The inner tech geek in me decided to experiment with a 1×10 setup. After the weekend of racing in Adelaide I realised that I spent most of my time riding in the middle ratios, the annoying range between the small and big rings. I thought “wouldn’t it be good if I didn’t have to worry about timing the shift to the big ring perfectly.” Call me a gold fish, but there was one specific section at Zombie Park where I always shifted too soon and was over geared. My initial reservation was running out of gears, however after a chat with 1×10 convert, Zebosch, I decided to move into workshop and start the experiment.
The aim of the experiment was simple, to determine the suitability of a 1×10 setup to my riding style. Like many of us, all the required components were ready and waiting after years of collecting bits and pieces. This made is really simple to convert the bike over get out a riding.
The first iteration had the following specification.
1. Truvativ Noir 175mm MTB cranks
2. e*thirteen 38 tooth 104 BCD Guide Ring
3. Single speed chain rings bolts (shorter thread)
5. BB spacers
6. Reusable chain master link x 2
7. Spare chain links to adjust chain length if required
Setup was reasonable simple, a bit of filling of the plastic spacer was required to allow further inboard adjustment of the chain guide. A CX specific version of the guide is available to cater for a road bike chainline.
The second iteration of the setup required some investments. The intention was to run a smaller front chain ring on my standard Rival cranks.
2. FSA 36 tooth 110 BCD chain ring
End state Setup with Paul Component Chain Keeper
The conversion to the new setup was simply executed during my daughter afternoon sleep. Setting up the chain keeper was a treat, with adjustment in all 3 directions. With this in mind, swapping front chain rings would also be a quick and easy exercise.
The single ring setups were tested during the national series races in Sydney and Melbourne. The first iteration was tested in Sydney, though the courses were relatively flat, in the heat of racing I was looking for 1 more gear. For the second iteration, the adjustability of the chain keeper meant it was a trivial exercise to fine tune the gearing for the racing in Melbourne. Despite the conditions over the weekend, the bike didn’t miss a beat and the gearing was spot on.
In conclusion I am going to stick with the 1 x 10 set up, not worrying about a front mech was a winner.
In terms of flexibility for all range of courses the simplicity of the chain keeper means it is easy to fine tune ratios if required. With my riding style in mind the sweet spot configuration would be a 36-chain ring with an 11-28 cassette. That being said, for a venue like Mulch Hill where a sprint finish is likely, I would probably look at a bigger gear.
Adjusting the chain keeper is a simple exercise
The Paul Components chain keeper works really well. So far I am yet to drop a chain. When racing at Darebin I didn’t experience any chain suck which is a great outcome considering the conditions. The extra clearance of a single ring was helpful when hopping barriers.
Flawless shifting despite of what Darebin Parklands had to offer
It was not a straightforward decision to ditch my front mech. The following consideration worked against the change.
- My ‘cross bike also doubles as a commuter. With slicks on, I find myself spinning out on most downhills. This can easily be overcome by changing the front ring, but does require parts.
- On a single occasion (rough downhill fireroad) I had chain slap issues during the shift from the 12 to the 11 that caused the drive chain to jam. A brief back pedal sorted this out.
The following improvements could be made to further optimise the setup.
- Run a SRAM type II MTB rear derailleur to further manage chain tension and increase available ratios.
- Achieve a wider ratio of gears with a 11-32 rear cassette.
- Look into the option to run a narrow-wide style front ring and ditch the chain guide. Look at Wolf Tooth Components or Absolute BLACK if you are interested