Why Are We Using 12-Speed Drivetrains? - The Explainer

Jul 14, 2020 at 12:45
by Mike Levy  


THE EXPLAINER

Why Are We Using 12-Speed Drivetrains?




There’s one topic that’s almost guaranteed to earn a collective groan from mountain bikers everywhere: That the newest drivetrain that has yet one more gear. But despite comment sections filled with varying degrees of suspicion and discontent any time another cog is added to the stack, here we are in 2020 with 12-speed cassettes that I don’t think many of us were asking for...

So, what’s the deal with these 12-speed drivetrains? What did they give us, and what did they cost us?


SRAM, Shimano, and 12 Cogs

To talk 12-speed, we'll first need to take one step backward to May of 2012 when SRAM released their 11-speed XX1 single-ring drivetrain. Clever mountain bikers around the globe had been building their own single-ring drivetrains for years, of course, but this was the first off-the-shelf, purpose-built system designed around just one chainring. Truth be told, SRAM's current Eagle 12-speed drivetrain is only possible due to solutions that were first proven by that XX1 11-speed setup. This includes the completely new rear derailleur that was designed around a single chainring, the narrow-wide chainring tooth shape that helps to keep the chain on, and the XD freehub that allowed for the 10-42 tooth cassette and its 420-percent range.


SRAM XX1 at Whistler. Photo by Adrian Marcoux.
SRAM's single-ring, 11-speed XX1 was released in 2012 and completely changed the drivetrain landscape.


SRAM’s 11-speed drivetrain was around for four years when 12-speed XX1 was released in 2016 under the Eagle name. The new Eagle drivetrain offered a wild-for-the-time 50-tooth large cog and a 500-percent range. If 11-speed didn’t quite kill the front derailleur, SRAM’s 12-speed was the headshot that finished them off.

And you know the folks at Shimano weren’t just sitting on their hands during all this, right? Of course not, they were working on stuff the whole time; it just took ‘em a bit longer. In May of 2018, Shimano released their first 12-speed mountain bike group, XTR M9100. Why two years after SRAM? Well, they might disagree with my assessment, but to me it looks Shimano spent a lot of time and money working on their two- and three-ring front derailleur drivetrains while SRAM was beavering away on their single-ring systems. Shimano always had the best front shifting in the game, but I think we know how much that matters these days...


SRAM Eagle XX1
SRAM's original XX1 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain from 2016 used technology first proven on their 11-speed single-ring system years earlier.
Shimano XTR M9100 review
Shimano's 12-speed XTR debuted a few years after SRAM's XX1 Eagle system.


That new XTR 12-speed drivetrain included an all-new ‘Micro Spline’ freehub to allow for the 10-51 tooth cassette that offers a 510-percent range, a single-ring-specific derailleur, as well as a chain and all the other expected bits.

These days both SRAM and Shimano have added less expensive 12-speed drivetrains to their catalogs, but there are other ways to run 12 cogs, as well as a countless number of smaller companies offering range-expanding add-on cogs, derailleur modifications, and other things. But for this, we’re just gonna stick to the two big players: SRAM and Shimano.


What's the Difference Between 11-Speed and 12-Speed?

Besides one cog and one click, 11 and 12-speed drivetrains differ by gearing range and tiny but very important measurements. Let’s look at their respective ranges first, which is how wide of a spread you’re getting with a single chainring. Also, we’re only comparing stock drivetrains here, not add-on bits that would further confuse my grade 8-level math skills.


SRAM GX Eagle Expansion
Want to ride up the side of your house? SRAM's new 10-52 tooth cassette provides a whopping 520-percent range, so you might be able to.


SRAM’s 11-speed 10-42 cassette offered a huge-sounding 420-percent range in 2012, but that’s now dwarfed by the 500-percent range that their 10-50 tooth 12-speed cassette supplies. As their competitor, Shimano’s 12-speed drivetrain can be used with their 10-51 tooth cassette, one more tooth than SRAM, for a 510-percent range. Without a front derailleur and small granny ring, your range has to come from your cassette, of course, which is why cogs keep getting bigger on one end and smaller on the other.

That’s why we started with a 42-tooth large cog on that original 11-speed single-ring XX1 group, but its 420-percent range wasn’t quite wide enough for many riders. These days we have 50-something-tooth cogs that supply a range that topping 500-percent.

It’s the same on the opposite end of the stack, too, with the 10-tooth cog helping to make up for you not having a big chainring to shift into.


SRAM Eagle XX1
SRAM's original XX1 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain from 2016 used technology first proven on their 11-speed single-ring system years earlier.
Shimano XTR M9100 review
Shimano's 12-speed XTR debuted a few years after SRAM's XX1 Eagle system.


So many numbers, but there’s still a lot more to come: I know you guys are just dying to talk about chain width and cog spacing, right? Yeah, me too.

First, let’s go way back to 8-speed chains for some perspective - they were a full 7mm wide at the rivet, which is 2mm skinnier than a single-speed chain. A 9-speed chain is 6.5-7mm wide, while a 10-speed chain is 6mm wide. Chains meant to work with 11-speed drivetrains are 5.5mm wide, and 12-speed chains are the narrowest at 5.3mm at the rivet.

You probably know why chains have gotten skinnier as the number of cogs increased: SRAM and Shimano are squeezing more cogs into the same amount of space between the spokes and the frame, so the cogs have to be narrower and closer together. It doesn’t sound like there’s much difference between a 9-speed and 12-speed chain - it’s just a bit over a millimeter - but the two aren’t compatible at all. If you want to know more about chains, this Explainer episode has got you covered.


Shimano XTR M9100 review
Cog spacing is different between 12, 11, 10-speed drivetrains, which means you need to use the right chain for the right number of cogs.


Modern drivetrains are precise systems designed to work as complete ecosystems. If you used a 9 or 10-speed chain on a 12-speed drivetrain, you’d likely find that it works poorly; each click of the shifter moves the derailleur a very precise amount, and both the width and shape of that 12-speed chain is designed to interact with the 12-speed cogs and the very precise amount of space between them. 11, 10, 9, and 8-speed chains are too wide and will interfere with the neighbouring cogs, keeping it from shifting properly. I know this guy (okay, it might have been me) who installed an 11-speed chain on a 12-speed drivetrain, and yeah, it worked okay-ish as there’s just 0.2mm difference in chain width, but it was also noisier than usual and was never bang-on.

But can you go the other way? What happens when you use a 12-speed chain on an 11-speed drivetrain? Not much, to be honest, with it working just fine but feeling like it’s only 95% as good as it could be because the chain is a tiny bit narrower and doesn't interact with cogs as intended.


Staff Rides - Mike Levy s Rocky Mountain Element
Shimano's XTR derailleur, SRAM's 11-speed XX1 cassette, cranks from Race Face, a KMC chain, and zero headaches. Brands would prefer that you don't mix and match, but that doesn't mean a Franken-drivetrain won't work well if you choose your parts wisely.


They definitely don’t like it when you do this, but you can also mix and match Shimano’s 12-speed components with those from SRAM. Their 12-speed shifters pull slightly different amounts of cable with each click - 3.65mm for SRAM and 3.5mm for Shimano - which means that pairing a shifter from one company with a derailleur from another isn’t quite ideal. But I do know this guy (yes, me again) who did exactly that and everything worked just fine. You can also play with chains, cassettes, cranks, and chainrings until you lose your mind.

Disclaimer time: all of the above works-ish, but you’ll always get the best results when you keep the ecosystems together as intended. Don't go blaming me (or the manufacturers) for your bad shifting or worn out parts.


What Did 12-Speed Give Us?

So, why do they keep adding cogs, especially as everyone seems to get so mad when they do? And how come we’re up to twelve of them? The answer is pretty straightforward, and it has nothing to do with “planned obsolescence” or a secret derailleur cabal that runs the world. That’d be way more interesting. Below are the main reasons we have 12 cogs instead of 6 or 8 or 10.

We already covered the first one: If you want the range, which most riders do, and don’t have a front derailleur and multiple chainrings, the cassette needs to have a really big cog to have an easy gear and a really small cog to have a hard gear. That’s why many 12-speed cassettes start at 10-teeth and go up to more than 50-teeth.


Box One
Box's 11-50 tooth cassette offers a wide range via a 9-speed system, but the difference between each gear is larger than what you'll find with an 11 or 12-speed cassette. Depending on how you ride, that may or may not matter to you.


I know what you’re saying to the screen right now: “But Levy, why can’t we have a 6, 8, or 10-speed cassette with 10 and 50-tooth cogs? That way we’d still have a wide range, but drivetrains would be far less finicky because the cassette spacing isn’t as tight?

And you wouldn’t be wrong.

Unfortunately, our legs are attached to our brains, and our brains want our legs to spin at a certain cadence, or RPM, that feels right to us. Like a car with a manual transmission, you need to shift to the right gear otherwise your legs will be spinning too fast - your cadence will be too high - or you’ll end up bogging down - your cadence is too slow. You all know that already, but you might not know that a lot of riders are really picky about their cadence, and a difference of one or two teeth can actually feel pretty drastic, especially if you’re the type of rider who covers a lot of ground and thinks about such things.


Eagle AXS XX1 review
The more cogs you use, the smaller the jumps between each gear. That will provide a more natural feeling cadence.


I get to use different 12-speed drivetrains while riding different test bikes, but I put a wide-range 8-speed eMTB cassette on the Grim Donut. It shifts well, but the jumps between cogs feel HUGE to my legs. Back to cars for a second: Old transmissions often had just three or four speeds, whereas some modern cars can have ten-speed transmissions that improve efficiency and performance because the car can be in a more ideal gear for the speed that it's traveling at. Same thing with bikes!

Granted, that won’t matter to a lot of riders who don’t care about things like cadence or having to walk up the hill.

Also, SRAM and Shimano definitely care about who offers the most cogs and the most range. The upside is that we have two companies competing against each other to make better drivetrains that offer more capability than ever before. But I wonder what we’d be using today if they had spent the last twenty years perfecting an 8-speed drivetrain instead of always wanting to add another cog?

Regardless, 12-speed has given us the ability to have both a very wide range and relatively small, natural feeling jumps between each gear. And with the help of that original XX1 11-speed group, the modern 12-speed drivetrain has also killed the front derailleur for good. Hopefully. If you’re watching this in 2040 and front derailleurs have made a comeback, I don’t know what to say.

We’re also told that not having to consider front derailleurs means that clever engineers can make frames stronger and stiffer, and we can have more tire clearance. And not having a front derailleur can also mean improved suspension performance, especially under pedaling loads, because the forces the drivetrain puts into it are more consistent.


Adding cogs is a surefire way to make some readers angry, as these comments below the XX1 Eagle First Look article show.


What Did 12-Speed Cost Us?

Okay, so 12-speed is obviously the one and only reason for you having a good ride, but it must have some drawbacks, right?

For one, squeezing 12 cogs into the same space that used to fit 11, 10, and 9 cogs means that everything needs to be more precise. If you bent your 9-speed derailleur or hanger just a little bit, you might never even notice. But do the same thing to your 12-speed drivetrain and you’re bound to get some tick, tick, tick noises at best, or shitty shifting at worst.

SRAM and Shimano are building far better derailleurs than they used to, no matter what anyone says. They’re using better materials, better methods, and tighter tolerances. On top of that, derailleur hangers aren’t made of warm cheddar cheese anymore, so they’re way less likely to bend. All that means better shifting... Most of the time; there’s no getting around the fact that 12 cogs have to be closer together than 8, 9, 10, or 11, making it more susceptible to going out of adjustment.

Another thing I’ve heard many times is how a narrower chain must be weaker than a wider chain. Is there any truth to that? Is a 9-speed chain ''stronger'' than a 12-speed chain?

All testing points towards modern 12 and 11-speed chains having more tensile strength than older, wider chains that featured less advanced materials and construction. On top of that, things like flush pins (how they sit on the outer plate) and better tolerances also help, and 12-speed chains all have to pass that Euro ISO standard that means they’re more than strong enough, no matter how many squats you did during the quarantine.


SRAM Eagle AXS XX1 review
SRAM's wireless AXS and Shimano's XTR drivetrains aren't cheap, but you can get a 12-speed system for as little as $300 USD these days.


Okay fine, but high-end 12-speed drivetrains surely cost way more than 11-speed high-end drivetrains did, right? I mean, it sure feels like things have gotten crazy expensive.

Well, in 2011 an XTR two-chainring drivetrain group would cost you $1,495 USD, which is about $1,700 today. In 2020, Shimano’s 12-speed XTR drivetrain sells for a bit under $1,500. So the latest XTR drivetrain is actually less expensive than the one that came before it.

What’s SRAM been up to? Their XX1 11-speed started at $1,449 USD in 2016, which is $1,650 today. In 2020, the XX1 12-speed costs $1,500. Just like XTR, 12-speed XX1 is actually less expensive than 11-speed XX1.

Not only that, but you can also find many of the fanciest groups’ main selling features, like the wide range and shift quality, on SRAM and Shimano’s less expensive drivetrains. You just saw Shimano launch their new Deore group that costs around $300 - that’s for an entire 12-speed drivetrain! SRAM’s NX 12-speed kit goes for $375 USD, and their newest GX 12-speed drivetrain is $545 dollars.


12-Speed Drivetrains: Good or Bad?

Scroll through the comment section under any drivetrain article and you're bound to see riders eulogizing the so-called 'good ol' days' of fewer cogs and fewer problems, but the facts tell a very different story.

Modern 12-speed drivetrains supply both a very wide range and efficient, natural feeling jumps from gear to gear, something that fewer cogs aren't able to do. And thanks to improved materials and tolerances, they're also much more reliable overall, even if they can be a little finicky compared to those 8 and 9-speed systems. 12-speed drivetrains pretty much killed the front derailleur as well, especially after 11-speed showed that maybe we didn't need them after all. That also made drivetrains and frames lighter to boot. And finally, while you can spend a few grand on an XTR or wireless AXS system, you can also get a 12-speed drivetrain for as little as $300 USD, meaning that almost every rider has access to better shifting and more range than ever before.


Where would you like to see drivetrains go in the future: Should SRAM and Shimano keep adding cogs, or should their focus be on something else?



Previous Explainer episodes:
Episode 1 - What's the Deal with Linkage Forks?
Episode 2 - Carbon Fiber Leaf Springs
Episode 3 - What's the Deal with Chains?
Episode 4 - What's the Deal with Cross-Country Racing?
Episode 5 - The Basics of Modern Mountain Bike Geometry


450 Comments

  • 192 5
 First comment here..... but last to the top of the mountain on my 52 tooth cog
  • 132 0
 "Last to the top, first to the bottom" pinkbike stickers?
give me your entire stock!
  • 48 2
 I remember when I first went to a 1x setup back in 2009 and had to run 32x36...had to be fast/strong or walk Frown
  • 57 0
 @gserrato: That is a killer idea!
  • 8 0
 @NorCalNomad: some of my homies still ride that setup!!
  • 8 0
 @NorCalNomad: haha I moded up my nukeproof with one up and I had 34x40! yeah baby Smile that was not issue though I was training for xc race those days using 3x9 hardtail with front something like 40x32x24. never used on training less than 40. imagine me usually slow guy zipping up the hill on 34 front like it was nothing. good times. nowadays I really enjoy eagle. I am not in rush uphill. I love to go fast downhill Big Grin fastish. I am nearly 50 oh shit. just realised my age...
  • 5 0
 @NorCalNomad: I had a 32x32. Those days weren’t easy!
  • 6 1
 @mikelevy: Your Oil-slick Flava Flav chainring necklace matches perfectly with your gold tooth!
  • 17 74
flag Session603 (Jul 16, 2020 at 14:05) (Below Threshold)
 @TW80: Flava Flav necklace!? Sounds like cultural appropriation to me.

Atone for your whiteness, Levy.

PB staff: I demand immediate termination of Mike Levy's employment and financial compensation for the pain he caused.

Apologize for being complicit, TW80. Light-hearted laughter is violence.
  • 2 4
 @Session603: hmmm... interesting. Noticing and comparing one's choice of jewelry to an iconic hip hop artist's similarities in fashion and in turn being accused of cultural appropriation is a way/your way of looking at it.

Unless I am incorrectly reading your reply...

So no apology given.
  • 3 0
 @NorCalNomad: in 2020 noffin is rong wif fffad
  • 10 26
flag duzzi (Jul 16, 2020 at 16:11) (Below Threshold)
 Why we use 12 speed? Because manufacturers want to sell stuff and places like Pinkbike find specious arguments in their thinly vailed commercials to encourage people to buy! buy! buy! buy!

After a decades we have reached the point were a 1x is heavier than an old 3x, and carries a large amount of range that you do not need. Really: a 500% plus range and 12 gears are not necessary to ride a MTB!!!!! They are actually detrimental.

I used a 1048 Garbaruk 11 speed and now mostly go 1042. I might get a 1046 Garbaruk 11 speed next and be very happy.
  • 4 6
 @TW80: Seems absurd, doesn't it?
  • 12 3
 @Session603: You are a moron
  • 5 17
flag Session603 (Jul 16, 2020 at 18:10) (Below Threshold)
 @SLBIKES: That seems mean-spirited.

Hopefully someday, when this pandemic is over, we can grease up and wrestle out our differences.

Don't forget, we're all in this together.
  • 2 0
 @NorCalNomad: and on 26"?!
  • 4 0
 @colobro: Smaller wheels require less torque. :/ I'd hate to run that ratio on a 29" wheel enduro bike.
  • 3 7
flag streetkvnt-kvlt (Jul 16, 2020 at 21:44) (Below Threshold)
 As much as I am loathe to admit because I hate front derailleurs. Sram front derailleurs were better than Shimano's were.
  • 8 0
 @NorCalNomad:

Still run 1x9 on my bikes. Saint derailleurs still work so why not lol. 32 and 11-34 lol.
  • 2 0
 Just because you can't, doesn't mean you don't have to - SRAM.
  • 5 0
 "Climb anywhere slower" could be the slogan for the new 52tooth
  • 6 0
 The question is what happens next. A 10-60 13 speed? Cheaper wireless?
Or nothing, because e-bikes do not need 10-50 in the first place?
  • 4 0
 @Thecolterrgeist: i did until just last week. My brother keeps asking why i go up hills in 4th gear and im like oh yeh, i have 3 granny gears ???? hard to break habits
  • 2 0
 You would be a lot faster without the weight of that 10-52 cassette.
  • 2 0
 @NorCalNomad: I recently moved to 34x42 from 36x36 in my trail 29. I'm tempted to go back to 36 in front because going fast is good but you either go fast or you die.
  • 1 0
 @eurospek: easier to do in the flat midwest Wink
  • 2 0
 @SLBIKES: could it be that he was actually joking and you’re the moron for being so easily triggered?
  • 8 8
 @thenotoriousmic: All this drivetrain talk and nobody is concerned about the problematic term "bike chain"? Maybe all of the white privilege around here has made all of you hetronormative oppressors forget that chains are a symbol of slavery. Everyone using a chain on their bike is advancing the white power structure. Sleep well, bigots.
  • 1 0
 @Session603: chainless mass protest lap down A line for a good charity?
  • 1 0
 @donatmtb: dude at 50 you will have 500% more experience than a ten year old, at least we have that to look forward to
  • 1 0
 @NorCalNomad: Good to be Estrong and Fast!
  • 121 20
 Unless you need a huge cog up front for some reason, 1x11 is just fine. Lighter, more durable, shorter cage...and cheaper now I guess.
Have you ever ridden a 28 tooth chainring with eagle? It'd be faster to carry your bike up the hill than use that granny gear. Youre pretty much doing a trackstand at that point.
  • 33 2
 I had 30t w/ 10-42 11 speed and got around just fine.

Now I have 30t w 10-50t 12 speed. I get around slightly slower but I can spin at a more comfortable cadence up the steep stuff.

You're right though, when I'm trying to ride a tricky uphill tech section, I'm usually a gear or two down from the 50t otherwise you're moving too slow.
  • 9 2
 Ya i was on 28t on 1x11 and it was a bit ridiculous... I now have eagle and I definitely use the 50t sometimes but very rarely, and that's with a 32t chain ring. I cannot imagine climbing with a 28t on a 52t cog. Are you even moving at that point?
  • 10 2
 You really do adapt to whatever your setup is. I used to run 36t up front with my 10-42 spread out back and it was fine (27.5 wheels)
  • 150 10
 Haha, there's so much chest thumping going on around here. I'm going to raise my hand and say that I like 12-speed drivetrains. I regularly use that 50- or 51-tooth cog with a 32-tooth ring up front, and I don't feel guilty at all when I do. Now if they can just figure out how to make a shorter cage derailleur to work with that big cassette...
  • 15 4
 @mikekazimer: All the bikes you ride are also like 37 pounds on average
  • 5 0
 My wife really loves it on long climbs. We can,t have all superman legs.
  • 38 2
 @me2menow, true. If Levy would quit hogging all the downcountry bikes I'd still be happy with 12-speeds - I'd just run a 34 tooth ring instead.
  • 21 3
 @mikekazimer: here in the midlands UK we have some nice techy climbs you’d probably quite enjoy - impossible rock slabs and uphill rock gardens in the Peak District etc. I remember approaching one in particular with a new 11-42 cassette thinking “yeahhh what you sayin now you rocky twat” and to my surprise discovered that it was no easier with a lower gear (and I grew up riding trials). This theme continued and I just ran the cassette at 3rd gear most of the time because it seems momentum trumps all on these kinda sections and I even seem to conserve energy on longer climbs with a slower cadence.
I’m kinda glad to have the bail out when I’m about to bonk but...I’m quite happy with a smaller, lighter cassette.
No bravado. I really think using a smaller cassette is a better way to do mtb.
But then I don’t have “real mountains” etc etc.
  • 23 1
 Two very important factors are left out of this article: efficiency and antisquat.

Anti-squat: since eagle has taken over, most frame manufacturers are optimizing their suspension kinematics for a 32- 34 tooth chainrings since 95% of high end bikes today will be sold with a 50+ tooth granny cog. E*13's 9-44 tooth cassette is peak size IMHO, but if you put a 28 tooth ring on the latest crop of bikes the suspension will not perform as intended.

Efficiency: On 12 speed systems, the largest cogs are dished out over the spokes, creating a worse lateral angle and dramatically increasing friction and drag, to the point where the lowest few gears are less efficient than a Rolhoff and comparable to a pinion. This is why I ordered a box prime 9 (and to get larger jumps between gears)
  • 14 0
 @mikekazimer: I love my XTR 12 speed “cadence” cassette. 10-45 in smooth consistent increments, and a cage that’s a full 29mm shorter. Best of all worlds
  • 6 2
 Not everyone wants something that is “just fine” haha literally the whole point here
  • 23 1
 I recently realized how pointless my 12 speed eagle set up is and how much more I enjoyed the less frequent shifting and reliability of the 11 speed set up. #11speedaintdead
  • 31 3
 I ride 28t up front with Eagle and for my trails, I'm glad to have it. Yes, it's slow, but it's steep. . .and I'm outa' shape. Sure some hikers pass me but I pedal regardless and that's fine by me. Thanks SRAM Eagle. Helping fat old guys not walk no matter what since. . .whenever.
  • 30 5
 I ride six days a week, am in the upper ranks of my local riding scene in terms of fitness, and love having a 30/51 gear. It's great for sustained 15-20% climbs, especially if there are technical bits that require you to redline and then recover for the next technical bit. It also lets you spin more, rather than slow-cadence grunt it out, which makes holding traction in loose climbs easier.

YES that means sometimes going at hiking pace, but, uh, shouldn't a mountain biker prefer riding to walking? I'm happy to be able to fully ride a climb rather than dismount a few times.

Also, someone commented below about keeping your front wheel on the ground...with a steep seat angle and longer chainstays it isn't an issue. I'm on a Nukeproof Mega 290 and struggling to keep the front wheel planted is a thing of the past, even when using my 51t, and I don't even have sit on the nose of the saddle to do it.
  • 8 1
 @mikekazimer: This is one of the reasons I prefer 12 speed. I went from a 30t with GX 11-42 to a 32T with XT 10-51. I've considered going up to a 34. This now gives me more speed on my lower(higher??) gears for when I'm riding downhill or going for road rides for exercise.

Everyone saying to just go 28t on an 11 speed setup are going to have no top end. I have a fatbike with a 28t and I get to top speed to fast.

So I'll take 32/34 with a 12 speed over 28/30 with an 11 speed.
  • 12 1
 I raced a 24 hour with a 28t on Eagle. Was I going slow on the big climb? Yes. Was I still going faster than the people walking their bikes? Also, yes.

I normally run a 32 up front on my E29. It can be a huge struggle on a lot of the climbs I do. But I hate spinning out on some of the occasional fast DH's. It's a compromise I make. But regardless, I still use the entire 10-50 range (or 10-51 on my Shimano bike).
  • 4 0
 @Jurf: Sure we can. Choose to get stronger or choose to stay the same.
  • 1 3
 I run a 1x11 set up on my Steed,, 40 tooth front chain ring and a 10-46 cassette
  • 2 0
 I like my 11 speed just fine. I’m gonna run it until it dies. BUT I tried a 12 speed on a rental last year, and it’s better. Whether shifting up or down, it seems like there’s always one more gear the there. Kind of a bottomless feel.
  • 3 1
 who runs 28/50! That's like running a double transfer case on a 4x4. Ha!
I had a 28/42 on my last bike and feels pretty similar to my 34/50 on current setup.
I've always wondered that the proportion of front teeth vs back teeth impact would be on leverage/torque.
  • 4 1
 But 11 speed ISN'T more durable than 12 speed. 12 speed chains are actually more durable than 11 speed chains, and they are the wear item that really determines how quickly a drivetrain gets worn out.
  • 8 2
 I went back to 11spd and don't plan on ever going back to 12spd. Running 11-46T cassette with a 28T chainring. Gives me the same climbing gear as my 12spd and I haven't missed the extra gear either. Oh, did I mention that it shifts like a dream? Just as we all remember?

As far as I'm concerned, good riddance 12spd!
  • 2 1
 @mountainyj: and then you might as well just run 11 to 46 11 speed. I see no need for 12 speed for 90% of riding. You just need big chain ring to make it useful and that chainring normally only useful on road.
  • 3 1
 @Ryan2949: 32t chainring with 11 to 46 11s is a load of range, would need to go 34 or 36 with eagle unless you have huge steep climbs.
  • 2 0
 I'm fine with 1x11 on my XC bike where I'm typically hammering uphills, but 1x12 is great for longer trail or enduro rides where you want to spin up at a reasonable heart rate on a 29er.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: Are you sure about that? I recall reading somewhere that Nino runs huge chainrings specifically so he's able to use the big cassette cogs after efficiency testing showed the big cogs lose less watts to friction due to lower chain wrap angle.
  • 2 0
 I use 28t with Eagle and like it a lot. I found out that riding slowly when most people are pushing is actually much faster in my type of terrain. Oh, and I hate grinding on hard gears, makes my knees hurt.
  • 2 0
 @Lotusoperandi: with a 28/11 you have zero top end speed—what do you spin out at, low 20s km/h? Maybe that works for technical trails where you live, but on the vast majority of trails I’ve ever ridden you’d be regularly spun out with no top end.

Plus, the XT 11-46 cassette has some terrible gap shifting, especially the big gears. I’ve heard some other brands adjusted the steps but the XT 11sp gap was brutal. I ended up ditching it and going back to 11-42 when it came out (wish they’d made a 44).
  • 1 0
 @gumbytex: exactly this! My Reactor came with the same spec and I couldn't be happier grunting up climbs that were previously next to impossible. Did my 11 spd shift better? Yes.. But the 12 keeps me on the bike longer and gets me to the top faster.
  • 1 0
 @Paddock22: Yeah, That's why I go 32-46. Plenty of spin, but I'll walk up anything that really needs more than that.
  • 3 0
 @hi-dr-nick: I'll take "just fine" over "excessive and heavy with a long ass derailleur cage" personally
  • 1 2
 @me2menow: tell me more about how strong and how valiant you are
  • 2 0
 @hi-dr-nick: Youre reading between lines that dont exist lol
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: 12 speed has me running a 34t chainring these days.

Yeah at times it’s super slow, but I use that for the non technical parts of a climb so I can rest and punch it over the tech stuff.
  • 2 1
 The real question is why we're not1 all riding 13 speed yet. What is wrong with the industry ?!?!?
  • 2 1
 1x11 is the sweet spot.
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: yes well aware of that. Did some of the PB cognoscenti think I was being serious I wonder.
  • 50 1
 As long as we're using chains to move our bikes, 1x was a game changer because it got rid of the front derailleur, simplified shifting, opened up frame and suspension design options, made room for a dropper remote, and most importantly paving the way for chain retention without a chain guide. I remember dropping my chain at least once every ride. Now it hasn't happened in actual years. The range of 1x12 is also legit. Even for very strong riders, certain trails and distances make ~50 tooth rings valuable. Anyone who doesn't think modern drive trains are frankly amazing either hasn't been riding very long or has a short memory.

My question is, why am I carrying around 12 gears? I use the same three (maybe four) gears every ride. I'd like to see the same range simplified down to 9, 7, maybe even 6 gears.
  • 13 1
 THIS. I wish Shimano would come out with an XT level 9 sp (10 max but I'd be cool with Cool with a wide range cassette. I also use the same 3-4 gears most of the time, and I also typically shift 2 gears at a time. I'd be fine with bigger jumps.
  • 40 1
 ...Box Components has entered the chat...
  • 14 0
 @jdeg: I put a box prime 9 on my bike and idk if I'd ever go back to the big players.
  • 1 0
 @jdeg @clint026: I've heard about this but haven't checked out. I need to.
  • 4 0
 I just moved from the MicroSHIFT 9 speed with an 11-42 cassette to the MicroSHIFT 10 speed with an 11-48 cassette, and I’ve been really happy with the spacing between the gears on both. I’m glad they jumped up to 10 speed when they added the larger cog to keep the spacing tight. I think drivetrains that have at least a 46 tooth big cog are really nice to have anywhere with steep climbs, but you don’t need tiny jumps between gears to get that spread.
  • 7 1
 my question is , why don't they make the front super small instead of making the rear so big? wouldn't that save on weight especially unsprung weight? Also personally I would love a 6 speed drive train that just had low to mid range gears and no gears for high top speeds because I usually just coast if am going that fast anyway
  • 4 0
 @will54869: I don't think many people are willing to give up high gear. I know I wouldn't. As is, I think that's already the biggest weakness of 1x12, running out of gearing at top speed.
  • 1 0
 @jdeg: I LOVE the idea of the Box Prime 9 setup, but my fear is that the 3-5 cogs I actually use on my current setup will be the sizes that were eliminated from the Box setup. I guess I should actually pay attention to the cogs I'm using on a few rides then compare that to the box setup and see if I'd be covered. I think what I want is two climbing gears, two fast/on the road gears, and 5 in the middle that only step up 1-2 teeth at a time.
  • 7 0
 @will54869: The problem is that they can't go smaller than 10 teeth on the rear. So to add range to the drivetrain, they have to go bigger on the other end. Then you just pick the chainring that suits your riding and strength.
  • 10 1
 @will54869
then get a dh cassette and run a 26t chainring? nobody is stopping you
  • 2 0
 @will54869: You then lose out on top end range. If you don’t need those big gears, you can always put a smaller cassette on. Assuming they’re available, that is.
  • 3 0
 @jdeg - I really like those box 9 speed drive trains but I've never seen one in the wild and XT is such a known quantity.
  • 3 0
 @will54869: I came to ask the same question. They did just that on BMX bikes. I ran a friggin 34 x 16 on my BMX bike back in the day (late 90s), and nowadays they're like 25 x 8. BMX bikes were always behind the tech curve compared to MTB, so what gives?
  • 6 1
 @gtill9000: Solved that for me. 9 speed sram shifter, 11 speed shimano derailleur, 9 speed ztto cassete (11/50), 10 speed chain. My cadence is kind of broad, so it doesn't matter. The jumps are smooth, the quality is good. Only shimano and sram are not happy with this marriage.
  • 3 2
 I cut down my cassette to 9 speed. 15-50T as I don't need the smallest cogs.
  • 2 0
 @gtill9000: Shimano's new Deore does come in a 11 speed version with 11-51T cassette. You can probably cut that cassette down to your liking.
  • 2 0
 @wareagle4130: they did that 20 years ago in bmx. It’s just for more clearance for grinds and stalls.
  • 1 0
 @will54869: I constantly ride 30 front/13 rear on the flat tarmac I have to ride before before any dirt, sometimes 30/11 I feel extra good.
Smallest cog 15 or 17 would be torture.
  • 5 0
 @pacificnorthwet: I'm seriously thinking about trying Microshift Advent X. Good range and I don't think the bigger jumps will bother me. Cheaper (much) and lighter than 12 speed, but still with that nice gear for the last climb when your legs are shot.
  • 1 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: all the range you could ever need and a smooth logical transition between gears. I'm extremely happy with it... The shift feel isn't quite on par with the big 2 but it's oh so close.
  • 1 0
 @gtill9000: Pretty sure there are some options with new deore, can probably throw xt shifter on it.
  • 1 0
 @gtill9000: Totally. I never get anything but XT level shifter so I can "double" shift with one push of the lever...may as well just have bigger jumps on the cassette.
  • 1 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: Unless you are racing downhill you really don't need that 10 tooth. Virtually nobody can sustain pedaling on the flat in the 10 tooth ring with anything bigger than 30 tooth chainring or you're superman/woman.
  • 2 0
 @clint026: the microshift clutch is really strong, great design better than the big S’s
  • 1 0
 @greener1: dude an average XC racer can spin a 30x11 easily. It's not hard.
  • 1 1
 @clink83: The average mtb rider can sustain 80 rpm for 15 mins on 30x11? Maybe with a tailwind...Not sure who you bike with but they sound like they're all in better shape than my friends and I.
  • 3 0
 Another big logical fallacy that PB seems to be tossing around nicely: "And thanks to improved materials and tolerances, they're also much more reliable overall, even if they can be a little finicky compared to those 8 and 9-speed systems." ==> 12 speed is clearly better than 8 and 9-speed systems. (See above article mentions of testing thinner chains etc.)

Has Pinkbike not considered that maybe if this new technology with tighter tolerances and better materials was carried over to these 8 and 9-speed systems that maybe they would still be stronger? I personally hate the mindset and arguments that go along with it that many industries even outside bikes perpetrate: Well, this technology is older and we have made something *different* and *more expensive* so we're not going to bother to update the older technology and thus it will always be WORSE.

Bring me a 9 speed 10-{48~52} drivetrain with widely-spaced gears in the middle of the cassette that uses all of the same tech that is now being used to make 12-speed systems functional at all, and I will be a cheerful MF'er. IF this were to be done, I would have a drivetrain that's 3 gears lighter, with a slightly heavier but stronger chain, better tolerance to shifting imperfections, a wide range, and a low price. Oh , and what's that I hear? My cadence will never be very different because any given cog is no more than 3 teeth away from a cog on a 12-speed drivetrain?

People ride (and can wreck me on) singlespeeds, so the cadence thing isn't something I'm going to be thinking much about. Give me a properly updated 9 speed drivetrain from Shimano or Sram with all of the current tech they're using on their "better" stuff, and give me the high gear, the low gear, and like 5 in between and let's see how it compares.
  • 46 0
 Rocking 11-42 11spd xt until someone makes something more reliable. 30 up front, go anywhere. Yes I'm from BC, it's plenty short gearing. If I'm going faster than pedaling speed I'm either pumping the bike, not pedaling, or on a trail boring enough I don't care.
  • 19 0
 Yeah I'm pretty satisfied with my 30 x 11-46T 11 speed setup. I rarely wish for a cog beyond that 46T. Rarely.
  • 13 1
 Hey, I needed to replace my entire drivetrain last year, and I decided to get the 12 speed Shimano, and it is way better than the 11 asked, so, according to your logic, you must go buy it now lol. That being said, I live in BC, generally drive to my trailheads, and ride up steep trails all the time, and I'm pretty convinced that I only need 6 or 7 of my gears. I never use the higher gears. I have often wondered how a 7 speed drivetrain with 21-24-28-33-39-45-51 would sell? I would appreciate the less dish the wheel would require, resulting in a stronger wheel. Derailleurs wouldn't need as much range, so they could probably be shorter cage. Something to think about, because when I go to my local trails, I rarely see anyone riding to them.
  • 3 0
 @rcybak: Just bought a hard tail with a 1x7 14-38 drivetrain. And I gotta say it’s not bad; last bike had a 42T cog and I’m clearing the same climbs.
  • 7 1
 @rcybak:

fkn nonsense. we all need superboost and 13 gears.

for serious though 11 speed was peak performance (but i'd take fewer). everything is nonsensical now.

yes i'm on 12 bc my bike was specced w/ it. it is exactly 0% better than my old 11 sp. nice work bike industry, that's some sweet innovation!
  • 13 0
 Try 10 speed 11-42. It's bomb proof.
  • 2 1
 @rcybak: Plenty of people trying to go fast and want to pedal on high speed descents still.
  • 2 0
 @rcybak: Why that? Do a 9 speed with 24T chainring. Bonus antisquat.
  • 10 1
 @DirtJumpRyder: if you’re pedaling on a high speed descent, it’s not technical enough and boring anyway.
  • 4 0
 @rcybak:
Wonder no more. Microshift 11-48 10 speed. Plenty of ranges, cheap, precise, and reliable. Put a full set up on the wife's bike for $170.
  • 1 0
 The HG+ really is a game changer performance wise. I live in northern BC, run 32x10-51, rarely use the easiest two gears, and would never go back to 11 speed. While I never used to have to think about shifting (ive been riding a long time), ive tried riding a non HG+ bike since and miss shifted because I am so used to being able to shift under load climbing. Its awesome.
  • 1 0
 Got a 10-48 Garbaruk cassette with 11-speed X01 and Garbaruk cage on my hardtail, by far the best setup I've tried so far, and Shimano 12-speed is pretty much the only setup I haven't tried yet. My Garbaruk setup came in at roughly the same price as my GX Eagle stup, and performs much better, and less sensitive to bent hangers or micro adjustments to cable tension. Will probably go for this setup on all my bikes at some point.
  • 1 1
 @rcybak: derailleurs would need to be the same cage length because of the 50-52t. You can't shorten the cage just by having fewer gears.
  • 2 0
 100% agree. My stock pile of fresh XT 11 speed is going strong too!
  • 1 0
 @littleskull99: I disagree about the cage length. It's the wide range that necessitates the longer cages, so that the derailleur can handle the extra chain needed.
  • 1 1
 @rcybak: yeah so wide range 8 speed or wide range 12 speed, no difference in cage length. Cage length is relative to first gear size not amount of gears..
  • 1 0
 @littleskull99: Actually, you are incorrect. Cage length of the rear derailleur is determined by the difference between the largest and smallest cog, added to the difference between the largest and smallest front sprockets. If you look at any rear derailleur, it has a maximum capacity of, for example, 36t. So, if you have a 10-50t cassette on a one by drivetrain, your derailleur must have a maximum capacity of at least 40t. The shorter the cage length, the less maximum capacity. A Shimano super short cage road derailleur has a maximum capacity of 33t. That derailleur would work with a 20-50t cassette on a one by drivetrain. The longer cages aren't there to handle the large rear sprockets; they are longer to be able to maintain chain tension in the smaller rear sprockets due to the huge difference between the large and small sprockets. In conclusion, my theoretical system with no high gears, would be able to enjoy a very short cage derailleur.
  • 46 1
 I’m just impressed that Levy did the math horribly but arrived at the correct answer.

Question @mikelevy:
If it were 11-42 would that be a 462% range? If so, I have a 2 speed derailleur with 2100% range!
  • 13 1
 LOL came here to point that out too. You don't multiply the two numbers, you divide. The only reason it worked out was because the small cog was 10t. Take the largest cog divide by the smallest, multiply by 100 because it's a percent. 50/10*100=500%. a 9-52 cassette would have: 52/9*100=578% range. According to Levy's math, 52*9=468% range.
  • 2 0
 Was gonna post the same thing! Beat me to it!
  • 3 0
 Yup - that hurt, but was fun to watch. Those old Shimano Megarange freewheels at 14-34 = 476% range, so clearly XX1 is worse than those old 7-speed freewheels. If only I could have known that in 2012, I would have certainly won Olympic Gold against those losers with only 420% range!!
  • 6 0
 Came to the comments to say this, but knew in my heart it had already been said.
  • 2 2
 @tgent: we all know how it worked out. Thanks for feeling the need to explain it to us.
  • 3 0
 Exactly what I was thinking. When will someone come up with a 2 speed cassette. All you need is a 49 and a 50 tooth cog. Spacing is really close to make the spinners happy, and you have a 49 x 50 gear range (2450%). And it would be super light. Everyone wins with Levy math!
  • 1 0
 @29ger: psshhht. The industry is keeping us down, I tell you. With Shimano 12 speed + the new GX cassette we have the technology for a mix-n-match 2 speed 51T/52T drivetrain. 2652% range!
  • 42 1
 The Holy Grail: 11 spd, 10-45, sub 300 gram, durable, affordable
  • 32 1
 yup, Shimano XT with a Sunrace 11-46 is so cheap and rides great
  • 6 0
 I own it- E13 Race cassette 9-46T. Right about 300 grams.

The caveat is that some didn’t get on with it so well- shifting issues, creaking etc. mine has been fantastic though, no issues at all- and I even bought the bigger replacement piece of the cassette in preparation for it to wear out but it hasn’t yet. I don’t think they make it anymore (the Race version), but they still make the Plus version which is right about 340 gm.
  • 9 0
 I’ll raise you an 11 speed 10-46 Garbaruk cassette at 290g...
  • 1 0
 @vw4ever: I have this cassette too. I’ve not had a good time with it. The 9t brings the chain perilously close to the chainstay; it drops the chain down the cassette with even minor back-pedalling; and I’ve just realised that the upper cogs have actually started to fold over, which apparently is a thing others have experienced too. I had a garbaruk partial cassette before which was flawless and I’ll be going back to one of their 11 speed options. Shame, as the 9t seemed a good idea on paper.
  • 3 0
 @vw4ever: Yeah, I ran E-13 9-46t 11 speed for a couple of years before switching to XT 12 speed this year. Both setups have essentially the same range (511% vs 510%), but I think I actually preferred the slightly larger jumps between gear ratios on the 11 speed cassette. Plus it was a lighter cassette. The shifting was always a little clunky compared to Sram or Shimano's cassettes, though, and ultimately I decided it wasn't worth the trade-off. But if Shimano made a ~500% range 11 speed drivetrain, that's probably what I would choose to run.
  • 2 0
 running a garbaruk 10-46 cassette 11 spd. weighed 292 grams and has been flawless so far. made my old X1 drivetrain feel dialed again and it really does feel like the perfect range.
  • 4 0
 @CTDchris: looks like garbaruk also has 11-speed 11-48 and 11-50 cassettes. both around 300g
  • 1 0
 Agreed, that would be my perfect cassette. Preferably with HG+.
  • 2 0
 @vw4ever: You have to apply grease to the interface to lock the two pieces together, when the grease washes away it starts to creak. It only takes 10 minutes to take the cassette apart, clean, then reassemble with new grease. I'd say that's a fair trade off for the weight, besides its a good reminder to clean and grease the paws of your hub.
  • 3 0
 Well XTR was released with a 11 speed, 10-45, sub 300g cassette. But for some stupid reason decided to discontinue it. A cheaper XT version would be perfect
  • 1 0
 @TerrapinBen Dude, literally just built a hardtail, XT M8000 11spd with Box Two 11-46 cass.!!! BOMB PROOF and i can climb anything!!
  • 1 0
 @arrowheadrush: running that setup, 11-48 with XT shifter, SLX derailleur and Gatbaruk cage eith KMC chain.
Workes really really good????
  • 2 1
 32x20 singlespeed speed with steel front and rear. Lasts forever, makes you climb faster and teaches you how to pump terrain better. Ride that once a week and your full squish geared rig will feel like a Cadillac the rest of the week and the dh bike feels like a battleship.
  • 2 1
 @DHhack: 32x20? Back in the day my riding group would ridicule anyone showing up with less than a 2:1 ratio, typically 32x16. XC-oriented singlespeeds though.

I kinda miss riding single.
  • 1 0
 I have a plan for this (not the 300g, much lighter than the 12 speeds at same cost) - take a 12sp deore cassette and cut off the 51 tooth cog
  • 1 0
 @sspiff: 30lb steel 29er with a 160mm Fox 36 and dh casing tires lol My knees can’t mash a 32/16 anymore. I’ll run 32/18 if I’m somewhere faster than my local trails. Good old slow speed New England jank.
  • 1 0
 @arrowheadrush: Exactly this, the only possible reason to go to 12 that I can see is to use a bigger chainring for more top end speed for bombing fire roads or something.
  • 20 0
 HELLO, elephant in the room. No one seems to be talking about SRAM's new "version 3" roller bearing clutch, now on all there derailers NOT working. There is zero clutch function there, when compared to V2, V3 appears just to be roller bearings under compression. My brand new GX long cage derailer has zero clutch function, straight out of the box. Appears Shimano has sued over the infringement clutch patent design, and won...... Now that's a news story, anyone got any details on this?
  • 1 0
 Interesting! Would love to know more about this. Smile
  • 2 0
 yeah, lets drill down on clutches, imo microshift has a great design...but love to know about what box uses and any others besides the S’s
  • 1 0
 @twochins: Microshift's clutch is loud and heavy, which are both annoying. If they can fix those things then it'll be significantly better. Pretty good now but not near awesome yet.
  • 1 0
 I've experienced this absolute BS on two NX and a GX eagle derailleur. Infuriating
  • 17 3
 Couldn't be more pleased with my SLX 1x12 speed drivetrain. I hated on Shimano for YEARS calling anyone that rode Shimano a nerd. Now i am a full convert and had no idea shifting could be so smooth. Whoops...
  • 2 1
 Welcome to drivetrain enlightenment. It's nice here.
  • 15 1
 Finally a full review of the grim donut!
  • 11 1
 Behind it all is marxism making men weaker and destroying western values. Perserverance, hard work, determination all destroyed by the bail out gear that is the dreaded 52t. This creates soft citizens. Grit has left the western room. This also creates a drivetrain system that is more finnicky, less durable and most of all, not sustainable over years of use like our 10speed counterparts vefore us. The death of the short cage derralier was the beginning of the end of society as we know it, and the 12 speed drivetrain system is proof of that fact.
  • 3 0
 Soooooo....you don’t let your Ibis do the work?
  • 2 0
 disc brakes and v brakes marked the end of civilization. Grit was marked by NORBA geometry and not being able to stop. Now the kids expect their bkes to stop and handle ...what kind of values does that teach them?

said while hidding my modern bikes and taking layers of dust of my Bontrager I never ride because everything is better now>
  • 13 0
 Microshift Advent X is calling my name. Wide range 10 speed sounds nice.
  • 5 0
 I'm on that now for 1 week, had to import it from Australia, sat in customs for ages, cost me more than an XT in the end... but 11-48 x 10speed! I use an XT medium cage with a goat link and RadR cage, its perfect. Screw you bike industry lol!
  • 3 0
 I just ordered an Advent X drivetrain this week! I'm going to be my own guinea pig so I can recommend this setup from personal experience I'm curious what the gaps between ratios will feel like going from 10spd 11-42t to 11-48t, given that my legs and my fitness can be somewhat picky about cadence
  • 3 0
 @showmethemountains: the advent x is great I was an early adopter had it for months now rarely do I have to shift more than one gear at a time. I can run a bigger sprocket on the front and can climb better than ever for the price you cant beat it.
  • 2 0
 The best part is that Microsoft got to dunk on Shimano and Sram by being lighter thanks to having 2 fewer gears.
  • 1 0
 @OpeSorryAbootThat: microsoft. Had to read that a couple times lol.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer it's surely time for an "alternative groupsets" group test! Box Prime Vs Microshift maybe Vs Sunrace?
  • 1 0
 It's great! I'm buying a second set for my other bike but going Advent X 11-48 cassette, Shimano M5120 derailleur, and a Saint 10 speed shifter. On my previous 11 and 12 speeds I found I was always changing 2 gears at a time
  • 12 0
 Except the math isn't 10 x 50 or 10 x 42, it's 50/10 and 42/10 expressed as a percentage?
  • 16 0
 But if you use the Levy method, you get way better range just by removing the 10t... 12x50=600%, and you drop some weight too! Win - win!
  • 1 0
 Came here to say the same thing. If it worked that way, why not just make it a 2 speed cassette with a 42 and a 50 tooth? 42 X 50 = 2100% RANGE!!!!!!!!!
  • 10 0
 Is there a chance that Shimano or SRAM might design a derailleur with a an angle adjustment so a slightly bent hanger can still be used???
  • 6 0
 There's a tool for that Smile

Not much use when you're out on the trail though... In that case, a good eye and strong forearms will get you home, or just reset your limit screws so you dont run the chain into the spokes or frame and fix when you get home/back to the car.
  • 2 0
 Derailleurs have to be laterally stiff to get good shifting performance. I’m guessing a adjustable (hence laterally flexible) derailleur wouldn’t shift as well.
  • 3 0
 @bicyclelifestyle: Or keep a spare derailleur hanger handy? Keeping a spare in my pack is a given though I've never actually had to use them.
  • 2 0
 @Ruinane: And the day you take it out of your backpack... Ker-smash!
  • 3 0
 @MaplePanda: It could be adjustable and just as stiff laterally. Tho it would require more weight. But the main reason why an adjustable angle derailleur wouldn't work is that the hanger doesn't bend only in 2D, there's often a twist to it also, hence another adjustment to alter the angle, (the yaw to be aeronautical and nerdy) would also be required.
  • 2 0
 @kcy4130: where you riding when we used v-brakes? Do you remember the concave and convex washers used to get the right angles on the pads? My thought is that something like that could be designed... but maybe it would be too complicated to set up properly???
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: Yeah I remember those, interesting idea. It would only adjust the angle. If the hanger was bent, the new position would be a couple mm shifted laterally, which would cause issues reaching the highest/lowest gears on the cassette.
  • 6 0
 I would be super stoked if they (I like SRAM so I guess I’m referring to SRAM) started to make 10 speed or 11 speed cassettes that are 9-46 (bigger range than 10-50 with smaller cogs to boot). I know e13 makes a 9-46 but I haven’t heard a ton of great things about it. I feel like 8 gears isn’t quite enough for the range (SRAM ex1 or box) but I also feel like 12 speed is a little too tight of tolerances for how reliable and happy to take abuse everything else is on a bike.
  • 1 0
 Yeah the ethirteen cassette I had broke a cog. e13 sent a replacement cluster but then the clamp ring broke before reaching torque spec so I bought a 10-42 GX cassette. It's been fine but I think something like 10-46 would be about ideal for me on an 11 speed set up. On 9-46 11 spd the spacing is a bit wide and 10-42 feels slightly limited in range.
  • 5 1
 SRAMs 10 speed stuff had their best quality shifters too
  • 2 1
 I've got thousands of miles on e13 9x44 and 9x46 cassettes. They have been durable and shift well enough for me. With a 28T chainring I don't feel like I'm getting wound out, and don't have the oversized cog or mech. I have had my share of bad e13 products, but the cassettes have been good for me and I will continue to use them for the reasons you state.
  • 1 0
 I had an E13 9-46 for a few months. I could never get it to shift properly - wouldn't drop onto the 9, or it wouldn't shift onto the 46, so effectively it was a 10spd. Have to commend their customer service - after a lot of back and forth, they just refunded my purchase.
  • 7 2
 Skinny gears and chains wear faster, still want a gearbox bike but they cost more than I can afford currently. Microshift advent x is my next choice. Less gears and range but not by that much. Closer steps between gears. Probably just going to keep riding my older bike with 10sp for now.
  • 3 0
 Advent X is great. Cheap components, big range, tight gear spacing, and smooth shifting.
  • 6 0
 Should have touched on how amazingly durable eagle is considering its smaller chain and tighter tolerances. Changed my x01 chain at 1500 miles with .75 chain stretch. Cassette still runs great over 2k!
  • 5 0
 I'd like a 22-25t cog up front and then a smaller cassette to give me say the equivalent of the top 2/3rds of an eagle, I barely use the last few smallest cogs and I'd happily bin them for a shorter/stronger mech, smaller/lighter cassette, better chain line, wider spaced wheel flanges, etc, etc.
  • 2 0
 Single ring suspension bikes are now optimised for 32 ish rings based on the location of the front pivot. If you have a hard tail, you could do this now with what's out there. I agree... I don't use the smallest portion of my cassette anyway.
  • 1 0
 @Sscottt: late reply, but yeah, would need an idler gear most likely. Mind Bosch ebikes front cogs aren't all that much bigger and they generally use very similar pivot layouts to normal bikes.
  • 8 0
 Bold of you to assume people will be around in 2040...
  • 4 0
 How come the "what we lost" section didn't cover drivetrain clearance and weight? 1x12 with a 32 has a longer cage and a bigger ring (than 1x11 with a 30) to catch those pesky rocks and such. The bigger ring adds weight, the bigger cassette adds weight, the longer cage adds weight. And for what? To preserve the top gear (9/10/11 depending on your cassette) that 99% of us never use on the trail.
  • 4 0
 1x10 short cage zee mech and saint shifter seems perfect for me so far. Mech doesn’t get whacked about and the gearing is Low Enough to get up the hill and High enough to be tolerable on the flat
  • 3 0
 I'm on a similar setup with 11-42 and not changing anytime soon.
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: You're using the Zee mech with 11-42? Never realized it would fit. Anyway I'm happy enough with the 11-36 range I have now. Of course there are climbs out there that I can't clear which I probably would be able to clear with a lower gearing. But I'm not desperate enough buy me that climbs. Sure I'm willing to upgrade stuff or even consider more vulnerable or maintenance intensive gear if it gets me more grins. But I don't think a super wide gear range would get me that. I've come home thinking "I'd rather have my geometry changed like this or that", "I definitely need to replace some worn drivetrain parts", "I may need to look for grippier tires"... I've never returned from a ride thinking "I really would love a wider range drivetrain".
  • 1 0
 Good choice. Does the Saint shifter feel much better than the zee one?
Once past 36T you're bit much slower pushing!
  • 1 0
 @rojo-1: Yeah, then in the "lower gears" defence, in a technical climb it may only be a short section where the super light gearing is helpful. But if you nail it past that, you're still riding the bike. If you got off and pushed, it is often hard to climb back on and continue to stomp a section you would have been able to ride in 36t if you were still on the bike.

End of the day, ideal gear choice depends on where you ride. Perfect is your gear leaves you with some sections you occasionally or even never manage to nail. So that you have something to work on. If you buy into lighter gearing, you lost both your money and your challenges. But I absolutely get that if people live in the Dolomites and most of the stuff is impossible to climb with 11-36 then of course by all means get lighter gearing.
  • 1 1
 @vinay: works fine, you have to consider chain growth though when on a full sus since the cage is quite short obviously. It worked on my Banshee Prime V2, a GS XT works better though, up to this day.
  • 3 0
 Just a small correction that's annoying me. The math isn't 10x50 to figure out the range, its 50/10 and then converted to % by multiplying by 100. That's why using an 11 tooth small cog with the same 50t big yields less range, not more.
  • 1 0
 Yes that makes much more sense! Thanks
  • 4 0
 I don't care how many speeds the bike has - The range on the low-end is what I'm looking for.

Give me a "whatever speed" cassette with a ~18-52 range. I rarely use 18t unless I'm going downhill on the road.
  • 3 0
 For a bike that sees a wide range of use cases (steep climbs and high-speed non-technical descents) 5.2:1 isn't enough. 6:1 is good for that.

Running out of gears when you could go faster sucks. Not having enough gears for some portion of a climb also sucks.

Just because 5:1 is good enough for what YOU ride doesn't mean it's good for everyone.
  • 3 0
 I love my GX eagle with a 30T front. I am not that strong and I have to go climb some real steep stuff and/or real mountains. That 30/50 ratio on a 29er is a life saver.

I rode an 11 speed Eagle and the small gear ratio sucked. I don't care if the 12th speed adds 50 grs. I'm 20# over racing weight anyway. For the average week-end warrior, 1x12 is perfect.
  • 3 0
 This 12 speed stuff is nothing but problems. Yeah it works awesome when its new, but hit a first small branch, rock... and the problems start, like skipping gears, impossible to adjust it correctly... It might be fine for flow trails or the riders who get the stuff or free, but for a regular, hard riding, rider it makes zero sense. And regarding gearing, on a 29er, there is no way you need more than 30/10 for the descents, I would argue that even 28/10 is more than enough. So, considering this, you get a 28/42 climbing gear with 11 speed SRAM casette. At least for me, it ticks all the boxes: DURABLE, light (260g casette!), enough gearing range. I just hope they keep on producing 11 speed SRAM stuff, because this 12 speed stuff is way to finicky for real mountain bike use on hmmm... real mountain trails.
  • 2 0
 I want bigger steps between the cogs on my 9-46 11-speed cassette. I think 10 cogs would be plenty. I want less from one end of the cassette to the other. However I'm pretty far from retrogrouch and embrace improvements and how well bikes work these days. I have an e-bike but actually don't have 12 speed on anything.
  • 3 0
 Most people only need the box prime 9... who doesn’t skip multiple gears at a time? Who really is worried about cadence? 10,11,12 speeds? Kinda unnecessary I think, but then again I don’t know shit about shit.
  • 1 0
 well, I prefer to skip 3/4 gears at a time in a single move than being in between 2 gears
  • 2 0
 I agree about skipping multiple gears, but I actually do think about cadence pretty often. It's part of the reason I went back to 2x on gravel and run a certain size chainring on my mtb. It might be a product of where I ride though. Quite a lot of my mileage is on undulating terrain that isn't that steep (1-2 hour rides averaging less than 1000ft elevation gain).
  • 2 0
 I am clearly a technology laggard and have been pretty happy with my converted 1x10 drivetrain with an 11-36t cassette, mted to a 30t front ring. Less cogs meant less fiddling to get the derailleur position right. Unfortunately my bike got stolen nd my new one will have 12 speeds with a 10-50t cassette. Let's see ...
  • 2 0
 I'm all for less gears. I don't need a 50 tooth plus top gear. I'm currently rocking a 46 tooth high gear on my 29er. If I went Shimano 12 speed I'd definitely do the 10-45, but frankly I'd love to try to go less teeth on the high side. Recently saw that Sunrace has an 11-42 8 speed cassette. If that could be paired with a high end derailleur and shifter, I'd be all about trying that. About the only thing that would make me consider 12 speed is hyperglide + which seems like a game changer
  • 3 1
 "You all know that already, but you might not know that a lot of riders are really picky about their cadence, and a difference of one or two teeth can actually feel pretty drastic, especially if you’re the type of rider who covers a lot of ground and thinks about such things." So what your saying is we need to go beat up any and every xc rider we find? Got it. I can finally go back to my ol' 9 spd and use my now-obsolete 12 speed chains as nunchucks. I'm freakin' pumped.
  • 2 0
 I would love to see a 5.3mm chain width super tight 14-50 9 speed. I've got no use for the 10, 12 or 14 cogs. The 11 and 12 speed cassettes cause chain line problems in the big rings that still haven't been solved. I want my drive train optimized for technical climbing and descending not for doing laps around the campground.
  • 3 0
 SRAM are already working on an even wider axle standard and a negative spoke angle on the drive side to fit 1 x 25 speeds. Chain ring pushed further out to get the chain to clear the tyre
  • 3 1
 Why we use 12 speed? Because manufacturers want to sell stuff and places like Pinkbike find specious arguments in their thinly disguised commercials to encourage people to buy! buy! buy! buy! Pinkbike is so brazen as to call the 42 cog to 52 cog in a SRAM cassette a natural step! It really makes one wonder how much Pinkbike is payed to write stuff like that!

After a decades we have reached the point were a 1x is heavier than an old 3x, and carries a large amount of range that you do not need. Really: it is a stupid rush to pack unnecessary range. 510% (Shimano), 520% (SRAM, with an idiotic cassette spacing), 555% (e-thirteen ... with a 9 cog).

What's next? a 13 speed 600% cassette that Pinkbike will announce as the new holy grail?
  • 2 0
 I really don't get this argument. Of course manufacturers want to sell stuff - and if it was "stupid and unnecessary" then surely it would have been abandoned as a concept rather than embraced by an entire industry. But sure, you don't agree with it therefore they must be being paid to praise it.
  • 1 0
 @johnnyboy11000: it's pinkbike, everytging is bad and a conspiracy by the bike industry to fleece people.
  • 3 1
 Been on a single ring for many many years (Probably 2000ish for me), back when we had 9 speed. It wasn't "invented" with 11 speed.
Moved to 10 speed for clutch and narrow wide and the old Deore 11-36 cassette created too much unsprung mass.
Still on 10 speed, narrow wide, a chain device (with bashring to be safe as I dont just ride man made flow trails), clutch mech and 11 to 36. Much lower unsprung mass and for the UK its all you need.

fragile 10-50 heavy dinner plate cassette, long cage mech, dh tyres, wide and heavy rims, crush core and fluid.... not a chance in the UK, its not needed.
I rode in San Fran... I would run a large cassette out there or push up the hills.
I rode in Whistler... I would run a large cassette out there or push up the hill.
UK... not a chance, even Torridon etc, its technical climbing so a 50T is useless, you need to be in around 32/32, even 36 is too low, to many pedal strikes and not enough traction v speed.

Peace out.
  • 2 0
 The next improvement would be reducing the un-sprung mass created by 1x12, especially SRAM NX or SX - that's a lot of weight to put at the end of your swing-arm's fulcrum. Sure, if you're riding XO1, XX1 or XTR, no big deal... But the masses could use less mass out back!
  • 5 0
 Did someone say Grim Donut?
  • 2 1
 But what if they had refined 9 or 10 speed further?....Also, when are biopace cassettes coming out? Oh and btw, rotor has had 13 speed fir some time now. When are Sram and shimano going to 13? Waiting for internal drivetrain guy to show up also....
  • 3 0
 I'm not sure if you're serious, but you can't biopace the cassette. It'll get out of sync if your legs.
  • 2 0
 @pmhobson: I was being very sarcastic, with a touch of satire...

Regardless, I often reflect on how perfect 2x10 26/38-11/36 was for me. I had the perfect range, and all the smaller transitions to find the perfect cadence for any situation. I really do wonder what further refinement of 2x drivetrains could have created. Yes I know frame clearance, blahs blahs blahs. But I still wonder.
  • 3 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: I agree with you on 2x10 refinement. The next progression should have been to a gearbox instead of 1x. We’ll get there someday.
  • 3 0
 @EricHarger: Yes, gearbox! Weight is a bit of an issue, but at least it's in a better position on the bike, low and centered. Shimano has some patent for what looks like a derailer in a box. Hope we'll see that soon.
  • 1 0
 @takeiteasyridehard: my 2x9 X0 set up was so good, I still miss it. More than enough range, lighter back wheel, easier to set up and maintain, less likely to get damaged short derailleur and with a bash ring and lower roller I hardly every lost the chain.
  • 1 0
 Finally went to a 1*10 with my new bike back in May. My old bike of 9 years was a 3 * 8. On my old bike i might have used maybe 6 or 7 of the possible 24 speeds like 95% of the time. On my 1*10, which i am loving a lot, probably use 7 of the 10 speeds all of the time. A 1*12 speeds seems to provide a whole lot of range that is not necessary and is unused.
  • 3 0
 Still happy with my 11spd 10-46 Garbaruk Cassette on my 29r trail bike. Until I feel the need to change I'll keep what I have.
  • 1 0
 8v9v10v11v12 shifter, chain & RD with extended cog shootout test please. No wireless set ups, maybe the same lunch-pail carrying workhorse crankset? Same make & model bikes, say with diff suspension platforms? Flats vs. clipless for each drivetrain. Minimum of 10 rounds per pedal style & drivetrain. Emphasis on climbing and shifting, durability & cadence. Power meters on each?

Box, Microshift, Shimano & SRAM. Maybe TRP, but stuff readily purchased by the masses. Though that Ingrid system looks hot.
  • 2 0
 My 12s SLX derailleur works great with my eagle shifter and cassette. Better than the eagle derailleur and way easier to set up since you don't have to use that stupid plastic b-tension tool.
  • 1 0
 Nobody is discussing the fact you can now increase your chainring size to something bigger and get better torque of the lower end of your cassette? Unless you only get your jollies on the way up...feel free to run a 28t chain ring.
  • 1 0
 Well, the video brought that up
  • 1 0
 Why can't SRAM/Shimano just make a super smooth, ultralight 10-50 11sp? There are times I need the 50t and there are times I need the 10t...but I sure as hell don't need 12 gears. Too much clicking. The derailleur tech needs a significant jump in innovation not another gear. Shimano just keeps being the "second mover" but I think they need to do some needle moving innovation rather than just following SRAM and making it a bit better.
  • 1 0
 From my experience with e*13's 11 speed, 510% range cassette, one extra speed for the same or less range is totally unasked for. I would be interested in trying a 10 speed cassette with the same range, but 12 is not desirable, even without counting the extra weight.
  • 3 0
 We need to see hydraulic shifting or put more focus gearbox cranks The derailleur needs to go and cables are old!!! Let the modern day commence
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy - have your considered the durability of 12-speed vs 11-speed? How about the move from 2x to 1x? It would be great to hear your thoughts. I've always felt 1x drivetrains have less durability due to the increased, and unavoidable, cross-chainging. Further, as the number of cogs increase so would cross-chaining angles (as cassettes got wider). But this may all balance out as I've read that narrow chains are stronger and wear less when cross-chained (something to with reduced internal resistance). Food for thought I guess.
  • 2 0
 It could be argued that a reduced wear from cross-chaining is directly proportional to a reduced shifting performance. Both derive from a laterally flexier chain.
  • 1 0
 8 & 9 speed SRAM 1:1 / ESP shifters/derailleurs are the same cable pull ratios as Shimano 11 speed Dyna Sys. Thus... if you want to run a 8 or 9 speed drivetrain with a clutch derailleur, an easy way to do it is a shimano 11 speed shadow+ rear derailleur and a SRAM 8 or 9 speed shifter.
  • 2 0
 The only thing I know is that cassettes went obsolete because of Compact Disc, and that Compact Disc went obsolete because of MP3, even if I can barely compile the same amount of single tracks on each support.
  • 1 0
 "but the two [9sp & 12sp chains) aren’t compatible at all"

Umm, actually, pretty sure the inside width on the inner plates is the same from 8sp or 9sp and all the way up. So a 12sp chain (maybe not flattop and/or that other weird road chain) will work on a 9sp system.
  • 1 0
 Yeah and I also thought it was a good idea to use a "bigger speed" chain on a lower geared cassette. Not only because these more modern chains are just better (companies didn't push their new tech towards their lower speed chains) but also because the chain is even less likely to catch onto adjacent sprockets of the cassette, especially as the teeth develop burrs. Not sure how that 5% drop in performance that Mike mentions manifests.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: The plates actually are designed to catch onto adjacent larger cogs to assist in smooth downshifts (and to hang on the bigger cog for smooth upshifts on HyperGlide Plus). That "95%" as good when using a 12sp chain on an 11sp system refers to the fact that the 12sp chains are narrower on the outside and shaped differently. The 0.2mm difference plus the shape difference means downshifts might not be as crisp (might not apply to upshifts because HG+ doesn't exist in any 11sp systems)
  • 1 0
 @just6979: Up- and downshifts always confuse me. A downshift, is that to a lighter gear and upshift to a heavier gear? Or the other way around (re-reading your post, it seems that is what you meant to say but I'm not sure everyone uses the same terminology). In a car I think of upshifting like shifting to a heavier gear, but obviously that's a completely different lay-out than the conventional derailleur gearing on a bike. Either way, I get that wider chains catch easier on the adjacent sprockets. Deal is, they already do that well enough for me. In fact I'd rather see they catch on worse. As the sprockets wear and develop burrs, they catch on a tad bit too easily and the smaller chain delays the issue. In my case, that implies running a 11sp chain on a 10sp drivetrain. It is only quite recently that I made the shift to 11sp chains on my 10sp drivetrain and to me it didn't feel worse.
  • 1 0
 "11, 10, 9, and 8-speed chains are too wide and will interfere with the neighbouring cogs, keeping it from shifting properly."

Shift properly? 8sp chain on a 12sp system wouldn't even pedal properly, let alone shift well, except maybe in the biggest cog.
  • 1 0
 Like so many, having several bikes, i find the incompatability between parts a really PITA... but some can say this doesn't make sense having multiple bikes (if a bike is broken...just pick another).

I hate to be on this side of the barricade, but Single Ring is not for all and I still have the old FD on two of my bikes, due to the Nature of the terrain I ride with them.
As the article describe is all about cadence, and when riding on those long, boring and flat dual tracks, knowing that having a 42t upfront, I can use 6 of the 9 cogs (yes... it's an old 3x9), to gain and maintain speed
I also have ridden on the same terrain other bikes (singlering), and don't seem that efficient((aka fast) (on that particular terrain).

Singlering has permited some freedom on bike design, but as always, don't seem all positive things.

I also miss sometimes my 26inchs tire + granny (22/36) on my 29er (28/42), where we could use as a safemode when really tired and on "Bonk-mode".

Ebikes will have a determinal effect on drivetrain.
Even today on my singlering I need to drop 2 and 3 cogs in one move, after a step hill, so I imagine with those electric watts, we'll see the comeback to 8...7... or even 6 or 5 speeds.

PS- aren't there rumors of a 13speed cassete? ROTOR already makes them! Smile
  • 2 0
 You don't need an FD because of the terrain, you need an FD because your cassettes don't have the range. An Eagle drivetrain has a wider range than almost any 2x9 setup. A 3x9 might have a taller highest gear, but there aren't many people spinning out 42x11 on trails, even double-track... The suspension design freedom of single-ring only _cannot be overstated_. No one wants to sacrifice suspension performance or bike fit just to cram in a top gear that's too high to truly be useful for most riders on actual trails. 32x50 is pretty damn low, quite close to 22x36, 30x50 is lower, and 32x52 is basically the same. You just don't need the granny ring with modern drive-trains, at all.
  • 1 0
 @just6979: HI! I understand your position, but double or even triple chairing’s, have some positive issues. Not all is bad with this type of transmission.
I'll try to be as short as possible, since this topic is about 11s or 12s…. [SORRY!]

1. Double/Triples have a shallower increase in the transmission relation.
What I mean, is imagine your pedaling at 70rpm (yes some spin faster, but as general of rule, let's take 70 for the average jo like me!), and start to get faster as you move through the gears. Speed increment in a 1x is far greater for each gear change, where a 2x or 3x, it is much more gradual.
I found a good site to show just that - gears.mtbcrosscountry.com/#29I1123I30397
But you can plot the graph using excel

2. Besides that, 2x or 3x can have longer range (more if you place new cassettes with 42 or even a 45 on the calculation). This will show very much on how slow you can go vs fast as you can go.
Like on 1., using the 70 rpm, with the 2x or 3x, you can go as slow as a 1x system, but if that’s the case, you can go faster and vice versa.

3. 2x or 3x, can use Shorter Rear Mech arms – and I really do miss my small and compact rear mechs!
Side note: You can use lighter cassettes, and this will reduce sprung weight, making your suspension to work better – but I don’t think most of us notice that…

Also something I like about FD, is that you can rapidly change the Gear Ratio, using the FD. Imagine you’re pedaling at 70rpm on a 32(f)x24(r), and small climb appears. By changing to a granny [22t, so it would be 22(f)x24(r)], you could pedal at 70rpm at a low +/- 9km/h. Doing the same on a 1x, means change 2 to 3 times (depending on the cassette). I won’t consider this a positive, just a side note.

I’m not against 1x – I have bikes like that, ok? I can feel the benefits and everything. What I’m trying to show, is that 2x or 3x are not so stupid as it can appear and it certainly has its space (that’s why Shimano continues producing it)

In resume:
Bigger range, more ground clearance and if you use Di2 and a single shifter, I would say it’s an hell of a system!
FYI, @70rpm a 42x11 will place a bike around 37km/h (and minimum speed using 22x36 of 6km/h) and @70rpm, a 1x 32x50, will place a bike around 31Km/h (and a minimum speed using 32x50 of 6km/h). And yes, 37km/h is doable on the tracks I’m talking about Wink

Cheers mate! Nice rides with whichever tranny!
  • 2 0
 shimano patented 13 speed cassette in the late 90s.

also you dont have to go 12 speed if you want 10-50, sunrace, garbaruk & others have 11 speed in that ratio that work flawlessly.
  • 1 0
 I need a gear to get me up hills - after that I am not bothered. I have a 2x on my xc bike. Thats a 28/38 up front and 12-36 at the rear. I climb on the 28 and descend on the the 38 -works great!! My full suspension is 1x11. 32 at the front and 11-40 at the rear -that also works. The 26" stump jumpers was optimised for a 32 from chainring. You have to tune the gearing and suspension to the riding you wanna do.
  • 1 0
 Read the screen-captured comment from the angry guy with the SB66 with amusement. My SB66 came with a 2x11 and 26" wheels. But you know what? It still rides just fine with those 26" wheels. I can keep up with all my buddies uphill and down, and I kinda like being the only person in the Portland not riding an Ibis.

About 4 years ago I spent a hundred dollars or so to switch over to 1x11 with the OneUp kit. I think I've got an 11/42 in back now, which works just fine. Other than that and a dropper, the bike is the same as it was when I bought it. Still fantastic.
  • 1 0
 That said, I do have 1x12 on a gravel bike and I love it for that application. Having close gear ratios matters a lot more to me when I'm on pavement than when I'm on a trail. On my MTBs I'm generally either in the smallest cog for going downhill, the biggest cog for going uphill, or one or two in the middle. If I could get a 3-speed cassette that had 12, 30, 50 I'd probably be fine.
  • 1 0
 I think Box has it figured out. 9 speed wide range. Wider chain and wider cog spacing allow for more room for error if the hanger gets slightly bent and added durability. This is what I want for enduro racing. Keep the 12 speeds for light riders that want more efficient range.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy as a follow up to this article, how about diving into how this spacing and and wide range drive trains has cost us the ability to run bigger primary rings. I mean we're seeing bikes that are now 28 X Eagle 52.... and there simply isn't enough space to run larger rings before grinding on your chain stays. It would be cool to hear the stance from more of the industry talking about "boost" and 148 and 12 speed and why most bikes can't clear larger then a 32 in a lot of cases.
Also, seriously not a dig on a lack of need or anything like that... Just an idea for more fresh insights instead of opinions from all of us here in the peanut gallery
  • 1 0
 Not fair to compare old 9 speed to 12 speed, the benefit is much smaller when comparing 11 to 12 speed. Are you so weak that you need to carry this expensive and heavy giant cog. 11 speeds is fine for most healthy mtbers.
At some point we are spinning such a ridiculous small gear the bottle neck is your traction/balance.
For me the e-13 9-46 is the best of all world: lighter/ decent range and I don't need to run a huge 36 or 38t chainring to compensate a ridiculous 50t cog.
At this time, you can find really cheap 11 speed component without having to worry about microspline and updating all your components..
  • 1 0
 1x is great but does eagle actually offer much over 11s with 11 to 46 cassette? Seems it was really Sram's answer when Shimano dropped the big cogged 11s. 11 to 46 is a load of range and cassette is way cheaper as well as much cheaper chains. If you have giant hill the 50t probably useful but for many people 46 is heaps.
  • 1 0
 I have a 12sp slx with an Xt shifter that can upshift 2 at a time. I hardly ever go a single click in either direction and bet that I'd be just fine with as large a range but fewer cogs. I'm just riding for fun and matching cadence perfectly isn't a big deal, especially since I have no idea what it is anyway! Other bike has a Deore M4100 on order and I was strongly considering Advent X or Box 9 for it as well.
  • 1 0
 Whats the width of the cassette for 12, 11, 10 and 9 speed?

I've found 12 speed (GX) to be super finicky and would go out of alignment if I were to breath on it.
My prior 11 speed setup (XT) was set and forget.

It seems like 12 speed has less space per cog on the cassette meaning the indexing requires a lot more precision and can fall out of alignment easily (like when I don't tighten my rear axle to exact the same amount as I did when tuning the gears)
  • 1 0
 @duzzi: Personally I love the 12er. For instance, in Moab UT, on rides like Amasa Back and whatever that damn ride is called (gold bar/stripe, ithink) climbing to the portal ledge ride and others...they are super long and steep climbs. I sometimes even find myself reaching for that elusive 13th gear! I like the ability to be truly "all-mountain" and with that, in order to bomb the downs, you gotta earn your turns with the burns (of the legs & calories...). IMO anyways.
  • 1 0
 @TW80 You might need the range, although I really would stop at 500%, but trust me: you do not need 12 speed, especially with the idiotic SRAM cassette that pack 11 gears between the 10 and 42 cog and then has 1 to 52!
  • 1 0
 My gripe with 12 speed drive trains is that the gearing is so tight that the difference in required torque is negligible, giving me the impression that I did not change a damn gear. I'm currently on an 11 speed XTR M9000 drivetrain with the Sram 11 speed XX1 cassette (10-42) with a Wolf Tooth 46T cog to replace the 42T. Cassette still is sub 300 grams and shifts so crisp! You actually feel the difference in torque and i'm not missing my Eagle one bit. The weight savings alone is worth it to me, much more, the feel of the snappy XTR shifts.
  • 1 0
 Just stop with more gears we all see that it only adds to grind.... Proper chain-ring gearing is more important. Tighter differences are actually better IE 1-10 than shit 1 to 12 with crazy ratios between 1-3 at least better here on the Nshore.
  • 1 0
 I still have a 3x7 (1996 - stumpy no shocks at all), 3x9 (2000 s-works fsr) on my old rigs. They look great in the personal museum but screw riding that skipping ass crap. The stumpy has a seat from before they invented the notch too, don't know how I ever rode that in college and still delivered with the ladies.
  • 1 0
 I still ride XT 3x8 with Suntour XC Pro thumbshifters on my 26er hardtail. And like it. No lie. My gear range is smaller than everyone else's (something like 380%) and I have to shift a lot sometimes at the end of a long, tiring ride between the middle ring and easiest rear gear and small ring and almost easiest rear gears, but the shifting has been crisp and spot on for the 20-plus years I've been riding that same drivetrain. Drivetrain progress isn't overrated, but it is overstated.
  • 1 0
 I see the value in 12 speeds. Bigger range and ability to use larger chainrings for chain retention. If you are racing, then 12 speed is the way to go. However, I still like 11 speeds. Lighter, derailleurs are not stress as much as 12 speed derailleurs, cost is much less, and range is still very good.
  • 1 0
 Like most here, a wider range but less gears set up sounds ideal. Like the XTR 11dp 10-45 that got canned. The X01 11 speed cassette is 110 grams less than a 12 speed. That's nothing to scoff at. Unfortunately 420% range while close, is a bit limiting.
I have found my best balance using a Leonardi 9-48 NPU cassette going to a lower front chainring to increase AS but also to improve chain line in my common gears. Combined with AXS, it's unlimited range, better than XX1 shifting, at equal to XX1 weight, it's hard to beat with current competing combos.
  • 1 0
 Love the range the 12 speed provides, can run bigger front ring (34 oval) but hate finicky the system is. On 12 spd Shimano XT and feels like The quality of the shifting thru the cogs degrades pretty quickly, especially if something is off a smidge like cable tension or chain a little dry. My XT 10 speed on other bike never has to be touched...at all..for years and keeps on working consistently throughout the shifts regardless. Wish could stick with 32/36, 10spd, but a bit rough on big ride days
  • 1 0
 "Brands would prefer that you don't mix and match"

That's an excuse to add dependencies between all the components, and make more money.

I run a 30t with a 9sp 42T Sunshine cassette with a Sram X5 derailleur and shifter, works like a charm.

Manufacturers like Sram and Shimano want you to buy the chain, cassette, shifter, derailleur, chainring from them.
  • 1 0
 Does everyone NEED 500%? When we had triples did we really use the big ring? Manufacturers can't come up with a NEW AND EXCITING NEW GROUP CREATED ESPECIALLY FOR THE SLOW OUT OF SHAPE RECREATIONSLISTS! Groups have to cater to the fast and the slow so some people rarely use the 10 cog and others rarely use the 50. But they are both still there and we have 12 gears to keep us both happy. That's my take...
  • 1 0
 Arguably even 1x10 with good range would be enough . Where does it stop tho? There isn't much further you can go.. at the same tme, gearboxes aren't ready yet.

How about 2x setup but with gearbox up front? One gear for climbing, one for descending, decreased unsprung weight, not so high demands shifting. Could perhaps even use DH groupsets.
  • 1 0
 The only reason 12 speeds makes sense is if they need that many to prevent the jumps between gears from being too big for the chain to handle reliably. But, given some of the existing jumps and the 9-speed cassette offering with a big range (I forget the small company name now) that may not be the case. Otherwise I'd gladly take an 11 or 10 speed setup with the same 500% range. Durability, reliability, and compatibility is way more important than have one more gear.
  • 1 0
 I’d like to see more options, and continued refinement of 11-12 speed systems.

Specifically, a 10-45 range high end 11 speed system that uses a medium cage derailleur, where durability, weight, and reliability are the focus. If love to see this at both XT / XTR level, and GX / XO1 level.

I hope to see SRAM try to match the shifting-under-load performance that shimano has achieved.
I have a Chris king hub with XD driver.... and I think SRAM’s machined cassettes offer excellent long-term durability and weight.
  • 1 0
 All of my bikes are old and have 2x and 3x drivetrains. I've never even ridden a 1x. I wouldn't buy a new non-suspended Adventure/Touring bike with anything less than a 2x wide range drivetrain. I know I will need a lot lower gearing than 1:1 which is what a lot of 1x road-oriented Gravel/Adventure bikes come with as the lowest gear. WTF? You aren't hauling a loaded touring bike up a long 10% or steeper grade hill with 1:1 gearing.

I could see how 1x helped suspension designers and how Boost spacing helped make stronger wheels. 1x helped for sure there because they could design the chainstays shorter for handling characteristics and for wider tire clearance without worrying about the front derailleur getting in the way. I can see how 1x simplifies things for a lot of reasons. I can see how it is enough range for riding downhill/gravity oriented disciplines and with the right front cog, making climbing doable if you are fit enough and have the right kind of bike for going up. 1x works for MTB'ing.

But 1x isn't good enough for riding uphill if you need/want more top end speed and have to spec a larger front cog to achieve that. It's a compromise and from the outside looking in, it's too much of one for me.

I'm moving away from MTB in general, so maybe my opinion isn't worth shit on this website.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy your forgot one thing in the "cost" column - remember back in the day, when we could actually open quick links by hand? (although that actually disappeared with 11speed chains TBH).

We still call them "quick links", but they're often harder to snap open than a regular link, and nowadays require a special tool or frustrating (and often bloody) trailside improv. I've seen groups of riders with about a century's worth of experience hunched over a chain, trying to find a way to pry the "quick" link open. It's one of those jokes this industry plays on us Smile
  • 1 0
 Wolf Tooth makes a rad chain plier you can carry with you.
  • 1 0
 @peleton7: That sorta defeats the purpose, doesn't it? I already have a chain breaker in my multitool, which can break/attach all other links in the chain - the sole purpose of the quick link was to be that one link which requires no tools.
I can also carry a multi tool to lower my saddle, or a bleed kit to adjust my brakepads... but if we created on-the-fly ways to adjust those things, why go back?
  • 1 0
 Speaking of mix-matching drivetrains, I have an idea I've been researching and I have yet to hear from anybody who's tried it.

So the best performing 12 speed SRAM drivetrain right now is XX1 AXS right? And the biggest reason it's so great is the responsiveness due to the electronic shifting.

On the other hand, you have Shimano's 12 speed XT, which is incredibly smooth because of how the proprietary chain and cassette design interface with each other.

So, it would stand to reason that the Unicorn of 12 speed drivetrains would be a SRAM AXS shifter and der with a Shimano XT Chain and cassette. You get the responsiveness of AXS with the smooth shifting, especially under load, of XT. The only reason I could think that this wouldn't work is if the cog spacing is different between brands for 12 speed cassettes, but I'm having trouble finding information on that.

@mikelevy If someone at Pinkbike has tried this, it's probably you. Any input here?
  • 1 0
 The even firing order for a four-stroke V12 engine has an interval of 60 degrees, therefore a V12 engine can be perfectly balanced if a V-angle of 60 degrees, 120 degrees or 180 degrees is used. Many V12 engines use a V-angle of 60 degrees between the two banks of cylinders. #thisonegoesto12
  • 1 0
 Man, I'm tired of hating on things to be 100% honest. I'm sure whatever is totally fine. I definitely used to notice, 1x3/1x1 gearing to be ridiculously easy, to the point it was useless, but whatever. "You're on a sinking ship, and you've plugged the hole with your peg arm, you've saved the day".......The peg arm was very average, and barely worked, but what do you want?
  • 1 0
 Answer: " 12 speed with enormous cassettes is the norm because it appealed to the egos of those with the roadie style machismo of having the biggest chainring possible and compensated for the riders that don't know how to pump and use terrain to carry speed, as a result bike manufactures updated their kinematics to work best with 12spd and there you have it"

I regularly do rides with >3500ft of climbing including quite steep trials, I use my 50T cog all the time with a 32 t chainring, never ever use my 10T except on paved roads, but my frame kinematics would be shit if i went 30t with a 46T cassette and eagle came stock on bikes.
  • 1 0
 I spent 7 years on a 10sp 36x36 setup, then the last 4 on a 32x36 10sp setup. I can still get up where anyone else goes, but definitely I’m always last. Thinking about finally switching to the easy climbing brigade. Why suffer more, when you can suffer less?
  • 1 0
 What’s SRAM been up to? Their XX1 11-speed started at $1,449 USD in 2016, which is $1,650 today. In 2020, the XX1 12-speed costs $1,500. Just like XTR, 12-speed XX1 is actually less expensive than 11-speed XX1.

You must mean $1,449 in 2011, otherwise I'm particularly bothered by the rate of inflation.
  • 1 0
 Just put Sunrace 11 speed 11-46 cassette, KMC 11 speed chain and 34t Oneup oval ring on my 2017 Trance Advance... If you're well trained, 46t would be enough in most cases. I don't use the smaller cogs often so 9t or 10t are not something that would make me convert to 12 speed. Very happy with my setup now, incredible valve too.
  • 1 0
 I need them because my trails are hard, very steep, nothing like you guys have ever seen, of course. I keep track of my cadence and watts with a Cray supercomputer, it's complicated so I won't try to explain it to you guys. These new standards are a bunch or crap, unless I happen to have one of them on my bike, then it's "essential." Get it?
  • 1 0
 Makes a good case for 12 speed, but in my experience, I do not use the smallest cogs on the cassette rarely at all. Even in the bike park, if I'm going that fast, I don't need to put in pedal strokes. Why not make a 1x9 or whatever, and just take out the three or four smallest cogs? I could just get a smaller chainring up front, but those three or four in the back are still going largely unused. I would love to see these new production tolerances and materials that make 1x12 so usable put towards a simpler cassette with gearing I actually need.

I just got around to reading this, so I guess this comment is just for me. Hoooooraaaaaaaay.
  • 1 0
 With a Sram 500% range, I never use the last two cogs. I'm just not that interested in riding downhill on gravel roads. If we are going 80km/hr. on an MTB without balanced wheels, then what are we doing?
It's a big waste of wheel dishing and wheel strength. Give me 10 or 11 speeds that I can use to climb and descend with.
Even a road bike with a 10-speed drivetrain is mostly enough.
Ok, ok, ok, 11 speed for closer ratios on my road bike would be acceptable but that means 12-34 or 12-30. Have you ever tried pushing an 12/53 without 30 other riders to draft with?
Stop the marketing that creates a false desire for more, more, more.
  • 2 0
 I'd like to see closer spacing on the low-range side. I hardly ever use my last 5 gears when riding and could live with bigger jumps on the tall half of the range.
  • 1 1
 Great explaining. The 1X system is definitely superior, but adding more big cogs both adds weight and will require a wider spacing standard. My size 47 shoes already rub the paint off my chainstays. I'm for staying with a 9 - 12 cogset, depending on rider's choice and needs. I don't lament the loss of my 3X system, but I do miss having 180mm crankarms for my 38-inch inseam legs.
  • 5 0
 have you considered smaller shoe?
  • 3 3
 We are stuck justifying for the industry's development. There is no inherent need for 12-speed and it is not inarguably better than 11-speed, which was not inarguably better than 10, etc. Same with Live Valve or the balance ebike. It exists, so it must exist for a reason.

Would you actually have an experience with older equipment that is significantly worse as to prevent you from riding as much? Does this expansion and development of production actually benefit us vs its societal implications of exploited labour and environmental impact?

I think I saw a huge paradigm shift with the introduction of Shimano 11-speed where things got perfectly good enough. There were substantial jumps between 3x9, 2x10, and then 1x11. There were noticeable improvements from 2x9 to 2x10 to 2x11 on road, gravel, and cross bikes. But from then on, there hasn't been any new standard that has actually made things more tolerable or more fun.
  • 1 3
 I’ve been riding since 1985. IMO 2x10 drivetrains paired with a dropper and tubeless 26” wheels is the pinnacle of MTB. I concede that 1x systems do allow more flexibility in suspension design but really it was just to get us trained for the ebike revolution.
  • 2 2
 12 are mostly needed for marketing. They need to make something new every few years. And it's our fault (we'll, mostly dentists' Wink ). Most consumers feel better after buying something new. New is better because is new. Some marginal gains are there to convince ourselves.
  • 1 0
 Wouldn't be surprised to see either SRAM or Shimano take in up to 13 speeds in the upcoming iterations. Not that it is better or worse, it is the logical step to sell more equals better.
  • 3 0
 Stubborn as I am, I’m still on 11 speed, it’s cheaper and I run a smaller chainring.
  • 3 0
 It's cheaper, its lighter, and the only time I wish I had more range is when I spin out riding along the road for 100m going to/from the trailhead.

First World problems I tell ya
  • 1 1
 12-speed has already been around for 4 years?! Getting rid of the front derailleurs has been one of the best leaps in mountain biking IMO. I was fine 10sped with an extended cog, then 11 speed felt better, and 12spe feels better still. I definitely wouldn't go back to my old 10speed setup.
  • 1 1
 I love the X01 Eagle and the 50 cog on the back and I use it plenty with the 32 tooth chain ring. However, when I built up another bike a while back I put an XT 11 speed with 46 tooth cog on the cassette and it runs better than my SRAM drivetrain. If necessary I would just put a 30 tooth chainring on it and get nearly the same gearing as the 50 tooth Eagle with 32 tooth chainring.
  • 1 0
 1x12 actually nicely fit 29's, however for 27 or 26 wheels it is quite disproportional in term of cage length;
So moving forward I believe majority will be on 1x12 and 29 as the most efficient systems;
  • 2 2
 27.5" vs 29" wheel size makes a huge impact on gearing advantages.. not to mention the average positive grade your pedaling on a regular basis. For ex. running eagle w 30t upfront Van Isle. typical of climb gradients (steep af) spinning the rear happens often w a 27.5" rear... with a 29".. it hooks up and goes.

Acknowledging this is (firmly) a 1st world issue .. which while interesting - has provided an echo chamber to gripe / d*ck swing. Run what you want - have fun on your ride - that's what its all about!.
  • 2 0
 In a similar boat but a different experience here in SoCal. One 27.5 and one 29, both with the same gearing. After dialing in the tires and pressure to not spin out on the summer dust on my few steep af trails, the 27.5 climbs better for me when in the same gear ratio. As it should, since the smaller wheel effectively lowers the gearing.
  • 1 0
 Take an XT 11 speed 11-42. Add the OneUp 47 T cog. Better gear spacing. Great shifting. Usable range. Adjust for climbing steepness with a quick swap of your chainring. Problem solved.
  • 2 0
 Microshift Advent 8 speed user here. All steel cogs, clutch derailleur, 12-42 range and all under $100 inc. chain. No complaints so far.
  • 1 0
 climbing an 8 speed 11-40t with a 40t chainring on the gravel bike makes the 10 speed 11-40t with a 32t chainring on the full squish seem like a cake walk. i need 12 speed like i need to see more levy with cassette bling.
  • 1 1
 Twelve speed didn't kill the front mech. Shimano just released a couple of new 2x12 drivetrains. If there is one thing that would kill the front mech of course, it is the oval front ring. Putting that one on was what made me quit using the front mech. Still on a 1x9sp drivetrain though, until 2018.
  • 1 0
 Next should be 0 x 12 it will give us infinite range...Stop adding rear gears and keep dropping front gears people...3x, 2x, 1x ...0x get with the program sram shimano and others...
  • 1 0
 missing my 11 speed. Don't think 12 speed is necessary. I think a missing piece from the video is the ratio with different size front chain rings and the application of those combos.
  • 1 1
 Where I think both SRAM and Shimano are wasting the potential of 12 is in not offering a 10-46 12 speed cassette (Sunrace doesn’t either!). I don’t need more range but want smaller jumps between gears; I’d stick with a 30 and 10-46 like I’ve got now with shimano 11 speed but gladly go to 12 cassette to get an additional gear in the middle of that range (well, really, closer to the low end or the range). The fixation on range percentages seems to be the only thing driving the push toward 12 speed (or the inevitable 13), whereas for real world riding, a 12 speed cassette with smaller jumps and the same range would be so easy!
  • 3 0
 Why dont this guys perfect the gearbox system —- gearbox is the future its already 2020 and covid is trying kill us all
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer Please check the dates in 2012 SRAM came out with 10 Speed Type 2, they actually announced somewhere around March. So 11 speed had to be later maybe around 2014~2015
  • 2 0
 They need to take everything they learned then make an ultra light 10 speed again. Not every rider or riding area requires 12.
  • 1 0
 I think Levy missed a point, Shimano had 1z drivetrains before 2018...I realize that he was referring to 12spd drivetrains in his comment but it was confusing how it came out.

Great article though ????????????
  • 3 3
 This article could use a 500% increase in cynicism. I used to think a precise cadence mattered and now I know it doesn't - I'm 95% singlespeed for past 2 years and climbing more than ever.
  • 2 0
 Yup, I just rode 50 miles with a singlespeeder on fairly tricky terrain. They kept going for another 50. No problem with cadence. Some grin and bear it moments but isn't that a little bit why we do it? And their brain seemed OK too. Lots of smiles in fact.
  • 1 0
 Singlespeed is a whole different animal. The dividing line is actually in standing vs seated pedaling, and the issue is really about the effort level in any gear that cadence is also an indicator of. Standing is a great body position for applying a lot of force to the pedals and for maintaining that. Seated position is not. Fatigue sets in much quicker from trying to grind a hard gear in the saddle, and there is risk of lower back strain if core fitness isn't up to that level too. So as the trail gets steeper and speed is lost, the rider either stands up to increase power or stays seated and shifts down to find the right balance of effort and cadence. Since our bodies are more limited and sensitive to strain in the seated position, having more gear ratio options to balance effort and cadence can be really helpful for staying as close as possible to the high end of that limit of seated climbing.
  • 2 3
 The reliability and consistency of 11sp XT but with a 10 - 50T cassette... This would be the dream no? 12sp is just too fussy. You can adjust it to perfection at one end of the cassette and it's way out the other end. There's no contingency space. The range of 12sp but the niceness of 11sp. That's what I want.
  • 1 1
 E13 9-46 cassette has more range than eagle, and works great with shimano med-cage 11-speed derailleurs.
  • 2 1
 Sunrace has a 10 - 50T also. I have one on a set of 26 DT wheels that I use for climbing practice, and for the same bike I have an e13 9 - 46T set on 27.5 RaceFace wheels for higher speed and flowy-er trails.
  • 4 0
 "You can adjust it to perfection at one end of the cassette and it's way out the other end"

you have a bent derailleur hanger.
  • 3 1
 Well I've just ditched 12 speed Sram sx and gone to 11 speed xt. I know I've gone up a few grades but xt is so much better.
  • 3 0
 If I hear any more Levy math I might just throw myself out the window.
  • 2 0
 Same tho
  • 1 0
 I don't really know, I had 8, 9, 11 and 12 cassetts and still having trouble to get up the mountain, maybe I need to buy a new pair of legs...
  • 1 0
 The Box 2 11spd 11-50 group is the perfect compromise of range and reliability; for the price of a new GX cassette nonetheless. That will be my next group!
  • 2 0
 Unpopular opinion:

I love modern drivetrains. I have a Sram and Shimano 12 speed and find them both to be great.
  • 2 0
 Ebike motor with built in gearbox is the future for sure. Derailleurs will join 26" wheels in the museum.
  • 1 0
 I recently switched to the Advent-X 10 speed 11-48t from NX Eagle and I don't miss 12 speeds at all. Neither does my kids' college fund.
  • 1 0
 I was perfectly happy with a 1x10 setup until I was essentially forced to go to 1x 11. It's not hard to see which cogs I barely ever use...
  • 1 0
 On an EBike the 12 speed is so much smoother and I tried the Box 9, Shimano 11, and now Shimano XT12. By far the XT 12 is so smooth on cadence
  • 1 0
 On my 12 speed GX drivetrain I almost always double shift! So, an 8 speed with the same range but lighter overall makes a LOT of sense!
  • 1 0
 SRAM GX 11spd shifter paired with Shimano 11spd XT derailleur, Sunrace 11x46 cassette & 32t Absolute Black oval chainring for the win! Smile
  • 1 0
 Is there an easy reference for the measure of the gaps in common cassettes, 7-12 speed and for Sram and Shimano at least? I can't easily find it from Shimano.
  • 1 0
 I use Sram everything, but my deraileur is Shimano Zee and my shifter is Sram X-9. I get a perfect 9spd system as the result.
  • 1 2
 The top of the line XX1 and XTR are a rip off.... You can buy a GX, NX and SX drivetrain and own all 3 for approximately half the cost of XX1 alone. The top spec stuff is a joke, are you telling me the Nitride plating and slightly higher quality plastic is worth as much as the next 3 groupsets combined let alone double the cost of said groupsets?
  • 1 0
 My xx1 cassette is 100% better in life and shifting. Its not just nitride, it is a different metal. Cheap stamped steel cogs suxk balls. I will spend the money for the bling cassette.But Im good with GX shifters and derailleurs.
  • 1 0
 Mike channelling the Beastie Boys - has this happened before? Long overdue if not.
  • 4 0
 Pinkbike Enemy #1 - Don't Believe the Hype, F-LEVY FLAV!
  • 2 0
 I can't believe there aren't more Flavor Flav jokes
  • 3 0
 Grim Donut = Fake news
  • 1 0
 They're clearly waiting til april 1st 2021...
  • 2 2
 Shimano 12-speed Hyperglide+ is so dam sweet. Its a work of art and worth the wait. Shimano is just a more refined product. I could never go back to Eagle or anything else.
  • 1 1
 SRAM employees downvoting again?? Make your crap work!!

Shimano 12 is next level rad.
  • 1 3
 Props to SRAM for pushing 1x. But.........SRAM has consistently brought products to market that aren’t 100% dialed. It gets them OEM spec, and it gets consumers to be paying Beta testers. SRAM is touting their new 10-52 cassette, and barely mentioning that they (finally) put a stronger return spring in their rear derailleurs-which has been a problem SINCE EAGLE 11 CAME OUT!!!!!!

I’m finally done with my unpaid Beta testing of the GX Eagle setup on my Slash 8-shifting performance degrades alarmingly on long, gritty desert rides and the rear derailleur is shot 11 months in. Put XT 12 on and it’s better in every way.
  • 1 0
 A stronger return spring was added? I hadn't heard that before.
  • 1 1
 It's buried in the ad copy. They had to do it to make the derailleur make the horrible, huge-ass shift the new 52t cog requires.
  • 2 1
 I guess I triggered some SRAM employees again. 3 generations of brakes, 3 generations of Reverb, and 2 generations of 1x rear derailleurs have been released without adequate beta testing. Make your shit reliable BEFORE you release it. Not after consumers have to deal with it, often as OEM spec.
  • 2 0
 12 Speed gives older people like myself a couple more years in the game.
  • 2 0
 Christx, can you post a photo of your new gearbox bike? Wink
  • 1 3
 Much like carbon rims, kashima coatings and ridiculously capable bikes being "needed" to pound the local singletrack at 9 mph, 12 speed drivetrains are a must if you are to be any sort of real mountain biker. Personally I had very bad experiences with gx eagle and xt m8100. Way too precise for rugged riding. A day on chunky singletrack climbs in stokesville or massanutten ring would require constant barrel adjustments and chain lube application. Switched to 10 speed 11/46 sunrace casette, 10 speed xtr shifter, 11 speed xt derailleur (for the external clutch adj) and couldn't be happier. Running a 36t chainring and never once needed lower than 46t. As for ratio gaps and our brain wiring, I ride ss half the time so clearly my brain wiring is shot already.
  • 1 0
 I didn't notice anyone missing their front derailleur. I know I don't miss kicking into the granny.
  • 3 2
 This is so dumb. 11 speed forces you to prioritize high or low gearing, 12 speed allows you to have both. The end.
  • 1 0
 Would like it if SRAM update the the 11 speed to a 10-46. I recently switched to the E13 Gen 3 11 speed and so far so good.
  • 2 0
 Here to say #singlespeed4lyfe
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy This is the best series. More please , thx.
  • 1 0
 38-23, Profile cranks, Hadley Single-speed hubs, 140 fork, Ti Frame. Stong legs. Tough to beat where we ride.
  • 2 2
 If you have time to establish cadence your trails suck.

8 speed with the same range would be perfectly great for MTB. We ain’t roadies.
  • 2 0
 but wheres the grim donut
  • 1 0
 But will my Campag super record derailleur work with my TRP shifter , SRAM Eagle Cassette and XTR Chain...
  • 2 0
 Who cares, run what ya brung! Or what you can afford.
  • 1 0
 How about a 11-34 11 speed road cassette? Just need a little bit more caffeine...
  • 2 0
 All I want is a 10-46, 10 or 11 speed with hyperglide shifting.
  • 1 0
 Box 2 wide 9, 11-50t is pretty awesome. I'm not road biking and I don't need perfect cadence all the time.
  • 2 0
 So... why are we using 12 speed drivetrains?
  • 1 0
 Because 13 is too many, and 11 is perfect, but, 12 is just; WOW. Also, if you noticed, they went from 8 to 9 to 10 to 11 to 12, so..............Get ahead of the curve, put a 12 in the front, a 12 in the back, and have 144 gears.
  • 2 0
 @Kramz: I can get behind a 12x12. Otherwise I'll stay with 1x11.
  • 1 0
 Why 12 speeds with monstrous cogs? Because people are a bunch of lazy wee wees. That's why.
  • 1 0
 I'm on 2x11 XTR, and I'm amazed how it works. 34/24 front, 11-46 rear. Never a single issue.
  • 1 0
 Just got myself a Sunrace all steel 11-51t 11 speed same range one less cog. Liven the dream.
  • 2 3
 Hoped to read some new insights or at least anything NEW. But no, just platitudes. What an unnecessary article! A hard year for all of us.
  • 1 0
 I love my 12->1x1=pinion
  • 1 0
 Because you convinced us it was "better"
  • 1 0
 I'm actually running a 7 speed....
  • 1 0
 What cogs
  • 1 0
 And for what riding obviously Wink . It is a common choice for DH.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: busted!!!!
  • 1 0
 @fartymarty: The only ones that matter...
  • 2 0
 SPROKETS!!!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy just commit to being corny, it's funny and you know it
  • 2 1
 I'll take more range please
  • 1 1
 "We?" No, we are not French. We're American, because you're in America, okay?

11 speed still treating me right.
  • 1 0
 I want 14 speed, flex that Patent Shimano!
  • 1 0
 12 speed derailleurs cages are more cognizant of obstacles to hang on.
  • 1 0
 12 is more than 11 and there for better! haha. I love my XO12speed
  • 2 0
 nice nips!
  • 2 1
 why aren't e-bikes in the same category as Mopeds?
  • 1 0
 12spd xtr shifter sram rd, works just fine!
  • 1 0
 Your amp may go up to 11 but this amp goes up to 12!
  • 1 0
 I didn't read a single comment, I like this good work Pink bike.
  • 1 0
 I still have 34x10-34 on my 26'er. Smile
  • 1 0
 29er = 32:20
26er = 32:18
Oh wait, wrong forum!
  • 2 0
 Gearbox. Make it so.
  • 1 0
 5 bikes all 11 by 1 Shimano SLX
  • 1 0
 11 speed X0 and 34T working fine for me.
  • 2 0
 1x10 FTW.
  • 1 0
 But is it 12 inches? 3 rings in the front!
  • 1 0
 11 spd 32-42.......perfect.
  • 1 0
 Miss the days when this stuff was important..
  • 2 0
 My one goes to 11!
  • 1 0
 Another JOKE that this guy drank the Kool-Aid while being marketed to.
  • 1 0
 I'm curious will shimano and others stop producing 1x11?
  • 1 0
 i need an invite to the secret derailleur cabal
  • 6 6
 because one company cant make a well working front derailleur.
  • 3 4
 Only way to keep a chain on (even with Shimano) for aggressive riding is a lower idler, which is inefficient and heavy. Only place for a front derailleur is on a road bike.
  • 7 7
 Cliff notes. You don’t need a 12speed
  • 22 1
 ......says a guy from Florida
  • 5 0
 But that was the path to the wide range we have today. Now we have wide range with less gears as well (box, microshift and even full Shimano without resorting to 3rd party cassettes).

I was curious to try out the microshift advent X (wide 10 speed) but now that Shimano has the new deore drivetrains I'm tempted to try m5100 or m4100. I think I'd prefer 11-51 11-speed over 12-speed. 11-46 10-speed is probably plenty of range. It's cheap enough to just give it a try and see.
  • 1 4
 Says a guy who lives here part time and rides mainly in the northeast @peleton7:
  • 2 0
 Northeast ain’t out west brah.
  • 7 10
 Bike industry is making us lazier*, 12 speed, ebikes and now kids ebalance bikes.
*And find ever more ridiculous inventions to keep selling as poorly designed, poorly engineered, poorly made, overpriced crap.
  • 8 0
 Dude, you just summed up modern society. Work hard to buy stuff you don't need, and watch your government waste your hard earned dollars on hookers and blow.
  • 14 1
 @Bomadics: I really wouldn't call hookers and blow a *waste*
  • 7 0
 12 speed isn't "easier." All along they were just trying to capture the range that old triple front ring setups provided. There's a reasonable range of gearing in relation to the power humans can put out. Besides, it's all relative to the trail. Mr. Awesome can refuse to shift into the top two gears if he wants to show how rad he is. Ebikes... for some they make riding possible. For others they make lazy riding possible.

Sure there's a lot of silly stuff that's come out of the industry. But the engineering, the designs, the bikes... by and large they're remarkable. The way we can ride modern trails is insane compared to the past.
  • 3 0
 @SoddenDeath: If it were for the people it wouldn't be at least Wink
  • 1 0
 Wide 5 please.
  • 2 2
 I see zero reason to ever get a twelve speed
  • 1 2
 10/50 cassette = 400% range. Why have we let the component mfgrs bastardize math like this?
  • 2 0
 Umm...
  • 1 0
 waiting for the 1x15
  • 3 6
 I'm curious as what kind of insane grades people are riding that require a 52t cog with a 30T chainring - like, how do you even keep the front wheel on the ground?
  • 14 0
 I'm plenty fit and there's stuff in the 15-20% range around me that I really appreciate having a 30/51 for.
  • 7 0
 You can use a 10-52t with a 34t chainring instead, and get lots of gearing for spinning out on the way to the trail as well...
  • 13 0
 @gumbytex: Yeah I hop into my 50 tooth pretty quick when pedaling up a resort fire road. 15+ % for 1000 feet at least. Sure I could grunt up it but why would I?
  • 15 0
 Imagine being 200 pounds and living in NorCal. Then imagine that you are out of shape and it’s 100 degrees Fahrenheit so you brought 3 liters of water.
  • 1 0
 Not so much the gradient but the lack of fitness and muscle mass required to ride up long constant hills. Heck I’ve got a granny ring and my heart/lungs give out with that.
  • 5 0
 To be fair, wheelsize is a huge factor there, and bike geo. But I agree. In 275 wheels, my 36cr 10/50 eagle 12s gearing has pretty much the exact same high and low gear ratio as the 26,38 x 11/36 two by ten drivetrain I had. To be honest, I had such a rad custom chainguide setup that I never disliked anything about the 2x10. Back to the point...a 36 with eagle cassette is just as good as when we all rode 2x10. Not as finite jumps between gears, but that's the only difference. Why people keep trading their high end to be able to spin 6 times for each revolution of the wheel is beyond me. Btw new trek bikes are super limited in how small you can go. Your chain runs on the chain stay at 30t. They only claim 28 is not compatible, but 30 definitely rests on the chainstay prior to sag. I personally resisted one bys until eagle because I was totally satisfied with 2x10, and I was unwilling to give up high end gears....
  • 4 0
 I see these comments and am always curious of what height and weight the commenter is. I ride with a few larger guys that are in pretty good shape(ride 1-2times a week)and could use a 52t heck maybe a 54 on long consistent grinds. I think these wider ranges offer a better riding experience for a broader audience. And for those want more just upsize your chainring.
  • 13 0
 Come out west. On long, steep, technical climbs at altitude you’ll use a 50 or 51 tooth cog.......a LOT.
  • 1 0
 @Tonedelove: 230# + a 3L pack with gear. My low gear on my AM bike is 30-46 and it's a 29r. On the lighter bike 2016 Orbea Occam TR20 M10 it's 32-46 and I feel fine so far. On the higher range drive trains I tend to spin out and loose grip along with getting my HR too high. I prefer a lower cadence to keep my heart happy.
  • 2 0
 50/30t-oval rider here. I’m riding up old trails that we’re designed poorly or for DH only. 12-15% grades with zero flat or downhill sections. On my old Wreckoning with a 72 degree seat angle it was a struggle to keep the wheel down.
  • 3 0
 A few of the trails around me are 1/4 mile+ 20% avg and touch 30% in sections. Alternatively, we also have longer 15-20% sections that are loose enough that standing isn't an option. I ride a 32-50 and could get away with harder, but it would mean that I couldn't take it easy up some climbs.

Sometimes I just want to ride easy but still hit the fun trails, easy gearing lets me do that.
  • 5 0
 A lot of our best local trails (Victoria BC) are only accessible from long, steep technical climbs (avg 12 - 16%, many pitches >25,almost 30%). 28 or 30 x 52 is barely more than half a wheel revolution per rpm and totally necessary to keep on top of the gear and stay planted. I would give up my 10t in a heartbeat for a few closer steps in the bigger cogs.
  • 3 0
 "how do you even keep the front wheel on the ground?"

Same way I always have, basically putting my chin on the bars.

I know this board has a lot of superheroes that can climb a strava grade 1 on a single speed by harnessing the power of their beards and plaid shirts. I've got no shame though and enjoy my currently 32/50 (oval even). When it's time to replace my cassette I'll probably update to the 52. I'm sure my knees will thank me.
  • 1 0
 @sbrdude1:
I guess you missed the “out of shape” part. Haha! Good job man. You’re a beast.
  • 1 0
 "how do you even keep the front wheel on the ground?"

are you riding a bike from 2007? modern geo solved that issue long ago
  • 2 0
 I'm a fit XC rider and ride steep stuff: 20%+ grades with 1400 ft. climbs are not unusual. If you do a few of those on a long ride you are going to wish you had a 30-52.
  • 2 0
 @PartridgeSkillz: Agreed. Also, the ten tooth has so much extra friction that I only really use it on the rare road descent, and even then it feels pretty crunchy. It's even more noticeable on my gravel bike. I see why Shimano stuck with 11t for so long.
  • 2 0
 @sbrdude1: My bigger friend rides a lower cadence too. Higher cadence shifts the effort to your heart and lower keeps in in your legs. I think big strong riders usually like a low cadence so that they can use their strength but don't burn out their heart, and light fast riders like a higher cadence that doesn't tire out their legs.
  • 1 0
 East coast rider here. No western super long steep fire roads but i have a few spots where it is super steep and rooty and use the 52T cog. Too much gear power makes the wheel spin and you cant stand as you wont have enough weight on the rear wheel. I have 34T in the front fwiw and find I only use the 52T on those tech climbs. My second bike has a 11sp shimano 32T CR with a 46t cog and do the same climbs fine.
  • 1 0
 @peleton7: no doubt! In CO having a 34x50 is a godsend at times! My SRAM 12 is pretty much bombproof and flawless... once dialed, it rarely wavers. No reason to ever look back.
  • 2 3
 The cadence argument is silly.
  • 7 3
 Sounds like someone who doesn't care about cadence, which is fine. Having used a zillion different cassettes and being someone who enjoys pedaling and being fit, as do many others, cadence is certainly not silly.
  • 2 3
 Go complete a ride always shifting 2 gears at a time. Come back and let us know how little you miss the gears in-between.
  • 1 0
 @DaneL: Great point, most of the time, I do indeed shift 2 gears at once, now that you mention it.
  • 1 0
 @phobospwns: it sounds like you should be looking at some of the wide range 9-speed options. Check out Box Components and MicroSHIFT. I personally can't imagine having jumps that big between gears, but everything I ride is straight up for 2000-3000 ft and straight back down. Bigger jumps might make more sense in rolling terrain where you're constantly changing gears.
  • 3 2
 @DaneL: riding is not sitting and pedaling in cadence, thats cycling, off-roadie cycling
  • 1 2
 @mikelevy: assuming the rider has the power available, there is not much difference
  • 3 0
 @Y12Sentinel: hop on a trainer and ride at 90% of your FTP for an hour at 100rpm. Take a rest day, then do the same thing at 70rpm. Report back and let us know how you feel after each ride.
  • 1 0
 @DaneL: Yeah not a whole lot of long climbs or descents around where I live- shorter up and down over rolling hills, and if there is a sustained climb, I'm in first gear anyway. I'm old, and lazy when it comes to going up. I like the sound of what you've got going on way better, though, frankly. For now, I'm rocking 11 speed 46T Shimano, and it's v solid- but perhaps someday when it's time to replace some parts, I'll check out the wide range 9. Enjoy it out there.
  • 1 0
 @phobospwns: yeah, but are you skipping over the same gears every single time? if so, there should be no wear on every other cog. i doubt that's the case. we shift 2 at a time, but sometimes it's 3 or 4 at a time, too. the place where you want to be isn't always on an even numbered cog, so it's good to have all those cogs in between, because you'll end up on them 50% of the time.
  • 1 1
 Marketing!!!!!!!
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