Opinion: Numerology and the Demise of Eleven Speed

Jun 11, 2015 at 2:06
by Richard Cunningham  

just sayin RC header pic

bigquotesSeven is the number of a man. - Dave Carter


Eleven-speed drivetrains are doomed. How do I know this? As a former member of a new age cult, I am aware that there are powers acting upon the cycling world, greater than science, engineering, or popular opinion, and they are not to be trifled with. In the case of eleven speed, it’s all about numerology. If you don’t believe me, you could run down some long-haired vortex guide, with a bag of herbs around his neck and a wad of smoldering sage in his right hand who is herding middle aged aspirants around Sedona and ask for yourself – but I can save you the trouble. Even if you are a non-believer, you may be shocked to discover that history and statistics (science, if you will) also indicate the early demise of the eleven-speed drivetrain. Numbers, it seems, do not lie.

Ruth Drayer, in her book, “Numerology: The Power in Numbers,” writes:

bigquotesOdd numbers - which correspond to the right side of the brain - represent intangible things, such as creativity, flair, inspiration, and love of adventure. They do not like to "fit in" and sometimes will stop right in the middle of something and go off in another direction.

Even numbers - which correspond to the left side of the brain - represent things of form and structure, tangible things, anything that can be seen or touched. They like to conform and want to "fit in." They prefer for their lives to go smoothly and do not like the unexpected.

I can’t vouch for you, but I’d prefer that my drivetrain components conform, fit together and run smoothly. When I ask for a shift, I don’t want my derailleurs searching for adventure or taking creative lines across the cassette cogs. It could be argued, though, that the present eleven speed groups made by SRAM and Shimano do actually fit together and run smoothly, so what is the point? Where is the substance behind this theory? For the sake of discovery, let’s look at the brief history of the mountain bike drivetrain.


SIX
Before true mountain bikes hit the trails, pioneers cobbled up balloon tire bikes with five-cog screw-on freewheels and road bike derailleurs, but by the time the term “Mountain Bike” was trademarked by Gary Fisher and Charles Kelly, Shimano and Suntour were developing six-speed freewheels. The mass-production mountain bike and the sport itself was launched in the early 1980s with the six speed freewheel, which would carry it through the birth of the freehub cassette and the first viable index shifting system from Shimano – arguably, the two most important innovations of the MTB derailleur drivetrain.

SEVEN
Shimano pushed the seven-speed drivetrain into existence in 1989, which, in conjunction with its SIS index shifting and cassette rear hub, signaled the beginning of the Japanese parts maker’s near monopolization of the mountain bike drivetrain and encouraged a lawsuit by SRAM in 1990 to gain access to the OEM market. Seven speed’s tumultuous lifespan was defined by Shimano’s insistence on poor-shifting BioPace chainrings and a number of dead-end innovations, like one-piece shift and brake levers, double push-button shifting, and the scourge of the under-the-chainstay-mounted U-Brake. It was an era of mediocre drivetrain performance, chain suck, and poor braking that spawned the “purple parts makers” - cottage industry aftermarket component startups by ex-aerospace workers – riders themselves - who were fed up and thought they could do a better job.

EIGHT
Eight speed was ushered in by Shimano’s first XTR group along with trigger shifting and a return to round chainrings in 1992, and it was all unicorns and rainbows from the start. Many riders maintain that to this day Shimano’s eight-speed transmissions are the most trouble free, positive shifting and durable derailleur systems ever made. SRAM’s eight-speed transmissions were pretty darn good too, and for the first time, there was extensive cross-brand compatibility between hubs, chains, cassettes and cranksets. Eight-speed was so stable that it would shift happily with sticks and mud packed into the cassette, and unless something was bent, the derailleurs could stay in adjustment for an entire season.

My even-odd theory took a brief U-turn, however, in 1997, when Shimano introduced “light action” to its eight-speed groups. Some say the motivation was to prevent OEM bike makers from spec’ing SRAM’s very popular twist-type shifters with its XT and XTR drivetrains. Others maintain that Light Action was an internal mandate to make shifting feel effortless to yuppie customers testing bikes in the retailer’s parking lots. The end result was that SRAM twist shifters were no longer cross compatible with Shimano and Shimano’s shift levers felt worthless and weak. Soon after, Shimano introduced “Rapid Rise” which reversed the direction of the rear derailleur’s action as a means of preventing riders from forcing the changer to shift gears when the ramps on the cassette cogs were not in alignment. With limp levers and reverse shifting, Shimano’s once magical eight-speed drivetrain was emasculated. The unicorn was dead. By that time, however, SRAM’s shifting performance had improved and Big Red began eating into Shimano’s domination of the market – Light Action may have been a great disappointment for Shimano fans, but it was a major boost for SRAM.

bigquotesYou may ask yourself, "How did I get here?" - David Byrne

NINE
Nine speed, by contrast, was a disaster from the first day it was bolted to a bike. It was as if in 1999, Shimano had forgotten how to make a mountain bike transmission. It had narrow cassette spacing and a thinned chain that could never seem to find its way to the correct sprocket. The derailleurs were Light Action, and while a conventional mech was offered, Shimano pushed OEMs heavily to spec the Rapid Rise version, and the new shifters were still vague feeling with nearly indistinguishable index points. Broken chains were more common than dead lizards on a downhill trail and tuning the derailleurs required the skills of a safe-cracker. When you did get a nine speed running right, a single blade of grass in the cassette cogs could set the chain jumping all over the place.

SRAM had to respond, and to its credit, the Chicago-based component maker kicked Shimano’s ass with a super-positive feeling trigger shifter and a bomb-proof rear derailleur. The benefits of which were not lost on riders - or OEMs. Nine speed backfired on Shimano, as elite and performance level mountain bikes began appearing in huge numbers with “split” drivetrains: Shimano front derailleurs (SRAM’s front mechs were pathetic) paired with SRAM shifters and rear derailleurs. SRAM benefited further from another ill-fated nine-speed Shimano innovation when it released its Dual Control STI-style brake-lever shifters in 2003 – at the inopportune moment when nobody gave a damn about XC racing and freeriders had no use for wiggly brake levers. If there was a benefit to nine-speed’s trail of disappointment, it was the opportunity it created for OEMs to dispel the notion that a bike must be outfitted from tip to toe with either Shimano or SRAM components.

TEN
Most Pinkbike riders grew up on ten-speed cassettes – which marked a return to most of the stability and reliability of eight-speed in its prime. Better still, ten speed came in with a number of important improvements, like through axles on both ends of the bike and wide-range, 11 x 36 cassette gearing. Ten-speed drivetrains also marked the return of some cross-compatibility between SRAM and Shimano’s major drivetrain components, as well as a return to sanity for Shimano’s engineers. Shimano shifting again felt beautifully functional, and they were back at the helm, taking a leadership role - most notably with the invention of the Shadow Plus clutch derailleur.

Ten speed was a return to peaceful times. Near parity between the performance of SRAM and Shimano, and the welcome return to a reliable and very stable drivetrain, had the effect of removing the customer’s emphasis on the bike’s transmission and encouraging growth in other areas of the bike. Disc brake development made large strides and OEMs shifted more resources into upgrading suspension components. This was the drivetrain that powered DH racing to its highest level and made the all-mountain bike a reliable tool. Its wide-range cassette ushered in the 29er and gave rise to the first truly useful one-by drivetrains for trail riders and XC racers – which brings us to the present moment.

ELEVEN
Now you can chalk it up to metaphysical science or serendipity, but the pattern is undisputable: drivetrains with even numbered cassettes have far better track records than those with odd numbered cassettes. The pattern also directly reinforces Ms. Drayer’s numerological distinctions between even and odd numbers, all of which casts a dark shadow upon the present eleven speed groups from SRAM and now, Shimano. Granted, the derivatives of SRAM’s XX1 are pretty awesome performers, and after riding XTR in both the mechanical and Di2 electric versions, I can vouch that Shimano’s eleven-speed ensemble is at least on par – and I’d bet that if you asked any industry luminary about it, their response would be something along the lines of, “Eleven speed has become the best thing for mountain bike drivetrains since, um, ten speed.” And if that notion doesn’t send up a red flag, it should, because that’s what they said about all the other ones.

Pretend that you were an esteemed mountain bike engineer who masterminded the fabled eight-speed system and, after contracting a near-fatal bout of narcolepsy, you slept through all subsequent drivetrain developments, awakening magically sometime after the debut of XX1 and XTR M9000. (I think there is a mythological fable that goes something like that). At first, you might say, “Wow, this stuff shifts awesomely well.” And you may initially be fooled by all that awesomeness into believing that, “Wow, this stuff is really innovative.” But it isn’t. As your engineering brain began connecting the dots, you would probably be appalled by the fact that the designers of eleven speed drivetrains simply used old technology, and then crammed it all into an impossibly small space so they would not have to redesign bike frames or any other nearby components to make it work.

While I was taking instruction at the new age ashram, the High Priestess there offered up a simple explanation of how deadly complacency can become. (And, please don’t try this at home) She said:

bigquotesIf you toss a live frog into boiling water, it will jump out and run away. But, if you place it gently into cool water and slowly turn up the heat, it will happily swim around until it is cooked.

Essentially, today’s eleven-speed transmission represents the end of a long and sometimes ridiculous chain of incremental improvements and Band-Aid fixes – most of which would have never occurred, if drivetrain designers were not encouraged to float around in Shimano and SRAM’s warm pot of status quo. Chains are so thin that the power of positive thinking is actually an ingredient in their metallurgy. Cogs are so closely spaced that they can electromagnetically communicate, and when designers speak in hushed tones about clearances between frames and neighboring components, they often argue about fractions of a single millimeter. Eleven speed, like all of the odd-numbered drivetrains which preceded it, will function as both an evolutionary dead end for drivetrains based upon old-school hub, bottom bracket and associated frame standards - and as a transitional bridge to allow braver and bolder designers to circumvent the prisons of convention and minutia which had incarcerated their predecessors.

Numerology tells us that eleven speed will bring about turmoil and creativity, which seems to be the case. Trek and SRAM’s Boost hub standard is more of a cry for help than it is an innovative solution, but it indicates that designers at the highest level are disillusioned with the status quo – and they are not alone. We are poised at the brink of a significant collapse of industry standards and a period of chaotic innovation – most of which are long overdue and some of which will not be a pretty sight.

TWELVE
But, the dust will settle quickly. Numerology (and history) strongly suggest that the inevitable dawn of twelve speed will also signal the beginning of a lengthy period of drivetrain stability and with it, another series of truly beneficial improvements to the mountain bike as a whole. And, if history repeats itself (it always does), some bike industry luminary will post a clever headline like: “Is 11 Speed Doomed? Will 12 Speed Be the new Game-Changer?” If you want to talk about that, go to Sedona and look for a guy with a crooked walking stick, flowing silver hair, a bag of herbs around his neck, and a wallet stuffed with hundred dollar bills. I have to warn you though, my answer may be, “Duh.”


192 Comments

  • 229 2
 But, this one goes to eleven.
  • 15 4
 This comment made my day thanksSmile
  • 10 35
flag fercho25 (Jun 11, 2015 at 9:15) (Below Threshold)
 you f*cked up the quote is: these go to eleven!
  • 7 0
 ...What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?
  • 15 3
 1x17 comes out next year, can't wait
  • 9 0
 Basically, it's code for: "Warning, there is a game changer coming and I want to try and blame it on odd numbers this time"

Gearhubs and Gearboxes ? Or something else?
  • 11 8
 Who the hell needs a 10 tooth cog???????
  • 30 4
 Been riding Shimano 9 speed since I've started mountain biking more seriously, about 7 or 8 years ago. And it work great from xc to dh, reliable, easy to set up and durable. So don't understand the complain about 9 speed.
  • 9 11
 Shimano 9 speed was just getting worse since it was introduced, while SRAM hit it out of the stadium with X0 with triggers. Nothing to this date has more precise and distinctive action than 9sp X0. First 9sp XT was cool but from there it was just deteriorating, last edition of 9sp XT and XTR were utter bollocks. Hone was a laugh. First Saint was dumbest thing they ever made, save Di2, seriously, how bad could something so expensive be?! Second edition of Saint had only one good thing: brakes. Shadow Rear mech was huge,stiff and strong looking, too bad it was hanging on a thin, crappy plate, that Shimano uses up to this day and aside their crappy alu cages it remains the weakest link of their drivetrains. the only thing solving that is the direct mount der hanger that only a few frames offer.
  • 13 3
 Mmmhhh, don't know where this assumption comes from, but I've been riding 9-speed Shimano (XTR mainly and XT) in all guises (1x, 2x and 3x) on all my bikes for the last 10 years or so and the shifting is precise, durability is second to none and reliability is genuine Shimano (don't tell me that Shimano don't last, because I just have proof of the contrary). Just to let you know, I've started mountain biking in 1991, so I've also been using 7 and 8 speed drivetrain (which was the best IMO).
  • 13 2
 For anyone who is complaining about shimano 9 speed. ARE YOU JOKING? Either you got it wrong (or you don't know what you are talking about), or I am a very lucky person. I have done a (self supported) 1000mile MTB race on the complete 3x M770 Shimano XT groupset (last edition 9sp). It was already heavily used and I just changed the cassette and chain before the start. My experience was absolutely flawless action, preciece shifting and I did not touch the dereailur setup once! So I have only words of praise for this Shimano product. I did NOT let me down. I actually still run a 9sp on one of my bikes...over 10 years old, and I am commuting on it dailly (shifters, brakes, FD, RD still original).
  • 2 5
 I run xtr 952 shifters with slx rear mech on my commuter. My 2002 XT rear mech lasted 10 years. I would not call this system precise though, it required double as much maintenance than my current 10sp XT/Zee combo.
  • 1 0
 Waki First Gen Saint was pretty cool, never owned any of it tho- loved the styling though, almost alien like. Second Gen Saint I had almost a full group save for hubs and it worked well. I still have it, the cranks still see service as well the brakes work like the day they were new and could stop a medium sized motorcycle. The shifting always left something desired in feel but was reliable and almost never needed adjustment one set up.
  • 2 1
 I had the second generation saint rear mech - after two months a large stone flies from under front wheel and - bang! The golden piece is done and nowhere to be purchased in any reasonable time frame. Hanger untouched, not a slightest bend. Small mark on the paraleogram and thing it is attached to from frame side. Bad luck one may say but I did crash 9sp no-shadow and 10sp x9 rear mechs all over the place, right into planted rocks and they always survived, at least to some degree, unlike Satan Cruz der-hangers.
  • 64 15
 Best article from RC in my books Big Grin

Richard... Let's leave the Ashtram with it's limitations to influence the physical environment, and turn to one and only "science" . Let's go to CERN and ask some real question... can chain be on two different cogs at the same time, depending on whether you look at it or not? Can spinning of a massive 45t cog create enough time and space warping, that regardless of what your onboard computers say, you think you go faster but you are actualy slower to TAG Heuer clocks? Can we store the weight of coil springs in another dimension?

And by the way, let's just cut the crap and go to 14 speeds on 167mm rear hub spacing right away
  • 7 3
 I agree. Best RC article I've read. Love how he tied in something as out-there as numerology with an opinionated history lesson, leading to a bold conclusion at the end. And, of course, he didn't forget to pad the egos of everyone that's been in the sport long enough to have ridden mostly 9 speed!
  • 1 4
 Great work from RC, very prescient and apt. Fantastic insight into the madness that is mountain bike drivetrains
  • 2 0
 Waki, I don't think you're fully grasping the premise of this... 168mm rear hub, or else it will be superseded again and again! Lol
  • 4 0
 nah... you just assymetrize the whole thing and stick with 148 which is even and will rule.. 142 seems even, but its the anti-christ because its really just 135 and cant stay for long.
  • 3 1
 135 has 13 in it - numerology... we should stick to 148 - if you put 2600 million boost hubs together you can build a bridge to the moon and it is good to have 26 in it... because it is an even number. If you run a tubeless setup on surface of unlimited grip, at speed high enough and stop in an instant thanks to formula brakes (which can't do anything else but on/off) could sealant particles hitting the rubber top of the valve stem create antimatter? @vpcomponents - how fast and at what time would I have to spin the bars during X-Up so I ould put one of ball bearings in your headset on the orbit of Jupiter? Do you run such stress calculations for your bearing cups? German companies like Acros and Syntace state that they run the most rigorous tests in the industry...

I am sorry, the quality and content of response to statements of mr Gwin regarding funding of his ranch, I decided to check out atheism and I am confused what should I be interested in to become a good atheist... does that sound reasonable?
  • 3 0
 Of course you know there is a force behind the force. And we are joking, yes, but this has become a matter of some weight now, and I hope Richard Cunningham realizes this important thing that we joke about and dance around. What is the limit to put a bearing into orbit? You must already know that the limit is in your mind only yet hard realize. This however is another question. The real subject is the way behind nature and how it shapes and guides. Do you even know the number of bearings in one cup of the VP-a69a headset? It is 28!!! Yes 28!!! And the significance of this I hope is not lost on you. In it there is balance and this is what we have misunderstood so far. And this is where Richard Cunningham has seen only a shallow part of the deep river. You yourself I believe understand this. Balance. Flow. To settle on one number. To live in one state, resisting the flow, cannot hold. It is not in balance. It is not in motion. The flow moves and moves all things with it. It is not able to be resisted. It's true yes, one number is order, and the other chaos, but you cannot forget flow and motion that will create cycles within cycles in THIS we find balance, not in the settling on one state, or forcing one state. To force one state is to resist flow, and ultimately this is futile.

Should you become an atheist? If you feel that you must, then possibly you must. It could be in your path. We have no knowledge of aaron gwin, or his ranch, so on this point I cannot be helpful.
  • 1 0
 Yes, nobody should ever take himself too seriously. Everything deserves o be laughed at, it's just a matter of circumstances.

What I was getting at is that wormhole in Interstellar (around Jupiter orbit) could be a VP bearing... or Chris King?. As to atheists maaaaah... I did not sign out of Catholic church, just to join another group of evangelists. If I must chose a club I go with "Riding in the Woods Anonymous" Big Grin
  • 1 0
 In truth, I have been working on a drawing of a headset at the request of mister neethling that will wormhole him between the tunnels on the Leogang track.
  • 51 0
 In the beginning, there was only one…. ommmmmmmm
  • 52 6
 If anybody ever designed a cassette based on what I use probably 90% of the time, it would have only three cogs: a 36, a 21, and an 11. Simple & sweet: one for going Up, one for going Straight, one for going Down. The rest is just filler. Stand up if you need to.
  • 9 13
flag Bird-Man (Jun 11, 2015 at 9:27) (Below Threshold)
 ^^^^couldnt agree more.....I use 2 gears on my trail bike (all Mountain) 36 to go up and the 11 to go down.....and most times i leave it in the 36 to come down as it forces me to pump and work the terrain....easier than going chainless!!!!
  • 26 3
 that sounds like a tripple chainset and SS rear...
  • 4 3
 haha......sadly it is not
  • 13 1
 i have a saint shifter so i can shift 2 gears at a time - I would absolutely buy a 11-40 5-speed cassette. i'm not a roadie, i don't care about optimal cadence
  • 9 2
 Better cadence makes it much easier to ride up and through the rough stuff and to maintain a somewhat steady speed.. I am just going to assume that you have been using a well spaced cassette for so long that you are just taking the smoothness for granted.
  • 1 0
 Build your own, take a single speed hub (dishless wheel), and six cogs 11-28 or 11-34 is usually my preferred range with 6 gears. It weighs less too.
  • 7 0
 I have always wanted 2xSS.Double ring, single cog.
  • 3 0
 Kitejumping, I did that on my trailbike. Rode it that way for a few years. It was cool, one off and minimal. But eventually having something so one-off like that gets to be a pain in the ass. You gotta source an old casette that lends well to breaking down to get the cogs you want, not to mention you may need 2 old cassettes to get the exact # of teeth for each cog. Getting a 9 or 10 speed rear deralleur to work well with it isnt that hard, but its certainly more of a pain in the ass than just using stock stuff.
  • 2 0
 @lirch1 I have tried that before. I ran a Turbine Crank with two narrow wide rings, one 38 , one 32, with a 15t in the back and then a chain tensioner. Worked alright, it was really fun except the chain line wasnt optimal in the oute ring and I would sometimes rub the chain with my shoe, also I was always stopping to switch my chain between the two rings and loosing momentum, which is one of the coolest things about single speeds IMO.
  • 1 0
 @gnarly-powder-ratz yeah it does require some research into finding compatible cassettes. It would be nice if Sram or Shimano made a specific clutch rd and cassette for it.
  • 2 0
 I want two speeds for my SS bike!
  • 1 0
 Didn't relise you used pinkbike. It's the best!
  • 51 5
 RC- you been smoking some of that Sage? Can't tell if this is a serious article or not... "Most Pinkbike riders grew up on ten-speed cassettes".... so most Pinkbike riders grew up since 2010?
  • 19 2
 My bad, I guess SRAM had MTB 10 speed options before Shimano... but still this article- WTF?
  • 12 0
 I think a lot of us still have most of the growing up yet to do... Wink
  • 2 0
 Haha yeah....this is true!
  • 4 4
 Agreed. I generally regarded RC's opinions as pretty well founded, interesting, and worth taking into account. Either this is a brilliant satirical article, or the way I value RC's inputs has radically changed. He is right that we are about to see a big change in mountain bike design, but that is the result of new innovations reaching maturity in lots of different areas, like composite technology, wheel diameters and widths, hub widths, stiffer axle designs, geometry etc as well as in drive train engineering. All of the new insights in these areas will allow the best bikes ever to be made, so people will make them. But it has absolutely got f*ck all to do with odd and even numbers.

If there was some mystic unity which impacts on things like this, symmetry would be the only viable one - we see fractals and symmetry everywhere, it is a very stable and functional state. Symmetry in this case would be an odd number of cogs; 1 for the middle, an equal number on either side. But there isn't so it doesn't matter.

As you said, WTF?
  • 4 0
 Made me feel old haha
  • 2 0
 Either that or he thinks the majority of readers grew up in the 60s/70s with 10 speed cruisers.
  • 6 5
 "I generally regarded RC's opinions as pretty well founded, interesting, and worth taking into account"
Really?

Just another guff article from RC for me.
  • 41 3
 OK Nostradamus, time to take your meds.
  • 29 6
 Crock of Sh#t
9 speed saint was the peak of mtb gearing. Throw a clutch on a 9 speed saint with a NW ring an I'd run that till I die
Yeah 10 is good but it wears way to fast an is way to delicate
  • 12 0
 Yeah, still rocking 9sp here... clutch derailleur would be nice but not interested in going to 10s.
  • 3 1
 Killing it w a 11 year old. XT rear der and shifter that won't die.
  • 1 0
 It's a 9spd
  • 4 0
 You can jury rig a 10spd clutch der to work with 9spd...
  • 3 0
 Yes, have seen that mod to make a 10 speed derailleur work but it seems like a bit of a kludge to me...
  • 3 0
 Yeah I feel the same my old xt 9 speed shifts absolutely perfect. The only downside to 9 speed is slightly smaller cassette range and no clutch derailleurs. I don't know what RC is talking about unless he's going on about early 9 speed stuff before they got it dialed in.
  • 2 0
 And I've also heard that running a shimano 10 speed derailleur with a sram 9 speed shifter will work with 9 speed.
  • 1 0
 Hehe, I'm already running a SRAM shifter with my XT rear derailleur... I've got a couple of bikes outfitted with SRAM Rocket/Attack shifters that are Shimano derailleur compatible... they shift like a dream and I'd hate to lose that with a kudged together setup.
  • 5 8
 Early nine speed.
  • 3 0
 Went from 9sp Saint to 10sp Saint, I gotta say the 10sp Saint beats the shiet from M810!
  • 1 0
 @mrduck that's good to hear. I blew up 3 m810's from regular use one summer at mt washington
  • 1 0
 @makripper Interesting, I had a pretty good experience with the M810, only caught a little play after 3 seasons. But the M820 shifting feels a whole lot better. Only got it to get the clutch initially, but I love it now.
  • 2 0
 What are you guys going on about! 8 speed is were it is at! Been running 8 speed since '97 and I don't plan on changing. Tried 9 speed when it first came out and it was rubbish (the early 9 speed that Mr. Cunningham was on about). 8speed stuff is cheap and still available! I have tried 10 speed on my work bikes and I feel there are too many filler gears plus giant cogs look horrible! I want a 9-32T 8 speed cassette!
  • 1 0
 Same here, been running 9spd since it was released and mainly with Single ring up front and had no dramas, always shifted well, lasted ages and took a beating... But then again I'm a bit "odd"
  • 1 0
 @mrduck I have never seen it happen w any other mech. Maybe just unlucky but at 240 a replacement it left a bad taste in my mouth.
  • 17 0
 odd number gears to me fit better as there is a true middle gear right in the middle of the cassette, as on 11 you have 5 gears either side of the 6th, while even gears to me are chaos.
  • 9 0
 I thought it was just me.....
  • 16 0
 A golden nugget from the article:

"(11 speed) Chains are so thin that the power of positive thinking is actually an ingredient in their metallurgy."

Bravo!
  • 11 1
 I hope we wake up one day and wondered why we boiled ourselves to metaphorical death using exposed drivetrains on dirt bicycles. It's ridiculous. Is you transmission on your car or motorbike open to the elements?

Bike Industry: put the gears in a box so I can stop thinking about them.

As for the speedswars, my 9 speed X-9 set up was the most reliable no-nonsense set up I've had.
  • 1 0
 My thoughts exactly!!!!

in the 90's my 7speed was perfect, it didnt mind if it got hit by a rock or full of mud. then with x3 upfront that was more than enough. To me that was the golden ratio :-) ........

Instead of taking them off the front to put them on the back and then coming up with wider axle standards or thinner chainrings - get them in a box!!!!
  • 3 0
 www.rohloff.de/en/products/speedhub 14 Speeds.

14 is a great number.
  • 9 0
 A true "innovation" would be an 8 speed cassette with 10-42.

Bomber chain, fewer (equals lighter) cogs and it would fit a regular 9/10 speed hub. Too bad there are only two companies in the world that know how to make a shifte
  • 3 0
 9-36T 8 speed would be better Wink
  • 2 0
 The trouble with wide ratio cassettes with so few cogs is that the steps are going to be jerky and rough. That's why current super wide ratio 10 and 11 speed cassettes work
  • 10 0
 When I realized I could no longer count my gears on my fingers, I gave up and went back to single speed on all my bikes.
  • 6 0
 Richard, I read all your articles and this one is really stands out for me. I've had so much trouble over the years trying to understand all the history in cassettes and where they all came from... and now I have a much better understanding. Love it! Thanks
  • 8 0
 The old king is dead, long live the king, long live the new king with his 12 speed cassette.
  • 11 2
 Put down the crack pipe man.
  • 6 0
 you're sneaky, rc. first, the price of a mtn bike now the follow up with this. much easy it is the herd to guide. just sayin...
  • 1 0
 @fullbug You forgot also his comments on Flat pedals.
  • 3 0
 one should always run with wolves instead of herds. usually 10 or less! haha
  • 6 0
 Shimano XT, 2x10 .....perfect, particularly with side pull front derailleur. This one has had the magic dust blown over it, and it is eternal.
  • 8 2
 Having lived through most of these drivetrains, I have to say this is a great article. Good on you for the history lesson RC!
  • 5 0
 So we are all a bunch of frogs in a pot getting slow cooked. All my bikes are eight speed. Funny my LBS always has eight speed parts in stock. i jumped out of the pot a long time ago.
  • 8 1
 Very enjoyable read. As a side note, I'm looking forward to having a belt driven internal hub drivetrain.
  • 3 0
 Must of missed the memo that 9 speed sucked.. I know my 7 speed was kinda cool. 8 was better. 9 is like, everyone in my family is running 9. We can swap everything, which is nice.. I do have a 10 and to me, it's got less feel than my 9, again, might have missed that memo.. I want to make a ridiculously geared 33 speed with the new shimano 11. Like a fat bike with a 6 inch wide rear tire and a 22f-40r gear so I can hook up a tow chain to pull cars out of a ditch and like a 46 front ring so I can hit 40mph.. on a really steep hill, of course.. But you might say "Oh, but the capacity..." I don't cross shift, I have a working brain.. midcage derailleur, 11-36 x 22-44 triple.. Not once.. Definitely not a loaner bike.. I've thought of 1x, just to lazy to buy a front sprocket... haha
  • 3 0
 Stop peddling popular science MYTHS @richardcunningham and get your facts straight: the left/right cerebral task subdivision is largely a myth advanced by pseudo science in an attempt to dumb down the actual functions of each hemisphere. The hemispheres are acutely interconnected and both hemispheres are largely capable of abstract AND sequential processing. Go read Nolte's functional neuronanatomy book for more.
  • 1 0
 It is almost as if his tongue is somewhere inside his cheek.
  • 3 1
 I was perfectly happy with the 3 x 7 Shimano stuff on my first couple of bikes in the early 90's, the 3 x 9 on the full suspension bike I purchased from my bro a couple years ago, despite being a mix of Shimano & SRAM works ok, but I have never really felt that the extra 6 gears have been a huge improvement, as some of the spreads are so small I sometimes find myself double clickingSmile I have yet to have an opportunity to try any of the various 2 x, or 1 x bikes..... but somehow I think the spreads will be too big?? (or there will be a loss in top end or bottom end range??)
In the end, I can't help but think that all the "New & Improved" things we have been subjected to in the years since I started riding (circa 1993) have more to do with trying to sell people new bikes/components than any large degree of improvement in function, rideability, etc.
  • 5 0
 Going to assume this comment is written with the same silly sarcasm as the article.
  • 2 0
 This type of reasoning does make sense when looking at the original Star Trek Movies. #2 Wrath of Khan was awesome. #3 Search for Spock, not so much. And the #6 Final Frontier plain sucked balls, whereas #6 The Undiscovered Country was pretty rad.

Also, RC, a history question: I lived through the days of the introduction of push/push shifting that was later supplanted by rapid-fire plus push/pull. AFAIK, push/push sucked because the levers worked poorly, not anything inherent in the ergonomics of using your thumbs for both shifts. After all, isn't SRAM push/push? Yet people make fun of those original rapid-fire shifters as being for people with 4 thumbs and not for the fact that they just had bad mechanics.
  • 1 0
 Fair enough, question and a good observation. I have an original Ibis off-road tandem with push push seven speed and it sucks as much today as it did when I first got it (the shifting, not the bike). The buttons had a similar feel and were set on the same plane, in line with each other. The result was that riders never could adapt to the system and either pushed both buttons in a pinch, or the wrong one. The distinctly different ergonomics of the present SRAM shifters, and now, Shimano Di2, allow the brain to easily and intuitively make those distinctions. Old becomes new.
  • 2 0
 RC,

When I read the first 2 paragraphs I thought someone put syrupy bong water in RC's Camelbak, but as I fully read the article, I don't believe the numerology thing but blame CORPORATE Product PANIC and not enough race product testing for poor shifting performance. The narrow/wide teeth and 1x chain-ring are potentially a great advance to simplicity and lightweight for MTBs, BUT 29ers running a 28T or 30T chain-ring on the front POP and GRIND like crazy when under real high torque.

The link below shows that the "Narrow\Wide 1x" Nirvana going on now in the MTB cycling community is like a bunch of frogs in boiling bong water drinking laced Kool-Aid.

forums.mtbr.com/sram/xx1-28t-chain-grinding-873075.html

SRAM XX1 has some serious issues with anyone pushing high torque up steep hills...
  • 1 0
 In my personal world view, 28t chainring to 42t back, even on a Fat bike/ 29er with super gravity tyres is trying too hard to ride a single ring setup at any cost. Even I can spin out 32t front to 11t back on flat way to the woods. That is on a 26er, let alone 29er. Get a granny for climbs and at least 34t front. No need for front mech, with easily opening E13 top guides there are no problems with putting your chain on/off the granny while maintaining super reliable chain retention.
  • 2 0
 I loved, and still do, my Shimano 9spd stuff. Biking is a bit like computing - standards are good because they extend the lifetime of usage but in the long run they can also prevent advancement.

The main thing I've learned in both fields is to wait a year or two when a new "standard" comes out to make sure it takes... because I've got an old Trek with 22mm mount rear disc brakes and let me tell you that sucks.
  • 2 0
 I think we always view the past with such nostalgia, 8 speed was best, no wait 9 speed, well my 2x 10 was awesome?
In reality, current drivetrains, brakes, suspension, frames, etc. are so much better than before. Would any of you really prefer to ride your short top tubed, steep head angled, long stemed, narrow bar hardtail from even 2000. Or? One of the new long, low, 27.5, 66.5 degree, XT/Sram Guide braked, dropper post, 140mm travel, 50mm stem, 780 wide bar, trail hardtail of today. I could do the same with how much better a suspension bike is today vs. just 5 years ago. We all get frustrated with how quickly the "standards" are changing. As soon as you get a 142 bike, now there is 148. Just as you were getting used to Fatbike, now there is +size or midfat. I just bought an awesome 26, and now 27.5 has taken over, 1x11 no wait 1x12 is coming!!!
I have a sickness called "I love my bikes", which means I have bikes laying around dating back to the mid 90's. I can tell you without a doubt, everytime I get on one of those "oldies" (which I keep in great condition) all the Nostalgia is GONE!! Compared to my new Carbon 6" 27.5 bike, my old bike of the same make feels tall, short, steep, and flexy. One ride is all it takes to realize just good we have it now.

Friction shifters??? Now there was a MANS drivetrain!!!
  • 2 0
 My next bike will have a gearbox. Derailleur technology has been pushed pretty far and works brilliantly in the right conditions, but ride a short distance down a trail thick with wet, gritty mud and then see how flawless your shifting performance is. Listen to the grinding, crunching noises coming from your gears for the rest of the ride. Then when you get home spend some time thoroughly cleaning and lubricating every component of the drivetrain so it works properly on the start of your next ride. I know its my own fault for living in Northern England rather than Southern California. A hermetically sealed drivetrain I.e. gearbox that performs consistently in all conditions and doesn't require constant maintence makes so much more sense for the real world.
  • 5 0
 Oh man, I feel bad for the first guys to do 13 speed
  • 2 0
 Phil saw the 12 speed coming and skipped it all for 13 siting "the future is coming": www.bikerumor.com/2014/09/05/spotted-13-speed-phil-wood-hub-and-cassette, drivetrain debates are dead, the time of electric front wheel drive fat bikes is upon us.
  • 2 0
 Give me a 12 speed 9-49 cassette so I can run 38T chain ring up front without having to be Jared Graves for my trail bike. For DH, I'm fine with the 7 or so speeds I use on my 10 speed Zee cassette.
  • 1 0
 I love bikes have gotten so good over the past 5 years (thru-axles, better braking systems, better drivetrain ranges, wider tires, awesome suspension), yet the majority of riders are still the same fat-ass armchair quarterbacks.
  • 1 0
 Guys at Phil Wood told me "It took us so long to do a 10sp hub, we went ahead and did 13sp just to be a few ahead"
They should have done 14 and seal the deal in all even number glory.
brimages.bikeboardmedia.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/IMG_3086.jpg
  • 1 0
 The article has merit. The same principle applies in many industries, but I believe it is more related to the product development cycle than numerology.

Marketing is always pushing for innovation, but good, true innovation takes time. So often things are pushed to market before they're fully ready, then after being released, they get refined and the next iteration is substantially better. Version 1 - pretty good, but we had to get something out the door. Version 2 - rock solid, a refined model of version 1. Version 3 - half baked attempt at innovation, Version 4 refines the rushed release and gets it right.

As for bikes, I still ride a 8spd bike, 2 9's and now a 10. The 9's are constantly requiring tinkering to work properly. Whereas the 10 needs only occasional adjustment… but I don't think I have adjusted or even serviced the 8spd in years and it runs the smoothest of all my bikes.
  • 1 0
 considering that mountain bike cassettes are not bound by mathematics, in the sense your argument tries to portray them as, this argument "even #'s conform better than odd #'s" is bogus. That argument/theory is based around mathematics, patterns and sequences, not a simple drive-train cassette...
  • 3 0
 When they said they would only accept print quality content online I scratched my head - but now I know what they meant.

@RC great work, still waiting on my interview :-)
  • 1 0
 Make some 9speed clutch rear dérailleur and some if that narrow wide chain rings but for the double chain ring sets ,and that would be enough for me ,because people always are complaining about front dérailleurs ,don't know why ?cause the eleven speed jumps on the cassette are too big for a real quick shifting up or down. And start making the inverted rear dérailleurs ,because they can change speeds like no other (at least the xtr).
  • 1 0
 Ok RC, if current bike engineers are talking about clearance in fractions of millimeters with current 11 speed drivetrains, then how in the world is a 12 speed ever going to work?? We've pretty much stretched the limits of narrow wide chainrings- if the chainline gets pushed any farther out when in your lowest/highest gear, you may end with some chain retention problems. Just a thought.
  • 2 0
 fuzzwuzz ^^^ Because 11 speed has stretched the old standards to the breaking point, the addition of another one or two cassette cogs would be more problematic than beneficial, unless the entire drivetrain and related frame features were redesigned to accommodate the package. Beyond the hocus pocus, historically, the stable drivetrains more often marked development cycles when there were significant changes in frame standards and drivetrain components, rather than a large number of minor improvements to squeeze in another casssette cog. Twelve speed represents an opportunity to reconsider the entire equation: hub and frame widths, crankarm offset, BB width, chainring location, chain design, and cassette design - all in a manner that will make room for additional improvements in the future - and I think that the industry as a whole is willing to make that happen.
  • 1 0
 My 9 speed has been running great although I was hesitant to give up my 8 speed thumbshifters back in the early days. Didn't really matter because they still worked with 9 speed. Last year I built a new bike and kept my 9 speed drivetrain because I wasn't ready for a 2x10 and was holding out for Shimano's 1x11. Maybe I better wait another year. Just retired the 8 speed on my commuter bike. Went with the sturmey archer 2 speed kickback hub. No cables, no fuss. Works great and I have a bailout gear for the big hill. I expect it will be running for many more years.
  • 1 0
 What a load of rubbish. If you chuck a live frog in boiling water, it dies. It doesn't jump out and run away. Besides frogs don't run, they hop. How about doing some research. Well that's all I got from the article because the rest was shit.
  • 1 0
 I agree with the fact that 9speed SHIMANO drive trains are not always a good idea and that SRAM kicks ass on the 9 speed teritory. On the 10 speed front, the contenders seem fairly even.

In our area, running 1x is complicated because of the speed/hig revs that a 30/32 ring gives, so we run 2x in 9 or 10 speed crancks 22/24-36/38 paired to long range cassettes 11-36/39T.

I've already gone through 2 aluminum cassettes that broke because of the high torque, so i went steel with a 3x durability KMC chain & running X0 gripshifters paired to a 10speed SLX RD+. Works like a charm and you can climb pretty much anything !

Marketing is a nice "science" but most is BS.

Keep riding, the rest is chatter !
  • 1 0
 Still rocking a 9spd XO mech/x9 shifter, 32t chainring, no issues other than id like a clutch mech.

Honestly, 11cogs is silly, get the "right" range for you, and stick with it. Whether it be a a oneUP cassette or whatever. more is not always better as RC said!

I'd take reliability over more gears any day.
  • 2 0
 9 speed sram drivetrains rock, 10 speed is brutally hard to keep tuned. I disagree with this points, otherwise great article.
  • 1 0
 i have played with my 10 speed like twice since set up half a year ago. zee mechs are the bomb
  • 1 0
 had some bad experience with the sram 10 speed stuff
  • 1 0
 Reading this article I get the feeling a) 12 speed is around the corner and b) it will require a longer freehub body (thus not requiring even thinner cogs/chain) and thus wider hub = another new standard.
  • 1 0
 Interesting take on it. Going to wider cassettes does present the problem of what to do with the hub width; you could always push in rather than out, but that would make the wheel less stable. But the real issue I see with wider hubs is that even with the current 11 speed hubs, you're already pushing it a bit on chainline angle at the extremes; a wider hub would make that worse.

1x11 seems to satisfy most riders' need for range. Those who need more now have Shimano 2x11 with front derailleurs that suck less than ever before. So that's not all bad. I think adding even more sprockets to rear cassettes is seriously running into diminishing returns; I run ghetto 1x10 (26T front, 11-36 rear, on a 29er), and for recreational riding, that's just fine (yep, I would like a wee bit more range, but not enough to upgrade to 1x11, even using the new Shimano stuff that would allow me to keep my current hub and not put a new driver on - that money would be worth more to me in other upgrades to the bike).
  • 2 0
 RC - If most PB riders grew up on 10 speeds, I must be old. I enjoyed the history within this posting. Keep it up, regardless of what those youngsters say about you.
  • 2 0
 its great. i have a 10 speed mech and a shifter than can go down 2 gears at once. basically i have a very over engineered 5 speed Big Grin
  • 1 1
 what utter bollocks. ive had all the shimano variants mentioned and sadly some sram. ive found shimano to be reliably superior every time and still have a bike with the supposedly terrible 9sp working beautifully. 10minutes of my life wasted which I'll never get back. RC please getback to your usual high standards...
  • 3 0
 yay! gotta get that 12th!
  • 3 0
 So... explain 1x drive trains.... odd number? Soon to be gone? LOL
  • 3 0
 Can't wait to see the new 0x drivetrain protos at the next Interbike!
  • 6 0
 I'm sure the industry will find a way to reinvent 2x and make it a 'must have' and a 'game changer' LOL
  • 3 0
 @gtrguy - something along the lines of 'Hammershit' 2.0
  • 1 0
 I thought the Hammerschmidt concept was interesting but no experience with it at all... was/is it any good?? Seemed like more stuff to maintain and break to me...
  • 1 0
 Heavy and poorly executed. Schlumpf drive ftw, no shifter and a bigger range.
  • 1 0
 8 speeds is all a mann needs. Imagine a "ala-cart build your own cassette" with 10sp tech. I dislike clicking through a bunch of gears.
  • 4 1
 Gear box bikes are the future?
  • 1 1
 I would go to an internally geared bike way before I would even considered a gearbox bike.
  • 3 0
 Internally geared = gearbox to me ??? same thing just mounted in the wheel....... putting weight out the back.... and harder to get at......

Just my 2cents :-/
  • 2 0
 yah, sounds heavy and more difficult to work on.
  • 1 0
 If they're anything like the alfine then you can keep the damn things. Horrible to ride in my experience.
  • 3 0
 ^^ Lol never had the pleasure of ring one.

You wouldnt want that big heavy hub on the back of any proper (offroad) Mtb, especially a full suss!

I like where Nicolai is at with there pinion gearbox, I cant wait till that tech trickles down to my pricepoint :-)

Being brought up on motorsports, the gearbox (or any gears) should be connected directly to the powerplant anyway... ???
  • 2 0
 Pinion all the way. You'd never notice any extra weight near the BB:
www.best-bike-parts.de/images/product_images/popup_images/Pinion_team.jpg
  • 1 0
 Is an internally geared bike heavier than a gearbox. Or at that heavier than the cassette+deraileur? I have been wrong before but I don't think it would be after more money was put into development. I really just want to see a bike with a super clean belt drive and no visible gears. Lightweight with clean lines.
  • 1 0
 TBH I dont know enough specifics to compare weights, but if you have to add weight to a bike you want it as close to the center of gravity as possible.
For riding on smooth roads I wouldnt of thought its an issue and the clean lines do look good!

@JesseE
That looks slick as ****
  • 1 0
 @Dopeslope Yeah, that bike looks freakin' badass.

fat-bike.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/29-plus-bikes-at-nahbs-299.jpg

@HaydenBeck I have no real experience with gear boxes or internal hubs, but I can barely notice a kg of water connected to my frame, so I'm gonna say the weight of a gear box would be negilgible to me. Also, a friend has been riding with a Rohloff on his Blur for years, and he loves it. Thing has a foolishly easy granny, 14 grears, and seems to be going strong years later. I'm at a point where a rear derailleur is getting sloppy after a couple seasons, and this guy rides more than me. Price is the only thing holding people back, really. It's hard to commit all the extra money upfront, but I think over years it would end up being close to buying multiple dr/shifter combos.
  • 1 0
 Honestly, if it feels like an alfine at the cranks you can keep the thing, it was like the chain was elastic... However if it is tight and snappy then go for it
  • 1 1
 Pinion P1.12 it has 12 gears, solves all this boost plus size krafafel and I'm guessing has the same efficiency as regular drivetrain after a few puddles.
  • 1 0
 Wait I recant my last statement. I cannot wait till the phrenology bust comes out to tells us what kind of bike we should ride. -Just Sayin
  • 1 0
 I would still be riding 8 speed if my new bike didn't come with a 10 speed drive-train. I honestly can't tell the difference.
  • 1 0
 I guess innovation would have been a CVT type or other internal gearbox, rather than stuffing more gears into the same sized space... May we someday achieve this.
  • 1 0
 comparisons might be legitimate after another 5 years of 11's are around,when we have 10.5 and 9.25's obviously are the next best thing to go with the new boost xl
  • 1 0
 Hell, I'm still miffed that gripshift doesn't work with Shimano 10 speed. Little levers.....blah...... but my 10 speed XT upgrade is soon to be here, so..........
  • 2 0
 love me some original XTR 8 sp. nothing has worked as well since. just sayin....
  • 1 0
 I think Rapid rise would have been great if somehow they swapped the way the shifter paddles worked. That way you wouldn't had to relearn how to shift.
  • 1 1
 Can I put the frog in the cold water and quickly pick up the heat??? or do you have to slowly increase the heat so
the little guy don't jump out?

-I'm so trying this at home!
  • 2 0
 Well there you have it. Odd numbers for mountain bikes aren't good.
Good bye 29er wheels!! 26 all the way!! : p
  • 1 0
 2x front chainrings is the ultimate solution to this numerology shit. Multiply anything by 2 and you get a holy EVEN drivetrain.
  • 2 0
 Love the Douglas(?) Neidermayer reference from Animal House: "...and Shimano shifters were worthless and weak."
  • 4 2
 666 speed is all you need!
  • 3 1
 Wat. Also, everyone is in italics. At least on mobile.
  • 1 0
 ^^^Not on my android, Do you have an iphone? Anyone else get Italics?
  • 1 0
 Android here. And I wish I'd screenshot it. Gone now. Probably Chrome beta doing its usual weird stuff.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for flagging it Rewob. We just reprogrammed much of the code we use in order to make PB more smartphone and tablet friendly. It was a huge effort, and we are still debugging some of the changes, We need input like that. THX RC
  • 2 0
 That cooked frog analogy was the real high point for me. Perfection.
  • 1 0
 good news! my xt/wolftooth 1x10 hack is going to work better than a dedicated 1x11 drivetrain because RC says so...yay
  • 1 0
 I still use 9 speed shimano.. always worked great. Even with a 10 speed clutch deralleur and a sram shifter.
  • 1 0
 I don't want 11spd cassette, 10spd works perfectly fine for me. I was disappointed when I heard Shimano moved up to 11spd.
  • 1 0
 weak sauce. 9speed was bomb. cheap, paired great with two rings and reliable as hell. Wheres Potsy and Ralph Mouth?
  • 2 0
 So the new wheel sizes will be 30', 28', and 26.66
  • 2 0
 im ready for 26.66 \m/
  • 1 1
 Bring the hate, but electric bicycle motors, are going to impact the whole isue of gears- how many, and ratios. Not saying its good or bad but lithium ion is on its way.
  • 1 0
 It's really not a huge issue though, it's more of a.... Who knows.
  • 1 0
 With kingpins like Specialized, Raleigh, Trek, Felt, and Polaris(who happens to have realy deap pockets) jumping on board the electric mtb idea, all with the intent of NOT selling trail destroying horse power machines, but instead with easy climbing abillity, and getting more customers in the dirt resulting in more bikes being sold. It will be compairable to e-cigarettes. They may not own the market, but the impact will be felt. I belive within 2 years Pinkbike, and media like it will be reviewing e-mtb's to our like or hate. The fall out will effect every component on our bikes but because of the motors, drive train will get the most impact.
  • 1 0
 this so reminds me of my road days mixing famous Guitar players. More than a few were treated to my 1-11 volume decals.
  • 3 1
 That was a big bag of WTF.
  • 1 0
 Yes, shimano 8 speed was awesome. So much more reliable than any drivetrain I've had since.
  • 2 0
 I'll smoke what he's smoking.
  • 1 0
 Basically this is the reason why 29er struggle and 27.5 is marketed as 650b
  • 1 0
 p1.18? Even number success?
  • 7 8
 Well that's 10mins of my life I won't get back !!
I'm all for articles on anything but rampage, but really !!!! Ed - please try harder to entertain us Smile
  • 2 0
 Over 9000!!!
  • 1 1
 At this rate, 12speed is not far behind. A fool and his money will soon be parted!
  • 1 0
 I thing I know what they're trying to say. We need 12 speed now!
  • 2 0
 This article is the lube to get us ready for the inevitable....
  • 1 0
 Vasi-tech?
  • 1 0
 And to think i just switched back from 10 to 9speed... Blank Stare
  • 1 0
 "Most Pinkbike riders grew up on ten-speed cassettes"
Huh?
  • 1 0
 is there an executive summary cant read all this
  • 1 0
 don't worry it was nonsense
  • 1 0
 1x10 (with a 42t cog). Sorted!
  • 1 0
 1x10 with a 28t up front working great for me
  • 1 1
 Coming soon, Shimano 12-pack
  • 1 0
 Actually, 11 is the most powerful number according numerology. It is two number 1's.
  • 1 0
 Bring back rapid rise!
  • 2 2
 CVT?
  • 2 0
 Continuously variable transmission, basically a gearbox with a range of gain ratios rather than stepped ones, imagine replacing the rear block with a cone and using a friction shifter. I haven't seen a design that isn't horribly inefficient, although I'm happy to be proved wrong.
  • 1 2
 Yes...Let someone else dictate what you think. Seriously ???
  • 2 2
 TL/DR

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