Tech: Deep dive on 1×10 narrow/wide conversion gearing

Is a 1x10 narrow/wide conversion better than 1x11 and 2x systems?

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Comparing stock setups with the 1×10 extended range possibilities. Photo courtesy of Art's Cyclery

Comparing stock setups with the 1×10 extended range possibilities (click to enlarge). Photo courtesy Art’s Cyclery

Editors Note: ‘Science Behind the Magic’ delves into the inner workings of your two-wheeled steed. Art’s Cyclery web content editor Brett Murphy uses his mechanical engineering background to explain the latest industry advances and breakdown the inner workings of common components. The original article can be found here.

I recently wrote reviews of the e*thirteen Extended Cog and GuideRing M after converting my own bike to a 1×10. I had great things to say, and have received some requests to further discuss 1×10 gear ratios, including extended cog range setups. I thought it would be useful to compare some stock setups with the 1×10 extended range possibilities. Comparing the gear ratios and the cost differences should help you make an informed decision about where to spend your money.

This recent survey on Mtbr shows the popularity of 1x10 Narrow/Wide conversion drivetrains.

This recent survey on Mtbr shows the popularity of 1×10 narrow/wide conversion drivetrains (click to enlarge).

The growing popularity of extended cogs is a result of 11-speed 1x drivetrains by SRAM and Shimano. There are mechanical and weight advantages to ditching the front derailleur in favor of a wider range cassette that can do the job of a double or triple chainring system. The manufacturers have decided however that these wide range cassettes should come with a hefty price tag and the requirement for a new shifter, derailleur, and potentially a new freehub body or hub. E*thirteen, Hope, and others all have extended cogs that increase the range of your current 10-speed system by adding a 40 or 42-tooth cog to the freehub body; making room by removing the 15T or 17T cog on the existing cassette.


The following graphical representation shows a comparison of gearing between four setups. The X-Axis is arbitrary and represents the number of gears available. A 3x system has 30 gears to choose from, however most of them overlap and are redundant. The Y-Axis shows the number of centimeters of forward movement per crank revolution. Rolling centimeters are calculated by multiplying the circumference of a 29-inch tire by the gain ratios of the gearing.

Gearing Chart

The jumps in rolling distance observed in the 3x (blue plot) and 2x (red plot) show the change from one chainring to the next. While 3x does offer a slightly better range of gearing, the amount of redundancy in gear ratios is extreme. Comparing the 24T ring of the triple to the 32T ring, you can see that the first 8 high gears overlap in rolling distance to gearing in the 24T ring. Only the last two shifts offer a new ratio. The same is true of the 42T ring. Of the 30 gearing choices on a triple 10-speed setup, only 14 combinations offer unique gearing, the rest are redundant. The same is true of a double but to a lesser degree. Of the 20 gearing combinations on a double, 14 are unique ratios. Doubles offer an almost identical range of a triple with one less ring.

The typical 1×10 conversion drivetrain involves removing the 15 or 17 tooth cog and adding in the 42 tooth after the 36. The front chainrings and derailleur are removed in favor a 32 tooth Narrow/Wide front chainring.

The typical 1×10 conversion drivetrain involves removing the 15 or 17 tooth cog and adding in the 42 tooth after the 36. The front chainrings and derailleur are removed in favor a 32t narrow/wide front chainring.

The major concern for most people when moving to a 1x system is that they will be losing gears, making it harder to climb. I set up the gearing in the chart so that all combinations would have approximately the same gearing for climbing. All setups have roughly 150 centimeters of forward movement per pedal stroke in the lowest gear. So let’s set that concern aside, it will be just as easy to climb with your new extended range (42t) 1×10 as any other factory setup. Now on the high end of the gear range there is a bit of a different story to be told. The 3×10 setup wins the highest gear award with the ability to move 878cm per pedal stroke and the 1×10 comes in last at 627cm. This explains some of the reasoning behind SRAM’s XD freehub body that allows for a 10-tooth cog, which increases high-end ratios.

Now before dismissing the 1x setup on account of a lack of high gearing, ask yourself if you really think you’ve ever used this range before. Looking again at the chart, we can see that the same ratio of a 1×10 extended setup (30T ring in the 11T cog) is available with a 3×10 setup using the 42T ring with the 15T cog. So take your current 3×10 bike out for a ride, and when you are descending the trails or riding back to the car on the flats, see if those last two gears (the 13 and 11-tooth cogs) make a difference to you. From personal experience, I find I don’t have an issue spinning out on my bicycle. At 90RPM this last gear would have you traveling at 30mph. While I do have loads of fun ripping trails at 30mph, I don’t find myself pedaling in these situations and also don’t spend time on the road spinning at this speed.

Depending on your bicycle and riding style, perhaps higher RPMs and speeds are more important to you. Check out some of the pro XC setups around today. For the most part they are running an XX1 10-42 cassette with either a 36T or even a 38T chainring. So perhaps if you are building a XC rig, you look at a bigger front ring paired with that 10-speed extended cassette. Below we can see the results of the new 1×10 11-42T cassette with a 36T chainring stacked against the original triple and 30T 1×10 setups. Shifting the line upwards in favor of higher speeds and less climbing.

1x10 36T


Continue to page 2 for calculations and the bottom line »

About the author: Arts Cyclery

This article was originally published on the Art's Cyclery Blog. Art's Cyclery is dedicated to offering free expert advice, how-to videos, and in-depth product reviews on to help riders make an educated decision when selecting cycling gear.

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  • Phil says:

    One by setups were a no brainer for me. I dropped the large sprocket on my 3×10 some years ago because I did not use it in favor of a bash guard. With the invention of the 40t+ range expanders and the adoption of narrow wide chain rings, specifically the race face 104 bcd 30t, dropping the granny, front derailleur mech and front shifter was a no braining. With a 30:40 ratio setup the only trail that kicked by butt was Slick Rock in Moab. There really is not quite enough ratio to climb super steep pitches seated, which is what you have to do on a full squish bike. I’ll be running a crank with a direct mount 28t sprocket up front and will be fitting a 42t range expander this year. This should get me enough ratio for a true granny gear, and still 11:28 on the high end will allow me to cruise the flats at 17 mph with a nice cadence.

  • Daniel says:

    Sooooo…. is that not an XTR 11 speed rear derailleur on that Scott bike with a extended range cog added to a 10 speed cassette? What kind of trickery is going on here?

  • Pat says:

    The 11sp gives you about 1 more gear than 1×10, and very close to the range of 2×10. It seems a bit lacking to not include the 3×9, as that was standard for so long and many people are now retiring their 9sp drivetrains.

    1×11 and 2×10 gives up about a gear off the 3×9.

    11sp requires different hub, which is the major limiter to trickle down right now. Even if you have a convertible hub, the conversion kit costs $80-100 to switch from 8/9/10 to 11. But you get that sweet 10-42 cassette!

    The other issue with 1×10 is several of the companies have weight limits on the 42T cogs. Having a single 40 or 42T is much weaker for the weight than building all the large sprockets together. Big guys may bend /break the extended range cogs.

  • RM says:

    Pick your gear ratios to accomplish what you like. If getting up that super steep climb is what’s important the go with a double (22-36 chainrings) and 11-36 at the back. If you’re young and strong and top end speed is what’s important to you the 1x setups are ideal. For the average rider it’s tough to have both climbing power and top end speed. With my 22 chainring and my 36 at the back I was able to ride up all those hills at Moab on my Trek Remedy. I’ll be 60 this summer.

    • Martin says:

      I totally agree. I have been very happy with my 2×10 as someone who sits in an office chair too much and rides his bike too little. Not all of us are enduro world champions and for me, having options (besides wishing I rode more) is key to getting up and over steep/technical climbs.

  • Tommy says:

    As Pat said you forgot to mention the hub cost and also many people cassettes may nit have removable 15t or 17t cogs so they may need to factor in more money for a cassette. That being said I have been running 1×10 for a little over a year and will never go back. I am tempted by srams new GX stuff but I was planning a new wheel set anyway. Great article thanks for the info.

  • Old Mtn Soul says:

    I’ll stick to the 3×10-11, I like the smaller steps in the cassette (closer ratio’s) something to do with being a former cat 2 roadie, and still get a overall wider ratio. When you live and ride in the BIG mountains, much needed.

  • Shawn says:

    Here are the problems I have with 2x, 1x, vs 3x gearing systems.

    – 2x systems very close range (more than usable) but forces you to be in the granny gear too much. I prefer to be in a more efficient, slower wearing bigger front ring for 95% of my riding. Being in a 22 or 24 tooth front ring will wear the ring and chain faster, and they are slightly less efficient. Granny gears also typically interact with suspension more on most bike designs. So to me, since you have a front derailleur anyways, why not 3 instead of 2? Plus, with bottom brackets getting lower, I much prefer to have a bashring, and for most of my riding, 32 front ring is enough and you can simply replace the big ring with a bash to protect your gears for cheap, and slap on the big ring for a situation where you may need it. From what I’ve seen, most true 2x systems don’t allow for use of a bashguard. A frame mounted bash may be an option, but really only if you have the correct mounts on the frame, which not all frames have. Plus I prefer the bash mounted to the crank, not the frame.

    1x – 1×10 has obvious gear step issues and ieven if you replace the 15 with a 16, the gaps are still not the best. Plus the durability issues mentioned above are definitely true, and a friend of mine absolutely destroyed an allow 42 tooth ring and while a strong rider he’s only about 160 lbs. 1×11 seems OK, but you are limited to the gearing range of a 3x with a bashring. Again, it looks that SRAM/Shimano 1×11 cranks aren’t really designed w/bashgaurd and 32 tooth middle ring. Plus to get the same low range/high range as a 32/24, you need to go to a 28 tooth ring, which is approaching Granny status for efficiency/wear. Not to mention the expense. Although GX is approaching more reasonable cost, it is still about 2x more than XT/SLX, and the rear cassette is a pig and I’d prefer to have weight around the BB area than the rear axle.

    I don’t really understand the whole ‘redundant gear’ argument. The way you should use a 3x system is to adjust the front derailleur to the terrain (granny for steeper uphill, middle for rolling, big ring for flat, downhill) and then fine tune with the rear derailleur for the smaller variations in those 3 categories. You get smaller steps in gears and then can essentially choose the high/low appropriate to the category of the terrain. I have never found the front derailleur so big of a problem that I would sacrifice any range of gears. There’s nothing worse than having to walk, or spinning out, in my opinion, and you ride a wide range of terrain this is going to happen with a 1x system. Now, this is from the perspective of an intermediate rider, that does mostly trail riding and the occasional XC race. For someone focusing more on downhill or is good at low cadence climbing in taller gears (high strength to weight ratio), I can see the appeal, but for the person with average strength to weight ratio that has a single bike they would use for multiple riding situations, I just don’t get the hype of removing front chain rings. Seems like a net loss, not a gain.

    • F.C.T says:

      I agree. I tried 1x. No good. It was awful actually. So then I tried 2x. Much much better than 1x. I sacrificed top end speed on flats. But I find it acceptable. Shifting is far superior on 2x than it was with 1x. With 1x, if I set it up to handle inchworm climbing on tight / tech / singletrack, then it was absolutely awful on the high end. ‘Smooth shifting’ is key for ‘me’ relative to ‘fun’ riding. If the bike’s gear shifting isn’t smooth, but notchy, then I’m not happy. 1x simply cannot be set up to be at once ‘smooth’ and all-inclusively ‘high / low’ range. Trail results are a heck of alot different than the what the results tell you ‘on paper’. Screw 1x. Anyone who tackles the full gamut of riding from flats to tight technical steeps….would quickly find themselves missing what they NEED. …I had to find this out the hard way by wasting $$$. 2x is usable and offers the necessity’s.

      • simon says:

        Interesting and well put. I use 2 x 10 right now but am going try 1 x 10 modifying an XT 11-36 to 11-40 with a hope T-Rex 40 ring out back, with a 34 tooth OVAL n/w absolute black chain ring. I tend to change many gears at once rather than smooth 1 at a time changes, I also get out of the saddle a lot to haul myself up & over obsticals. If I need to spin up a long boring climb then I just take it easy but have foundhe 1 x guys in a new group are blowing m away. Reason being the torque of 24 ring is so rubbish it spoils the spin. Better to huck on the oval – I think……Time will tell

  • Paul says:

    This chart and article ignore one of the main reasons I prefer a 2×10 setup over 1×11, smaller spacing between gear ratios. You can see it in your charts. Yes, there is a lot of overlap between the different rings, but not necessarily at the same spot. Sometimes on that long climb, you want that perfect gear ratio, you loose that fine grained choice with a 1×11 and especially with a 1×10.

  • Eric says:

    The 1×10 set up looks like it has good climbing gears, okay downhill ratios, but very few options in the middle ranges. There’s a huge gap between 350 and 450cm on the chart. On a flatish or undulating trail, the most important range is non-existent. For toodling along this seems fine, but for having fun or going fast this seems like a big negative.

    And what’s the “up side”? I lose several ounces off my bike to make me faster up a hill? What does a front shifter, derailleur, and small ring weigh? Okay maybe it’s a pound off my bike. So I can get up a really long climb 20 seconds faster, but I’m slower on the flats and downhills? Is that really a tradeoff that I want to make?

    I have no issues with people running 1×10 – I run a singlespeed pretty often – however, I don’t see why it needs to be justified through math that’s not there. The upside is 1×10 might make you learn to pedal differently due to a lack of gear choices. The downside is that there will be times where you wish you had more gears.

    I like my singlespeed, but on trails where the goes downhill at a 2-3% slope, it’s not much fun. I can’t drift as fast as I want to go, but I’m going to fast to pedal. I avoid trails like this when I singlespeed. With a 1×10 there would also be some trails that are less fun.

  • Bob says:

    Much as everyone hates on the ol’ front mech, here are two more real world scenarios:

    I have XX1 on my trail bike, 2×10 on my XC, there are times that I’ve set on the XC bike that I can’t get anywhere near on the XX1 bike because you run out of gears…. the XC is a 26″ Giant Anthem by the way. Typically these are flatter trails, where you can keep getting more and more gears as you build speed. XX1 runs out, I run a 32T up front.

    Second is riding in mud. I did a race with XX1, 75km endurance race that was very muddy. Spent a lot of time in the 42T because anything more would cause the rear wheel to spin. Sufffice to say I walked up a lot of hills and wished I had the 2×10 for more usable gears in the range I wanted…

  • Bret says:

    Some great comments here. That 19 tooth on the 1×10 is ridiculous! Should be an 18 and the gap would be spread out more evenly.
    One setup that wasn’t mentioned because not many of us using it is the 3×7. Personally, I like having a stiff, light SS wheel. For me, stiffness and much better chain line is more important than gear range. All I loose is the very top end which I didn’t use anyway. It goes without saying that I am in a very small group of riders.

  • Steve Salmons says:

    Don’t forget, everyone rides different trails and everyone has different skills. For me, riding around St Louis, even my fat out of shape butt can ride an antique 1×9 drivetrain. I couldn’t ride that setup in the mountains, to each his own.

    Don’t forget that lots of folks ride 1×1 and are perfectly happy. I am too fat out of shape (previously mentioned) to ride 1×1.

  • tyrebyter says:

    Cannot talk myself back into a front derailleur, and I’m running 1×9, 30×11-34 on a 650. The trails here are up or down . We don’t do flat. If I can’t pedal it, I need to work harder. The simplicity is addictive… but not enough to go SS.

  • chasejj says:

    I run a 26er right now and a 29er. For climbing steep long climbs my 1×10 26er is barely passable at 26/42. I can do it but sometimes need one more gear to just grind it up in the saddle.
    On the 29er I have a 24/32/42 with a 11-36 cassette. It needs more gear as it is in my estimation 2 gears off on climbs compared to the 26er. When I was younger these would have been considered ridiculous gears. To the very fit gearing is a theoretical discussion. To those of us who are just grinding trying to get fit and enjoy the mountains we need lower gears.
    On my new 29er I plan on getting the new XTR di2 and going back to 2x or even 3X and using the syncro shift with a 10-42 SRAM cassette (since Shimano blew it by only going to 40T) to get max range.
    On the 1X I do spin out way to easily on the flats.

    • Fat Biker says:

      XTR Di2 11s and SRAM XX1 11s are different block spacing I believe , so won’t work.
      Unless Di2 can be hacked for spacing steps ?

      Fat Biker

      • randycpu says:

        Sorry, what is “block spacing”? Is it the spacing gear to gear on the cassette that the rear derailleur shifts through?

        Too bad. I thought this idea (Di2 on SRAM 11-42 xD cassette) was great.

  • chasejj says:

    For my riding on a 29er. The ideal gearing would be 22/32 +maybe a 42 crank and 13-42T . With a 3X setup you could enlarge the smaller cassette cogs and get more chain wrap and tighter spacing with adequate top speed cadence.

  • oldmtb says:

    2x and 3x always work better in the real world. People who got sold on 1x really just bought into a fad. These are the guys who drive their mountain bikes to the trailhead, hike a bike up the steepest climbs and generally like to be seen with the latest gear cause it’s oh so popular with the bros.

    • Shamo says:

      I ride a 2x on my Full suspension on steep grades and like it because I can relax and enjoy the ride. I ride a 1×11 for XC racing and will never go back to the 2x for this kind of riding because it is lite, quick and without mechanical issues. For Cyclocross I ride a 1×10 and absolutely love it for the same reason as the 1×11. To say it is a fad is someone that is close minded and probably still rides a 26er because 29ers are just a passing fad…NOT!

    • tyrebyter says:

      It’s not a fad; it’s an option. And apparently it doesn’t work for you, but it does work well for others. 3x and 2x do not work better for me in the rocky, technical, steep mountains where I ride. There’s something about the Internet that brings out arrogance. Now perhaps you’d like to tell me the correct wheel size I should be riding?

    • Vallie says:

      Hogwash!! I ditched my big chain ring years ago because I ride steep, rocky trails. So I used a 22/32 with a 12-36 cassette. This matches a 26er with a 22/32 and 11-34 cassette almost exactly. Now I have a 1×11 with a 26 front 12-42 cassette, and it is EXACTLY the same range of high and low gears. I have a very low gear for rocky, technical climbs, and the same top end. I can spin up over 30mph, and most of my trails never need that speed. I’m a very capable technical climber, and rarely does anyone climb something I can’t. Usually it is the opposite. I get less weight, excellent chain retention, and it is super quiet through the rocky chunk. Also, before, I would kill my legs trying to push the middle ring, just to avoid making a front downshift when I knew I would have to upshift out of it soon. Now I run the gear my legs like, not forcing myself to push too high of a gear. I make a shift down to a gear that would have required me to shift down the front and 2 or 3 back up in the rear to duplicate. Now it is just one downshift down, and 1 back up. I keep my legs at the right cadence much easier now.

  • dave says:

    Still rockin’ my 2 x 9

  • Richard Cranium says:

    1×10 for over a year on both mtn bikes and one Cx bike. Never had any shifting issues using XT on Mtn bike while using 30 tooth with 36 cassette. Riding Pisgah and other WNC trails perfect set up. Don’t need any more gears for downhills or gravel roads. Cx bike is set up for racing with 40 tooth and road rear derailleur no drops. Simple

  • Mike says:

    My head hurts… I’m going to ride my SS.

  • bwol says:

    forgot to add in the cost of the XT casette

  • Dave_f says:

    One thing not mentioned (unless I missed it) is the exorbitant cost of replacement 1×11 cassettes (SRAM). I guess you could argue that a lot of bikes end up with low mileage before they’re sold, but for the rest of us the follow-on costs are significant. I balk at the high cost of the SRAM cassettes (including GX) with no option to replace individual cogs — and when you go to replace that slick 10sp range extender 42t the companies that made them will have moved on.

    I think 1×10 is a great idea for recreational bikes for trail riding, not everyone lives near big mountains. BMX and a lot of slopestyle bikes benefit from horizontal dropouts and single gear.

    If I’m doing an alpine crossing with all the stuff I need for a week on my back up long 20% inclines, and need to do another 10 miles to the evening destination on a slight downhill asphalt road I’m thankful for all the range I can get. I don’t think I could get by with anything less than 2×9/10.

    • Badger says:

      I live in central Texas. Austin to be exact. I am currently using a 2×9 setup but will be going to a 1×10 32t 11-36. I am thinking that this will give me enough range so I can climb some of the hills around here. And yes here in Texas we do have some pretty steep, long grinding hills. And for the guys that are saying this and that about fads in mountain biking. Take it from me, when I started mountain biking there were 3x and 7 cogs in the rear. Then 8 speed came along. Then 9 speed. Now we have 2x 10 / 1×10 , 1×11. I am 50 years old. For me it is about making it as easy as I can to make it to the top of the hill and having fun. And yes I am still using 26 in wheels and just went tubeless.

  • akb says:

    2x is optimal for me – some of my favorite parts of trail are 30+ mph and who spins at 90 – really? Carbon 29″ w/1x – approaching fad/hipster territory…

  • Brian says:

    Way to much thought being put in to this. Just go ride what is comfortable to you.

  • Fish2O says:

    Rode a 1X11 in Moab this weekend, could not be happier with it. Not as much climbing as we have in the Wasatch, but worked perfectly for every possible scenario. So nice to just have one shifter, bang it down for the DH runs and slam it back up to grind up the ramps. Awesome. In the mountains, it is really either up or down, vastly different than riding in Wisconsin with rolling terrain and a few, very short punchy climbs. On the downhills, you are going way to fast to even use a gear, nothing extra needed here.

    Lots of snide comments about hipsters, bros, even driving to the trail head. Lots of people need to get over themselves. When is choice a bad thing?

  • MTBmoose says:

    I’m still a fan of 3x. I ride lots of stuff with 25%-30% grades (that’s damn steep) and I’d have to give up too much high end or low end to make a 1x or 2x work for me. I ride Shimano’s 22-30-40 XT crank with an 11-36 rear on my 29er and love it. I also found that the 29er is giving up almost 2 gears on the low end to a 26er due to wheel size. I can make it up the climbs with a 24 tooth up front, but not without significant post-ride knee pain.

    I’ve looked at 2x and I don’t like most of the combos. I like riding in middle ring when I can and have found that the 30 tooth on my 3x combo works great on my 29er. I’d be on the small ring way more often on a 2x unless I converted my existing setup to 2x + bash, which would give up some on the high end. Just don’t see it’s worth it for this 50yr old dude who likes to climb. Yeah, wouldn’t mind dumping the weight, but relative to my weight, it’s insignificant.

  • JimmyDee says:

    I’m one of the few guys that still rides around town on my MTB bikes as well. Also, part of me really worries about the angle from a 1x ring on the front for such a wide range of angles in the back. I just envision all kinds of unnecessary stress on the chain. I never use the big ring on the trail, so if I was driving everywhere in my car, I could understand that. But on the road, getting to and from the trail etc, I use the big ring on my triple all the time. Maybe I’m old school, maybe I’m an outdated loser, but I still use 3×9 on all my bikes (primarily using just one or two rings most of the time) and I’ve yet to come across a situation it can’t handle fairly well. Maybe not having a guard ring is a problem at times.
    Whatever happened to riding your bike? One less car?

  • Steve-o says:

    So where’s all the 9 speed stuff?

  • Shawn says:

    Can’t do 1x drivetrain. I’d spinout so fast my head would start spinning. I’m staying with 3x for now.

  • MBR says:

    Hmmm… Do the math on a [I runs a 2X crank with a 32 big ring] 22 or 21 granny with a 36 rear. Sure you could run a 24 or 26 front ring on a 1X drivetrain, but no top gear. Some of us, who live in the hypoxic Rockies and don’t have the youngest of legs, need a lower gear than a 1X drivetrain offers. Also, in situations when the chain is dry and angry, the extreme cross chaining of a 1X drivetrain will not be very forgiving. Sorry. Kool-Aid, Kool-Aid might taste great, but not everyone takes the bait.

    • josh says:

      With port cities growing in numbers and wealth, the nearby lower elevation trails are seeing more traffic. Within 5hrs of my home, there are trails that range from 10′ – <1000' elev, and others in the 5,000' – 9,000+'. 90% of my riding happens at elevations under 2,500' and a 1×10 works great: stand and attack the short punchy climbs, spin out the 30×11 on the single track descents. Repeat. Blissful.

      Meanwhile, riding the higher trails in the Sierras sometimes means steeper pitches on loose terrain – and a lot more seated climbing. When the climbs are long and arduous, I will miss my 24t granny ring.

      Last thought: Are riders still staying seated to climb as much as they were 10-20 years ago? I ask because my 'progressive geometry' hard tail, while a blast going down, does not do seated climbing as efficiently (dare I say comfortably) as my older XC bikes (steeper HTA, shorter A-C) did. In seeking more info about this, I've come across arguments in favor of standing to climb more. Having just come from riding a lot of SS, I see a lot of upside to standing to pedal. But I'd be happy to find a more comfortable & stable seated climbing position too.

      • oldmtb says:

        New geometry favors standing climbing.
        Biking to the trailhead is the right thing to do. Even if you’re a hipster lol.
        Bikeradar says the fastest wheelsize overall is 29. Fastest on descents is 26.
        Uci worldcup courses may be an 3xception to the bikeradar test findings because with 6 foot minimum track widths and ample runouts after most rocky/steep sections, a riding style of gap jumping anything technical is highly favored. So 650b might be fastest on uci courses.

  • Bill says:

    I rock whatever is on my bike. In this case, a Sram X0/XTR 3×9 setup on my old-school 26er. If I buy a new bike, I’ll consider a 2x and 650b, but it’s really a non-issue for me. I never had a problem with dual control shimano levers either. Know your hardware and ride it…

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