I've got a bike I'm going to convert to a 1x9 setup. I've got a few options with parts laying around - third eye chain watcher, a n-gear jump stop (have had great success with this), and single or double chainguards.
I'm curious if someone has tried several approaches and settled on one (either double guards, or just one and a device). Or, even done without with high chain tension?
No experience with a 1x8 on a cross bike, But I loved the 8 speed setup on my old mountain bike. I think the 9 and 10 speed stuff has mood swings when it gets dirty. My 8 speed stuff was always solid. If you look at classifieds on other sites (ahem.......) you will see that a lot of people want to buy old 8 speed components.
I built my 1x9 with a N-Gear Jump Stop and a Salsa Crossing Guard. The N-Gear Jump stop was a super easy to setup. I think the double chain guards would require some spacers and longer chainring bolts. It's been pretty reliable on the two trail rides I've been on thus far.
i've been racing on a 1x9 for the past 4 years with a double ring guard.
i initially set it up as a outer guard with a 3rd eye. just hope the chain doesn't manage to slip below the 3rd eye if it comes off cause it's a b#@$*! to get back on.
so, i went to the 2 ring guard setup and haven't dropped a chain in 4 years of racing.
someone on ebay makes some really light guards for cheap.
never weighed the difference between the guard vs a 3rd eye or jump stop, but it can't be much.
if you set on going 1 ring, i'd recommend the n-gear jump stop over the 3rd eye.
just personal preference.
I'm just starting to build up my first cross bike. I've been gifted brand new Ultegra SL shifters and RD, so since I had been debating a 1X setup, not getting a FD pretty much made the decision for me. I figure I can always change later.
Is anyone running a 1x10? Is a chainguard or some kind of device a necessity? And what size chanring should I start with for east coast cross courses?
1x10 works fine - some pros use it, but the one down side is that the 10 speed chains have a reputation of being less durable, and sometimes breaking. Because you'll be shifting through the extreme angles, I might as a precaution replace the chain a bit more frequently than you would on 9 speed. I've seen a few chains out on the course last season, and am guessing it's due to 10s, but that's just a guess. We've broken one chain while riding cx, and it was on a 10s equipped test bike.
Definitely get some combo of guards/guides - an outer guard with either an inner guide (jump stop) or dualies. See Josh's comment about mud/ice buildup with dual guards. The extreme angles, missing chainring, combined with the fact that you can't easily shift back into the chainring while riding makes the guides/guards essential. If you go single speed, you can drop them though with good chain tension.
As for gears, what level of racer are you, or expect to be? In general, a 42t front ring is the normal, and combined with a 12-26 or something like that, you should have a decent range for all courses. If you're just starting out riding/racing, some folks use mtb cassettes 12x28,11x32, etc for lower gears. In general if you're riding in a 32, 34, you might even be faster racing, but nice for training, trail riding, etc. You could go with a 38, 39, and maybe get a cassette that starts with an 11.
My experience is that you just dont get the gearing you need with a single ring setup. Maybe I was just never strong enough, but I found myself running and dismounting while others were riding up some gnarly steep hills. Dont believe it when they tell you, "if you need to change gears, its faster just to run". This just isnt true. With courses more and more rugged, hilly and mtn bike inspired, dual chainrings is necessary. If you're a pro in UCI races, they just dont have the hills that you'll find here.
In parting, I'd say its possible, but I think you'll be shooting yourself in the foot. Its a step in the direction of racing single speed against a group of geared racers. You could do better.
Oh and one more thing: Ive never had a chain drop with a dual ring setup and I had many with a single ring. And I tried every possible combo with a short chain too. This is the main reason I went back to the dual ring.
Thanks for the replies. Given that this fall will be my first cross season, I'm leaning towards going with the double chainring setup. I can always go to single ring if I realize that I'm only using certain gear range for the races I'm in, right?
I'll back up what Jeremy says. I'd like to know what the arguments are for single ring ... Minimize dropped chains? Lighter? Simpler? I think that all of those reasons have pretty convincing counter arguments.
I like my double setup. Last year, I went with a 44/38. Most races I just stayed in the 44 but when I wanted that 38, it was really nice to have. I never dropped a chain either.
For me, the double ring setup was the cheapest option as well. I didn't have to buy guards.
I would recommend going 1x1. It will make things lighter, cheaper, and you don't have to worry about much breaking. The most complicated part is deciding which gear ratio suites you best. Out here in the Mud Haven of the Cross Crusade in Portland, OR, most of our races are completely in mud. A LOT of people break derailleurs out here during races. Especially when the races go out to the corn fields, hehee.
I've used a 42 front ring with a 12-27 casette setup for 5 years. There have been no recent courses where I've needed an easier gear. I have needed an extra gear for a long flat sprint like the cyclesmart race. I switched over to a single front after losing a race when I dropped a chain. The single front means I will never have that problem again.