Seeing fellow riders with only one chainring I often wondered how it was possible and marvelled at their superior levels of fitness for managing without the gears that I held so dear to my heart.
Until quite recently I hadn’t even considered that I would convert a bike to a single chainring and go 1×10. I suppose it started when I bought a Genesis Alpitude that had a 2×9 set up and soon after saw a great MTB article clearly demonstrating that compared to a 1×10, my 3×10 set up had around 14 redundant gears! I started to think what life might be like without the Granny Ring.
A trip to Cwmcarn almost sealed the deal for me. A lap of the Cafall trail in the middle ring felt like an enormous achievement, until after a rest and some lunch I struggled to make the Twrch climb IN the Granny Ring. But it was enough to plant a seed and get me thinking. A few more rides, some manning up and staying out of the lowest gears soon had me convinced.
Both front and rear derallieurs on my Giant Trance were at the end of their life, this was the opportunity to make the change so the shopping started.
Narrow wide single chainrings are available for a pretty small sum, I opted for UberBike as they had recently added single chainrings for only £24.99 and they had a variety of colours.
The only other item I needed to change was the rear mech and it was an easy choice to select a Shimano SLX Shadow+. Add a new chain, cassette, gear cable and bottom bracket for good measure and the bike had a whole new drive train.
200km later and I haven’t dropped a chain (thanks to the Shadow+ I am sure) the chain slapping has all but disappeared and I am managing to climb those local hills with no assistance from the Granny ring!
It hurts at times, but I am learning to pedal in higher gears so that I can rest in what is left of my lower gears. This means I am propelling myself forward quicker and more efficiently.
Only having one shifter simplifies gear changes and removes the mud catching front derailleur from the bike. A few rides in and I am not even thinking about the lower gears, I have just adapted to ride with what I have and the great colours available from Uberbike have helped keep both bikes looking great!
Yes within a week of converting my full suspension Giant Trance I applied the same logic to my steel hard tail Genesis Alpitude… No looking back now!
The expander sprocket is much talked about and I could certainly benefit from using one at a trail centre or for bigger mountain rides, but for local riding I can cope and improve my fitness without one.
If you are looking to convert to 1×10 or are simply in need of a new front chain ring, you could do a lot worse than shopping with Uberbike.