Morning all- In a previous post I talked a bit about experimenting with a mountain bike cassette on my gravel bike. I was playing around with a 42T chainring with a Shimano 11-40 cassette on a Sram Force bike. It worked well enough that I decided to push the envelope a bit further.
For those of you who've been following along on facebook and instagram you may know that I've been hinting about a stock bike I'm bringing to market. Though this blog isn't about that, I can say that the bike I'm speaking of has been my test mule for the gearing set up I'm using! So let's get down to it, shall we?
I've decided to go with a wide range mountain cassette and a 1X front set up. In this case a Sram Apex 1 derailleur, driven by Apex 1 hydro levers, a 40T Wolfstooth chainring and a 10-42 mountain cassette. I went with Apex level components for 2 reasons. #1 I have a tendency to cheap out and #2 I've not used the new stuff so I wanted to see how well it works!
First up, gearing range. As I mentioned, 40T chainring, 10-42 cassette. This yields a huge gearing range. Less than 1:1 on the low end (.95:1 to be exact) and 4:1 on the big end (enough that I can roll my biggest gear at 28 mph on the road). Most of my test riding has been on local mountain bike trails and I can say this gearing is pretty good for it! Our local trails lack any long straights that would tax the high end of the gear range. On the low end, the 40-42 combo is getting me up everything I want (on mountain bike trails while riding a gravel bike...). That said, If I were to set this bike up exclusively for trail riding, I'd certain put a 38 or maybe even a 36 tooth chainring on. That would lower the gear range even more! Now, for the rail to trails and dirt roads that I've hit... Again that 40T with a 10-42 has been perfect! Low enough for long extended climbing and high enough to blast when needed! That said, Joe or Jane racer could install a 42, 44 or if they got the engine even a 46 T chainring for their watt producing pleasure. All positive right??? Sort of! One niggle I do have is the large jumps between gears, that's where a 2X system is going to win. If you come from a road background, I'm pretty sure you're going to notice the large gearing changes each shift. If you come from a mountain background... carry on, this feels exactly like what you are used to!
Ok, as promised a quick blurb about the Sram apex 1. It's pretty darn good!!! Shift accuracy is on par with my Sram Force 1. What I do notice is a difference in feel. The force set up is more refined, smoother. Without breaking out the scale I can't give you numbers but the Force kit is certainly lighter, as is you wallet after you buy it.... For now, I'm going to spend the rest of this season riding gravel and CX on Apex.