LESS IS MORE—1X
WIDER IS BETTER?
27. 5 VS. 29
This trend has taken mountain biking
by storm and has quickly proven to be
one of the most effective innovations in
recent memory. Many riders are able to
experience gear ratios similar to what they
had on their 2x and 3x setups, but with a
cleaner, more reliable, more robust execution. Double and triple cranksets have
many design constraints due to the greater
range of space needed for the derailleur
to move. By eliminating front derailleurs,
frame builders are free to allow changes in
seat tube designs, and rear triangles can
accommodate a more specific chain line,
more travel and optimized wheel sizes.
Aside from frame design, shifting has
become simpler. The 1x11 drivetrain still
has some small hurdles to overcome, but
for the most part, shifting has become
easier, crisper and more robust. With a
1x setup, it’s not a matter of which shifter
should be used on either uphill or downhill. Riders now have the ease of using
one shifter—and, saving a little weight is
always a bonus.
Wider rims are slowly starting to make their way into the mountain bike arena, but most
of the industry is still wondering, how wide is too wide? Some companies are going as
wide as 46 millimeters for everyday riding, while others are still using 24-millimeter rims.
The shift to wide rims causes some issues, in particular frame clearance and hookless
rims. A wider rim drastically changes the tire profile and how it relates to the frame. In
other words, a 2.2-inch-wide tire on a 40-millimeter rim might look and fit like a 2.4-
inch tire on a 25-millimeter rim. This can cause clearance issues and rubbing, especially
if your wheel gets slightly out of true. The other question mark is hookless beads. Tire
companies are still producing tires based on the idea that companies are using the same
general design of a tubeless rim profile. While some companies have expanded their rim
widths and eliminated the hook to save weight and bring down cost, some tires might not
interface well with this rim and may blow off or burp during rides.
Though this trend is in the beginning stages, the bottom line is that wheel and tire companies need to get on the same page about where they want this evolving trend to go.
size was all
the craze at
the Sea Otter
Making it simple: Front derailleurs are
quickly becoming a thing of the past. A 1x11
option can give you all the gears you need,
plus it’s lighter and lower maintenance.
Different segments of mountain biking prefer different diameter wheels. While some
companies see 27.5-inch wheels as the ultimate size for every discipline, most are offering two different wheel sizes for specific needs. Trail and enduro riders will continue to
prefer 27.5-inch tires. As for the cross-country market, it will be tough to tear them away