Sram. Hey guys, here’s a simplified shifting set up. Oh, and guess what we’ve removed the front derailleur, you know that thing you can’t pronounce, that’s normally making your bike noisy?

It’s true, doing away with the front derailleur and removing another chainring can help manufacturers build cheaper bikes or better specced bikes for the same price. With simple shifting concepts, like + and – paddle shifters in cars.

Next road bikes.

Most people don’t realise, changing a single front chainring is actually less effort than changing a cassette. I mention this because current fears are centred around fears riders will have too limited a range of gears.

In response to this i’d direct hem to Cycling Tips’ podcast. They outline a standard crank setup 53/39 with and 11-28 cassette (a typical pro setup) can be easily matched with a 48T front ring and 11-32 cassette. Imagine that! And with clutch rear mechs used on mountain bikes, no chance of dropping a chain!

But what about jumps in shifting gears, I hear you ask. Well, there is a difference. But enough that you’ll flounder without a second chainring? I doubt it.

Personally, i’ll be planning to convert my crit bike to 1X. Probably 50T with 11-28 to start. Before equipping a long cage rear derailleur to accommodate 11-32 for climbs in Mallorca etc. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Ghent – The Koppenberg

Back on the Koppenberg after years. First time I hit this climb was part of the Flanders sportive about four years previous. Again I hadn’t packed my Garmin sovnew I had to hit it hard to make up for past mistakes.

Punishment was due. My riding colleagues, Wayne aka the Don and Steve ‘Churros’ armed with mounted GoPro, started the course from the timed line. We attacked. Wayne pulling out in front immediately with a big kick of power. I did my best to close on his wheel attempting to gain some draft before his superior fitness had the chance to spit out mine.

Steve followed with the GoPro. Capturing me taking a skittish line on one of the steepest sections. He even weaved just after himself. The cobbled gradient was punishing.

See the video of the effort here….

Ghent – Cobbles and Bergs

It turns out Ghent velodrome is closer to London than the Manchester Velodrome. (So much for the brexit nonsense.) So for the second time I made the trip to the Ghent Six Day, this time from London travelling with the East London Velo boys in the minibus.

Inspired by the classics we chose to take our bikes. I was super happy about this. Having ridden the Flanders Sportive a few years ago sans Garmin, I was keen to hit the Bergs as hard as I could…