[How To] Build A Mountain Bike 1X Drivetrain Made Easy – 1×9 1×10 1×11

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83 Responses

  1. Peter H says:

    JA, this is a great article and very helpful. I’m trying to put together a 1×10 setup and the only thing I can’t figure out is the cranks. SRAM has their XX1 and X01 but these are made for 11 speed. There’s an SRAM Truvativ X0 DH setup that looks like it can take a 1×10 setup, but their site is vague if this is a 10 or 11 setup.
    http://www.sram.com/sram/mountain/products/truvativ-x0-dh-crankset
    Wolftooth shows an XX setup but this is meant for a 2×10. Are they just leaving off the smaller ring?
    http://www.wolftoothcycling.com/products/120-bcd-chainrings
    Thanks for your help
    Peter

  2. Greg says:

    Can I use Shimano XT M780 cranks and change the remove 2 of the 3 chain rings to just one with 32T? I’m building an Intense Carbine AM rig.

    I agree, the section on cranks in this article needs more explaining about cranks for a 1×10 setup, especially using Shimano cranks as this is a common brand that only fits certain bottom brackets.

  3. TW says:

    A quick question, I have a Shimano XT FC M782 crankset with a 104mm BCD and I was going to order a Wolf Tooth 32T chainring, I just wanted to make sure the crank was compatible for a 1×10 if I have a Shimano XT M770 | 11-32T on the back.
    Cheers,
    TW

  4. Geoff says:

    Is it worth it to run a wolf tooth chain ring without a clutch RD? Frankly I don’t want to deal with the expense of a complete change over to 10 speed (I used to work in a shop, and man does paying retail now stink…). They suggest a 10 speed chain, will that run smoothly with a 9 speed cassette? The old bike mechanic in me says no way, but perhaps you’ve got better insight than I do. Also, I’m planning on riding Moab and Fruita this coming year, to give you context of where my bike would be most relied on to function without a hitch.

    The set up would be, M772 RD, 9 spd XT cass, 9 or 10 speed Shimano XT chain, 32T 104BDC Wolf tooth chanring.

    • I don’t think running a Wolf tooth without a clutched rear derailleur is bullet proof enough for desert riding like that. I’d still with a lightweight chainguide from e.13 or MRP and not have to worry about it.

  5. jon says:

    I used your page to rebuild my new Jamis exile frame that Jamis gave me when I broke my original one, They included a new fork and BB – very generous. I made a 1×10 with E-thirtheen 34t ring which I mounted on my old Shimano 105 crank, Shimano M675 Shadow Plus and 11/36t cassette and Shimano Deore shifter. I did not get a chain guide and to date I have had no problem with losing a chain. The only thing I might try different is a 32t ring, I find myself looking for that one extra gear seeing I love those hills. I built this as my winter bike and it has been a lot of fun to ride and to build. Thank you for your acticle, I obviously took full advantage of it.

    Jon Shuttle, Warner, NH

  6. Oren Ovadia says:

    Hey, I am going 1×9 with a 2007 hardrock I would like to know if I run a mid ring from a triple (the 32)
    With a chain guide (home made one) would that hold or be a complete waste of time? Also do I need to shorten the chain if I have no big 42 up front? Thanks from Israel with a tiny budget ( solder in the idf makeing about 125$ a month)

    • That would work perfectly fine. You will need to shorten your chain a bit.

    • Daniel Marzani says:

      I have been doing exactly this for the last month on a 1×9 setup using a regular ramped 32t middle ring from a triple ring setup (9speed raceface race ring). I also am using a custom fabricated chainguide at the top of the chainring (made from a dishwasher bracket-the thing that keep diswasher from tilting forward when the door is opened, bolted to the braze on for an E-type front mech) and a regular XT Rear mech. It has worked perfectly so far. Shorten your chain to proper length to maximize chain tension. In largest rear cog the rear dérailleur cage should be at 45 deg-or close to it. Also account for fact that suspension fully compressed can increase effective chain stay length (it does not on my specialized fsr bike). You should probably add a couple of links if you notice the derailleur cage pulling forward when you compress the suspension. Park tool has a great section on chain length. Peace.

  7. MAG0121 says:

    Anyone building up a 1x? these days should consider the benefits of the OneUp conversion. This extra 42t sprocket allows you to retain a decent “granny” even with a 32t or 34t front chainring. Compared to purchasing one of the 1×11 SRAM options, it’s quite affordable.

    I currently have XO-1 (with 34t chainring) on my Santa Cruz Bronson, and it’s truly a new mindset. So, I’m now building up my new 650b hardtail with an XT 11-36t cassette (with OneUp conversion), SLX long cage rear derailleur (with clutch), SLX shifter, RaceFace Narrow-Wide 34t chainring, mounted to a RaceFace Turbine crank.

    http://www.oneupcomponents.com/

    • Fredrik says:

      Cool, I am planning more or less the same build but I’ll put it onto a specialized enduro:) What length on the chain are you using? Also, do you use a chainguide or maybe just a bash?

      Kindest regards,
      Fredrik

  8. royg says:

    Hi There J.A

    I’ve been runing a 1×9 with 11-34 cassete with a 30 NW Race Face front ring and i love it, but i’m lacking a grany gear.
    Since i’m using a shimano Zee reer mech i could not use the 42 Cog, but now One Up, wolf tooth and Hope all came out with a 40 Cog and 1up states it suits fine with Zee mech. thinking of cassete and adapter cog change…

    What’s your thoughts about that?

  9. Michael says:

    Hi,

    would it be possible to combine a XTR (M985) crank with a wolftooth chainring and a SRAM X11 cassette ?

    Thanks!

    Michael

  10. Yoav says:

    Are any of these setups compatible with road STI shifters, either Shimano or SRAM? I am trying to see if its possible to put together a 1 x 10 or 11 setup with something like a 11-34 cassette with a single 34T chainring for a touring bike with drop handlebars. Thanks for any help.

  11. Eran says:

    Hi,

    Great article :-)

    I have a new bike with thenew Shimano 40/30/22 carnk.
    Unfortunately, this crank comes with 96BCD and there is no compatible narrow/wide chainrings in the market (yet).

    I was wondering if I could use the original mid range ring (30T) + a chainguide (I already have a clutch rear mech). will it work?

  12. Mike says:

    As others have pointed out already, this is a great article!  Not many common folk can pluck down the greenbacks for an entire 1×11 group at once, I imagine.  So here's what I'm looking at… I have a 2013 Giant TranceX 29er on which I immediately upgraded the drivetrain to X9 (except for the front derailleur, which is still x7).  I have seen the X01 crank on sale for just a little over 200 bucks.  Could I simply swap out the existing crank with the X01, a 32t or 34t chainring, shorten the chain and go to town?  My x9 rear derailleur is the type 2 with a long cage.  My typical riding is pretty much all mountain.

    Thanks!

    Mike

    • You should be able to upgrade your existing crankset with a chainring designed for 1X drivetrains. I’ve suggested a few in the article. No need for the X01 crankset.

      The tooth profile of the chainring and the Type 2 derailleur should keep the chain on, but you probably should get a chainguide for added insurance since you ride more rugged terrain.

      • Mike says:

        Thanks for your quick reply! Yes, I didn’t actually catch that on the first read… nowhere do you mention swapping out the crank for a 1x unit. My initial concern was that with my current 2x crank, shifting to the opposite cogs might be problematic. Have you found that to not be the case? I figured a 1x crank, like the X01, would have the centered chainring and would provide much more reliable shifting. I worry about this because with my current X9 type 2 2×10 setup, riding on the big chainring/big cog and small chainring/small cog causes some missed shifts.

        Thanks again!

        Mike

  13. John says:

    I’m building a 1×10 on a 2012 BlkMrkt Killswitch. I’ll be running a 32t NW RaceFace chainring on RaceFace Respond Cranks. I’m pairing a Saint shifter with a Zee rear and running a basic 11-36 cassette for starters. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the great article!

  14. Peter says:

    Hi Mate,
    I am looking to convert my 2013 Carrera Kraken to run a 1 x 9 set up,.I am a complete novice and wanted to see if i could run this with the same cranks and BB. Cassette:SRAM 12-32t/SRAM Cranks:SRAM X5 42/32/22/SRAM , Thinking of a small chain device on the front with wolftooth front ring ( what size would you recommend) I actually wanted to add the shimano Zee front crank but dont know it this would fit my square tapered BB. Also wanted to add the Shawdow 10+ rear derailler. Would i be better just replacing the full groupset?

    Thanks, superb website.

    • If I understand what you have currently correct you will probably need to run the same crankset but you need a new derailleur (clutch type), a wolftooth chainring, and a chainguide. Zee front crank won’t work with square taper. I would go with a 30T chainring up front.

  15. Peter says:

    Superb mate thanks,
    So keep my same cranks – remove the chainrings – Add the new wolftooth 30t up front with chain Guide.
    Remove the front mech – front shifter.
    Add the new rear derailleur – I am going with the shadow 10+ ( clutch)

  16. Peter says:

    Could you recommend a rear derailleur that would work best with this set up?

    Cassette:SRAM 12-32t – Wolftooth 30t front ring – and chain device?

    • I’d stick with SRAM. X9 or X0. If you’re sticking with 1×9 you can’t get a clutch style 9 speed derailleur. You can google some people that have taken a 10 speed derailleur and made it work but with a chainguide and that sprocket you shouldn’t be dropping any chains. Just make sure you choose a chainguide with top and bottom guides like the Lopes from MRP or e.13.

  17. carloquitorio says:

    Do ihave to extend more my chain for my rd will at is original tensioN?nrunning a 30teeth front

  18. Emmanuel Estrella says:

    Hi. I have shimano m980 race 104bcd and an e13 32t. Ha ing trouble finding a screw
    that would fit that will also retain the cover of the crank..cn you suggest where
    to get these chainring screws?

  19. Carlo Carluccio says:

    Hi, I currently have a Shimano XTR (2012 season, 10 speed) 2x on a 2014 Santa Cruz Tallboy LTc. I almost never ride in the larger ring, always the granny ring (28tooth). The drivetrain came off of a previous bike and the big ring has almost no teeth anyways…so the question is, for a 1X setup, why not just remove all of the front derailleur and shifter pieces? Or do i really need to keep the front derailleur in place for a chainguide of sorts?

    • I would keep the front derailleur. It’s only on the newest 1x drivetrains that you don’t have to use a chainguide or front derailleur to keep the chain on the front chainring. The tooth profile isn’t designed to work without something to keep it in place on the older cranksets.

  20. Ryan says:

    Hey! Building a 1×7 from a 3×7 on a beloved older Trek 800 (63mm shell). Removed the old Shimano crankset with triple ring (BB spindle approx 123mm). Wanna run a SRAM S600 single ring 33t with guard. Needs to use a Truvative Powerspline BB but not sure what spindle width would preserve a good chainline? They make others but 113 and 118mm seem the more common. Can you suggest or predict a good spindle width from what I’ve provided? I understand I may need to reconsider the long cage Shimano derailleur and also a chain guide, but most pressing prob is spindle width/chain line. Any help much appreciated! Link to crankset and BB below:

    http://m.ebay.com/itm/261575754154?nav=SEARCH

  21. Ryan says:

    Hard to find good info..great resource!

    I’ve got a 3×7 to 1×7 conversion on a beloved older Trek 800 mtb with 63mm frame slot, using a square-tapered BB with approx 123mm spindle. Any idea what spindle width Truvative Powerlink BB I’d need to preserve my chain line approx where old middle chain ring used to be? New crankset is a SRAM S600 single ring 33t, 175mm, 104 BCD with a guard. I know i may need to reconsider my long cage Shimano RD and also perhaps a chain retainer, but stuck until I know which BB spindle width. I see they have 113 and 118 commonly available but have others as well. Any idea? I’ll include the link below. Thanks!

    http://m.ebay.com/itm/261575754154?nav=SEARCH

  22. kenny currie says:

    Hi Guys

    Would be grateful if some of you tech build advice?

    Im building a Intense Tracer T29 most of my riding will be done around Glentress,
    I already have a rear Sram Derailleur carbon 9spd that I wish to build on, The tracer uses a high direct mount front Derailleur, which I believe sram do x9 3×10 or x0 2×10, this is where I get a little bit lost :-(
    Could any of you guys give me ideas of good combos for a setup obviously using sram crank set whether it be double chain ring or triple chain ring, also advice on rear cassette ratios would be a huge help, I am a relatively fit guy on up hill climbs if this helps in regards to ratio advice.

    Forever Grateful

    Kenny

  23. JJ Tan says:

    I have a 9speed hg-61 12-36..Can I convert it to 10speed by adding a 42t cog using a shimano zee rd and shifter?

  24. Matt says:

    Good afternoon!

    I would like to start out by saying that this is an awesome article. I have not see this much solid information on 1x in one place anywhere else on the web. Thank you!

    I just purchased a used 2014 Specialized Crave Pro 29er that was converted to a 1×10 using a Wolf Creek 34t 104BCD chain ring. I love the frame and setup except for one thing. It came with the stock Specialized 175mm crank arms which I want to swap out with 170mm crank arms. Ideally I would like to spend as little as possible on this change. I have an awesome set of FSA K Force Lite 2X cranks that I would love to use, but it is 94BCD. I only see one (Blackspire Narrow Wide Snaggletooth) that supports 94BCD, but I am not sure if this is even a compatible match. Alternatively, I could go buy a new crank that supports 104BCD (which there are plenty of) and just use the Wolf Creek chain ring which so far has been completely awesome.

    Any recommendations would be appreciated.

    Matt

    • I’d just go with some 104 cranks. That is much easier to deal with.

    • Matt says:

      Not wanting to spring for a new crank set, I finally pulled the trigger and picked up a Blackspire Narrow Wide Snaggletooth 94BCD chain ring to put on my FSA K Force Lite cranks. With regard to the SRAM slanted Blackspire 94BCD chain rings fitting on the FSA cranks it works perfect. The tolerances are about as tight as you can get without it being off. I have a 36T chain ring and just ordered a 32T chain ring to give me options.

      I also picked up a Wolf Tooth 40T and 16T clog to put in my cassette. I am waiting to install when I get a new cassette and chain I ordered.

      With all this I should be able to have it all where ever I am riding.

  25. Daniel Marzani says:

    Also, don’t forget to get some shorter single speed (6mm) chainring bolts for converting the triple crankset to single. Or you can use washers on your existing chainring bolts. Or you can grind down your existing chainring bolts with a belt sander-be careful though.

  26. Dmitry says:

    Hi!
    I tried to use RF NW 34T on shimano FC-M675 with XT 11-36T cassette (without 17T but with Hope 40T-rex). There is no spacer on the left side of my bottom bracket and there are ISCG-05 tabs and shimano 2.5mm spacer on the right side of BB. The bottom bracket width (with ISCG-05 tabs) is 73 mm.
    The chain falls outside from the cassette when shifted to 11 in the rear.
    I have to put spacers between crank and the RF NW, am I right? Could you adwise me- what size of spacer should I use?

    Thanks and the best regards,
    Dmitry.

  27. Emmanuel Estrellaa says:

    Hi. I am using an xtr with 32t nw e13 single chainring + sram xx rd
    at the rear with 11-42t one up + xo shifter. When shifting 36–> 42t…i hear
    a short grind before going to 42t..do i need a longer b screw? Thanks.

  28. Jase says:

    Nice piece J.A. I don’t know if you have heard of XKM Chainring but they are quite an affordable alternative to if you can’t get any of the USA made parts on sale.

  29. Eric says:

    JA I am trying to convert my 2013 rumblefish. I bought a 34T NW raceface and attempting the replace the chainrings on my SRAM X7. I picked up a MRP G2 Mini but I guess my bike doesn’t have a bracket to attach that. Is this a decent set up with the 11-36 cassette in the back? I do climb a lot and spent most of my time climbing in my 33 chainring. I also need helping finding a chain guide that fits my rig.

    • I tink 34 x 36 in the back should be pretty good. I’m not sure what cassette you’re using exactly but they have the single 42t cogs you can buy for your cassette if you think you need it down the road. Your chainguide probably needs to be a bottom bracket mounted version since you don’t have ISCG tabs. Just return the G2 you have now and get one that is designed to be BB mounted. Take off your drive side bottom bracket cup and the correct spacers and put the G2 on and then your BB cup back in.

  30. Van says:

    This article has become one that I read about every other week… I’m itching to pull the trigger and go to a 1×11 setup and am wondering what your thoughts might be on the following setup:

    32t AbsoluteBLACK Chainring (Cannondale Hollowgram Cranks)
    XTR Di2 Shifter, Display, Cables, and Rear Derailleur
    XTR 11s Cassette 11-40
    KMC 11s Chain
    No Chain Guide

    Do you think there are any special considerations I might need to make?

    BTW, the bike is a Cannondale Scalpel 29er Black Inc.

    Thank you for your thoughts and consideration of my project.

  31. Sean says:

    I am busy with a 1 x 10 project , I have a 30t Wolftooth 104 front chainring on a SLX Crank , I purchaced a 42 Wolftooth rear cog to add on the existing M771 cassette , I removed the 17cog to make way for the 42 , Will a Shimano RD-M986 GS Shadow Derailleur suit this set up ?

  32. Sean says:

    Thank You very much for the reply

  33. Luc Vandevenne says:

    Hi there,
    Finally an article that gives answers.
    Sorry for my bad English, but I am Dutch speaking.
    I ride a handbike with a X9 9 speed and a 36 cassette. The smallest front chainring is a 22 for climbing. Last hear I rode the MontVentoux but felt that the gearing was just a little to big, wich caused me to stop from time to time to give my shoulders some rest. OK, I should train a little bit harder, but note that I am not dissabled and need to train my leges too in order to combine climbing the handbike, racebike and running in one day! Do
    you think it is possible to mount a 40 or 42 t so I could keep on going and lose less time white resting?
    Grts
    Luc

  34. Tony says:

    Hi

    Thanks for the great article and advice.
    I currently have a Shimano XT (2×10 speed) on a 2013 Anthem X 29er.
    Rear cassette 11/36 XT, Crank 2x (28 tooth small ring) I almost never ride in the larger ring, always the 28 tooth ring.
    I want to change to a 1×10 setup but am not sure what the correct setup will be to maintain my present configuration.
    I plan on using a MRP chain guard.
    If I go to a 32 front ring and maintain the 11/36 will the effect be evident? if so what would you suggest?
    Does Shimano make a 32 tooth main chain ring (I cant seem to find one online)
    If I add a extra ring to the cassette (1×11) will I need to change the shifter and derailer?

    Thanks
    Tony

    • Yes there will be a bit a difference between at 28t front and 32t front but not horrible. You should look at all the single ring chainring suggestions in this article you won’t find one made by Shimano themselves. Any of the companies I suggested make a chainring that fits your cranks. Yes you would need a new shifter and derailleur to increase it to 11 speeds.

  35. Thor says:

    To explore gearing
    http://www.machars.net/bikecalc.htm

    I am considering a Stumpjumper fst 29″ with a 11-36 and removing cogs 15 and 17 and installing 16 cog then using a 40 or 42 for granny gearing and up front a 32 t
    Plan on using the stock XT derailleur with the 2015 stumpy comp.

  36. Lane says:

    I have a 2014 Specialized Hardrock

    I am wanting to go 1 x 10 and have absolutely no idea what goes with what… Most I know is I’m looking at the SRAM X9 Type-2 10speed derailleur. Will I be able to use the Wolf Tooth 104mm BCD chainring and what other components would I need so it works with my bike?

  37. Rob says:

    Hi I am new to all this bike maintenance. I have a pivot mach 429 2014 model. It has XT components. 2 by at the front 10 at the back. I wold like to make it single gear/cog at the front. I ride mainly cross country BUT a little down hill. I am not sure on the specifics of the derailuer etc. Do I eed to by a clutch derailluer or is mine already a clutch derailuer? Also I notice that some front cogs are almost hollow and some have a small diameter centre?

  38. John P says:

    Any thoughts on adding a spacer to the crank to effectively move the position of the chain ring closer to the center of the bike? I am thinking that this will position the chain better when in the lowest gear on the casette.

    Is this necessary? Thanks for your advise.

  39. Paul says:

    Hi I’m happily running sram xo cranks with the wolf tooth 42t conversion on my 10 speed cassette. My question is this. Can I simply use a 11speed cassette, my wheels can do the hub conversion, with the 10 speed derailleur? Obviously I will have to use a sram 11 speed shifter. This will save so much money on the 11 speed rear mech. Oh and I’ll have to run an 11 speed chain

    • No you cannot effectively run the 11 speed cassette with a 10 speed derailleur. It all needs to match. Why not just get a cassette expander cog in 40 or 42T instead. It gives you more range and then you can use everything you already have. I just updated a couple of good options in this article from Wolf Tooth and Twenty6 Components.

  40. Bruce S says:

    Great info throughout!
    I’m building a 2012 Trek EX9 frame. Its a blank slate right now. I want to build it with an 11 x 42 cogset. It requires a BB92 or GXP bottom bracket. What crankset would you recommend that wouldn’t break the bank ? Also which derailleur would you suggest as the best? What type chain guide if any will work with this BB set up?

    • Shimano XT level or SRAM X9/X0 are going to be the best value to performance value in parts selection. If your bike has ISCG tabs that would dictate your chain guide. If you don’t have tabs then just get a BB or seattube mounted chainguide.

  41. Bruce S says:

    If I use the RADr cage do I need the Goat Link and conversely if I use the Goat Link do I need the RADr cage?

  42. Bruce S says:

    I just read that the RADr had = to or better wrap and shifting performance. Thoughts?

  43. Nick says:

    J.A I want to convert my 2012 XTR 3×10 with Wolf 32 1x is that possible and do I keep cassette at the back the same?

  44. Steve says:

    Hey,
    Want to convert a FSA K Force Light 2×10 to a 1×10 not sure as to whether a 104bcd single ring will bolt straight on without some sort of gear changing issues due to chainring being offset as its originally a 2×10 crankset or should I opt for a x1 crankset?

    Thanks.

  45. Rolf Rimott says:

    I am trying to set up a Sram XO or XX 1X10 drivetrain with a 40 tooth rear big cog ring but all the Sram 10 speed deraileur say max 36. Do you use a SRAM 11 speed rear deraileur with a 10 speed XO or XX shifter and just adjust the limiter screw for 10 speed? or is there any SRAM XO or XX 10 speed that will work with a 40 or 42 tooth rear cog?

  1. April 10, 2015

    […] setup, the more my my thinking was towards the simplicity of a 1×10 or 1×11 drivetrain. J.A. Caldwell at Old Glory MTB argues that running a 1X drivetrain has the following […]

  2. April 11, 2015

    […] setup, the more my thinking was towards the simplicity of a 1×10 or 1×11 drivetrain. J.A. Caldwell at Old Glory MTB argues that running a 1X drivetrain has the following […]

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