What’s The Most Popular 1X Drivetrain in 2020? 1×9, 1×10, 1×11, 1×12

So you’ve decided that a 1X Drivetrain upgrade is the next mod on your mountain bike. Or you’ve decided on your next new MTB you plan to go with a 1X drivetrain. The real question comes up, do you go with a 1×9, 1×10, 1×11, or a 1×12 drivetrain? What is everyone else doing?

What Is A 1×9, 1×10, 1×11 and 1×12 Mountain Bike Drivetrain?

Most of our readers are MTB enthusiasts so they are well versed in drivetrain terminology. But for those of you who need more information about mountain bike drivetrains and their acronyms, it’s really simple.


  • 1×9 Drivetrain: Single chainring on the crank, and 9 cogs on the rear cassette
  • 1×10 Drivetrain: Single chainring on the crank, and 10 cogs on the rear cassette
  • 1×11 Drivetrain: Single chainring on the crank, and 11 cogs on the rear cassette
  • 1×12 Drivetrain: Single chainring on the crank, and 12 cogs on the rear cassette

What 1x Drivetrain Is Trending?

Singletracks surveyed their readers over the 2015 – 2017 time period and have been sharing this valuable information. Below is a survey chart specifically on the size of the rear cassette. Like all charts, the data looks really simple, but once you dig in, break it down, and analyze it further do some real gems of information appear.

You can find the original article here.

Chart from Singletracks article, “Where Mountain Bike Drivetrains Are Going, in 2 Charts” by Jeff Barber, Oct 2017. https://images.singletracks.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/cassette_sizes.jpg

Analyzing The 1X Trend

Looking at the chart data in another way, comparing 2015 to 2017 popularity over a two year period:

  • ↓ 1×9: 10% down to 7%
  • ↓ 1×10: 52% down to 20%
  • ↑ 1×11: 36% up to 52%
  • ↑ 1×12: 0% up to 13%

As can be seen from the Singletracks chart, while 1×9 was popular and 1×10 the clear favorite back in 2015, they are seeing a decline over time. They are still popular as they haven’t dropped to zero.

On the other hand, take a look at the growth in popularity for the 1×11 and 1×12 drivetrains. Wow!

1×11 Drivetrain Is The Clear Winner: 1×11 Drivetrains are the most popular choice in 2017 / 2018 taking 52% of the popularity vote!

Our takeaway from the data shows that the 1×11 and 1×12 drivetrains are clearly the future of the 1x revolution.


If you’re looking to mod your drivetrain, the popular choice is to go with a 1×11 drivetrain. If you’re on the bleeding edge or ride trails that need that extra cog, you’d be in good company as more and more riders are adopting the 1×12 drivetrain.

While the chart clearly shows a trend of riders moving to 1×11 and 1×12 MTB drivetrains, seriously consider the type of riding that you do the majority of the time. Like my tax accountant says when I ask him if I can deduct something, the canned response I always get is “it depends”.

So while there is a clear trend for 1×11 and 1×12, for your particular riding style or frequented trails, the answer may not be a definite yes, but an “it depends”. Factors such as weight, simplicity, reliability, or other concerns may make more sense to go with a 1×9 or 1×10.

If you do the conversion yourself, the best part is, if you find a 1×11 isn’t for a particular MTB trip or trail, do like the pro’s, have a 1×10 or 1×12 handy and switch it over for that day.


We’d love to hear your choice! Enter a comment below.

  • What are you using today?
  • If you’re riding a 1x, do you plan to stick with it?
  • Do you plan to upgrade to a 1x in 2018?
  • If you plan to upgrade, what are you going to (1×9, 1×10, 1×11, 1×12)?

1 thought on “What’s The Most Popular 1X Drivetrain in 2020? 1×9, 1×10, 1×11, 1×12”

  1. Dear OldGlory reader
    Today I am using 1×9, and yes, I will stick to it.
    I prefer a single speed, but sometimes you need some gearing to be able to conquer the hill, right?
    Well then, when necessary, I swap the 1×1 for a 1×9; just take another rear wheel and install the derailleur.
    Do you plan to upgrade to a 1x in 2018, and what are you going to?
    Yes, in November I go to the mountaneous area in the North of Thailand for a 6 weeks Bicycle Tour. For some of the mountains 1×9 is not enough. For that reason I will upgrade to a 1×11.
    Thank you for reading.
    Emmanuel, Nakhon Ratchasima, Northeast Thailand.

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