What would make you go 1x on the road?

Do we need to adopt 13- or 14-speed drivetrains, better designed frames, or something else?

1x drivetrains have become the norm for the majority of mountain bikes in recent years and with good reason; ditching front shifting simplifies your bike's drivetrain, opens up options for frame designers, reduces cockpit clutter and of course, reduces weight.

However, while 1x setups have found favour with some cyclocross and gravel racers, its uptake has been far slower — practically non-existent — on the road.

3T took full advantage of a 1x drivetrain with the new, slightly quirky, Strada
3T took full advantage of a 1x drivetrain with the new, slightly quirky, Strada

While a handful of manufacturers — 3T with its recently announced Strada being a key example — have dabbled with producing 1x specific bikes, very few large brands offer a 1x road bike.

There also seems to be a general resistance from you, the people, to adopt a single ring on the road, and the arguments against such a setup make sense: reduced range, bigger steps between gears and, excluding Shimano Metrea, only one brand offers native 1x road groupsets in the form of SRAM Force 1, Rival 1 and Apex 1.

3T recently announced the launch of its new cassettes which address some of the issues that regular road cassettes present
3T recently announced the launch of its new cassettes which address some of the issues that regular road cassettes present

So what exactly would it take for you to go 1x? A greater range from cassettes? Closer steps between gears? A more dramatic reduction on weight?

Or, looking at it from another angle, would frame designers taking greater advantage of a 1x drivetrain, as 3T has done with the aforementioned Strada, convince you? Increased tyre clearances without the compromises of messing up rear end geometry? More better-er for the aeros

Does the future of 1x for the road look like this? We hope not...
Does the future of 1x for the road look like this? We hope not...

Or, to really put a cat among the pigeons, do we even need to move to 13- or even 14-speed drivetrains to have a perfect 1x drivetrain on the road?

While it’s of course just a proof of concept — and one for a fat bike at that — our friends at BikeRumor spotted this 13-speed Phil Wood drivetrain at Interbike way back in 2014, which could perhaps be an indication of things to come?

Double setups are so good on the road these days
Double setups are so good on the road these days

Leave us your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to share any pictures of your 1x road setups!

Jack Luke

Staff Writer, UK
Jack has been riding and fettling with bikes for his whole life. Always in search of the hippest new niche in cycling, Jack is a self-confessed gravel dork and thinks nothing of bivouacking on a beach after work. Also fond of cup and cone bearings, skids and tan wall tyres.
  • Discipline: Long days in the saddle by either road or mountain bike
  • Preferred Terrain: Happiest when on a rural road by the coast or crossing a remote mountain pass. Also partial to a cheeky gravel adventure or an arduous hike-a-bike.
  • Current Bikes: Custom Genesis Croix de Fer all road adventure wagon, Niner EMD 9.
  • Dream Bike: A rigid 44 Bikes Marauder, all black please.
  • Beer of Choice: Caesar Augustus
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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