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1 chainring v. 3 chainrings

sstalder5

Turbo Monkey
Aug 20, 2008
1,945
20
Beech Mtn Definitely NOT Boulder
well its about time to replace my cranks and chainrings... ive been riding with three up front all my life (and yes, i was one of those 11 year old kids who rode in granny rings and got in everyones way...) but as my riding has progressed ive used my granny ring very rarely and ive moved from xc over to fr/dh. i'd say i'm in my 38t middle ring 97% of the time, my big 48t ring 2% of the time (not recently b/c i smashed it and now it wont run smooth) and i leave the remaining 1% of the time to my 28t granny.

so what are the advantages/disadvantages of each setup.

and if i did go single ring would i have trouble running an 8-speed cassette and should i stick with 38t or go bigger or smaller?

why i want the single ring is because i want to shave weight off my 34lb hardtail fr bike and because derailers piss me off :banghead: btw single speed is not an option...
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,018
1,036
01776
get yourself a 36 front and an 11-34 in the rear, 9spd, although you can get away with an 8 and 11-32. That's all the gears you'll ever need for 95% of your riding. Having a granny or big ring is great for a hyper-all mountain epic backcountry steed.

I was in your boots a few years ago, and thoroughly a skeptic, but my friend convinced me to drop the extra rings, and it's been worth it. Having the security of a good chainguide is awesome too, but you may find that your bike weighs less with three rings and a deraileur than one and a guide.

If you're really concerned about being able to pedal up, get a two-ring setup and a guide, and you'll have the best of both worlds, security and flexibility. Three rings just don't have any place on a dh or FR bike.
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,232
825
My own world inside my head
I run a double, 24/36/bash in the front, E13DRS to keep everything in line, and an 11/32 9sp in the rear. I dont use my 24 very often, but down here were I am at, there is just no telling when your going to need to climb for a bit. So I always have it for a reserve If I need it.

Going single up front has teh advantage of being lighter, and being dependable. Also you dont have to worry about getting that derailer set just right. You can pick either a guide system with a bashie or bashless as well.
 

Benton

Monkey
Aug 8, 2003
118
0
SLC
I have had two bikes that went from 3 rings to 1. Here's my decision process:

1. Does the chain come off the front and annoy me? If no, leave the 3 rings. If yes, go to question 2.
2. Can I ride everything in my middle ring? For each bike, I left the chain in the middle ring exclusively for a few months. Riding every uphill and downhill in the middle ring. I could still clean all the climbs and keep up with my friends.

Basically, a single ring with a chain retention system will prevent you from losing your chain, will make the bike look cleaner, and depending on the equipment, may make the bike lighter. If you can pedal everything in the middle, there's no strong reason to have 3 rings.

A triple gives you a bigger range of gears at the expense of dropped chains. If you never drop your chain, there's no strong reason to go to a single ring set up.
 

sstalder5

Turbo Monkey
Aug 20, 2008
1,945
20
Beech Mtn Definitely NOT Boulder
i do have chain dropping issues... thats why derailleurs piss me off so much and my first reason to run just one. i am running an sram 8-speed 11-28 cassette and i'm liking the gear ratios and i climb mostly with a 38t front and 24 or 28t rear and ride flats with a 38t front and 18 or 16t rear and descend with a 38t front and 12-11t rear. I was thinking of running 36t and 40t in the front but id never use the 40t and i would still have a chain dropping issue so i think im going to go with 1 gear but i dont know if i should stick to the 38t or drop to a 36t... is it really that much of a difference???

and with the chain retention system are you talking about the little roller things? and if so how do they work? are they necessary with a 1 ring system? do they prevent chain slap? and if i dont run them will i still drop my chain alot?
 

Benton

Monkey
Aug 8, 2003
118
0
SLC
and with the chain retention system are you talking about the little roller things? and if so how do they work? are they necessary with a 1 ring system? do they prevent chain slap? and if i dont run them will i still drop my chain alot?
Yeah, those roller things. Or more precisely these:
http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/index.php?category=56

A chain is more likely to fall off a single chain ring than off a triple. But, you can't use a chain guide on a triple chain ring, you can on a single. A chain on a single ring with guide will almost never come off. You can also get dual chain ring guides. That allow you to run two rings and still reduce the chances of your chain coming off.

A single ring without a guide isn't a good idea.
 

sstalder5

Turbo Monkey
Aug 20, 2008
1,945
20
Beech Mtn Definitely NOT Boulder
Yeah, those roller things. Or more precisely these:
http://www.universalcycles.com/shopping/index.php?category=56

A chain is more likely to fall off a single chain ring than off a triple. But, you can't use a chain guide on a triple chain ring, you can on a single. A chain on a single ring with guide will almost never come off. You can also get dual chain ring guides. That allow you to run two rings and still reduce the chances of your chain coming off.

A single ring without a guide isn't a good idea.
ok so whats the difference between one of these:
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/15288-075_BLAST6-3-Parts-382-Chain-Guides/Tensioners/Blackspire-Stinger-Chain-Guide.htm

and one of these:
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/16614-075_MRPS37-3-Parts-382-Chain-Guides/Tensioners/MRP-System-3-Party-Crasher-Chain-Guide-System.htm

so basically whats the advantage of having two rollers instead of one?

and how are the rollers mounted to the bb? will it require a new one?
 

JRogers

talks too much
Mar 19, 2002
3,791
1
Claremont, CA
ok so whats the difference between one of these:
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/15288-075_BLAST6-3-Parts-382-Chain-Guides/Tensioners/Blackspire-Stinger-Chain-Guide.htm

and one of these:
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/16614-075_MRPS37-3-Parts-382-Chain-Guides/Tensioners/MRP-System-3-Party-Crasher-Chain-Guide-System.htm

so basically whats the advantage of having two rollers instead of one?

and how are the rollers mounted to the bb? will it require a new one?
The Blackspire guide there is a dual ring guide-it's meant so that you can run a front der. and bashring with a small and medium ring. The MRP is a single ring DH guide- only one chainring with no front der.

It seems like you'd be fine with one ring if you find that you don't use the big or small ones much. As others have suggested, a slightly smaller front (36T maybe) is a good compromise paired with a larger cassette (32T or 34T)- that would allow you to still have a reasonably small gear for climbing but still enough of a big gear for descents. If you don't want that, then a dual ring guide (E-13 DRS seems to be the best; I've only owned a Blackspire Dewlie and it did fine- dropped the chain to the small ring now and then, but it never got jammed or anything), front der. and maybe a larger than standard ring set (like a 28-38 or 24-36) would give the most versatility. Seems like you'd be fine with one ring, but if you want some more options, it's another way to go.
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,232
825
My own world inside my head
The blackspire is a very simple device. Its ok, its a cheap way to dro your large wring and add a bashie. I have used it before, and I didnt like it too much.

The reason your MRP you listed has two rollers, the upper roller takes place of the derailer. Remember chains arent dropping from the derailer side on the front, they drop from the chain slapping around while riding. I know I said this already, but I really like the performance of my DRS. Stepped lower roller, nice bashie, nice boomerang, works with most any derailer.

Here is a snap so you can see what it looks like on the bike.






But with all that said, if you really arent using your big or small ring, you might as well drop them, and go with a single
 

DirtMcGirk

<b>WAY</b> Dumber than N8 (to the power of ten alm
Feb 21, 2008
6,417
0
Oz
I run a 1X9 on my Nomad, which since the death of my Enduro has become my do everything except for the very, very stupid **** bike.

Sometimes I wish I could reach down into granny, and with a 36 up front there are times when I run out of gears for DH. However, 95% of the time, I am a happy camper. Mind you I am not as fast at all on my Nomad going up the hills, but I can point it down the mountain and let it rip...
 

sstalder5

Turbo Monkey
Aug 20, 2008
1,945
20
Beech Mtn Definitely NOT Boulder
The blackspire is a very simple device. Its ok, its a cheap way to dro your large wring and add a bashie. I have used it before, and I didnt like it too much.

The reason your MRP you listed has two rollers, the upper roller takes place of the derailer. Remember chains arent dropping from the derailer side on the front, they drop from the chain slapping around while riding. I know I said this already, but I really like the performance of my DRS. Stepped lower roller, nice bashie, nice boomerang, works with most any derailer.

Here is a snap so you can see what it looks like on the bike.






But with all that said, if you really arent using your big or small ring, you might as well drop them, and go with a single
what if i ran a 36t with this http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-2010-blackspire-blackguard-chain-guide-inner-plate.aspx
this
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/15288-075_BLAST6-3-Parts-382-Chain-Guides/Tensioners/Blackspire-Stinger-Chain-Guide.htm
and this
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/14903-100_EVISC6-3-Parts-52-Chainrings/Bashguards/E-13-Supercharger-Bash-Guard-E.Thirteen.htm
i'd like a pretty low drag system and i like the idea of sandwiching the chin between the inner plate and the bashguard with one roller. also id like to keep it under $100 for the chainguide system
 

DirtyMike

Turbo Fluffer
Aug 8, 2005
14,232
825
My own world inside my head
Well, that would work. not sure how well . let me look around and see If I can find a guide for you for less than a bill.




Question, guide and ring for less than 100? or just teh guide?
 

danielsapp414

Monkey
Mar 27, 2005
274
0
Boone, NC
hey dude, I live close to you and have an e13 lg1 with a bashring i'll sell to you for cheap if you have iscg tabs....pm me, i can deliver it tomorrow only
 

JRogers

talks too much
Mar 19, 2002
3,791
1
Claremont, CA
what if i ran a 36t with this http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-2010-blackspire-blackguard-chain-guide-inner-plate.aspx
this
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/15288-075_BLAST6-3-Parts-382-Chain-Guides/Tensioners/Blackspire-Stinger-Chain-Guide.htm
and this
http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/14903-100_EVISC6-3-Parts-52-Chainrings/Bashguards/E-13-Supercharger-Bash-Guard-E.Thirteen.htm
i'd like a pretty low drag system and i like the idea of sandwiching the chin between the inner plate and the bashguard with one roller. also id like to keep it under $100 for the chainguide system
I think that would work, but I bet you could find something that would work better for the same amount of money. Look used if you need to (not a bad idea; chainguides are pretty simple and it should be obvious if it's beat).

Also, that setup you are thinking about wouldn't be any less drag than most other systems. On most guides, the top slider/roller doesn't contact the chain unless it jumps up there; the top roller is designed to stop the chain from jumping off up there, not put tension into the system. If you only ran a bottom roller, you would lose some security without a top roller.