Testing out the Stumpy FSR 29’er was a good opportunity to check out the 2×10 drive train and see how it compares to the 1×10 I’ve been running on the Mojo HD for the last six months.

The 1×10 drivetrain on the Mojo HD is a 33 tooth front chain ring, combined with an 11-36 10 speed cassette. The 2×10 drivetrain on the Stumpy is a 22/33 tooth chain ring combo on the front combined with an 11-36 10 speed cassette. If the Stumpy was a 26″ MTB practically there’d be no reason for me to use the granny on the trails as I ride as otherwise it’s the same drivetrain as the Mojo HD.  The Stumpy was a 29’er though and while those bigger wheels roll buttery smooth compared to a 26″, they require more energy to accelerate so the constant up, down, slow down, speed up and tight switch back nature of the local trails made for a good test.

1x10 vs 2x10
1x10 vs 2x10

How did the 2×10 experience compare to 1×10?

All those years of running triple chain rings meant the front ring shifting habits came back instantly, but in short I much prefer the 1×10 drivetrain and have no interest in changing back to multiple chain rings.

Why? Because the simplicity of a 1x drivetrain translates to flow on the trail. Multiple chain rings mean shuffling back and forth across chain rings, including the additional corrective back and forth shifts on the rear cassette so you don’t effectively end up in the same gear you were just in. With 1×10 you can shift when you need to, to the gear you need rather than doing the shift shuffle on the 2×10, the latter usually done ahead of time.

If you don’t like to think in terms of warm and fuzzy concepts like flow, simply put running a 1x drivetrain results in quicker, on demand gear shifts, significantly reducing being caught out in the wrong gear.

As an example of what I mean the local trails include numerous sections that go from high speed descent under power, that abruptly transition into heavy braking, super sharp, low speed climbing turns. In reality the transition happens in a second or two. With a 1×10 there’s minimal disruption to the flow of the ride, you get to the transition and push through to the required gear on the rear cassette and continue on. With the 2×10 it’s either disrupt the flow, come off the power early and shift the front chain ring and rear cassette to be ready for the transition, or attempt to do the shift shuffle as the transition happens, in the midst of heavy braking and everything else that is going on and listen to the drivetrain howl in protest.

Not that I didn’t have fun using the 2×10. I was definitely able to clear some low speed, steep rocky, loose, sharp turns much more easily in granny gear. Those turns on the 1×10 are a challenge, requiring delicate balance and control as you don’t have the ideal gear available, and much of what makes difficult MTB easy is being in the right gear. There are very few sections like that though, and I don’t mind the challenge so no biggie. I had forgotten how weird granny gear feels though — lots of spinning, lots of inching along.

Other things:

So there ya go, less can be more, it is for me anyway. I’ll stick to flowin’ with 1×10 🙂

KMC 10 speed chain failure
KMC 10 speed chain failure

One Response

  1. love your website. thanks for the 1×10 s 2×10. I’m going with a new 29er Retrotec with a 1×10 drivetrain. Most likely with 30t front 11/36 rear.

Leave a Reply