Back in December 2010 I upgraded my Mojo HD’s drivetrain from 1×9 to 1×10. The 10 speed 33 tooth chainring/11-36 cassette combo has served me so well over all the years since that aside from replacing worn out parts I’ve stuck with it.
Like any drivetrain setup though it’s a compromise, and while living at Mt Buller last Summer I found myself wanting just a little more at either end – more top speed for those sustained high speed mountain descents, and more spin for those steep, slow, tight sections on sustained mountain climbs. A significant part of the wanting though was undoubtedly due to knowing that SRAM’s 1×11 drivetrain was out there but was just too expensive for me to justify swapping over to. Plus it’s not like I wasn’t having a heap of fun riding anyway, and there was always the hope the Shimano or some company would step in and provide what a lot of guys were wanting – a wider range 1×10 cassette.
With no hint of action from Shimano, various wider range 1×10 franken-cassettes started to appear, from General Lee to Oneup Components. The wider range sounded great but reports of poorer shifting performance were a major turn off. I was interested in checking it out though so ordered a 42tooth cog from OneUp. I would’ve preferred a 40tooth but none were available. OneUp were out of stock at the time and it would take a couple of months before my order would be filled, and due to minimal competition they were also charging premium price which also kinda bugged me.
In the months that my OneUp order took to be filled other companies started offering wide range cassette options including Hope with their 40 tooth 40T-Rex. I had ran Hope gear on my Mojo HD and it was hassle free so it was a done deal. I ordered the T-Rex for my Mojo HDR along with a 34 tooth chain ring, and would sell the OneUp.
Unfortunately the freeride Zee derailluer is borderline when it comes to handling the increased range of the 11-40 cassette especially when you factor in the chain growth on the Mojo HDR when the shock is compressed. While I’ve been super happy with the Zee the best option was to replace it with a mid cage derailleur. I opted for the XT Shadow Plus.
After a few rides on the new setup I’m pretty happy with it. The shifting performance is surprisingly very good – I’d say slightly better than the Zee TBH – even though I’m yet to replace the 15 tooth cog with a 16 which is ordered but lost in transit somewhere. I guess in some ways the 1×10/11-40 is like going back to running 1×9, but with an additional get out of jail low gear for those few times you really need it. The chainline is pretty brutal when you’re on the 40 tooth – it’s not something I’d want to get into the habit of using excessively.
At the top end of town the increase from a 33 tooth to 34 tooth yields a little more grunt so it’s pretty much job done. I reckon I can probably get by with this setup until SRAM and Shimano’s 1×11 offerings start duking it out and hopefully become more affordable and commonplace.